Dig­ging deep on the K& A

KENNET & AVON

Canal Boat - - News -

WORK ON A project to dredge sec­tions of the 78-mile Kennet & Avon Canal has be­gun.

The pro­gramme, cost­ing £1m and last­ing two years, will fo­cus on ar­eas where boaters are hav­ing dif­fi­culty moor­ing, nav­i­gat­ing through bridges or get­ting stuck on the ap­proach to locks. In to­tal over 30,000 tonnes of silt will be re­moved from the canal.

The Canal & River Trust will use a float­ing dredger to scoop up the silt and de­bris which has built up along the bot­tom of the canal. Once col­lected the silt will be re­cy­cled to agri­cul­tural land along­side the canal.

The project will also in­stall wa­ter vole-friendly coir rolls (soft mats made from re­cy­cled co­conut husks) to pro­tect the canal bank from ero­sion while al­low­ing wa­ter voles to bur­row to make homes. It is hoped that the mats will con­nect dif­fer­ent colonies of the en­dan­gered ro­dents and so help to boost their num­bers.

Work be­gan in the Crofton area, where 4,160 cu­bic me­tres were re­moved from be­tween Bridge 87 at Great Bed­wyn and Lock 59, plus the ap­proaches to Bruce Tun­nel. Hav­ing com­pleted these lengths be­fore Christ­mas, the Trust planned to move on to the Long Pound in the New Year, con­cen­trat­ing in two sec­tions to­talling 10km: the Hor­ton area ( Bridge 129 to Bridge 133) fol­lowed by the Pewsey area (pic­tured) from Woot­ton Rivers Locks to Bridge 116.

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