May 2016 Work Parties

Manchester Work party
Created on 13/06/2016

As spring moves slowly into summer the emphasis of work parties around the country has been changing, with less vegetation clearance now to allow nesting birds to breed.  More tasks now revolve around painting and tidying up ready for the summer months.  IWA volunteers have certainly been busy - read on to find out more.

Ashton Canal Adoption Finalised

IWA Manchester Branch finalised the adoption of a section of the Ashton Canal in April and they've been working hard to improve the area at their regular monthly work parties.  Ashton Canal was originally built in 1792 to serve the coal industry.  It's approximately seven miles long, linking Manchester City centre with Ashton-Under-Lyne.  The canal fell into disuse during the 50’s but after a huge amount of work by volunteers, it was reopened in 1974.  It forms an important part of the popular boating circuit, the Cheshire Ring.  IWA Manchester Branch volunteers have adopted the section of the canal between Locks 4 and 11. 

May's work party took place at Lock 4, next to the Etihad Stadium.  Six volunteers turned up on the Saturday morning, keen to do their best for the canal and make difference to the local community. The main task was to clear a patch of overgrown vegetation on the offside and a most impressive 40 metres of vegetation was removed. Wildflower seeds will be planted there at the next work party. Other volunteers also did some litter picking and also prepared an Incredible Edible patch for growing vegetables and fruit for anyone from the local community to enjoy. 

Manchester Branch May 2016Photo: Slightly damp volunteers helping out on the Ashton Canal, Manchester

Lock Painting on Oxford Canal

On Tuesday 17th May, IWA Oxfordshire Branch members joined with the Banbury Canal Partnership on the Oxford Canal near Banbury.  They were concentrating their efforts on this occasion at Claydon Middle Lock and spent the day sprucing it up by giving it a new lick of paint. A grand job was completed and it looks very smart.

Oxford Canal May 2016Photo: Lock Painting at Claydon Middle Lock, Oxford Canal

Corporate Volunteers Lend Helping Hand to Northampton Arm

On 12th May IWA Northampton Branch hosted a party of volunteers from the Nationwide Building Society, Northampton Area. The group met at Bridge 14 (Briar Hill) and then started their litter pick along the pathway called the Nene Way which runs by the river and then to the Nene Valley Retail Park.

After a well earned break they then continued to clear the rubbish from the river at the nearby pontoon. A smaller group, using strimmers, a mower and a litter picker, continued the never ending job of vegetation clearance at Lock 17.

A huge amount of work was completed and the Branch would like to thank Nationwide Building Society staff for offering their time.

Northampton Arm Nationwide GroupPhoto: IWA Northampton Branch and Nationwide Building Society volunteers

Northampton Arm Volunteers Reinstate Missing Milepost

On 25th May volunteers from IWA Northampton Branch reinstated the last missing milepost from their adopted Northampton Arm. The Arm is just under five miles long and although five mileposts were originally cast, only four were ever installed.  In 2014 a volunteer had offered to carry out a clean and paint of the four mileposts along the Arm, only to find milepost three was almost completely buried and no sign at all of milepost two.

The location of milepost two was established through the Milepost Society and had been lost around the same time as large enabling works for a housing development in 2011.

Using milepost five, a patent was made for milepost two and a replacement cast.  David Wilson Homes very generously donated £300 towards the cost of the replacement.

Northampton Arm Missing MilepostPhoto: Volunteers reinstall missing milepost

West Country Volunteers Tidy Up Bridgwater & Taunton Canal

IWA West Country Branch held multiple work parties during May on their adopted sections of the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal. At the Bridgwater end tasks included rubbish collection using the flat work boat in Bridgwater Docks and along the towpath towards the town centre. One work party alone collected a total of twelve black sacks of rubbish plus several bulky items. The ongoing project of painting the railings, dockside machinery and fixture around the outer Basin at Bridgwater Docks continued. Also graffiti was removed from Somerset Bridge.

In Taunton the volunteers worked on the upper landing stage at Firepool Lock, removing the top deck boards for examination of the structure by Canal & River Trust experts. They also carried out strimming of the adjacent areas to the work site and litter picked the area around the lock and towpath.

Cheshire Locks Get Fresh Lick of Paint

Thursday 19th May saw a very good turnout of volunteers at Cheshire Locks on the Trent & Mersey Canal. Eleven people joined the work party and contributed 66 hours of work, concentrating on painting around Lock 43.  There are extensive metal railings around the lock and so most of the team concentrated on preparing and painting these.  Painting also continued on the lock gates themselves as well as some work on the garden by Red Bull offices. Good progress was made and hopefully Lock 43 can be completed in June before moving along the canal to Lock 42.

Cheshire Locks May 2016Photo: Painting at Lock 43

In addition to these work parties, in May, IWA Lincolnshire Branch supported the Sleaford Navigation Trust, IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch worked on the Uttoxeter Canal, Maccelsfield Canal and the Burslem Arm. IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch supported Worcester Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society at their monthly work party weekend at Tardebigge Lime Kilns and held their own work party on the Staffs & Worcs Canal. IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch continued their IWA National Campaign Festival preparation at Eldonian Village, and IWA Ipswich Branch supported the River Gipping Trust at their regular work parties throughout the month.

Interested in getting involved as a volunteer with IWA? Take a look at IWA's information on volunteering. To see if there's a work party planned near you take a look at the IWA Events Calendar.

Photo-top: IWA Manchester volunteers clear vegetation along the Ashton Canal

Tags: IWA Work Parties