Tuesday, 12 April 2016

'Fix on Fail' or 'Fail to Fix'.

The canal infrastructure seems to be deteriorating ever faster than before. Everyone is aware of locks that are in a poor state. However, this year we have noticed long sections of the canal towpath are now being turned into quagmires. A typical section we have seen this year is between Hawkesbury junction and Hillmorton.

As the towpath seems to have lost any drainage. Creating pools of standing water which are then churned up by mountain bikes into ankle deep cloying mud. Then the walkers on the towpath attempt to bypass the growing patches of mud and start to tread down the grass creating a new pathway. The cyclist then start to use the widened track to avoid the pools of mud and the cycle of mud creation starts all over again. Soon the mud is from the hedge to the edge.

Then the vegetation management also plays its part. Hedges are not kept in control by sensible management. They are either overgrown and overhanging the cut reducing available width and sighting lines on corners and bridges. Or they are hacked back creating short stunted hedges that the birdlife avoid. The edge to hedge towpath seems to be a narrow strip. The matter being cut and strimmed is them blown into the cut. Everyone has seen the long trails of blown grass cuttings.

How bad is it?

Now we see home made notices asking for areas where wild flowers and other plants have been introduced not to be cut or strimmed. Last year, we picked some greengages from trees that had been planted on the approach to a lock a few years ago. They had been planted with obvious supporting stakes, away from the hedge barrier in a small patch of land between the waterway and open fields. This time as we passed, we noticed the trees had been hacked back. Not hand pruned - just hacked back to a uniform level. Leaving no differentiation between the lock side, hedge fence and the fruit trees. If you hired a Gardner to tidy up your garden and they were to treat your garden in this way – you would be understandably angry.

There are large trees overhanging the waterway. Many leaning at precarious angles that will at some point ultimately fall and block the waterway. There are saplings growing between the towpath and the waterway. There are what were saplings only a few years ago that are already beginning to force the pilings into the waterway. These are obviously items for proactive maintenance. Being proactive saves money – yet everything is either ignored or butchered.

This has spawned a new boaters phrase, one that is being bandied around by many. CaRT has changed the old British Waterways mantra of 'Fix on Fail' to the whole new 'Fail to Fix'.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please put your name to your comment. Comments without a name may automatically be treated as spam and might not be included.

If you do not wish your comment to be published say so in your comment. If you have a tip or sensitive information you’d prefer to share anonymously, you may do so. I will delete the comment after reading.