Lichfield & Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust

LHCRT  Working Party Blog   April 2016

Tamworth Road, Fortnight Ending 10th April


Something different this fortnight, something called Concrete Canvas, something that we are pioneering on the earth bank that is on the Tamworth Road side of the canal.


What is it?  Well its about 5 mm thick and consists of a waterproof membrane on one side (the underside), and a fabric membrane on the top side. Sandwiched between these two membranes is a fine dry powder that is similar to a fine concrete mix.


Now all we have to do is lay it onto the earth bank where it naturally takes the shape of the earth below.  We then wet the Canvas and within a few hours or so the material is set rock hard.  The Concrete Canvas comes in rolls 1 metre wide.  We lay it with an overlap of about 100 mm. using a specialized grout to seal between sections.  And Hey Presto!   we have a waterproof lining.  Now, as the canal will eventually see narrowboats chugging up and down and no doubt hitting the side from time to time we have to protect this lining from damage so a 75 mm thick layer of concrete has to be laid over the Canvas. It is great to  see this lining starting to progress towards the A38.


During these two weeks other works have continued,  more concrete on the canal base,  more work by Barry and Rick on the historic bywash at lock 24 and more work on the profile of the earth bank towards the winding hole by Tony Gardner.  The clay at the bottom of the towpath wall  is getting puddled in (reluctantly), its a mucky sticky job but has to be done and now with the weather neither too dry or too wet its a good time to do it.  There are a lot of minor cracks in the pointing along the towpath wall and I look forward to the day when Barry and Rick can give them some attention.


Excitement is beginning to mount at the prospect of removing the 'big pipe', but perhaps I should increase the dosage of some calming down pills.  "Keep Calm and Carry on".


Volunteer numbers are still  excellent on Wednesdays, Thursdays numbers are picking up, but the weekends (particularly Saturdays)  need to see more bods helping.


Volunteer hour for these two weeks are  254





Hugh Millington


Photos: Christine Howles

Photo: Tony Cadwallader

Tamworth Road,  24th April


A big cheer to Barry Parkes and Rick Walters for the completion of the Historic Bywash at lock 24, well almost, a few bits of tidying up here and there still to do. Another lovely bit of work by these two craftsmen.
It's a pity it will never be used for it's original purpose as the bed of the canal at this point has to be lowered to allow the canal to pass under Cricket Lane making lock 24 redundant.  Read more about Lock 24 Bywash.


Meanwhile Tony Cadwallader has become the Concrete Canvas maestro.  He has, with a helping hand of several more volunteers, got laying this product onto the left hand bank down to a fine art.  Not only has he laid a goodly stretch along from the slipway but he has also laid some C.C. from the winding hole back towards the weir. Rapid progress indeed.


Other work this week involved clay along the base of the towpath wall.  We pushed, prodded,and stamped it into place. Not the most enlightening of jobs.  At the weekend all the grass from lock 24 through to the A51 was cut to keep the joint looking tidy.


During April great emphasis has been put to bear on the Health and Safety aspect of our workings at Tamworth Road.  A prickly subject for some, may be, but at the same time an essential consideration if we are to operate within the Health and Safety regulations and law.  Thanks are due to Dora Hancock for all the hard work and frustration in promoting this H & S at Tamworth Road and other areas of LHCRT's workings.


To repeat, all volunteers at Tamworth Road must now wear hard hats, high vis jackets and suitable work boots.  No doubt more requirements regarding safe walkways, site signage, first aid and speed limits will follow.


Read the Trust Health & Safety Policy here.


Volunteer numbers, except for April 14th, are a bit down.  We particularly require extra help at the weekends.  So please do come if you can. Thanks to all volunteers for their support for the last two weeks


Volunteer hours for the last two weeks:    277


P.S  I've forgotten to mention the big pipe! but least said maybe.

Hugh Millington



Photos: Christine Howles


Lock 24 bywash  25th April 2016    photo Paul Marshall

Bobbie’s Bend, Tamworth Road


A new plaque has been installed at ‘Bobbie’s Bend’ into a large masonary block which was originally found buried in the canal channel and now forms a seat. Bobbie loved blue flowers, so the area has been planted with a mixture of blue flowers plus some spring flowering bulbs as well as some Dogwood, Rowan trees, a plum tree, a copper beech and a Weeping Willow. A willow hedge at the back will be weaved to form a decorative living screen to the rear of the seating area. This weekend the Green Team planted more flowers including primula, snowdrops and celandines.


Right - Mike Battisson is planting wild garlic adjacent to a garden wall which once ran alongside the original A51. This will form part of the Sensory Trail section of the Towpath Trail.