Dig Report

Buckingham, June 2019

A weekend working with the Buckingham Canal Society rebuilding Cosgrove Bridge

15 / 16 june 2019

Our June weekend was scheduled to visit the Buckingham Arm of the Grand Union canal to work on the Cosgrove Bridge project. The arm leaves the Grand Union just above Cosgrove lock and follows the Ouse valley west towards Buckingham. The first couple of hundred yards of the canal are used as permanent moorings before reaching the first blockage – a farm access where the bridge had been demolished and infilled.

Following on so quickly from our long May weekend at Inglesham, it was a small select crew who assembled at the historic Boat Inn in Stoke Bruerne on the Friday night. Fortunately, we were joining forces with an existing Buckingham Canal Society working-party, so we swelled their numbers rather than being short-handed on site.

Over the last couple of years, the canal society has made great progress exposing what is left of the original stone bridge, the remains of which rise a couple of feet above the towpath level. Above this, two brick pillars have been built and a new concrete span will reinstate the bridge with navigable headroom. This is an interesting approach which preserves the remains of the stone structure and makes a clear distinction between the historical and modern. Kevin McCloud would be proud.

The deck of the bridge is a concrete beam and block base with a reinforced concrete layer over the top. Our task was to assemble the reinforcing mesh in preparation for the big concrete pour for this reinforced layer. Several hundred ties and a couple of gloves later this was complete and we moved on to assist with making sandbags to help build up the access ramps to the bridge to enable the dumper loads of concrete to reach the pour.

By the end of the weekend everything was set and ready, and the society were ready to carry out the pour in the next couple of weeks.

With many thanks to Terry of having us – we look forward to watching the bridge rebuild progress, and to returning to the Buckingham and the bridge project in the future. It will be great to see the first restored section which we helped to reprofile a couple of years ago connected up to the main canal system.

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