Sorry for missing an October edition of this blog. So, at this late date, better to combine the two months offerings into one.
At the end of September, the sandbag wall alongside the railway embankment was nearly completed. It only took a few days into October to complete the task of building Millington's Mound or Millie's Mound.
With this now completed, work on preparing the turning pound base to the correct height could proceed. Sand and soil were, in some places too high and in other too low. A lot of time, both of volunteer hours and machinery hours were expended getting it right. Then it needed compacting thoroughly, The prepared base has to be overlaid with about 18" of puddling clay and then on top of the clay we need to lay about 6" of concrete. This may sound a bit excessive but over the winter months it will probably see a lot of traffic over it and also we have to be absolutely sure that it is entirely waterproof around the base to wall junction. To have water seeping into the surrounding bund, and making it's way through to leak onto Falkland Drive is not a risk to be taken lightly. However, throughout October some 200 tonnes of clay were delivered. Valiant efforts by the volunteers enabled it to be spread and compacted.
Working with clay is not everyones favourite occupation! Two large areas were worked on. An area adjacent to the new sandbag wall, and a second area where the new towpath wall is being constructed. Multiple deliveries of concrete were delivered during the following weeks. Photos on Facebook best illustrate what has been achieved. (Thanks to Tony C for these).
The 'Waterway Recovery Group' (the wergies) have spent a lot of time with us these last two months. They arrive like a plague of locusts, before your eyes. You find that all your tools and equipment, including machinery, have all been hijacked. Shovels. rakes, wheelbarrows ET AL all dispersed amongst themselves. And dozens of these red hatted volunteers have set themselves to work throughout the length of the Fosseway Site. They were working at the Fosseway Lane end of the site, cutting back undergrowth, cutting lower branches off trees that were impeding access to the proposed footpath on the opposite side of the canal to the towpath and other tasks. Doing a fantastic job that we would never have found time to do ourselves. (Read more here).
They got stuck into layering the hedge adjacent to the towpath and had many fires to burn the resulting piles of cuttings. Nearer to Falkland Drive, the red hatted brigade were found working at top dressing the prepared sections of the towpath, near to the wet-lands area. nd even further along towards Falklands Drive, red hatted wergies were hard at work, preparing concrete footings for even more towpath wall inside the turning pound. And of course they were having a go at bricklaying.
The wergies were not the only volunteers to visit us this autumn. Corporate volunteer teams from JRL and others deserve our thanks for the time spent with us. Thanks to David Hancock for team leading these groups, and the impressive progress they have made, particularly on the footpath front.
With all this going on it is easy to overlook the huge amount of time and effort put in by our own volunteers. We have been blessed by a remarkably good turnout on our normal workdays. The diggers and dumpers have been in constant use. As mentioned before, they have been moving soil and sand around in the turning pound, digging foundations for clay and concrete for the new towpath wall, and mixing concrete for wall foundations and infill. And at the 'steps' end of our current work site, the volunteers are preparing a base for the footpath to continue alongside the railway line. Tony and Steve, thanks for keeping the kit in good working order.
With the weather being fairly kind to us, a small workforce went back to Tamworth Road last Thursday to remove the filled sandbag dams out of the bottom of pound 27. There are some issues with leaks around by the weir. which also received their attention. A busy and fruitful two months indeed. Thanks to all!
Two corporate teams attended the Fosseway Lichfield Canal site in November and made great improvements and progress on a new section of the restoration of the Valley Nature Trail. Several of the corporate volunteers from both Jaguar Land Rover, who attended on Monday, and Laing Murphy JV, who attended on Wednesday, were visiting us for the second time.
Our own volunteers, lead by David Hancock, helped the corporate volunteers in creating a new ramp stone access at the west end of the Valley Nature Trail under the old oak tree near the steps across the canal and also extended the new Nature Trail some 50 metres towards Lock 18 on the north side of the canal. These works complete the path along the Valley Nature Trail on the north perimeter at Fosseway Heath, alongside the railway between Falkland Road and the steps, and allow the local community safe access while our restoration continues alongside the completed trail.
Island House, Moor Road
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