Work Party: Tuesday 21st November 2023

Work Party: Tuesday 21st November 2023

Work started early at the Buried Lock site, with our contractor Daley Homes loading rubble from the demolished concrete cap over the lock chamber into the first of several large skips. This is the initial exploratory phase of work, ahead of refurbishing the chamber and creating 120 metres of new canal over the next year or so.

With all this activity going on in Clydach, the canal work-party convened at the beautiful Ynysmeudwy locks section for the first time in over a year. As we made our way to the worksite the first task was to remove accumulated earth and weeds from the deck of Bridge 9, or Pottery Bridge as it was known. Most of our volunteers joined in to give the area a good clean up, including Alan W, Alan T, Moira, Sharon, Chris M and Phil M, and the result was outstanding.

The main tasks of the day were pulling weed from the cut and clearing the canal edge between the bridge and the upper lock, where vegetation had completely obliterated the wooden sleepers laid many years ago. Now, thanks to John G, Sharon, Alan W, Martin and others they are exposed again along the entire stretch. Several have degraded from being permanently covered and damp and will one day need to be replaced. We were joined for the day by returning member Steve Todd, who was part of the canal society back in the early ‘80’s! Well done Steve on the section you cleared!

The other main job, pulling weed, was as ever a predictably dirty exercise! With throw rakes, drag forks and a grappling iron, Gordon, Duncan, Aled and Chris M had plenty to do dealing with the reeds and weeds that were chocking the canal in the pound above the lower lock. Hardest working of the lot was our Careers Wales placement Rowan, who got thoroughly stuck in to the task and amassed a huge pile of weed on the towpath! A wide channel was created which will encourage faster water flow and improve the scouring of silt and sediment.

Keeping to the green-clearing theme, Christina G and Moira tackled the back side of the towpath, trimming brambles and branches that were coming through the boundary fence.

With such physical tasks the 11am coffee break came as welcome relief, made all the better with a delicious choice of cakes fresh from Christina G’s oven!

Before we packed away Paul tried out the stump of the recently fallen oak tree for size. The photo also shows the damage it caused to the Ynysmeudwy lower lock railings as it came down. The tree was over 200 years old and has been cut into sections by Glandŵr Cymru contractors to clear the towpath. Oak is a beautiful wood and we hope the some of the dead tree will be used to make fine sculptures and furniture.

The day thankfully stayed dry and everyone enjoyed a great morning’s workout. It was good to be back making a difference at Ynysmeudwy and we plan to return next Tuesday to do more of the same.

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