Two pictures have been added to the album below, nos. 10 & 11. These show the last of the concrete filled sandbags placed on the 3rd October and the Aquabags all filled and ready to go in the river week commencing 9th October.
This is an aerial view of the problem we had and over the years the weather has been relentless with considerable further erosion taking place.
There have been lengthy discussions over many months with all of the appropriate authorities and Natural Resources Wales in an attempt to having remedial work carried out.
In May 2022 our hopes were raised when it was reported at one of our meetings that work could possibly be completed by our own volunteers and ARC. Briefly this would involve ARC in initially filling 1 ton bags with stone and building a barrier in the river. Behind this would be a “wall” of sandbags and behind that timber shuttering. Once that was in place concrete would be put/poured to form a solid foundation on which a culvert wall could be erected. Obviously there were many aspects of the work to be considered, not least the use of plant and manpower and purchase of suitable materials. It was, however, considered feasible and a plan of action drawn up.
The required licence to work in the river was obtained from Natural Resources Wales and plans amended, altered and changed where appropriate to at least get some work completed before the onslaught of winter. With the aid of suitable equipment, filled bags of sand were placed in the river to create a “coffer” dam to divert the water away from the collapsed area and prevent further erosion.
Fortunately at the time of year this work was started the river levels were quite low!
We need to mention the team from Unilever, Pot Noodle factory, in Crumlin who helped in the filling of the sandbags ready for use in the culvert. See Latest News/Unilever for the full report and pictures.
river sand bags
sandbags and blocks in place
Behind this dam would be placed what can only be described as concrete “Lego blocks” to create a solid foundation for the new wall to be built and to allow the space behind to be backfilled.
With the completion of "Phase 1" of the action plan there were two further phases to be completed before the “cut off” date of the 15th October 2023 when work in the river must cease (the NRW permit restricts work between the 15th October and the 15th April so as not to affect the possibility of fish spawning).
Phase 2 - The gaps at each end of the Lego blocks needed to be filled. This has been carried out with some 300 sandbags dry filled with sand and cement mix. The damp conditions of the river hardens the mix to form a solid “wall”.
blocks and sandbags
Phase 2 completed !
The white sand bags are the concrete filled bags which have now hardened with the rain and river water. They will be permanent. The grey sandbags will be removed and replaced with the “aquabags”/gabions.
Phase 3 - Removal of coffer dam sand bags and replaced with “gabions”. These will be 14 Salix AquaRock bags filled with 2 tons of stone. The bags mould to the contours of the river bottom.
This work is in progress, weather permitting. It may also be necessary to purchase further “Lego” blocks to extend the height of the foundation wall.
As can be seen a huge amount of work has already been completed but there is still considerably more to be done. It is with the support of our members that we have been able to purchase materials when required and hire suitable equipment when necessary. Thanks are also due to all the volunteers who have offered their services, to ARC for their involvement and also to South Wales Building Preservation Trust who have assisted with finance.
Further pictures are shown below highlighting some of the volunteers and work involved.
1. Getting ready to fill concrete bags
2. The group of volunteers
3. Sarah Phillips and Andrew Phillips, just two of the volunteers
4. Connor using the shute to get bags into culvert
5.Frameworks completed to hold the Aquabags
6.Filling two of the Aquabags with stone
7. One full bag
8. & 9. 20th September 2023 after heavy rain - it held!!
10. Last of the concrete filled sandbags placed on the 3rd October
11. Aquabags all filled, ready to place in the river