Wednesday, 11 October 2017

A serious prune was overdue...

By Helen Westlake on 11th October 2017

A successful working party met on a fine, if windy, October day and the main task achieved was to reduce the height and width of the hedge alongside one boundary of the Museum car park. The shrubs and bushes had grown well above the height of the neighbouring wall and out into the car park bays so a serious prune was overdue. The border now looks very tidy and the neighbour is much happier.
The volunteers then changed tack and went on to prepare and paint the pair of gates at the main entrance into the Quarry Field, another useful job before the winter. These gates, made by blacksmith Bob Nightingale, now look very smart.
Other smaller autumn tidy up jobs were carried out in the gardens around the Museum and around the Ash box by Lock 15, together with a general litter pick along the Woodland Walk.
Many thanks to all the volunteers involved.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

All in all a great improvement

By Rob Westlake, 10th February 2016: 
Another dry day with good sunny intervals. The wooden barriers at the end of the Woodland Walk were completed, pending painting later in the year when the timber has dried out. A useful job! The overgrown edges of the Woodland Walk path were sided out for some distance.  Some of the snowdrops planted here last year are starting to bloom so hopefully they will naturalise year on year. Then everyone turned their attention to Lock 16, since CRT had commenced work on inspecting and repairing the lock flight. The lock edges were sided out, the ramped sides weeded and cleared back and the area outside Lock 16 cottage swept clean.  All in all a great improvement.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Preventing cyclists from coming down the path too fast

By Rob Westlake, 13th January 2016: 
The main focus of the first task group meeting in 2016 was to replace the two sets of staggered wooden barriers at the southern end of the Woodland Walk. Originally installed when the walk was created some 20 years ago, the old barriers had rotted and fallen. Their purpose is to prevent any cyclists from coming down the path too fast and either colliding with pedestrians on the towpath or ending up in the canal. CRT had not only provided the materials but also made available one of their workforce, Ben, to assist, which was appreciated. The job proved to be very hard work and the task group worked like Trojans excavating postholes and concreting in the supports for the new barriers. At the end of the day, two thirds of the job was complete – eventually the barriers will be painted black / white to improve their visibility and canalside appearance. Meanwhile, less physically challenging litter picking of the entire canal corridor was undertaken and the Museum green cleared again of fallen twigs and branches. A good start to the new year!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Fallen branches and trees removed

By Rob Westlake, 9th December 2015: 
Considering the time of year, a considerable amount of work was achieved at this month’s task group meeting, with the group continuing to benefit from the help of Northampton Arm volunteers. Not only were fallen branches and leaves removed from the Museum green, but also from the area around the Stables and the Forge, including weeding out the block work path there. Meanwhile, other volunteers had brushed out the dry lock and weeded the lock sides and steps. Attention then turned to the towpath and offside track below the road bridge, cutting back overhanging vegetation, dead Sumac trees and a very invasive creeper taking over the hedge adjacent to the car park of the Navigation PH (with their permission).

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

A great volunteer effort!

By Rob Westlake, 11th November 2015: 
At intervals between the October and November meetings, small groups of volunteers had continued and completed the painting of the panel supporting beams, as weather had permitted.  Finally, the panels themselves were assembled and bolted to the beams. Job complete, a great volunteer effort. 

At the main task group meeting in November, the morning began with a huge leaf clearance off the Museum green and then the focus shifted to the Lower Locks parking area where, in addition to the usual litter pick, vegetation cut back improved its appearance.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

A hard day's graft!

By Rob Westlake, 14th October 2015: 
For some time, the Adoption Group had been waiting for news of when the installation of new interpretation boards all along the canal corridor would take place, as the group had offered to assist with this substantial task. The Stoke Bruerne regulars were joined by stalwart volunteers from the Northampton Arm task group, whose assistance was invaluable.
Prior to the October meeting, energetic volunteers had installed the metal supports made by Bob the Blacksmith for the oak beams which would hold the panels. At the task day, these were undercoated and painted in special black paint – quite a job in some places awkward to get at! Meanwhile, a second team began the mammoth job of sanding down the oak beams ready for painting later. 

A back up team, meanwhile, cleared more apples from below the dry lock and weeded the canal side outside the museum, to keep things looking presentable. A hard day’s graft!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Annoying hundred's of wasps

By Rob Westlake, 9th September 2015: 
The aim of the September task group day was to make the canal centre as attractive as possible in readiness for the forthcoming Village at War festival. So all the usual areas were tidied up – dry lock, Spice of Bruerne hedge, around the laurel hedge and the adjacent seat and the Museum flower beds. Great quantities of fallen apples were shovelled up from below the dry lock, to the annoyance of hundreds of wasps! Everything spick and span, even including a litter pick at the Lower Locks car park which is always an area  in need of attention.