Since the last report from Montgomery Canal Restoration project, there have been two work parties, one of which coincided with the official opening of the last project.

Chris Bryan-Smith from the project said, “In addition to the restoration work itself much progress has been made agreeing plans and future requirements. One of the main objectives for this year’s pilot scheme is to inform the waterproofing requirements. Two sections of the channel, one 50m in length and the other 140m in length have been selected as being the most informative. The sites will be prepared to ensure they meet the minimum required depth and have stable profiles for the banks but, crucially, will not include any new waterproofing or lining. With dams at each end these will be filled with water and the water retention performance monitored. The trail will take place in early autumn and the results will contribute to the overall specification for the project.

“The specification combines ecology, heritage, engineering and operational requirements. The heritage requirements apply to the wharf wall and wash wall repairs south of Crickheath Bridge and have already been agreed. Work continues on the other aspects with particular attention being paid to maximising the ecological benefit and improvement, not least in the context of recent new legislation.”

So, what’s happened on the ground since the last update? Well, plenty actually said Tom Fulda, project manager!

Wash wall repointing.

“A trial of the lime mortar mix specified by CRT proved successful with the results commended by CRT. This is used for repairs to the wash wall south of Crickheath Bridge and with good progress in the July work party, this job is now over 50% completed. Similarly, works to repair the tramway wharf have progressed rapidly with a combination of Society volunteers and those from the dry-stone Walling Association contributing their expertise. A further length of copings will be replaced on the repaired wall soon and, of course, the grant award from the Association for Industrial Archaeology will help fund some of the new copings required to replace broken and crumbling ones from the original wall”.

Wharf wall: Many hands make light work.

Tom continued, “The third and final ‘wall job’ was to complete the southern end of the wharf with an elegant corner returning the wall to the bank. This was finished on the last day of the July work party in the nick of time before the heavens opened”.

Wharf wall south end: before and after

The July work party also saw the start of site preparation for the water tests which included tasks ranging from site strip, to checking the channel bed met the minimum required depth, some profiling of banks where this was required and a trail of the clay dam construction using clay salvaged from the last project. Compared with the overgrown state 12 months ago the site is already starting to resemble a canal.

Dam construction trial.