Working Party Report for March 2017
In March we continued with the work we started in February. At the east end we have now repaired the viewing platform and very smart it looks with a new floor and non slip strips. But beware: this is not a bridge to the other side of the canal!
The clearance of the top of the offside portal quadrant was completed and is now ready for sowing when we receive the grass recipe from C&RT. The wall alongside the southern side of the horsepath was cleared ready for stripping down and rebuilding, possibly in May.
We then moved to the west end of the tunnel where we completed the clearing of the towpath edge for the first 100m or so. We were then able to clear the vegetation and debris from the wall lining the canal and continued to open up and clear the wash walls extending from west from there. Going onwards there is plenty of clearance work from there to the C&RT boundary but this will have to wait to autumn due to the bird nesting season.
On the offside the portal quadrant was cleared of vegetation and soil but may need further reduction before planting with grass. This was an excellent job carried out by John, a new volunteer. CRT had cleared the ivy from the portal and we were able to collect this and hide it on the offside. The loose timber cuttings in the canal bed were dealt with in a similar manner. The horsepath alongside the back of the houses benefitted from the removal of the dead wood that had been left in the hedge.
Both ends of the tunnel now look a lot more tidy and worth visiting and as part of the management agreement we have with C&RT, we will have to keep it that way. We understand that certain stones that need resetting around the tunnel will be dealt with by C&RT contractors in the autumn of this year.
Although this work may appear to be little more than gardening it is important in that it shows C&RT that we can work to high standard. By improving the surrounds it encourages more people to visit and be impressed by the tunnel. This is particularly important for the next year when we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the tunnel and the northern reaches and the celebrations concentrate on the tunnel.
Any suggestions for how to celebrate this will be gratefully received. A light show on the tunnel portal perhaps?