Kent and East Sussex Canal Restoration Group

KESCRG and London WRG
Inglesham and Eisey November 2011


November saw KESCRG join London WRG for a very well attended weekend working at the eastern end of the Cotswold Canals, staying at Kempsford village hall.

On Saturday one group spent the day preparing the foundations for the retaining walls of the by-wash lagoon at Eisey lock.

Photo Tim Lewis

Photo Alan Lines

The lock itself is now complete bar gates and paddles.

In just over three years of intensive work from summer camps and many weekends from KESCRG, the other visiting restoration groups and the Cotswold Canals Trust volunteers have turned the derelict lock as seen in this picture taken during the initial site visit by Eddie in January2008.

photo Eddie Jones

Via this:

Photo Alan Lines

To This:

Photo Alan Lines

Photo Tim Lewis

Now that’s not a bad achievement for purely voluntary labour, and KESCRG have played a major part in the project, contributing 9 weekends and running 3 weeklong summer WRG camps at the site over the last 3 years.

Meanwhile everyone else spent Saturday scrub bashing the area above Inglesham lock, while Roy measured up the complicated geometry for the stop planks required below the lock in preparation for the start of the restoration of the lock chamber itself.

This was KESCRG’s first visit to this important project which forms the junction of the Cotswold Canals and the river Thames just above Lechlade, and the project is the focus of a national IWA Restoration Appeal.

There will be a concentrated effort here over the next couple of years to achieve the same transformation as that seen at Eisey, and the WRG summer camps and other visiting groups have already made quite an impact on the site in the last 12 months. It is a very exciting project and will see several KESCRG weekend visits in 2012 (starting in January) to complement the planned summer camps and many weekends committed by the other WRG regional groups. Just like Eisey, it promises to offer the perfect mix of demolition, construction and preservation, with just a bit of brick cleaning and mortar mixing thrown in for good measure.

On Saturday evening everyone was filled with delicious chilli, complete with apply-your-own-heat courtesy of a slightly dubious looking pot of chilli jam, and conversation turned (in one corner of the hall at least) to the non-Newtonian nature of custard, and how – if you stamped hard enough – you could quite happily walk on the stuff. It should be noted that this is before adding the hot milk, and should almost definitely not be tried at home. Or at the accommodation. The evening continued from there much as they usually do – this time at The George.

On Sunday everyone headed to Eisey to scrub bash the pound for half a mile or so above the lock. The canal is now clear for most of this stretch, and ground conditions lent themselves to much stump pulling.

Photo Tim Lewis

Photo Alan Lines

Many thanks to Sophie Smith for leading a potentially complicated weekend with two groups, lots of people and multiple work sites - it all seemed to go pretty smoothly as far as I could see… To keep up to date with restoration progress on the Cotswold Canals, keep an eye on the Cotswold Canals Trust’s Latest News pages, which cover work by the professional contractors at the western end as well as the voluntary labour right along the canal.

Stephen Davis

Photos courtesy of Alan Lines and Tim Lewis

Eddie 090112

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