Wendover Arm Trust Working Party News - Issue 126, April 2018

Roger Leishman  |  Published: May 3rd 2018

March and April Working Parties


Weather did not permit any progress on lining work other than a short length of canal bed. To have attempted any more work would have been counter-productive.


Instead the working parties concentrated on clearing the vegetation on the banks between Bridge 4 and the cart track. “Old Man’s Beard” had taken over a great deal of it and is notoriously difficult to remove.


At the April working party the Portaloo was taken from Whitehouses, where it is kept, to Little Tring for one of the routine services.


May and June Working Parties


Hopefully bank and bed lining will start again and progress made but there is a great deal of work to do clearing up the ravages of the bad weather before productive work can re-commence.




Although the design for the false weir in front of the wharf wall was completed in November last year we still await the contract price from CRT. It is essential that this work is completed this year in order to avoid holding up the Trust’s lining work.


Tidy Friday


John Reynolds and his team continue with their good work of vegetation control. See schedule on page 3 for dates. In April new saplings supplied by David Page were planted.


This is valuable work and I am sure John would like to hear from anyone able to spare a Friday once a month.


6-monthly physical and financial progress report


Firstly I must apologise for a ‘typo’ in my October report. An eagle eyed reader of this newsletter with time on his hands spotted that certain figures did not add up correctly although the totals were correct. I have a computer program that produces all the financial figures including totals but not in the form I use in the newsletter. Therefore I have to manually enter them into the newsletter and I am afraid I got one entry wrong.


Resulting from the suspension of the Heritage Lottery bid I have reviewed my estimates but it is difficult to put figures on the lining stages yet to be completed so I have left them as they are pending clarification of future restoration work. I have reviewed the cost for Stages 3, 4 and 10 in the light of current costs and progress and on the basis that most of the work will be executed by the Trust’s volunteers and also reviewed overhead costs.


Stage 3 is the first stage to exceed the estimate of £175,000/stage made over 10 years ago. There are 3 major factors leading to what I estimate will be a cost of £225,00 for this stage:

  • The route of the 18” pipeline in front of the Herts County Council tip ran under a very high offside bank that had to be removed to allow pipe capping and then reinstated and consolidated, a heavy plant hire cost.
  • Dreadful weather conditions this winter; not only does hired plant stand idle while pumping takes place but volunteers work more slowly in deep mud and water rather than a dry site. For one work party an attempt to delay the delivery of hired plant from Friday to Monday failed because the hire firm could not deliver on the Monday.
  • The extra plant hire cost arising from the closure of Morgans and the above reasons. Stage 2 plant hire costs were £98,000 compared with £85,000 for Stage 1 (the Stage 1 figure has been extrapolated from an actual £78,200 as Stage 1 was about 30 metres shorter than the others). The plant hire costs for Stage 3 are already £112,249 and the stage is only about 80% complete.


Stage 4 is fairly straightforward with part of the capping and the mooring wall already completed but, allowing for weather and higher plant hire costs, I am increasing the estimate to £200,000 although part of this stage may eventually be done under contract.


Stage 10, Whitehouses, awaits an estimate from CRT for their contract work that includes the short length of pipe capping. The Trust will line the rest of the bed and the towpath bank. The Trust has so far spent £17,552 on this stage and CRT have said that they are going to complete the heritage work. Until we get a firm figure from CRT I am adding £50,000 to this stage.



General Notes


We operate as a self-supervising group under CRT and all volunteers receive and sign for the Trust’s

Restoration Handbook that includes full Health and Safety requirements for the restoration works.  

The handbook is the property of the Trust; if you leave the working parties for any reason, please return your Handbook to either Ray Orth or myself.

Hard hats for use at all times and high visibility jackets to be worn on sites with mobile plant in use are kept in the store at Tringford and must be drawn/returned there.

One first aid kit is kept in the store and one in the Nissan Cabstar and each qualified first-aider will have their own kit with him/her when on site.

Also available in the store at Tringford are ear defenders and goggles that must be worn when using strimmers, angle grinders, concrete breakers and the
like. CRT will supply hard hats, gloves and footwear with reinforced toecaps on request.

We normally work from 9am to 5pm (or dark if earlier!). There are breaks for morning tea/coffee, packed lunch and afternoon tea/coffee. We take our own food and drink.

Deep mud in the canal bed
Deep mud in the canal bed
How the banks look after clearance of overgrowth
How the banks look after clearance of overgrowth
Moving the portaloo
Moving the portaloo. All photos credit Steven Bonser.
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