Well, this proved to be a strange volunteering session! With local COVID lock down measures in force in Swansea and in Neath Port Talbot, our volunteers living in the Swansea area could not travel to Neath Port Talbot and vice versa. And Alan T, although not living in a lock down area, couldn’t travel to either! Undeterred, the intrepid volunteers organised two sessions that did not need any cross-border travel.


The NPT contingent were at the canal between Herbert Street and Holly Street in Pontardawe town centre. They busied themselves clearing the near side of vegetation and cutting back the small, over-hanging branches. Mike donned his waders and climbed in. After a few minutes, he realised his right leg has a hole, as his boot filled with water. Alan W was clearing the towpath and levering weeds from the edge with a spade. Paul and Ronnie collected the weeds, placing them in gaps in the hedge and sweeping as they cleared. John was on duty with his trusty litter picker. The penultimate photo was taken from Alan W’s garden – he is really lucky to live so close to the canal. Many people stopped to comment on how good this urban stretch of the canal looks.

  Mike1  Alan3
 Ronnie1  JohnAndPaul1
 ViewFromAlansGarden  Neat1


The Swansea gang worked in the Hidden Lock site where the main job was the clearing of the weir and preserving the timbers. John delivered many foxglove seedlings that he had been nurturing at home. He and Martin planted them in the Hidden Lock garden and in Coed Gwilym Park. The random photo of Gordon wielding parsnips seemed too good to ignore.

 Wier4  Wier1
 Wier3  Wier5
 Foxgloves1  Parsnips

Although COVID caused separation of work parties, the weather was favourable and the volunteers achieved much. Even Alan T, marooned in Betws, busied himself with updating risk assessments.

It seems probable that these local lock downs will be in place for a considerable time, so this pattern of working will have to become the new normal. But our doughty volunteers will not be daunted by a virus.