The combination of good weather and a large attendance is a recipe for a productive work party. This month’s event certainly was in that category. The headline news is that earthworks in Phase 1 are finished, a start made on construction on Phase 2, and a considerable area of vegetation cleared in Phase 2. As a result of the latter there is now a line-of-sight between the Lloyd’s site and that at Crickheath. The total attendance over the weekend was 80 person-days. The thirty attendees on Friday set a new record for that day.
Our incredible luck with the weather this year continued and allowed the final few metres of channel shaping to be completed shortly before dusk on Saturday, just hours before heavy rain showers which would have made the task difficult. The excavated material from the channel was used to finish off the length of Phase 1 offside bank at the rear of the compound, and also to build up the first subsidence dip on the Phase 2 towpath. The lining and blocking operation is now within 20 metres of the clay dam which marks the end of Phase 1. It would have got further had there not been a hiccup in the supply chain for the liner.
One gang worked on clearance of the Phase 2 towpath. All of the trees had been felled two years ago but all have coppiced. The amazing amount of new growth was removed and stacked up in preparation for the winter bonfires. The gang started work accompanied by remarks along the lines of ‘stop when you get to Crickheath’. By the end of Saturday they had done and they spent Sunday doing a similar exercise on the offside bank in Phase1!
The commencement of work on Phase 2 towpath is a major milestone on the restoration. The before and after images of the work show our two Welfare Officers who took time out of their duties to, respectively, inspect the site and to christen the new structure. These estimable gentlemen bring their own individual flair to the welfare role, serving tea, coffee, biscuits, cakes, and for the more discerning volunteers, a large box of sausage rolls.
There is no photograph of the work at Crickheath this month mainly because both main accesses (towpath and road) are closed. This is necessary because work continues on piling and bank/towpath formation and on rerouting of the water pipe across the road close to the site entrance.