Boaters Newsletter - July 2015

Dear Users and Supporters,

Welcome to our third newsletter for the year. With a fine summer ahead of us, here are a few updates along with progress reports since the last edition.

Work completed
The Sandford facilities block is now open for use. We would like to thank all of our customers who have been patient with this project along with all of our volunteers who have played a part in getting this facilities block built and open. We hope that this now gives years of service to all of our customers. The old toilet has now been removed.  We have also surfaced the gate access to the Sandford car park although some work remains to be completed to the surfacing.

Weed – that dreaded word!  We have been out over the last few weeks trying to keep on top of this annual occurrence. We now have a second weed boat so that we can cut the weed and lift it out at the same time. We are indebted to the Essex County Council Community Initiatives Fund for their grant of £20,000 towards the purchase of this new boat.

Our regular volunteers at Paper Mill Lock have re-instated some of the bank which had washed away between Paper Mill Lock and the 59 bridge half way down to Ricketts. They have done this using clay to rebuild that section of the bank.

Boaters at Paper Mill Lock will be pleased to hear that work on the new island sewage plant is complete and operational. The toilet on the island can only accept biodegradable materials so please do not empty any containers, portable toilets, or chemicals such as the blue elsan into this system. Please ensure you use the facilities block on the north bank for all sewage disposal.

Water levels were reduced for two weeks between Stonhams and Little Baddow lock in order for repair work to be carried out to the Mill House at Little Baddow. Whilst water levels were reduced, staff took the opportunity to clear out some of the areas around the Mill House that had been silted up. Work was also carried out on the weir and surrounding structures.

London Waterway Recovery Group recently visited Heybridge Basin for a weekend and concreted the path in the crane area. It was a lovely sunny weekend, which was enjoyed by all and, as always, a very successful work party with a number of positive comments received from customers and the passing public.

Work planned
A138 Chelmer Viaduct
. Work is progressing on site and Grahams Construction is keeping us informed.  There are still no planned closure dates and the erection of the temporary bridge will be done without closure to navigation.  Please be aware however of the major works in this area and be alert whilst passing through.

Springfield Basin. Work on rebuilding wharf walls is continuing. Water levels will be lowered until further notice and navigation should not be attempted above Springfield Lock during this period. The Basin will be reopened as soon as possible and be available for the planned Rivers Festival on 26th July.

Piling at Hoe Mill. Due to our contractors work at Springfield Basin we now expect this work to start around the end of July / beginning of August. We will be rebuilding the landing areas above the lock and as explained in the last newsletter, this should not impact on navigation. We will confirm the programme once finalised.  

Caisson Gate. Essex Waterways is pleased to be working with Essex & Suffolk Water Company to replace the caisson gate which is located at the sea lock in Heybridge Basin. The gate serves a number of purposes, but the benefit for EWL is that it will allow us to fit more boats in the lock during busy periods. Work on this project is due to be underway in the coming months but will not affect the lock during the summer. There may be restrictions to access/exit into the estuary during the much quieter winter months however we will keep you informed with dates that may be affected once we know.

Reminders / Staff update
We have a new lock keeper at Heybridge Basin, Grant Everiss who started in May.  Grant previously worked on the Thames sailing barge Gladys and knows Heybridge Basin well.  I’m sure you will all join me in wishing Grant the very best in his new role.

Sam Holden, our residential caretaker at Paper Mill Lock left us on 15th June to move onto different living arrangements. Sam has been with us nearly 3 years. We wish Sam, Stacey and Frankie all the very best in their new accommodation. We are currently seeking a new caretaker for Paper Mill Lock.  Contact Graham Brown, Navigation Manager.

We are still offering use of the Heybridge crane for a lift hold and scrub during the autumn, at a price of £90 for vessels under 10 metre length.  Contact Grant Everiss, 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 a short period to work ashore. Contact Hugh Turner, Moorings Manager.

Also of interest
Boat safety certificates and Insurance
. It is noticeable that a few customers are allowing their Boat Safety Scheme certification and/or insurance to expire before renewing or passing the details onto Christine or Hugh. Please ensure your documentation is kept up to date; it is a requirement of your mooring agreement. The majority of our customers keep all their documents up to date but a few are causing us unnecessary expense by not providing this information. Thanks for your support in this.

Safety on wet landing stages. Please remember that landing stages can be slippery when wet.

Rolling Calendar. We have recently added to our website a list of events that are planned on the Navigation. This includes boating and other events happening along the canal such as sponsored walks and even a triathlon. If you have any events you would like advertised then please get in touch and we can look to add these to the calendar on your behalf.

News updates. Most of you now receive alerts that we send out via email updating on urgent works or important information.  If you haven’t registered your email address with us, then please do as it really does help us get information to you quickly, especially at short notice.

Social Scene
IWA Chelmsford Branch social meetings recommence in September. New and regular users are welcome to attend our IWA social meetings. Feel free to come to 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.  

  • 10th September – What makes the Brent special – Janet Hall of the Steam Tug Brent Restoration Trust. The Brent is moored on Maldon Quay.
  • 8th October – Awaiting speaker confirmation
  • 12th November – Ten years of Essex Waterways – Roy Chandler
  • 10th December – Christmas Social - Event


Chelmsford Rivers Festival. Sunday 26th July. You are encouraged to bring your boat to Springfield Basin and join the second River Festival in the city centre. There will be numerous displays and events focused around the rivers.

Just Three Months to IWA’s Triathlon
There are only three months to go before IWA’s Waterways Triathlon, based at Hoe Mill Lock on the Navigation and places are going fast. The event takes place on Sunday 20th September with a choice of a 50km or 30km course of canoeing, cycling and running.

 Places are £35 per person and all sponsorship raised will benefit two local Essex causes - Essex Waterways, and The Susan Trust, which is storing The Susan, the last remaining historic Chelmer lighter.

Participants who have signed up for the triathlon so far include a mixture of individuals, teams and even a dog! If you would like to be part of IWA’s exciting event, then book your place now. It will be a fantastic opportunity to see beautiful parts of the Essex countryside whilst supporting worthy waterways causes. Participants are welcome to bring their own canoes/kayaks.

Further information is available at IWA’s website or from Toby Gomm on 01494 783 453 ext.611.

Contact Us

Navigation Manager, Graham Brown 07966 375351,
Heybridge Lockkeeper, Grant Everiss 07712 079764,
Mooring and Fisheries Manager,  Hugh Turner 07910 558465,
Moorings Administrator, Christine Walsh 01494 783453  ext 612,

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