Two weeks to March 13th 2016
The last two weeks saw progress on several fronts. It was a two week period when it seemed that we took delivery of just about everything, cement from Tippers, sand and gravel thanks to Dave Jeavons, diesel from Streethay Marina but most of all the Concrete Canvas for lining the canal bank. The Concrete Canvas arrived early on the second Wednesday, before any of us had arrived on site. It was just dumped on our driveway effectively blocking our entrance to the site. Other deliveries due that day came and went, to come back later, as we manhandled these heavy packages into dry storage. It was a rotten day weather wise so a special thanks to those who turned up to help. Fortunately the next day when the balance of the Concrete Canvas was delivered it came at a sensible time on a much better day weather wise.
Apart from the above mentioned Wednesday, the weather for the week hasn't been too bad. We did have a flood situation on Thursday after heavy overnight rain which made working pretty impossible.
Never the less, over this period we laid more concrete and continued shaping the batter to the marina side of the canal, and at the head of the big pipe by lock 26 we are taking measures to improve the run off into the pipe after heavy rain, this work includes resetting one of the sections of the big pipe which had become dislodged. The Land Drainage Consent application has been formally submitted and we await the consent from the SCC Flood Risk Team and we can then remove the big pipe !
As usual my thanks to the best volunteers in the world and to the two Tonys who are supporting me on my days off. Don't forget, you can volunteer on any or all of the four days each week, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays or Sundays. Whatever day it is, you are most welcome.
Hours worked these last two weeks 195
Photos Christine Howles
Additionally, Stella – “just the lengthsperson” – has added to the team (and she’s also added to the digger driver team with huge determination!) and her husband and fellow lengthsperson, Mike, accidentally left a few cans of cider for us when he checked one of our fires and has taken photographs for us.
We’re hardly ever (Roger NEVER..!) curtailed by the weather, unlike the teams working on concreting, etc. So, huge thanks to Tony G, Luke, Rick who’ve turned up to help when they’ve been rained, snowed, frosted or mudded off.
There’s slightly mixed thanks to Bob and Keith who’ve heaped up logs, tree roots, elders, plastic sacks, old pipes and other debris at our fire sites: it’s mixed thanks simply because the power of the mini digger means untangling that lot keeps us very busy! Even so, we’re pretty tidy in the cut at Summerhill!
As to future work: loads planned! More trimming near the quarry; more planting to encourage wildlife; fencing at Summerhill and then back to the other sites of Darnford (Park and Golf course areas) and Fosseway.
Read more on the work of the ‘Greens & Grounds’ here.
Volunteer hours Jan 1st- March 12 2016: 348
Greens and Grounds Winter 2015-16
It’s difficult to say which of our various achievements over the last few months the best is! The most noticeable one right now is 500m of neatly laid hedge at Summerhill. Competing with that in the year(s) to come regarding visual and wildlife enhancing effects will be the 600 saplings we’ve planted at Summerhill, Fosseway and Barracks Lane.
None of these achievements would have been possible without the combined efforts of not only the previously somewhat separate “green” and “grounds” teams but also of the many members and volunteers who turned out (sometimes in awful weather) to plant saplings.
The “grounds” team began hedge laying at Summerhill late October: Roger set his sights on a horse shelter some 400m from his starting point just past the Wharf; he’s surpassed that by a further 100m by the end of February, when all had to stop as the birds started searching for nesting sites and the sap started to rise. The hawthorns which were on the boundary on the towpath side have, of course, been left to do their own intertwining things for over 50 years – untangling them and laying them has been a huge task, and Roger’s true grit in taming them is legendary. That said, he’s occasionally needed “woman weight” on the end of a rope or just our heaving to help to tame them, and it’s certainly needed that Jean and I untangled all the offcuts and got them dragged into the canal bed and burned at successive pyromania sites as the hedge laying progressed.
We hope to include here a monthly report on the work of the Greens & Grounds teams by Christine Bull. For more information on when and where all our teams are working please see our Facebook Group.
Two weeks ending 27th March
It is really heartening to see the volunteer turnout for the two Wednesdays covered in this report at such a high level. Other days are not as well supported, but hopefully with the longer days and warmer weather returning, Thursdays and the weekends volunteer numbers will grow.
During this period we continued to lay concrete down by the weir. At the other end of the big pipe we removed one section that we had temporally replaced. This enabled us to prepare a fairly large area under and around where this section of the pipe had been,for concreting. We needed this to be completed on the first Wednesday as we had committed ourselves to replacing this pipe section by the end of the weekend, and concrete takes a good few days to mature.
Other tasks undertaken included repairs to the lock 27 bywash wall and the 'lads' tidied up an area adjacent to the sheds to make a safer route to and from the 'canteen'.
Elsewhere on the site work continued on all fronts. More work on the batter of the earth bank to the left of the canal channel, more work on the seemingly endless concreting. and more work on the nearly completed historic lock 24 bywash.
At the request of 'Heath and Safety' a hardcore footpath has been laid alongside the lock 27 bywash to make a vehicle free path for volunteers to access the site without being run over by over enthusiastic dumper truck operative. (Or any other moving vehicle for that matter.) It soon became apparent that ninety percent of our volunteers ignored it most of the time!
We are looking forward to the coming weeks when a start will be made on lining the left hand bank and, (touch wood ) the days are numbering down to the date when the big pipe can be removed.
Volunteer hours recorded for these two weeks: 225
Photos Christine Howles
Fosseway Volunteer Day 30th March
Jo Szulc turned up with her six engineering colleagues from the WSP Birmingham office on Tuesday morning first thing and with Bob and myself we all set to loading and moving several tonnes of stone by wheelbarrow along Fosseway Heath towpath to the central crossover point. At this point the towpath crosses from the north bank of the canal through the bed of the old canal to the south towpath which was restored several years ago by the Trust volunteers. In wet weather this crossover has been a hazard to cross when the puddle clay becomes wet and slippery. To make this crossing through the canal safer for the people using the Heritage Towpath Trail on this section of Fosseway Heath, we planned to build a set of timber steps with stone surfacing across the line of the canal for the community to use.
The WSP volunteers ably lead by Jo worked hard all day as "navvies" and finished the steps and stone path which was immediately put to use by several users including dog walkers who all praised the standard of work and improvements being undertaken by Trust Volunteers.
On completion of the work we all adjourned to the Saxon Penny and tested the beer. We thank all the WSP volunteer team who gave up their time to support the work of the Trust and resulted in a significant improvement to the Heritage Towpath Trail at Fosseway Heath in just one day. We look forward to seeing them all again next year