Four volunteers from the RC&NDWS today made a start on what may turn out to be a major project at the terminus of Lord Roll’e Canal on property belonging to RHS Rosemoor Gardens, in Torrington. This is where there was a canal basin and where the leat which fed the canal, and prior to that a tucking or fulling mill, joined forces. The canal and lime kiln complex at this point on the canal is in a very poor state of repair. The course of the canal here is little more than a heavily overgrown, semi-infilled ditch alongside the derelict and crumbling kilns. A far cry from what it would have been like during its days of industrial operation.
The volunteers, Hilary and Adrian Wills, Trevor Fordham and Ian Harrison arrived on site at 9.30 to be greeted by Rosemoor Curator, Jonathan Webster. Adrian had previously been in communication with Jon’ for quite some time ensuring that all the necessary permissions and health and safety requirements had been covered and agreed.
Using an assortment of long-handled shears and loppers the four set to work cutting down the invasive vegetation that had established itself along the edges of the canal. RHS Rosemoor are very much ‘on board’ with the RC&NDWS desire to see this site properly investigated and have offered considerable help in providing assistance with clearing and removing debris using plant operated by Rosemoor staff. Much of the origin wharf wall is either buried under debris and infill or has been demolished. Until the overburden is removed a clear picture of how much of the site is still intact is hard to achieve.. Subject to what is found, time and money, this could be the beginning of a long term and fascinating journey of discovery.
Unfortunately the weather turned against the group and what started out as a rather grey and dismal day became increasingly wet and unpleasant so following a lunch sheltering in one of the more stable fire-mouths of the kiln, they finally called it a day and went home to change into dry and warm clothes. However, it was a very successful and profitable start to this scheme and work will continue next Tuesday (November 10th), subject to reasonable weather.