Volunteers from the Waterway Recovery Group have spent a week working with the Trust to reinstate the towpath of the Uttoxeter Canal near to Bridge 70 at Crumpwood. They also repointed the bridge sides and cleared some fallen stones from the canal bed, as well as clearing a large area of Himalayan Balsam from the area.
The project, which is being undertaken as part of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, aims to restore the historic canal bridge and to improve the canal and towpath in an area which last saw boat traffic in January 1849.
The team of 16 volunteers had travelled to the site from across the country. They brought with them a variety of skills in using a range of equipment including a JCB excavator and a dumper truck and laid over 60 tonnes of locally produced stone onto the path. Heritage restoration skills were employed, with the correct lime mortar mix being used to improve the condition of the bridge which has received no maintenance at all since the 1970s when concrete was used to stabilise the structure.
The Trust would like to express its thanks to the volunteers, to adjacent landowners JCB and South Staffordshire Water, and to other organisations in the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership who helped in the planning of this project. We hope to undertake the next phase of work in September 2014.