Newsletter –Autumn 2015

RESTORATION

August and September work parties have spent much time at Trebanos Lower Lock. Hidden in the vastness of the Lock Chamber our volunteers carry on the endless task of re-pointing and removing huge coping stones and metal bits of tat out of the lock bottom.
Clydach
We have been in meetings with Swansea Council regarding the restoration of the 110 yard piped section of canal in Pontardawe Road, Clydach. A lock was buried under the depot yard along with the canal in 1973. The council now has the site, apart from the protected line of the canal, up for sale by sealed bids. It is imperative that the winning bid takes due regard of the recovery of both lock and canal.
Trebanos
Neath Port Talbot Council offer some protection to the route of the canal in the half mile piped section in Trebanos which will enable us to open that section of the canal in the future. This protection from NPTC has been downgraded in their new Local Development Plan. We await the final version, reviewed and sanctioned by the independent Inspector. The Swansea Canal Society, the Inland Waterway Association, and the Canal and River Trust attended the Inspectors Hearing and put up a robust defence for complete protection of this section as well as for the protection of the route from Godrer’Graig to Ystylefera.

DREDGING

Work commenced on September the 2nd to dredge the silt from the canal channel between the northern end of the Clydach Lock and the winding hole opposite the Mond Golf Course, north of Coed Gwilym Park. The work will continue for three weeks.

At Trebanos Lock work on restoration continues, with sand bags full of stone dust and cement being put in place for the foundations for the new embankment retaining wall. Especially cut sleepers are then placed on top of the bags. The wall will be built using local stone and will hopefully be as attractive as the one at the top of the Upper Lock.
Stone has now gone on top of the sleepers.

CANOE HIRE

JULIE JAMES, AM.

Julie James, AM for Swansea West took time from her very busy schedule to join us on a beautiful summer Sunday in the Park. We are very grateful for her continued support for our canal

RHOS BROWNIES
We were pleased to welcome the Rhos Brownies to our canoes. Our qualified instructors, David and Warren, assisted by Hywel, supervised and tutored the children in the basic techniques of paddling and steering kayaks on the water. The Brownies thoroughly enjoyed themselves and we will be happy to see them back soon. Gill and Gareth as always, provided refreshments.

PONTY PADDLERS
We were delighted to welcome over 20 of the Pontardawe Paddlers to the Swansea Canal.
They launched all 12 of our canoes so, for the first time this year, every canoe was out on the water. Warren Huxford led the canoeists of all ages down the canal where one was deliberately upturned to give the three paddlers in it some rescue practice.

CWMTAWE SCHOOL CANOE THE CANAL

Nine pupils from Cwmtawe School with their three teachers took advantage of the warm weather this Thursday morning to use our single and double kayaks. The boys and girls had differing experience of paddling but all soon got the hang of steering the sit-on-tops. Volunteers and teachers kept a watchful eye on them on the canal and apart from one lost paddle, they managed very well indeed and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Drinks and biscuits were waiting for them on their return to the Canoe Store. We very much hope they will be back once more after the summer holidays.
WATERWAY RECOVERY GROUP

For the third year running we welcomed the volunteers of the Waterways Recovery Group to the Trebanos Locks.

A lot of rag wort, Himalyan Balsam, docks and grass has grown over the locks since last year so clearance work was the priority for the first day. Work was undertaken on pointing, building walls and repairing the inside of the locks. Great strides were made in repointing the lock chamber.

CANAL AND RIVER TRUST EXPLORERS BID FOR BIG LOTTERY FUNDING

John Donovan, our Education Officer, met the CRT Funding Officer, Jackie Harries at Trebanos Lock. She was making a site audit visit in advance of the CRT bid to the Big Lottery for funding to expand the Heritage, History and Environment education programme in Wales.
We hope CRT are successful in their bid because the money will provide extra resources for John when our canal hosts pupils from the primary schools near the canal.
SWANSEA BAY INTEGRATED WATERWAYS PARTNERSHIP
Following an idea that has been discussed for many years – the joining of the Swansea Canal, the Neath Canal and the Tennant Canal into one integrated waterway – a first meeting of SBIWP was held to rekindle this vision. The three canals are of national significance but their continuing status assumes that all the three canals form a single network. An inaugural meeting was held in July and another in August with all interested parties invited. A further meetings will be held in the Swansea Civic Centre on October the 7th.

Gordon and Tomas walking along the planned route
WILDLIFE

BAT MONITORING
Steve Lucas, of the Bats Conservation Trust, kindly lead a group of adults and children, along the Swansea Canalk. He preceded it with a short talk on what we could expect to find and lots of other information. Everyone was provided with bat detectors and given advice and more information throughout the walk. Four species of bats were identified – Daubenton’s, Common Pipestrelle, Soprano Pipestrelle and Noctule.
We also joined in the Bat Conservation Trust’s bat monitoring. Steve provided bat monitors and instructed us in the use of them. They were left in position for a week and they automatically locate the bats’ position through their GPS system. The monitors turn on and off between dusk and dawn to record any bat activity. We are very pleased to have made this link with Steve and the Bat Conservation Trust.

Daubenton’s Bat
Website
More photos, further details, reports and events are on our website, where you can read our blogs and find out what is happening.
www.swanseacanalsociety.com Telephone: 0844 209 4548 info@swanseacanalsociety.com