A busy winter season of works is now underway with water levels being reduced ready for the bed re-lining at Crookham Deeps between Chequers bridge and Poulters bridge in Hampshire. You may well see that water levels along the whole of the Hampshire section of the Canal will be reduced for the next few months, but particularly between Greywell and Crookham Village. This is to maintain safety in case of high rainfall during the works. This large piece of work involves emptying a section of canal and relining the bed of the Canal to fix a leaky embankment. We have been working on this project for many months, so it feels great to actually start the work on the ground.
Projects like this can take many months and even years in some cases of planning and procurement to get to the stage of actual work on the ground. Nothing on the Canal is ever straightforward and always logistically difficult.
Other minor works are also now starting or about to start over the next few weeks, including sections of towpath repair near Ash lock and at Deepcut. The entrance at Barley Mow car park is going to get sorted out and the volunteers have already been in and filled up the potholes. The set of steps at Coxheath Bridge near Church Crookham are due to be replaced and Surrey Highways team are planning the replacement of the wooden steps at Mytchett Place bridge near the Canal Centre. Some minor repairs are also starting at Reading Road weir in Fleet to replace the handrails and repair some erosion. Bank repair works to areas of embayment/erosion have already been undertaken in Hampshire.
Our staff team has been seriously depleted with departures mainly due to new jobs and retirement and we have been undergoing recruitment for the last 3 months to try and get new staff into position which has been difficult and some posts are still unfilled. However, there will soon be some new faces starting and getting to grips with looking after a canal. We will introduce them properly in a future bulletin. Our visitor services team has had a well-deserved break over Christmas after a month-longSanta Cruises event, bringing in much needed income to the Canal with almost 2,000 people getting to visit Santa on 166 trips and 1020 Mince Pies consumed (all provided by Sainsburys). An estimated 10% of those eaten by Father Christmas!