WITH work returning after a Covid-19 enforced lay-off, the next stage of the Montgomery Canal restoration is well underway.

Fred Barrett, from the Shropshire Union Canal Society, says the motivation to catch up on lost time is what is driving their work and felt they had been blessed with good weather.

But he said despite this, the work has proved to be challenging for one reason or another over the weekend.

"There was much kinder weather and a real desire to get on with matters in hand," he said.

"They were the vital ingredients in a resumption of restoration of the Montgomery Canal at Crickheath, near Oswestry, following the enforced Covid-19 lockdown.

"The new working practice began, which observed strict social distancing and sanitation practice, and worked very well, with volunteers quickly getting used to the regime.

"The weather played the game and ground conditions were ideal. This was a significant factor in ensuring that a tremendous amount was achieved.

"Due to our enforced absence vegetation had rapidly grown around a drainage channel bordering our compound and also along the off side access bank. This resulted in in a major brush-cutting exercise by one of the volunteer units.

"A massive Willow tree had blown down blocking one of our access points. This had to be felled, cut into sections and removed, which provided another unit with a real challenge.

"On the channel itself a terrific transformation took place."

Fred added that one hundred metres of canal was levelled down to the finished depth in the flat base, which was stabilised with grout, and both sloping sides were profiled to the specific angle, transforming an undulating depression into a sharply, precisely defined, section of canal.

This will be given a final grading prior to lining with waterproof layers and then covered with building blocks to weight these layers down and protect them later in the year.

Work parties have been increased to two weekends to recover time lost, with the next on August 7.