|Dragonfly Branch Report Autumn 2009 (No.114)|
Things have been fairly quiet here through the summer with all of our volunteers taking their holidays. But care and maintenance, especially of the paths network, has to continue whatever. We finished the first 400 metres of the fencing on our newly acquired leased section and we will be making a start on the rest very soon - we have about 600 metres to do throughout the autumn and winter months. We also need to install a couple of gates so that should keep the West Vale few busy!
On the lease front we have made significant progress. Ken Oliver and I accompanied the land agent for the landowners of a significant length of the canal at the westward end of the West Vale Branch section. Much discussion took place on a hot hike over the entire part of the canal on their land. Then a few days later as part of the negotiations a small band of branch members retraced their steps taking meaningful measurements and making notes. Believe me taking close measurements, in mid summer across a wet, reeded canal is not easy. All the notes and measurements were then entered onto a plan and submitted to the agents. Let's hope that the rest of the negotiations proceed apace.
Martin Thompson and his merry men have been making steady progress on Steppingstone Lane Bridge. More gabions have been put in place and filled with stone. The temporary route for the bridleway had to be re-routed at the north western corner of the bridge as it was slightly in the way of the gabion retaining wall. Martin and his volunteers have again been happily accommodated in Watchfield village hall for two weekends. Preparations were made for the delivery of the PFA donated free as reported in my last article by Didcot Power station. RWE npower donated 80 tonnes of Pulverised Fuel Ash (PFA) from its Didcot A Power Station to us to create the approaches to the bridge. Then Martin's crew were ably assisted by seven volunteers from the company's Generation Aggregates department who also donned wellies and hard hats and shoveled the ash to build the slopes up to the rebuilt arch, connecting the bridleway from the field over the canal to Steppingstone Lane. The power station supplied the ash via RWE Power International, which manages all sales of ash from RWE npower. So much needed help on two fronts. (The full story, with photos, can be found on the trusts web site under -‘volunteers get shoveling'- .)
I have just heard on the towpath telegraph that a supply of free secondhand coping stones may be donated to the Trust, so hopefully if they turn out to be the correct size and suitable for our bridge it should soon be finished!