Our volunteers have been meeting regularly on Wednesday mornings and now also on Saturdays to carry on with the essential summer maintenance - keeping the footpaths clear with hedge trimming and grass cutting as well as progressing the project to enhance the Park, funded by the IWA.
We were fortunate to have two visits of teams from Nationwide and St James Place who helped with hedge and ditch maintenance.
Also, on many Saturdays we had teams of young helpers from the local Scout Group who assisted with keeping the Park tidy and filling the "bug hotels". Two of the bug hotels are now complete with two more well advanced.
One of our volunteers is constructing wooden benches from donated timber, two have been installed with more to follow.
Another volunteer has been rebuilding our main park notice board, know as The Bus-stop, one of the improvements being funded by the IWA grant.
Parts of the cleared meadow area have been seeded with encouraging results despite problems from the local hungry rabbit population.
Our aged mowers continue to require constant maintenance and additionally, we have been making improvements to our storage compound.
On water levels & depths for "our" length of the canal, very important as our length is part of a "pound" that is about 7km long between the locks at South Marston and Longcot. Investigations of the remaining original structures have led to the conclusion that the level was 500mm lower than thought previously. This will have significant repercussions for the dredging of the canal and on the construction of new aqueducts, bridges, etc.
So altogether, we have been quite busy, and more help would be very welcome!
Despite the winter weather, Wednesday work-parties have continued most weeks with tasks around the Canal Park, which now is showing the change of season, with a green haze to the trees and flowers here and there in sheltered spots.
The meadow area has been almost doubled in size by the removal of bramble and scrub and is now ready for sowing wildflower seeds. The "Bug Hotels" are growing in height!
Measurements continue to be taken of the structures along our length of canal in order to establish an appropriate water level & depth.
The Branch hopes to restart Saturday work-parties commencing 17th April.
Work at The Canal Park
Detailled planning continues of the various initiatives to be funded by the IWA grant.
Branch work-parties have been carrying out footpath and general maintenance. Additionally we have commenced installation of "bug hotels" that will have community involvement next year. We also arranged the felling of an old, potentially unsafe willow on the northern boundary of the park. More on the Park Project page.
The Trust has been awarded almost £14,000 from the Inland Waterways Association's Waterways in Progress fund. It will build on the biodiversity work already undertaken over many years at the Shrivenham Canal Park, Stainswick Lane. Work will include building wildlife trails and habitats, installing bird and bat boxes, new information boards and seating - and putting water back in the 120m canal length.
Detailled planning is currently being carried out, with the work taking place later this year and next and should be completed by December 2021.
New Signage along the Canal
Over the summer, the faded canal signs in Townsend Rd, Station Rd, Stainswick Lane and in the Park have all been replaced by bright fresh ones.
The kissing gate to the north of the Park has had side rails added.
New Mower Purchased
ln order to keep the tough grass and brambles in check in the Park and along the footpaths, last year, we decided a heavy-duty mower was essential, our second-hand domestic mowers just could not cut it. We needed to raise £3100. We are pleased to report that we had great support from all the local organisations we applied to – the Vale of White Horse New Homes Bonus Scheme awarded 37% of the cost, the Shrivenham Fête Committee awarded £240 and The Shrivenham Institute Charity £100. Our application for £1500, via local company Montala, to the Royal Warrant Holders Association Charity unfortunately coincided with the start of the pandemic and the charity closed the fund to all except groups directly supporting those suffering as a result of the virus. However, Montala very generously donated the £1500. All these funds, together with a Branch contribution, finally enabled the purchase in late July, with our Chairman, Graham immediately testing it's capability.