Volunteers repair bridges on canal

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TWO bridges along the North Oxford Canal in Northamptonshire are being restored by a team of skilled volunteers using traditional techniques in an effort bring the traditional brick arched bridge back to their former glory.

Bridges 79 and 80, which were built back in the 1770’s and are located near the village of Barby, are well known traditional landmarks on the Oxford Canal. Over the years these two bridges have fallen into a state of disrepair and are in need of restoration to safeguard their future.

Volunteers from the Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) working alongside the Canal & River Trust will help restore these two historic waterway relics and save them from further decline.

The heritage repair works will include totally rebuilding and repointing the brickwork on the bridge supports as well as a complete restoration of the iconic brick arch.

The works will involve using traditional techniques such as lime mortar and where possible reclaimed bricks will be recycled and re-used within the rebuild.

Antonia Zotali project team manager from the Canal & River Trust said “We are delighted that volunteers from the Waterway Recovery Group have agreed to help us restore these two traditional bridges. These bridges have suffered from severe wear and tear as well as movement which has resulted in some very large cracks in the brickwork so are in desperate need of attention.

“The volunteers from WRG are highly skilled and are totally dedicated in helping us bring these two bridges back to life, which is just fantastic.”

Jenny Black from the Waterway Recovery Group said “We are really pleased that we can help restore these two bridges.

“This restoration is a great project and really demonstrates the work we do as a volunteer organisation.

“Some of the brick work has been removed so this will be a real test of our skills to make sure we get the bridge looking like it did when first built over 200 years ago”

At the end of the project the Trust and WRG will work together to create the handbook ‘Bridge Restoration Guide for Volunteers’ so that other volunteers can take on similar projects in their local area.