Boaters Newsletter - April 2015

Dear Users and Supporters,

Welcome to the second of our 2015 Newsletters. With the Easter holidays almost upon us, staff and volunteers have been working to ensure that we are ready to go! You may have already noticed or have heard about the resurfacing and clearance work which has been undertaken during the winter months along with work on the Sandford toilet block. On behalf of all the staff and volunteers here at Essex Waterways, we look forward to seeing you out and about over the coming year. 

Work completed
We are pleased to report that all of the lock platform boards have now all been replaced with oak boards incorporating an anti-slip system. 

Vegetation management work has been carried out between Barnes Lock and Bundocks Bridge with the assistance of a WRG (Waterway Recovery Group) Canal Camp, which spent a week in February with us staying on the Haybay barge at Heybridge Basin. It was a successful week with around 19 volunteers and opened up views which haven’t been seen in many years, one of our boaters at Sandford told us. It has enabled towpath surfacing between Barnes Lock and Bundocks Bridge with Essex County Council completing the work commenced last year. We have also cropped the willow trees in this section and re-planted. 

Vegetation management has also been the order of the day in Maldon between the upper bypass bridge and Black Bridge. Teams from WRG, IWA Chelmsford Branch supported by the Sandford Boating Club all contributed towards the clearance work along this section. The towpath has been widened as it is a bridleway, and trees between the waters edge and the towpath were removed, all of which will help the footpath to dry out. 

The Sandford facilities block is close to completion. Our volunteer plumber has not been available but we still aim to open the toilets for Easter. We are currently seeking approvals to surface the highway entrance to the Sandford car park.

Work planned
A138 Chelmer Viaduct or the old A12 bridge. We have attended a number of meetings with the appointed contractors, Grahams, about planned works on this major project, which affects one of the main trunk roads into and out of Chelmsford. Work has already commenced to replace the bridge with a new structure.  Although there are currently no planned navigation closures, please bear in mind the scale of the works and be cautious on your approach to ensure it is safe to pass. 

Springfield Basin. Further rebuilding of the wharf walls is due to commence on Tuesday 7th April. This work will take around two months to complete and during this time water levels will be lowered and the lock may be unavailable during some of this work.  

Piling at Hoe Mill.  The piles have arrived and a contractor has been appointed. Work on this is due to start in June and may last up to two months. This work should not affect the navigation and the lock should remain open as normal. The timing of this work relates to the contractors’ availability. 

We are still offering use of the Heybridge crane for a lift hold and scrub at a price of £90 for vessels under 10 metre length.  Contact the Heybridge Lock Keeper.

Our boat trailer is available at Paper Mill Lock for trailable boats whose owners wish to remove boats via the slipway for short period work ashore.  Contact Hugh Turner.

Also of interest 
As most of you are probably aware, Martin Maudsley is leaving us on 1st May. We have already advertised for Martin’s successor and plan to have someone in place as soon as possible.  We are sure everyone will join in wishing Martin the very best with his future in the Lake District. 

It was good to see so many of at the Users’ Meeting in February at Langford Village Hall. We received positive comments and suggestions.  We did ask at the meeting if any boat owners from either Hoe Mill or Heybridge Basin wished to put forward site representatives at our Advisory Group Meetings.  As yet we have not received any nominations. Please forward any nominations to Ray O’Shea at

Registration is now open for IWA’s inaugural Waterways Triathlon, to be held at Hoe Mill Lock on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation on Sunday 20th September, 2015. Entry fees and all sponsorship raised will benefit Essex Waterways for maintaining and improving the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, or The Susan Trust, which aims to restore the historic Chelmer lighter boat of the same name. 

Only a limited number of places are available for the 50km challenge, which consists of canoeing, cycling and running, so anyone interested in taking part should enrol without delay. A 30km course is also available as a shorter alternative to the main route. 
If you have any queries about the event or for more information about entry, pricing and full terms and conditions visit

Rolling Calendar. We have recently added to our website a list of events that are planned on the Navigation. This includes boaters’ events, fishing matches, work parties and other events happening along the waterway such as sponsored walks and the triathlon. If you have any events you would like advertised then please get in touch.  

News updates.  Most of you now receive the e-mail alerts that we send out that provide information on urgent works on the Navigation or important information. If you don’t yet receive these,  then please  let us have your e-mail address. 

Social Scene
New and regular users are welcome to attend our IWA social meetings. Please join us at Moulsham Mill, Parkway, Chelmsford (between the Tesco Home Store and Army & Navy roundabout) 7.45pm for an 8.00pm start. There is plenty of car parking and refreshments are provided. Several of the presentations are of particular local interest.  

9th April – Barry Watson, a hotel boater and boating musician will talk about his memories of hotel boating and will play a couple of songs....”Locking down, the Rochdale Nine, you don’t want to do it a second time.” 

14th May – Brian Cornell will be giving a talk about the watermen and the lighter men on the river Thames. This is sure to be an interesting talk to please come along and support the local IWA group. 

Contact Us  
Navigation Manager, Graham Brown 07966 375351,
Mooring and Fisheries Manager,  Hugh Turner 07910 558465,
Heybridge Lock Keeper, Martin Maudsley 07712 079764,
VHF Channel 80 ‘Heybridge Lock’ 
Moorings Administrator, Christine Walsh 01494 783453  ext 612,

Essex Waterways Ltd. Out of hours Emergency No. 07968 020554