Work Party: Tuesday 21st March 2023

Work Party: Tuesday 21st March 2023

Our volunteers were very busy today, mostly at Coed Gwilym Park. The compost from the previous weeks’ dredging of the canal in Pontardawe has now had time to break down. After removing unused stones from recent wall building, we all lent a hand to spread the big pile over the soil in the enlarged garden area, to give it a natural nutritional boost. Martin, Christina, Sharon, Chris and others set out plants in the new borders and Alan T and Toby arranged the stones into a temporary rockery alongside the stores north wall.

In the canoe store itself much work was also going on, where Ronnie, Mike, John Grav and the canoe team have organised the lead up to the new hire season. After last year when the building’s roof was missing and some equipment was damaged, generous funding has enabled the purchase of two new and very shiny double kayaks (kindly delivered today by John on his roof rack!) paddles, buoyancy aids and more. A big thank you is due to Vale’s Clydach Nickel Refinery who provided financial help to buy these items. Recent modifications in the store by our Sunday work party team have made storage and access to this equipment easier and safer and in the first photo Mike puts the last of the new paddles in their new racks as Alan and Ronnie assist.

It was good to see Ieuan Johns, our Swansea University Placement volunteer with us once again, helping out with a range of tasks including jobs in the canoe store, spreading the compost and helping Alan, Paul and John Grav load a truck with all manner of debris from the store area, which was taken to our waste skip for disposal.

Following our elevenses and a chin-wag, John Grav couldn’t resist the urge to get on the water and he took a kayak towards Trebanos to collect floating litter and other debris – of which sadly there is usually loads! Chris retrieved the rubbish that John brought to the towpath bank.

At the Buried Lock site, our contractor James Daley’s men tackled the tricky task of removing the first of two concrete walls from the rear of the sluice grating, where it meets the newly constructed boat basin. Care was taken to avoid any interference with the other side of the grating and the flow of water through the site. With great skill in very muddy conditions, the men freed the slab which was then hauled out by an excavator.

Further down the site a layer of soil has been laid over the old stone wall and garden area, from where most plants were relocated to the canoe store gardens last month. More earth will be added to increase the depth and it’s hoped that, in November, we will be able to plant a lot of our 105 native trees which were kindly donated by the Woodland Trust, in partnership with the Welsh Government. This canal side bank will form part of the green corridor running right through the Buried Lock site.

Elsewhere, in Annette’s mine, she and Sue painted the coals, making them ready for the museum exhibit.

All in all it was a good morning with the borders looking tidier and greener, the canal cleaner, the store more organised and with great progress made at the Buried Lock. We plan to meet again at Coed Gwilym Park next week to carry on these good works!

And finally, a reminder that are starting the 2023 canoe and kayaking hire season on Easter Sunday, 9th April with the new equipment. This has been made possible by a generous community grant we’ve received from Vale.

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