Boaters Newsletter - April 2016

Dear Users,

Our staff and volunteers have been busy over the winter period preparing the Navigation for the Spring and Summer.


Our Annual Users Meeting was held on 23rd February and we would like to thank all those who attended and celebrated our ten years of operation with a presentation highlighting work carried out and birthday cake. Thank you also for your useful comments.

Work completed

Paper Mill Lock
The delivery and installation of new top gates and cills at Paper Mill Lock has progressed well and only two or three days were lost due to high water levels. There is always an unknown with lock repair work and this time it was the existence of a timber floor beneath the bottom gates. This was in poor condition and has been repaired with new oak planks. The bottom gates have been overhauled and the cills and capping boards replaced. The lock was reopened for the Easter weekend.  Take a look at the photo gallery at Paper Mill Lock on IWA's website.

Heybridge Basin
Changing the card meters on the south side moorings is complete and work is continuing to improve the electricity facilities at the upstream end of the service bollards. Thank you for your cooperation during this work.

Work parties

We have held further weekend work parties with both London and Essex Waterway Recovery Group visiting. Work carried out included the construction of new canoe racks on the Paper Mill Island and tow path work above Paper Mill Lock.
We held a Waterway Recovery Group week long Canal Camp in February when the tow path was surfaced from Paper Mill to above the upstream bridge (installed by Essex Wildlife Trust last year). The very popular tow path here was suffering from mud that was 200mm deep in places prior to this work.  There is a photo gallery on IWA's website of some photos of the work in progress.

Work planned

A138 Chelmer Viaduct
This impressive new structure is nearing completion and the contractor expects it to open to traffic in early April. The temporary haul bridge will be removed between 11th to 15th April without any closure to Navigation. Banksmen will be in place to ensure the safe passage of any craft. There will, however, be a closure to navigation during a week in May to allow demolition of the old bridge. This will avoid any Bank Holiday weekends and we will advise of dates once these are confirmed by the contractor. There will also be bank work undertaken here during July and / or August.

Cuton Lock
Work is necessary to cure a non operational top paddle which will require lock closure. It is hoped that this can be restricted to a week and we will advise of dates as soon our programme is finalised.

Little Baddow Lock
We have carried out temporary repairs to the tow path lower landing stage and we are seeking the necessary consents to re-pile these stages later this year as they are in poor condition.

Paper Mill Lock
Listed Building consent for the new pedestrian bridge over the tail of the lock to the lock island was not received in time for this to be erected during the lock refurbishment. The bridge has been ordered and will be installed in the Autumn. 

Hoe Mill Lock
New lower gates have been ordered and these will also be installed late Autumn.

Heybridge Basin Sea Lock
The new caisson gate has been built and a trial operation carried out in Cardiff. It will be dismantled for delivery to Essex shortly ready for installation together with new top gates next winter. This work will be carried out by Essex & Suffolk Water.

New Navigation Manager

Our new Navigation Manager David Smart will join us in mid April. David comes to us from Essex Wildlife Trust where he has been the Reserve Manager at Abbotts Hall Farm for many years and thus has a wealth of experience relevant to our operation. We look forward to welcoming David who will be based at Paper Mill Lock.

Our Moorings and Fisheries Manager Hugh Turner will be leaving us at the end of April as we rationalise our management arrangements. We thank Hugh for his many years with EWL and involvement with the Navigation since he established Blackwater Boats in 1991. We wish Hugh all the best for the future.

Social Scene

Our customers are always welcome to IWA Chelmsford Branch’s social evenings. These are currently held at Moulsham Mill, Parkway, Chelmsford CM2 7PX (between the B&M Store and Army & Navy roundabout). 7.45pm for an 8.00pm start, parking and refreshments available. The current programme is:

14th April 2016 - Michael Taverner will join us from the National Coastwatch Institution – Southend Station. Watch-keepers are the eyes and ears along the coast, keeping a visual watch, monitoring radio channels, using radar and providing a listening watch in poor visibility. They remain vigilant at all times. Surveillance work is mainly routine but watch-keepers are trained to act in an emergency, report and, if required, co-ordinate with the search and rescue service.

12th May 2016 - Mike Petty comes to talk to us about Cambridge and the Fenland Waterways.

Contact Us 

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