TO SUPPORT the Canal & River Trust’s recent application for Green Flag Status for the Middlewich Branch Canal, 17 volunteers from SUMBA (Shropshire Union Middlewich Branch Adopters) visited the area between Stanthorne Lock and Clive Green Bridge 24.
The project was to remove significant overhanging vegetation and tree branches from the towpath and offside, including at Stanthorne Lock and bridge accesses to the towpath.
Team one used workboat Gowy to cut back dense offside bushes between Normans Bridge 26 and Hughes Bridge 25, team two cut back the towpath vegetation between bridges 25 and 26, including ivy obstructing access from bridge 25 to the towpath, and tree branches overhanging the canal.
And team three worked between Stanthorne Lock and bridge 26 clearing ivy and blackthorn obstructing the lock’s towpath and then cutting down numerous branches that were overhanging the towpath and the canal.
A litter pick was also completed just a month after previously clearing litter from this area.
Autumn/winter hedge laying project
Not resting on their laurels with second place in the 2016 Living Waterways Awards with last year’s hedge opposite Venetian Marina, the ‘tree huggers’ are currently laying the hedge above Cholmondeston Lock.
With February’s improved weather work has accelerated and over 125m have now been completed.
During March’s final two visits this year whips will be planted to help thicken some areas of the hedge.
At the request of CRT SUMBA have commenced helping with the ongoing monthly Pre Planned Maintenance on the 10 miles of the Middlewich Branch canal between Wardle Lock and Barbridge Junction.
February’s work was located between Stanthorne and Wardle Locks and included greasing and oiling the locks’ infrastructure, checking the safe operation of the equipment and clearing vegetation that was blocking or trapped in by-washes, weirs and overflows.
In addition a substantial amount of brash that the residents at the Wardle Lock cottage had cut back from the lock’s offside was removed.