Contractors abseil to carry out aqueduct work

MARPLE Aqueduct, England’s highest canal aqueduct which carries the Peak Forest Canal across the River Goyt at Marple, Cheshire, is to get a facelift courtesy of abseiling contractors working for the Canal & River Trust.

Specialist harnessed contractors from OCS Group company Fountains will carry out vital maintenance work to remove unwanted vegetation which has taken root in crevices of the grade I* listed aqueduct.  Using trowels and other hand tools, they will dig out ivy, moss, weeds and even young saplings which, if left unchecked, could damage masonry on the impressive 200-year-old structure.

The work is part of a wider Canal & River Trust project to protect heritage structures along the canals this winter, including the magnificent Marple aqueduct.

Constructed by famous canal engineer Benjamin Outram between 1795 and 1800, Marple Aqueduct is a scheduled ancient monument and a masterpiece of civil engineering. Measuring 78-foot (24 m) high and 315-foot (96m) long the aqueduct carries the Peak Forest Canal across the River Goyt. The aqueduct consists of three arches, each with a span of 60 feet (18.3 m).

Steven Facey contracts supervisor at the Canal & River Trust, said: “This is a rare opportunity to see contractors abseiling over England’s highest canal aqueduct to remove overgrown vegetation which has built up over several years.

“The work we are doing here will help to safeguard these unique, heritage structures for generations to come.”

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