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Gnosall Shield

Gnosall Parish Council

(Including the wards of Moreton and Knightley)

Our Mission is to improve the quality of life for those who live and work in the Parish of Gnosall and those who visit it.


Gnosall Towpath Restoration

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Gnosall Towpath Restoration (GTR)

In Gnosall, we are very lucky to have a splendid historic canal running through our village. It is approaching 200 years old and takes some looking after.

The Canal and Rivers Trust (CRT) is a charity that looks after most of our inland navigations in England and Wales. It was created in 2012 from British Waterways (BW or previously BWB).

CRT maintains the canal and towpath (which is not a public right of way) from limited resources. There is some government funding, and income from fishing, boat licensing and boat moorings. There is a backlog of maintenance and so CRT has looked for innovative ways to get work done.

In many areas local communities have adopted “their” stretch of canal agreeing to do minor maintenance, tidying up and reporting problems. This spring, the parish council, supported by BKV agreed to adopt “our” length of canal on behalf of the village.

I am the contact point for this adoption and the group has been christened GTR. We work on the canal covering the length from Cowley Tunnel in the south to Bridge 36 (the footpath beyond the railway) in the North. We are independent from BKV but work closely with them.

Come and find us on the towpath!

GTR work parties

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Depending on the season, projects in hand and weather, we meet every 2-3 weeks on a Saturday morning, with dates planned in advance to suit the majority. Typically, a group may be 3-5 of us from a pool of 8-9.

For simplicity, we meet at the Navigation Inn for work to the North and opposite the Boat Inn for work to the south.

This does not prevent smaller groups meeting at other times and places if more convenient and there is work to be done. We communicate plans via email so that all are in the picture.

If you’d like to join us please let me know, you’ll be very welcome. If you have any special skills or interests such as metalwork, woodwork, horticulture, arboriculture, brick laying, painting, planning, just let me know but the main requirement is enthusiasm.

 

 

 

GTR projects

Our projects vary from construction to planting to weeding to painting. There is always some maintenance to mix in with other activities.

We try to have a sensible balance ongoing at any one time but don’t always achieve it. Sometimes the forces of nature or other events are against us.

 

Tunnel Vegetation

The vegetation at the tunnel was starting to become dangerous as well as unsightly. Trailing strands of ivy and honeysuckle were hiding prickly brambles.

These were hindering boat steerers and even taller walkers as well as hiding the bridge number.

 

Ivy Clearance

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Ivy is fine in the right place but once it gets established in the wrong place it can become a real nuisance.

Ivy grows into masonry cracks, damaging the stone face and enlarging cracks. After a while visibility becomes hindered and the situation gets out of control.

Over the winter we had a good cut-back of the railway bridge and more will be needed this winter.

Going forward, it should then be a simple maintenance job.

Bridge Numbers / Painting

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Some of the bridge numbers in our patch were in a very sorry state. When and where possible, we have given them a brush up and fresh coat of paint.

 

CRT Sign posts / Painting

We painted all the black CRT square signage posts (not pictured)

 

 

Crocus planting

With kind sponsorship of the boat PH, we were able to plant many crocus’s to add some spring colour.

 

The Dell

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The dell is the first part of the village seen by visitors emerging from the tunnel. It is a long-term project for us.

Before we started work, the CRT tunnel safety sign was overgrown with many brambles obstructed the tunnel entrance and other growth was effectively reducing the canal width.

It is not safely accessible other than by boat and we would like to create a visually pleasing wildflower haven.

 

The Dell benches

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Opposite the dell, the benches were in need of a makeover. This consisted of cutting back vegetation, replacing rotten timbers and painting

 

 

 

 

Bridge 35 cycle ramp

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The steps from the towpath to the Newport road were a little overgrown.

Whilst dealing with the overhead vegetation and the growth over the steps, we realised a small enhancement was possible.

There a quite a few cyclists on the towpath and some were seen struggling to carry their bikes up to the road.  CRT kindly supplied a solid piece of timber, which we fixed to create a simple bike ramp.

Water Point flower beds

Our work continues throughout the year. There a number of tasks for the winter/spring that can be done jointly with CRT as well as some special projects we have of our own.

Although our team to-date has worked well, we could do with some new blood, particularly of the younger variety. We’re very friendly and only tackle what is safe and sensible for us to do. Tools and training can be provided by CRT where required. Working parties tend to be Saturday mornings but could be other times subject to demand.

To plan for the future, we have teamed up with a local college apprentice scheme for waterway volunteers. The attached picture shows one of the first students struggling with measurements on his first practical project.

Flower Tubs

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Our work continues throughout the year. There a number of tasks for the winter/spring that can be done jointly with CRT as well as some special projects we have of our own.

Although our team to-date has worked well, we could do with some new blood, particularly of the younger variety. We’re very friendly and only tackle what is safe and sensible for us to do. Tools and training can be provided by CRT where required. Working parties tend to be Saturday mornings but could be other times subject to demand.

To plan for the future, we have teamed up with a local college apprentice scheme for waterway volunteers. The attached picture shows one of the first students struggling with measurements on his first practical project.

Other Information/Contacts

We are volunteers. We do what is safe sensible and reasonable to enhance the canal though our village.

We are not representatives of the police, CRT, Staffs CC, the environment agency etc

If you see something that needs reporting, please report it to the appropriate authority, which is usually not us!


CRT has a web page describing what to call in what circumstances. You may want to put some in your phone.

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/contact-us/contacting-us-in-an-emergency

For example:

In an emergency call 999 immediately.

When you have received a response from the emergency services, then inform us on 0800 47 999 47

There is a dangerously damaged lock, bridge or tunnel Call 0800 47 999 47

To report an incident Call 0303 040 4040

To report pollution to the environment Call the Environment Agency 0800 80 70 60

 

 

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