Remedial work started on the Acres boardwalk in June. The new central section, which replaced the arson-damaged portion, is holding up well. However, the supporting posts of the some of the older lengths (at either end) have sunk into the saturated underlying peat. This frustratingly means that parts of the boardwalk have become impassable without wellies when the site is particularly wet.
The new section works so well because it is partly raised on recycled-plastic mats to spread the load of the whole structure. To replicate this, a contractor will raise the sunken older lengths of boardwalk by jacking-up and installing new pads underneath these sections too. As with any work on the Acres, this task will be weather-dependent and require adequately dry site-conditions. In the meantime, the Parish Council apologises for any inconvenience whilst the work is ongoing, but we are sure the results will be very worthwhile
Gnosall Canal Tow Path
Regular canal-walkers will know that there is a 200 metre stretch of towpath, adopted by the Parish Council, between bridges 34 and 35 that is badly in need of repair. Throughout the winter months and after any rain it becomes very muddy and difficult to walk.
The inestimable Dave Clarke, of BKV fame, made the Council aware of the need for an all-weather towpath, particularly in view of CFest being part of GFest this year. Barry Witts and his small team of volunteers (GTR) do an excellent job helping to maintain the adopted section but the work involved in creating an all-weather surface would need professional help with men and machines.
The path is well-used by leisure walkers, boaters moored alongside, cyclists from the Greenway and the Walking for Health group. As Gnosall is the Best Kept Large Village in Staffordshire (hoping for the hat trick this year) we should really be encouraging the use and maintenance of our village amenities for both visitors and residents alike.
With this in mind, we contacted the Canal and River Trust (CRT) to see whether we might meet to show them the extent of the challenge and at the start of May, the Clerk and Chair, along with Dave, met with Simon Papprill ( Midlands Enterprise Manager with the CRT), Michael Haig ( Inland Waterways Association) and Campbell Boyle (Gnosall resident on CRT Area Management Committee and local volunteer). We had a most enjoyable walk along the towpath (luckily it was dry at the time!) and made them aware of how much we value the path as a healthy-living resource and also as a reminder of the village’s industrial heritage. We were able to show them some of the improvements already undertaken and explain why we needed support with this job.
I think it is fair to say that they were impressed by what has already been done and by the value placed upon this amenity. Another meeting is to take place but links already exist between several potential sources of help and funding. Now watch this space!