“The design is finalised and there is real momentum”, said Tom Fulda, restoration project manager for the Shropshire Union Canal Society.

He continued, “The rain since the last work party has been almost continuous so the channel in Phase 1A, by the tramway wharf, was literally full to overflowing and volunteers arrived on Friday to find an overflow from the channel running through the compound gate under the welfare container and out the other side. Thankfully, the deluges had stopped a week before the work party and the channel in Phase 1B was sufficiently dry to make a start on final profiling of the banks and for the channel bed to be graded to correct depth. Great progress was made and waterproofing – lining and blocking – which is required in this section, will commence in early spring”.

Hedge laying occupied most volunteers this month and this continued along the towpath southwards from Phase 1B, where the shaping was also taking place, to a section into Phase 2, further down the canal towards Schoolhouse Bridge. A total of 36 metres was laid with further clearance and preparation of the area beyond in readiness for next month. With authorization from the Canal & River Trust ecologist, a start was made on clearing piles of brash from the channel at the north end of Phase 2.

On Friday and Saturday, a handful of volunteers concluded the pump installation work that was started last work party at Redwith newt ponds, which were originally created some years ago and are now requiring a little TLC.

Tom said finally, “For those who have followed the saga of the great tree stump, it’s over, the tree succumbed and is now ash – a little sad”.

If you want to get involved in this great endeavour, just go to www.shropshireunion.org.uk you’ll be surprised at the many ways you can help.

Picture credit: Shropshire Union Canal Society.