The last restoration work party of the year, fittingly, marked the completion of work to establish the Society’s new base at Lloyd’s Feeds. All of the hardstanding and newt fences are now finished. The three containers are fitted out for storage of tools and materials. The welfare container now has a large area for volunteer changing, and a drying and storage area.
Friday saw the first delivery to the compound of what will undoubtedly be very many loads of blocks. These will, of course, eventually be used to line the canal, but in the short term they were put to another use. In comparison with the wide open spaces of Redwith, the new compound is quite small and this presents a potential problem for materials storage. Part of the solution to this is that materials will be ordered only when needed but, once delivered, they must occupy the minimum amount of space. Aggregates are mainly delivered in bulk and on Saturday the blocks were used to construct two bins large enough to take about twenty tonnes in each.
The containers received attention. The external and internal painting was finished and very smart it looks too! The fitting out of the shelving in the tool container was completed, again with the intention of optimum space utilisation. The dark recesses of the Society’s storage areas have long contained a number of venerable items, some of which look as if they might have once belonged to the Shropshire Union Canal Company! This is not a comment on any collective squirrel instinct in the Society but it is certainly the case that over the last few years the Society has not had the luxury of time to sort out the useful stuff from the museum pieces. We did this on Sunday and entertaining it proved to be. Items for the scrap pile included a number of large and very rusty spanners, some ferocious looking wrenches, and handles which once started or controlled a number of pieces of long departed equipment.
On Sunday a number of volunteers worked on cutting back the hedge on the towpath side. This was primarily to give our surveyors ’sight lines’ along the towpath, but also made pedestrian access along this section of towpath a bit easier.
There is some better news on the newts! CRT are now working on a revised newt licence application to Natural England and this should be submitted in the next few weeks. A favourable decision could mean work on the channel recommences in the Spring when weather conditions will permit both newts and restoration volunteers to become active again. The work party brought to an end a year in which the Redwith to Pryces section was finished, and work on the present section commenced. The focus now shifts to our annual excursion into hedge laying but, as always, we look forward to the new ‘restoration year’ with keen anticipation. Roll on 2015!