Chugging up the S Oxford recently we had to manoeuvre past these fine fellows mucking about in the water. You can see how deep the canal isn’t in these parts. The man in the water is only up to his ankles. I presume they are widening the towpath where the bank has been eroded away. Anyway, they are using a technique I hadn’t seen on the canal bank before, which is installing gabions, i.e. cages of rocks.
I hadn’t realised before that gabions were built on site. They had big flat sheets of the wire mesh and were cutting and bending it to make the cages which were then interlinked using helical thingys a bit like spiral notebook binding. Once made up and places in the water they shovelled the rocks in and capped them off with more wire. The finished thing looked like this.
If you look closely you can see the spiral binders.
What happens next I’m not sure. Might they try to turf over the top? Or perhaps plant other waterside vegetation that will grow through the rocks. If anyone else has passed by since we were there ( I see my photo is dated 10 October), I would be interested to know.
I had a quick read up on gabions on Wikipedia and it reckons they might last about 50 years before the wire rusts through. Maybe by then they will be consolidated by mud and vegetation.
PS I notice that it’ll soon be time for the Annual Herbie Awards, you’d better pop down to Sketchleys with that tuxedo.