PRESS RELEASE: WRG volunteers spend a dirty weekend on the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals
Date: 15th January 2014
Last weekend over a dozen volunteers from Waterway Recovery Group’s (WRG) Regional Group London WRG spent two days helping the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust carry out restoration work at Meretown Lock.
The main task for the weekend involved removing infill from Meretown Lock. The lock had been completely filled in, and volunteers removed around 3ft of topsoil from the entire length of the chamber, using an excavator and two dumpers. The volunteers then transported the materials 90 metres to build a dam at the far end of the length of canal, above the lock, that is going to be restored and re-watered. As well as lots of soil and some rubble, the chamber excavation job produced an interesting assortment of old iron – parts of the paddle gear including a rack and a distinctive Shropshire Union type jackhead, both of the top stop-plank grooves, and parts of the gate reinforcing ironwork – plus many reusable coping stones.
The second task of the weekend consisted of digging a 100 metre long trench (by hand and with an excavator) to install a water supply pipe, which will be used with a pump, that’s currently keeping the length of the canal between Meretown Lock and Newport town centre in water, to re-water the new length of canal.
Volunteers also removed vegetation and trees that were encroaching on the towpath and the offside canal bank. Click here to see photos from the weekend.
Martin Ludgate, London WRG’s site leader for the weekend, said ‘it’s quite a distance for us to travel up from London, but it is well worth it to help a canal restoration that’s starting to make some real progress!”.
WRG volunteers will be returning in the summer for a weeklong canal camp from 16th-23rd August to continue clearing the chamber and start working on the section above the lock that is going to be re-watered. Visit the WRG website to find out more.