September 2014 work party report

The bald statement that the September work party saw the move of the base from Redwith to Lloyds rather underplays four days of sometimes frantic activity. During this time we did final preparation at the new site and went a long way towards decommissioning the old site. For once the weather gods smiled on us and, for reasons that will be explained later, we hope that they continue to do so.

Work started as usual on Friday with the routine of deliveries to both the new and old sites. The other major job was the marking out of the future positions of the various bits of kit on the new site.

On Saturday a large turnout of volunteers got stuck into the task of installing a newt fence around the entire Lloyds compound and associated access and haul roads – a total distance of about 210 metres. The purpose of this fence is to exclude newts from the working and storage areas which together with the fence around the channel area will create an exclusion zone around all of the working areas. As a preliminary a couple of areas of undergrowth were levelled with the 3 tonne excavator and by mid-morning, the first stage of the newt fence installation involving digging a trench with the Kanga was underway. This task was greatly aided by relatively good ground conditions. The actual fence was made of Terram fabric supported on wooden stakes with the lower edge of the fabric buried in the ground. With two gangs at work progress was rapid. The work continued on Sunday and by mid afternoon the newt barrier around the compound and roads was complete bar the installation of the ‘newt grids’ across the access roads.

Newt fencing in the west compound…
…and in the walkway between the west and east compounds

Monday was move day. Like any major relocation it was viewed by the volunteers with a mixture of anticipation and apprehension. The first arrivals were two ’20 foot’ containers. These are the replacements for the two containers which have served the Society so well for many years and which first saw service at Burgeddon. The containers (which judging from their marking had mainly been used on the UK-China trade) arrived on a lorry and trailer, and were swiftly unloaded by the vehicle’s hiab equipment. Next came a number of visits from another hiab equipped truck which bought various heavy items including the mixer and Herras fencing. A van shuttled back and forth transporting the smaller items. Finally our welfare container arrived safe and sound. We celebrated with our first cup of tea on the new site. The now refreshed volunteers then tackled the final job of the weekend – the installation of the newt grids across the entrances to the compounds. This necessarily had to wait until last so as not to impede the various delivery vehicles. A concerted effort saw this task finished at 1730. Quite a day! At the time of writing there is still no news on the newt licence from Natural England and thus there is no timetable for the closing of the newt enclosure in the channel by installation of a clay dam. It is to be hoped that the promised ‘Indian Summer’ comes to pass since this would permit both the installation of the dam and the fence across the channel, and the newt survey, to start before the cold weather. This may take place before the next scheduled work party but we shall see!

The newt grid at the channel entrance
Posted in Montgomery Canal, Pryces Bridge to Crickheath Bridge Restoration, Restoration, Work Party.

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