It is a year since the Waterways Recovery Group came to Thick’s Lock, the lock without water, the lock with no canal. A CADW scheduled ancient monument it may be, but that has not guaranteed it the best of care. Like the two locks north and south of it, which both lost one wall to the foundations of the A4067, it has suffered no better from the ravages of nature. A dry dock and boat building yard nearby added to its importance but none of this would be noticeable to the passing motorist.
Nine WRG volunteers spent three days clearing the vegetation and scrub from the lock and its two maimed neighbours. We, of the SCS, helped them. They had come from Liverpool and La Rochelle, Brecon and Birmingham to be with us and we were glad to be working with them.
On the third day the rains came and they left hastily for their base on the Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal. They secured the site with orange meshing and left large pile of branches, roots and clippings.
A year has passed and the site has not been touched. So we returned, not only to remove a year’s accretion of greenery but for our own pride. This year the WRG will be staying for a whole week on the Swansea Canal and they will start to restore another much more fortunate lock. Trebanos Lower Lock is in water, is visible (with a tow path to view it from) and is, therefore, much appreciated by locals and visitors alike.
However, each morning and evening of their week long stay, the WRG volunteers will be driven to Trebanos Lock along the A4067, past Thick’s Lock. Flattened orange mesh safety fences, piles of wood, and a year’s growth of bramble and ground elder at the very site they beavered to clear, will not do much for our reputation.
So we returned.
We took away the green waste in our new trailer, we added to the old pile of wood with more cut wood, we brushed away the soil from the stonework, and then we dug two little beds which we will fill with flowers in time for the WRG’s arrival.
And when we had finished I rang the council who promised to have the wood removed. I just hope they do it before September the 1st.