Volunteers return after the Lockdown

Before the lockdown, the Shropshire Union Canal Society had been making good progress restoring the canal between Lloyds Animal Feeds compound and Crickheath despite the heavy rain at the beginning of March.

During their absence however, the canal had quickly become overgrown and so volunteers had to start by clearing weeds and a fallen tree on the first working party which took place on 24th – 26th July.

The ‘new normal’ meant social distancing, masks, gloves and large amounts of disinfectant. However the small team managed to move a record amount of spoil and an impressive length of canal was cut and shaped. It is beginning to look like a canal again. It is now hoped that the work will get back on track with working parties taking place every two weeks during the rest of the summer.

Meanwhile, twleve members of Thursday Restoration And Maintenance Project Support (Welshpool Canal Adoption Group) met on 23rd July for the first working party since lockdown.

New Covid 19 procedures mean that only small groups are permitted so the team was spread out in four different locations. There is plenty to do since it is amazing how quickly vegetation takes over. It had been reported that because the boat Heulwen has been unable to operate, the weed in the canal through Welshpool has become a problem.

One TRAMPS team therefore set off on Aspull, the CRT Tug, to attempt to cut the weed up by motoring up and down through the town. Meanwhile another team had removed a fallen tree at Berriew and then attempted unsuccessfully to sail through a gravel bank which had built up over the last 6 months. The consensus of opinion is that the way to solve this is to throw some TRAMPS members into the canal with shovels.

Said Chris Bushnell of TRAMPS: “While strimming, and burning vast amounts of brash, we were honoured with a visit from Mark Evans, Director of CRT Wales and some of his development team who are interested in fund raising and improvements to the Monty.

“They were impressed with the number of volunteers dedicated to keeping the restored canal in good condition.”