Wendover Arm Trust Working Party News, Issue 115, June 2016

  |  Published: Jul 6th 2016

May and June Working Parties

I am very pleased to report that good progress has been made on the Stage 4 pipe capping between Whitehouses and Bridge 4 during May and June and is rapidly approaching Bridge 4 from where this photo was taken.

At the June working party we received a delivery of  18 rolls of Bentomat, the first delivery since 2008!

On the Saturday and Sunday of the May working party we were joined by the Kent & East Sussex Canal Recovery Group (KESCRG). They excavated the underground chambers recently found at the back of the site during which they uncovered many bottles etc. that contained unknown substances.  It transpired that a former occupant of Whitehouses cottages was a chemist and when the contents of one bottle fizzed on the floor it was decided to treat this as hazardous.    

At a meeting with CRT they said that they would arrange for a specialist contractor to test the contents of the various containers and dispose of them accordingly. They asked the Trust to take them all to our site at Little Tring which we did in June in plastic containers specially bought for the purpose


Bridge 4 lining and stop planks

I recently met CRT civil engineers to discuss the restoration and, on requesting details of the king post slot for the stop planks, was told that a slot is no longer required. Hence we will only have to ensure that there is a horizontal bed level concrete strip from stop plank groove to stop plank groove when lining. The galvanised stop plank grooves were cast into the walls when the narrows was constructed. We will be using the usual 150mm/6” of concrete through the bridge narrows as at Bridge 4A.


Lining at Whitehouses

After discussion with CRT it is agreed that the towpath side of the lining through Whitehouses will be standard other than the 300mm/12” spoil over the Bentomat will be replaced by 150mm/6” concrete for the length of the wharf wall, and the pipe capping will be 150mm/6” higher than normal (as for bridge narrows). On the offside/wharf side we have been concerned that there is not navigable depth over the brick foundation that extends under the settling tank behind the wharf wall. CRT have come up with a very practical solution; it is to build a pseudo weir along the edge of the shallow water that will protrude above water level and prevent craft grounding and also include some screened apertures in the weir wall for the water to pass through into the three culverts and prevent debris entering the culverts and settling tank.


July and August Working Parties

Ray Orth is away for the July working party and Tony Bardwell will be in charge. He has ordered ready-mix concrete for every day except Sunday (when the ready-mix plant is closed) so pipe capping should get about 40 metres nearer Bridge 4.

It is possible that Stage 4 pipe capping to Bridge 4 will be complete or nearly complete in August? Excavated spoil will be used to restore the offside bank in Stage 3.


Heritage Lottery Fund  (HLF) bid

Most of you will probably have already read that the joint WAT/CRT bid for finance to complete relining from Bridge 4 to Little Tring winding hole has successfully reached HLF Stage 1. This does not mean that we have the funds as there are other hurdles to cross but it looks hopeful. If all goes well the Trust will complete all work up to Bridge 4 after which a contractor will complete the rest of Stage 4 and Stages 5, 6 and 7 as well as Stage 11, the narrows for a swing bridge at the cart track entrance.

If the HLF bid is successful, the Trust will have to find around £300,000 in matched funding. At present this means we have less than £100,000 to complete the work to Bridge 4 so I am compiling an estimate of how much we need for this work. As Bridge 4 is about 150 metres before the end of Stage 4 I will be splitting Stage 4 into Stage 4A (WAT) and Stage 4B (HLF) in my next progress report in October so that we can monitor progress financially.


Open Day Sunday June 5th 2016

This was a great success and Margaret Leishman and her team of helpers raised £704 from the sale of drinks, cakes, jams and marmalades.

We are indebted to Sue Cook of n/b Indigo Dream who donated 40 jars of the jams and marmalades she makes for charity, not for the first time I would add.

Sue and Richard on Indigo Dream share a love of greyhounds with Margaret and myself and they give trips on their boat with their greyhounds to raise funds for the Retired Greyhound Trust. If you ever pass them on the cut please give them a cheer from WAT.


IWA Chiltern Branch weekend away

Every year the IWA Chiltern Branch arranges a weekend visiting an area of the country with waterway interests and usually includes a restored railway trip.

This year the visit is to the Ashby Canal Restoration, the Black Country Museum including a 2 hour trip in the Dudley Tunnel and a visit to the Severn Valley Railway.

The weekend starts on Friday 30th September with coach pick-up points at Watford Junction Station (8.30am), Chesham, Amersham and High Wycombe. There is a two night hotel stay on Friday and Saturday nights and return to the same pick-up points Sunday evening. The cost is £230 per person when sharing rooms with a single person supplement of £30 per person.

About half of our volunteers are Chiltern Branch members, most of whom go on these weekends away with their wives as well as quite a few who are not IWA members as these visits are open to anyone with waterway interests. If you come on the weekend you will find yourself among friends and it is very much a social occasion enjoyed by all and somewhat more relaxing than relining our canal or helping at an event. If you wish to book please give Colin Bird a ring on 01932 248178.

General Notes

We operate as a self-supervising group under CRT and all volunteers receive and sign for the Trust’s Restoration Handbook that includes full Health and Safety requirements for the restoration works.  

The handbook is the property of the Trust; if you leave the working parties for any reason, please return your Handbook to either Ray Orth or myself.

Hard hats for use at all times and high visibility jackets to be worn on sites with mobile plant in use are kept in the store at Tringford and must be drawn/returned there.

One first aid kit is kept in the store and one in the Nissan Cabstar and each qualified first-aider will have their own kit with him/her when on site.

Also available in the store at Tringford are ear defenders and goggles that must be worn when using strimmers, angle grinders, concrete breakers and the like. CRT will supply hard hats, gloves and footwear with reinforced toecaps on request.

We normally work from 9am to 5pm (or dark if earlier!). There are breaks for morning tea/coffee, packed lunch and afternoon tea/coffee. We take our own food and drink.

For more details about the Wendover Arm Trust, please contact Roger Leishman, Restoration Director. 7 Hall Park, Berkhamsted, Herts HP4 2NU. Tel: 01442 874536, e-mail rwleishman@gmail.com

PIPE CAPPING APPROACHING Bridge 4 (Roger Leishman)
PIPE CAPPING APPROACHING Bridge 4 (Roger Leishman)
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