Boaters Newsletter - August 2015

Ricketts Lock

Every effort is being made to get Ricketts Lock re-opened as soon as possible.  Examination of the bottom gates has confirmed that they are beyond economic and safe repair.  Each set of lock gates on the Navigation are slightly different, so the manufacturers have visited and taken measurements, the order has been placed and the timber was sourced from the saw mills before they closed for their August break.  The manufacturers, Hargreaves of West Yorkshire, have been good enough to give this work their urgent priority, and they are hopeful of having the new gates in place by mid to late September.  In the meantime, we will be draining the lock to give the structure a general overhaul, clearance and undertaking any other repairs found necessary.

We are aware that a number of sets of gates on the Navigation are nearing the end of their life expectancy.  We plan to replace the upper gates at Paper Mill Lock during early 2016 and the next set we are considering would be the large lower gates at Hoe Mill.  Work on the cills at these locks and elsewhere is planned too.  In the meantime, please help us out by treating the gates with the utmost care and respect.

Heybridge Sea Lock

The Heybridge Sea Lock caisson gate is due to be replaced shortly.  The existing gate is currently inoperable and beyond economical repair. Under the historic Hanningfield Water Order 1950, its replacement is the responsibility of Essex & Suffolk Water.  Design work is currently underway for an updated ‘like for like’ replacement gate with the intention to install it this winter. Before Essex & Suffolk Water can complete the detailed design of the new gate, they need to remove the old one. This will enable them to undertake detailed measurements and assess the condition of the existing lock.  This work is due to start on 10th August, and will go on until mid September. Works will be restricted to the south of the lock where a works compound will be located. Site working hours are restricted to 07:30 to 17:00 Monday to Friday unless there is a specific need to work outside these hours. This will be the case during the week commencing the 17th of August when the Sea Lock will be closed to boat traffic for 4 days (from 4pm on Monday 17th until 4pm on Friday 21st) to install a temporary dam over the end of the gate recess.  Due to the weight of the existing gate and the available space, Essex & Suffolk Water plan to cut the gate up in its current position and lift out small sections by crane.

Other Works

Other works in hand at the moment include:

  • At Hoe Mill our contractors are replacing the bank piling above the lock and forming lowered canoe landing stages. This work is due to take a further three weeks.  There is no closure to navigation proposed, but boaters and canoeists are advised to approach the area with caution.


  • The Highways contractor works to replace the A138 viaduct over the Navigation on the outskirts of Chelmsford continues to schedule.  Again, there should be no disruption to navigation, but please approach the area with caution and follow guidance from contractors.


  • Contractors Land & Water are due to commence bank repair works upstream of Paper Mill Lock on 1st September.  This work is being carried out in conjunction with Essex Wildlife Trust.  No disruption to navigation is expected.

We are very sorry for any inconvenience that these works may cause, and particularly for the unplanned closure at Ricketts Lock.  We are doing out best to get them sorted as soon as possible.

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