Lichfield & Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust

LHCRT  Working Party Blog   October 2016

Darnford Park Training Day
October 15th.

The Plant Training Day on Saturday at Darnford Park was a great success!

Instructors Paul Shaw and Adrian Sturgess did a great job working through our volunteer team through out the day with the results listed as below.

Our sincere thanks to both Paul and Adrian who travelled far to be with us and donated their time to support the theory of the the Trust

Our thanks also to Bob and Tony C who put put so much effort into arranging all our excavators and dumpers and the Clarkes 13t CAT excavator  to be transferred to Darnford for the day.

A special thanks also to Clarke Construction Services for the loan of the big Cat 13tonne Excavator which allowed us to train volunteers on the larger excavator.

We have some more work to do on Sunday at Darnford to continue the excavation of the upper basin and the forming of the central mound base.

Congratulations to all those who passed and now have tickets to operate our machines.

Peter Buck

Brian Williams - dumpers and small excavators

Stella Wynn - dumpers and small excavators

Daniel Holford - dumpers,small excavators and telehandlers

Tony Cadwallader - dumpers and small excavators

Roland Curtis - dumpers and large excavators

Lawrence Whittaker - dumpers and small excavators

Tony Gardner - Large excavators (in addition to dumpers
and small excavators already certified).

Anyone certified on large excavators automatically
includes small excavators.

Stella Wynn, newly qualified on dumpers and small excavators. Big ones next?

Peter Buck describes briefly the work taking place in Darnford Park on October 15th 2016.  Video by Paul Marshall.

Tamworth Road Work Party
Sept 28th to Oct  16th.

It's all been happening down at the Tamworth Road and  Darnford Park canal restoration sites since my last blog. On the Tamworth Road site, subsequent to the completion of the concrete reinforcement of the left hand canal bank, we have also completed the placing and securing of the 'Geomesh' along the top half of the bank. The next task was to lay a coating of top soil onto and into this Geomesh to enable grasses and wild vegetation to take hold.  This was done with surprisingly little effort and we now have approximately 300 square yards of soil waiting for grass seed to be broadcast over the area.

We had high hopes of being able to fit the much talked about penstock from the remains of the 'big pipe' into the weir.  The materials were sourced and an engineer was given the job of doing the few alterations to the pipework as required.  However, the unfortunate engineer had his van stolen a few days after taking our pipework away to his workshop.  And even more unfortunate for us was the fact that our pieces of pipework and a hefty gate-valve were in the van and they disappeared too. So back to square one, to source more replacements.  It has put a big dent in our hopes of getting pound 27 into water this year but we are still hopeful. (To date replacements have been found.)

Work is continuing on the A51 side of the narrows.  More of the redundant big pipe sections have been placed alongside the towpath and a start has been made on the foundations for the canal wall to extend towards the proposed A51 tunnel portal.

On the other side of the road in Darnford park a few weekends back, a team of volunteers from the Waterways Recovery Group, (the Wergies) spent a weekend starting work on the eco noise barrier which is being extended towards the A51. (It is already constructed from where the canal will pass under the A38 Northwards).   Whilst the Wergies were on site arrangements were made for a couple of their members to return a couple of weekends later to carry out assessments and certification of our volunteers to enable them to operate our dumpers and diggers.  As luck would have it contact had been made with Clarke Contruction,,  (a company which you will recall built the culvert over the Cranebrook just by the W.C.L Quarry at Summerhill.  They generously lent us a 13 ton excavator to help with work in Darnford Park.  The outcome being that with the Wergie trainers on site, some of our volunteers had the chance to qualify to operate these larger machines in addition to the diggers and dumpers normally at our disposal.  Many of our volunteers achieved the required standard, and congratulations to them.   And we now have, in Bob Williams, an in-house, assessor of these skills who can authorize future volunteers.

The Clarke Construction digger is on short term loan, and over the last week it has been put to good use digging out the canal channel in Darnford Pdark. Huge progress has been made.  All we need now is for the tunnel under the A51 and we can them extend pound 27 even more.

Well done to all our volunteers and canal trust members who have put in so much time and effort over the last few weeks.


Hours work of attendance by our volunteers over this period:     601

Hugh Millington     Photos Christine Howles

Summerhill Progress Report

In this video by Paul Marshall our Engineering Director Peter Buck describes in some detail what the Trust has achieved at Summerhill in less than two years, what is happening now and the plans for the future. He also pays tribute to the work of the various corporate volunteer groups.

Tamworth Road Work Party
Oct 19th to Oct  30th.

This blog covers the period immediately following the highly successful Driver Training/Driver Assessment weekend.

Over in Darnford Park we still had all the earth moving equipment that was used by our volunteers for those days. It was too good an opportunity to let pass. LHCRT stalwarts, Bob Williams and Tony Gardner together with our ace junior volunteers, Harry Wem and Luke Loescher, couldn't resist the temptation to 'play with the big toys'. And between them they made huge inroads into the excavations needed to establish the pound being created just beyond where the canal will pass under the A51 Tamworth Road.  Masses of 'muck' were dug out and transported to the side of the A38 where we are building the sound reduction barrier.  Work continued till the Thursday morning when unfortunately the rightful owners of the Big CAT, Clarke Construction claimed their machine back.  A huge vote of thanks to Clark Construction for  the loan of the machine which enabled us to do so much work in such a very short time.

Once the rest of the earth moving diggers and dumpers had been moved back over the road to where we are working by the narrows, we again got stuck in to reinforcing the towpath wall and concreting the canal base.

More big pipe sections were cut down to size, the cut off portion being taken to Darnford Park and the larger piece used to reinforce the towpath wall.  At the last count there were only eleven pipes still to be cut. A start was made on the concrete block work which is at the base of the canal wall.

Work has come to a stop with the penstock, as we still awaiting the replacement parts for those stolen. Misfortune never seems to come in ones,  late on Sunday evening  October 30th the smaller of our  Kubota diggers developed a very expensive sounding engine knock. It was totally disabled down by the narrows.  Last Wednesday it was taken by repairers and we are awaiting the outcome of their  deliberations as to it's problems.  But it 'aint' going to be cheap.

Again thanks to all our volunteers, both the newly qualified digger/dumper drivers and those not, for their time and help.

Just a reminder.  As we usually do when the clocks are moved back one hour at the end of October,  the hours we now work are from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm.  Saturdays Sundays Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Hugh Millington     
Photos Christine Howles and Paul Marshall