September 2015 Work Parties

Created on 29/10/2015

September saw IWA branch volunteers lock painting, clearing vegetation, filling work boats with rubbish and revealing what lay beneath what looked like a bush made of ivy... Read on to find out what our branches have been up to on the waterways.

IWA Birmingham Branch - From Lock Painting to Litter Picking

9th September found IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch volunteers preparing and painting the four narrow locks leading from the River Severn into the basins. 

Branch volunteers also worked in a number of locations along the Staffs & Worcs Canal as well as in Stourport Basins. Activities have ranged from lock gate and paddle gear painting, (including lock ladders and bridge rails), through balsam bashing and clearing vegetation.  As well as the ever necessary litter picking.

IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch Volunteers Make a Difference

Photo:  Volunteers on IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch’s Uttoxeter Canal work party, remove ivy to reveal a wall

IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch’s recent Cheshire Locks volunteer work party successfully finalised the uplift of Lock 46 on the Red Bull Flight. A good turn out of ten volunteers put the final touches to the lock.  Volunteers worked hard to complete Lock 44 to 46, but it proved well worth the effort.

The Branch's Uttoxeter Canal work party on 10th September, turned its attention to vegetation management. On a very warm sunny day, most of the volunteers worked on what appeared to be a hedge of ivy forming the front boundary to Crumpwood Cottage. In reality the ivy was completely obscuring an attractive wall, built of coursed stone blocks and finished with half-round copings. One of the volunteers continued with the vital task of removing the ivy regrowth from the weir abutment. While posing for a photograph showing the result of their hard labours in revealing the wall, one of the team, justifiably proud of everyone’s efforts declared “volunteers can make a real difference”. At the very end of the session one of the volunteers had a quick probe with a spade in the soil in front the steps already visible in the wall, suspecting there could be more steps buried; something solid could be felt but the volunteers had run out of time and energy to investigate further.

On 26th September, feeling full of energy, following the success of the previous work party, volunteers decided to do some digging in front of the boundary wall to Crumpwood Cottage. As suspected, two more steps were uncovered as well as an intriguing structure. Possibly too narrow to be a path and made of concrete, so obviously much later than the canal, which opened in 1811, it has been suggested it could be part of one of the previous incarnations of footbridge over the river. The group then moved down to Bridge 70 and spent the afternoon continuing to remove regrowth from the many tree stumps along the line of the canal. In addition, one of the volunteers slashed the weeds to tidy the immediate area around the bridge itself.

IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch Clears Piazza of Weeds

Photo:  Some of the volunteers at IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch’s recent work party

With great weather and working in partnership with Eldonian Housing Association, IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch volunteers, managed to clear all the weeds and overgrowing debris from the Leeds & Liverpool terminus basin piazza.

After a lot of hard work, the piazza is now looking very smart. Attending the work party were nine volunteers, who put in a put in a total of 48 hrs work.

IWA Oxfordshire Branch Paints Locks Ahead of Canal Day

On Friday 25th September, IWA Oxfordshire Branch volunteers went into Banbury and gave the lock's white paint a fresh coat to spruce it up ready for Banbury Canal Day, which took place on 4th October.

IWA Notts & Derby Branch Fills Up Work Boat

Photo:  IWA Notts & Derby Branch fills a work boat with scrap pulled from the Nottingham Canal (Photo taken by Archie Roberts)

A cohort of volunteers from IWA Notts & Derby Branch assembled at Beeston Lock on the Nottingham Canal on 27th September to clean up the canal.  Despite the initial challenges of fog, 20 volunteers set off along the canal in various teams litter picking, grappling the canal bed or on the work boat, offside litter picking and collecting any scrap and detritus pulled out.

The sun soon broke through and the length from Beeston down into the city centre, about two miles, received intensive attention.  Volunteers filled the work boat with scrap, which was despatched for unloading at Trent Lane depot before returning to the fray for another load.

Overall, the clean up left the tow path and offside clear of litter from Beeston through to Trent Lane depot in the city centre with a large amount of scrap (a work boat and a half) pulled from the canal.  There were shopping trollies, steel fencing, road signs, tyres, mattresses, over twenty push bikes, as well as a motorbike, amongst the haul.  A tremendous day’s work.

Other Work Parties

In addition to these work parties, in September, IWA Chelmsford Branch supported Essex WRG on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, IWA Ipswich Branch continued to support the River Gipping Trust, IWA Lincolnshire Branch were supporting the Sleaford Navigation Trust, IWA Manchester Branch had its monthly work party, IWA Northampton Branch on the Northampton Arm,  IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch worked on the Burslem Arm of the Trent & Mersey Canal and on the Macclesfield Canal in Congleton.

Interested in getting involved as a volunteer with IWA? Take a look at IWA’s information on volunteering or get in touch with the Branch Campaigns team.

Tags: IWA Work Parties