Nov 182014

The regular Society workparty meets usually every fortnight and undertakes a variety of works on the Canal. Quite a lot has been done has been done during the Summer and Autumn of 2014, enough to justify a report here.

Barn Garden finished 2Last year’s works on the Colt Hill barn,  where the John Pinkerton trip boat operation is based, has already been extensively reported, and a thorough refurbishment of the attached land and mooring (the “garden”, left) was completed earlier this year.

Mud barge on the WeyEarlier in the summer, we had the opportunity to sell the mud barge (right) that, according to one source, has been moored at Ash Lock for 37 years and, because it was so large, was hardly ever used. The barge, dating from 1920, is about 70 feet long by 12 feet wide, and was in rather a sorry state (though was watertight). It fell to the work party to clean it up and to deliver it however, and several days were spent getting it to St Catherine’s Lock on the River Wey, and bringing the workboat that pushed it back again. However the Society was rewarded to the tune of £3000 for our efforts.

Cleared area at landslip Boats loaded with logsWe have also returned to the Dogmersfield landslip and have finally managed to saw up and chop all the good firewood and clear it from the site (left). More backbreaking work, but we hope to raise a total of £3000 from the sale of oak, ash, and other logs, which were sold by the bag (loaded on the Alan Flight workboat, right).

Dark wood pathAt the request of the Earl of Malmesbury, we agreed to repair a permitted path that connects the western end towpath to the track that leads over Greywell Hill and the tunnel (left – the green fencing on the right of the photo encloses the western tunnel portal). The estate provided us with a large supply of wood chippings, which were spread over the muddy track.

Up Nately Shed with new doorsWhile we were in the area, we also completed the replacement of the doors to a shed in Up Nately (right) as a qui pro quo to the owner who has kindly allowed the Society to use it for storage for many years.

We will now resume bankside and overhanging branch clearance initially in the Odiham area.

Weedcutter working in WokingMeanwhile, another team, led  by John Wharf, has been out for at least 20 days on the BCA weedcutter in Woking (left). It has been used to remove many tonnes of the invasive floating hydrocotyle weed, which has proliferated in the recent warm weather. The machine, which the Society restored over a period of 2 years, has performed well and has now been put away for winter maintenance.