Autumn 2013 Newsletter

The Swansea Canal Society

Autumn 2013 Newsletter


Swansea Canal Society

Cymdeithas Camlas Abertawe

Newsletter – Autumn 2013

Welcome to our Autumn Newsletter, which we hope will give you a synopsis of the work that we are involved in and what we hope to achieve. New members and volunteers are always welcome to become involved and join us.

More photos and further details, reports and events are on our website.


Boats on the Water Day

From far and near our motley crew of  under-used boats emerged blinking into the light of a glorious July  afternoon. An assortment of kayaks, coracles, tubs and inflatables met up at the slip way in Coed Gwilym Park.

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Crowds of parents and children were drawn to the scene and were soon enjoying the safe waters of the canal.

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Gordon’s willow hurdle master class was a real draw and, after a few lessons,  people were having a go themselves.  Once finished we put them on board a boat and ferried them across to the other side where they were erected to protect the banks (the hurdles, not the people, although that might have been really interesting).

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Not everyone was beavering away. Michelle knows  that a Sunday is not complete without a good look at the Sunday Telegraph. So she gently floated downstream with Ian MacGregor (that’s the editor by the way).

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A quintessential British Summer, with the Canal being used for its intended purpose. 

Waterways Recovery Group

Last year Swansea Canal was visited for a few days by WRG volunteers who were camping on the Brecon and Monmouth Canal.  They helped our society’s volunteers to clear vegetation from 3 locks in Godrer Graig, This year  Swansea Canal hosted a week long camp of there own.  The work was on the Trebanos Upper and Lower Locks, starting on August 31st

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In order to stay the waters of the canal during work on the Trebanos Lock for the camp, a dam was strung across the top entrance to the Lock.  The pressure on this dam is kept to a minimum, and the maximum amount of water needs to be deflected down the by-wash. At present the silt and vegetation is preventing this and, in fact, the water is having to go round the spit of newly formed land and then back down the bywash.

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If you go down to the exit of Lower Trebanos Lock now, you will see that the water is cascading out of the by-wash into the canal.

Just how busy can one lock get? Eighteen WRG volunteers, six SCS members, several CRT staff, Paul  and Bob the photographers, a couple of new members attracted by the pre-camp publicity, and one dog, all working  away on Trebanos Lock like bees in clover. A wonderful sight.

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Note the prominence of the First Aid Kit and the tea urn, Get the priorities right and everything else falls into place.

On the off-side Himalayan Balsam is uprooted, stones that have fallen from the bank dry stone wall into the canal are collected prior to replacement.

Everyone worked very hard, but also enjoyed themselves. We had a talk on the history of the canal given by Clive, a lunch to which Sue Northcott, Pontardawe’s Mayor was invited, and a pint and a curry night in Ystalyfera.

Walls were repaired and repointed with traditional lime mortar, and the work that could not be completed has been continued by the SCS volunteers with the support of CRT.

Our Water Busman’s Holiday

We decided to have a day trip to the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire at Over Basin and the Cotswolds Canal at Stroud.

We were very impressed with their Model Boats that were using the Over Basin. Michelle who is no mean modeller herself was soon on her fourth notebook and her second biro by the time this photo was taken. She will be making her own remote-controlled four foot barge for the Swansea over the winter. It will be quite an attraction.

From Over we drove south to Stroud and the Dudbridge Locks. A big, big project with grants totalling over £20mill.

The hydro turbine scheme was right up our street. We would love to have something like this on our locks.

We wish both the Cotswold Canals Trust and the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal Trust every success in their endeavours. We learned a lot and sincerely thank both Trusts for their hospitality.



Funding has been applied for from SPLASH for canoes and kayaks to be purchased along with all necessary equipment to enable boats to be hired and used on the canal by the general public and also groups and clubs.


Dr Kath Ficken has continued with her work on sampling the silt in the canal and taken samples back to the Swansea University to analyse. We should have the results shortly.

Wildlife and Wildflowers

Rhiannon Bevan, Water for Wildlife Officer, visited the canal yesterday with the aim of helping us plant more wild flowers along the canal.  On her walk along the canal she spotted seven different butterflies and evidence of otters and is hoping to install cameras to film them in action.   She also led a bat walk along the canal.


Volunteers continue to meet every Tuesday and anyone interested in joining us is very welcome.  We are also supported by groups of outside volunteers on occasions.


Our new website is up and running and can be accessed at  You can read our blogs and find out what is happening on our events page. We hope that you will visit the site and contribute to it .

SCS , 238 Swansea Road, Trebanos, Swansea, SA8 4BY

Telephone: 0844 209 4548

Charity Registration Number 1105624

You can download this newsletter in PDF format via the following link:

Autumn 2013 Newsletter

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