The New Year started by finishing off the excavations at the Darnford Moors site, adjacent to Darnford Lane. We also completed the provision of the hard-standing area at this site.
Digging out the canal bed proved to be quite a challenge. About half a meter before we reached the required depth we found a layer of sandstone which the excavators were having difficulty penetrating. Fortunately, the sandstone was not too hard and with the aid of the pick attachment on the excavator we were able to hack our way through it. The resultant completed excavation is quite impressive, being some 6 meters wide, about 5 meters deep and about 25 meters long. The embankments are quite steep and as it is bordering the golf course, where youngsters were known to play, it obviously had to be made safe. A temporary high visibility security fence has been erected around the pit for the immediate future, but this will be replaced by a chestnut fence in due course.
Other work at the Darnford Moors site had to take a back seat whilst the above work was in progress. Some more work has been done to the errant sheet shuttering beyond the lift bridge, but this had to fit in with the need for the excavator to be elsewhere. However there is little more we can do here till we have sourced some more tie-rods and many loads of clay, and this depends on funding (or lack of it). It costs £550 to buy enough puddle clay to line 1 metre length of the canal!
We also have still to complete the clearing out the Darnford Brook of vegetation. This brook flows between the canal and the golf course on the towpath side. As a result of all the above activity, the Tamworth Road site has seen little progress. A few hours have been spent on preparing and pointing the lock 24 walls.
With work drying up now at Darnford Moors and with the necessary permissions to remove the ‘big pipe’ out of pound 25 still frustratingly awaited, I wonder where the next hive of activity will be. No doubt some money will be found soon and we can return to beyond the lift bridge and continue there.
The reason for building a base for a crane and digging out this section now is that the Trust has in storage on some private land at Little Wyrley 11 reinforced concrete tunnel sections. The owner wishes the return of his land so in March the sections will be moved here prior to being installed under Darnford Lane.
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