Modern technology has come to the aid of the Hollinwood Canal Society to check out the levels of the 213-year-old canal in Daisy Nook Country Park.
The GPS (Global Positioning System) satellite network was used to measure the exact heights above sea level of the canal between Crime Lake and Bardsley Bridge in Daisy Nook Country Park.
The Society is most grateful to N. D. Oliver and Co. Ltd., Chartered Land Surveyors, of Sale, who carried out the survey, and to the Business in the Community scheme, which enables businesses to benefit society by assisting community groups and charities.
Gina Hine, who is the North West Community Impact Manager for BITC, put the Society in touch with N. D. Oliver and Co. and arranged a site meeting at Daisy Nook. The survey was completed on 21st September.
N.D. Oliver and Co. gave their services free of charge and the Society only had to pay for the Ordnance Survey mapping used for the presentation of the results. This is a considerable help to a young Society that lacks huge financial resources.
The survey is a first step towards more detailed investigations exploring the plan to re-open the mile long stretch of water between Crime Lake and Bardsley Bridge, which includes part of the main Hollinwood Branch and much of the Fairbottom Branch.
In the past there has been mining subsidence in the area so it is necessary to find out whether this will be an issue. Other matters that will need to be investigated are ways to prevent leaks at Valley Aqueduct and on the embankment near Valley Farm, which had been a problem in the past.
The plan was first put forward in 2006 in a bid made jointly by the Society and Oldham Council for funding from IWA’s Jubilee Grant. The scheme was one of 9 chemes
short-listed out of 34 bids.
The work would have included removing the infill above Valley Aqueduct and carrying out repairs to that Aqueduct and the one over Crime Lane. The scheme would also have involved dredging as well as vegetation clearance, towpath improvements and a slipway. It would also have enabled a trip boat to be put onto the canal.
The short timescale in 2006 meant that a level survey could not be carried out at that time.
The Society’s Ed Mortimer said back in 2006, "While we are disappointed not to be awarded this grant, we are pleased with the enthusiasm shown for this scheme and the positive feedback received. As a new society, we did well for our bid to reach the shortlist. Putting the bid forward has helped to raise the profile of the restoration potential of this canal. Preparing the bid was a useful exercise involving the canal society working closely with Oldham Council."
The current economic climate makes it less likely that funding will be available for such projects in the immediate future but the level survey is a step towards being ready to make future bids.
In the mean time, working parties involving the Waterway Recovery Group North West are continuing to improve the condition of the Fairbottom Branch by removing trees growing in the canal bed as well as those damaging the wash wall and edging stones.
You can find more information about Business in the Community at www.bitc.org.uk and about N. D. Oliver and Co. at www.ndoliver.com