21st September 2017
The Chesterfield Canal Trust has begun its autumn season of vegetation trimming.
The vessel used was Python, an 88 year old ex-British Waterways workboat that has been lovingly restored over the last few years by volunteers from the Trust.
Python is ideal for the task. It has a large open cargo hold which held lots of builders’ bags into which all the cut material was put.
Volunteers were cutting back branches and young trees that were hanging over the canal. They were armed with loppers, shears and secateurs and all wore thick gloves because of thorns and nettles. This work can only be done from a boat, unlike hedge cutting along the towpath that is easily accessible and done regularly.
By the end of the first day, 12 builders’ bags had been filled garnered from three miles of the canal.
The volunteers were accompanied by Seán McGinley, the Canal & River Trust’s Waterway Manager for the East Midlands.
Seán said: “It is difficult to put into words just how valuable Python is to us. Offside vegetation management is one of those jobs that always needs doing but is sometimes challenging to implement as a boat or pontoon are needed for considerable lengths of time. It is probably the number one issue raised by boaters and, if left unattended to, can become a hazard. Keeping on top of it, is the best way to manage it and Python, with her team of volunteers, allows this to happen. It is simple enough work in most cases and makes such a difference to the boating experience. It also helps us engage with other volunteers who see the work and want to get involved.”
The volunteers were organised by Jan Warsop. She has prepared a schedule of 17 days of trimming running up to the first week in November. This covers the whole of the eastern section of the canal from Kiveton Park, through Worksop and Retford to the River Trent. Up to eight people can go on each session and there are still some places vacant.
All tools and safety equipment are provided, along with regular hot or cold drinks. There are welfare facilities on board, including a toilet and hot running water, so all volunteers can take a break in comfort during their shift.
If you would like to help, or would like more information, please get in touch with Jan Warsop on 07940 579616 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
20th September: Norwood Tunnel to Thorpe Top Locks – Trimming, 2¼ miles
21st September: Thorpe Top Locks to Shireoaks Marina – Trimming, 1½ miles (23 locks)
24th September: Shireoaks Marina to The Lock Keeper (Worksop) – Trimming, 1¼ miles + litter pick (6 locks)
26th September: The Lock Keeper (Worksop) to Osberton – Trimming, 4¼ miles + litter pick (4 locks)
30th September: Forest Middle Top Lock (Charlie’s) to Retford – Trimming, 3 miles + litter pick (3 locks)
1st October: Retford to The Gate Inn at Hayton – Trimming, 2¾ miles + Litter Pick (2 locks)
4th October: The Gate Inn at Hayton to R&WBC at Clayworth – Trimming, 3 miles
5th October: R&WBC at Clayworth to Wiseton – Trimming, 1¾ miles
9th October: Wiseton to Shaw Lock (Gringley-on-the Hill) – Trimming, 3½ miles (1 lock)
10th October: Shaw Lock (Gringley-on-the-Hill) to West Stockwith – Trimming, 4 miles (2 locks)
The following dates are confirmed but we may add in additional dates (subject to crew availability) or amend start and end points dependent upon how much work we have managed to complete on the first sweep through that section, these will all include trimming vegetation and litter picking where appropriate)
13th October: West Stockwith to Drakeholes Tunnel
14th October: Drakeholes Tunnel to R&WBC
21st October: R&WBC to Hop Pole (Retford)
22nd October: Hop Pole (Retford) to Forest Middle Top Lock (Charlie’s)
27th October: Forest Middle Top Lock (Charlie’s) to Osberton.
30th October: Osberton to The Lock Keeper (Worksop)
6th November: The Lock Keeper (Worksop) – Shireoaks
The session started with a safety briefing from Jan.
The cutting was soon underway.
Some low hanging branches on the towpath were also removed.
Everyone got stuck in.
Seán McGinley in action.
Past Dog Kennel Bridge, the bags were getting pretty full.
You can always rely upon helpful advice from the towpath.
The bags were unloaded and dragged away for collection.
Following a team photo …..
….. everyone had their sandwiches.