Dig Report

Inglesham, February 2020

Scrub bash at Inglesham

1/2 February 2020
Looking west towards the boundary on Saturday morning
Same view on Sunday afternoon

For our first dig of 2020, we returned to Inglesham on the Cotswolds Canals to continue the good work put in by Jon Pontefract and his CCT team to clear the half-mile or so of the pound above Inglesham Lock to the current boundary of the Trust land.

The canal line here was first cleared around 2011/2012 before the lock restoration was started – and since then some growth has returned, especially on the banks and towpath. Our task was to clear the banks and experiment with various sapling pulling tools, designed to easily grub-out young trees & bushes up to a couple of inches in diameter before they establish themselves.

Accommodation saw a welcome return to Kempsford, where we congregated at The George, before decamping to the Village Hall, freshly refurbished with a shower and toilets whose door lintels are now even over 5ft high. Very civilised.

The work for both days proceeded along very similar lines, clearing up the brash left by the previous CCT work parties and clearing a path through to the large fallen tree, just visible in the above photographs. This tree is 20 meters or so short of the actual boundary but was a good target for the weekend. So, despite the very strong wind cutting across the site, a couple of fires were lit; a team set to work testing the various sapling extractors and Ed pottered around with the excavator extracting the larger stumps, reprofiling the bank and smoothing the path.

Once we had determined, by trial and error, that there were several places where the canal bed could be crossed in wellies without the water left behind by the recent Thames flooding making its presence felt, we were able to work on both sides of the canal, and made steady progress.

By the end of the weekend, we’d plucked out all the saplings along the towpath bank and dug out a good many stumps and reprofiled the bank to give easier and safer access along the length of this section of the canal for future work parties, as well as clearing the scrub almost up to the fallen tree – which will be an interesting challenge to remove.

With much thanks to Jon for hosting us, Ian for leading and Eli and Jude for fabulous cooking.

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