This work party had a distinctly domestic feel to it with the focus being on work in our new compound. This type of activity might not be very glamorous but it is essential to ensure a flying start on the new section of channel in the New Year.
The main work was in and adjacent to the containers. The areas immediately around the containers, and the path between the two compounds, were given a stone surface. This work was done using a 3 tonne digger and a power barrow. Together these made short work of a very large pile of crushed stone. The containers were all painted. The two ‘new’ containers merely required application of priming paint over some very small scratches followed by the top coat. The welfare container required much more attention with scrapers, wire brushes and the pressure washer before any paint could be applied. By the end of Sunday however all three containers were resplendent in their new livery of ‘Brunswick Green’.
The policy of hiring-in all plant has released the space formerly used to accommodate the Society digger and dumper for other purposes. The area of the welfare container which had hitherto been used as a tool store is now a PPE store and a changing and drying area. Shelves have been fitted in one of the new containers to accommodate tools. The third container will be used for storage of bulky items such as geotextiles and cement. It will be real pleasure in future for volunteers to be able to look for a particular tool without worrying about standing on some other piece of equipment!
Finally we worked on, arguably, the most important item in the compound – the tea shelter. This had made the journey from Redwith in sections and it was reassembled in the corner of the new compound. It is in a very pleasant leafy location and one that is sheltered from the wind, unlike its former location at Redwith.
On the following Tuesday the second instalment of the move of our remaining equipment and materials from Redwith to Lloyds compound took place. As with last month’s move of the heavy equipment, a lorry equipped with a hiab crane did the lifting. The four hours of work brought to an end the Society’s presence at Redwith where we have been based since 2008. Having waited some four months for news on the newt licence, Natural England delivered the unwelcome verdict of refusal to CRT the day before the work party. The reason for this was a number of technical issues relating to the proposals. At the time of writing it is thought that these matters can be relatively easily addressed, but the timing of the decision, and the start of the cold weather, makes further progress on the newt fence this year unlikely. Work on the channel will recommence in the Spring when both newts and restoration volunteers emerge from their winter slumbers!