In the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a workboat moored at the back of European Heathyards on the canal just near Clayhanger Bridge – since there’s a lot of decaying and falling brickwork on the towpath, I was hoping it was finally being tackled.
Sadly, this isn’t the case.
Over a few days last week, a flight of wooden framed, ballast filled steps has been built of the canal towpath down into the the marsh copse between the big house and new pond. The area is not crossed by footpaths, and is mostly bog. I know a lot of wildlife takes refuge there, as humans don’t generally have access.
Despairing it might be some kind of nature trail or other scheme, I swung past yesterday morning hoping to catch the work crew, who are from the Canal and River Trust. I was fortunate enough to see them to ask about the purpose of the steps.
They have been installed, the crew informed me, in order that surveyors can get to the foot of the embankment to survey it’s condition.
Yes, you read that correctly. A week of work, to put in steps. So surveyors don’t have to scramble down a bank. Meanwhile, 10 metres away, a trip hazard still lurks unfixed at the drain sluice, and nearby, there are foot-swallowing fissures where the edging brickwork has fallen away from the bank.
The Canal and River Trust keep complaining they have no money for repairs and maintenance. I can actually see why now. This is risible.
Since I spoke to the crew, a handrail has been installed. I hope it’s been sanded, because splinters are painful.