Boaters Newsletter - July 2016

Dear Users,

With summer now upon us our staff and volunteer team are starting to tackle the new season’s weed growth having completed an initial cut of vegetation on the towpath.

Work completed

All work has been carried out by our team of lengthsmen.

Heybridge Basin
Two out of the four paddles have been replaced on the top gates.  This work required the assistance of a team of divers from Kent.
Our volunteers have installed a new seat outside Heybridge Cemetery.

Cuton Lock
A speedy repair in late April saw the replacement of one of the paddles in one of the top gates at Cuton Lock.  It was in a very poor condition. Take a look at the photos at on the  Essex Waterways facebook page (the entry for 3rd May).

Ricketts Lock
Additional mooring bollards installed lock side.

Beeleigh Lock
Additional mooring pins bollards installed below the lock.

Hoe Mill Lock
Pawl straightened and replaced on top paddle, non towpath side.

Paper Mill Lock
A new bench has been installed towpath side upstream of the lock, made from old lock beam timber.

The whole towpath has received its first cut of the season.

Work Planned

Little Baddow Lock
We are seeking the necessary consents to re-pile the lower landing stages later this year as they are in poor condition.

Paper Mill Lock
Installation of the new bridge across the tail of the lock is planned for 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 has been dismantled and delivered to Essex ready for installation together with new top gates next winter. This work will be carried out by Essex & Suffolk Water.
Additionally, the Environment Agency has de-silted the seaward side of the bottom gates.

Heybridge Basin
Further work is planned to improve the electricity facilities at the upstream end of the service bollards. Thank you for your cooperation during this work.

Important Information

Heybridge Basin
Parking - Please ensure you have a valid Essex Waterways permit if you are planning to park on the quayside.  Parking enforcement will be carried out this season to ensure parking is available for those for whom it is intended – i.e. those with moorings at Heybridge.
Visiting from upstream – if you would like to visit Heybridge Basin please contact Grant Everiss, our Lock Keeper to ensure that there will be a mooring available for you.  

Beeleigh Flood Gates
Please ensure that you leave these gates CLOSED.  This is imperative as it prevents any salt water that may overtop Beeleigh Weir on a spring tide from entering the Long Pond and damaging the ecology of the canal and flooding in Heybridge.  

Weed Cutting
A prompt start has been made to weed cutting this year with significant amounts already lifted at Hoe Mill and along the Long Pond.  

Reports of Rogue Traders
It has been brought to the attention of Essex Waterways that there are reports of rogue trading activity on the Navigation.   Essex Waterways strongly advises boat owners to satisfy themselves before entering into any contract as to the suitability and reliability of any potential contractor.  In addition, you are reminded that it is a requirement of your mooring agreement to provide evidence of public liability insurance for any contractor working on the Navigation, including on any vessel.  Furthermore, boat owners are reminded that their mooring agreement forbids any commercial activity on the Navigation.

Dinghies at Heybridge Basin
Dinghies or tenders at Heybridge Basin in the designated Heybridge Basin Sailing Association area must be clearly marked with their name.  Any boats not clearly identifiable will be removed after 15th July.

Chemical Toilet Disposal at Heybridge Basin
Chemical toilets (Elsan/Porta potti and the like) are not to be emptied in the toilet block at Heybridge Basin. They should be emptied into the facilities provided on the North Quay. In the unlikely event that this facility is full, please  inform the lockkeeper or other member of staff.

Landing Stages
Boaters are politely reminded that as part of their Essex Waterways Mooring Agreement, alterations, painting, inscriptions or attachments to landing stages are not permitted unless with prior agreement.

Oil Spills
Boaters are reminded of the strict environmental regulations that forbid the deposit of any oil or other pollutants in the water.  If accidents occur, or we find evidence of oil spills, we are required by law, and will do whatever we can, to minimise the impact on wildlife, etc, including the deployment of oils spill kits, which are available at Heybridge, Hoe Mill and Paper Mill.  In such cases, we will need to invoice boaters for the costs involved (which, depending on your individual arrangements, may be reclaimable from your insurers).

New Navigation Manager

Our new Navigation Manager David Smart joined us on 18th April.  David is based at Paper Mill Lock and is gradually getting up to speed on the management of the Navigation.  David is also now dealing with Moorings and Fisheries management, Hugh Turner having left EWL on 29th April.  You can find David's contact details on the Essex Waterways contact page. If you are at Paper Mill you are encouraged to pop into the office and introduce yourselves.

Social Scene

IWA Chelmsford Branch’s social evenings start again in September, you are all welcome at our new venue:
The Galleywood Heritage Centre, The Common, Galleywood, Chelmsford CM2 8TR
This is 1 mile from the A12 junction 16. Further information on directions/local map are on the Galleywood Heritage Centre website.

Thursday 8th September. We are delighted to welcome Richard Parry the Chief Executive Officer of Canal and River Trust to tell us about the current work, achievements, challenges and future plans of CRT. Please try to come to this meeting at our new venue and ask Richard some questions.

Thursday 13th October
David Newman: Salt extraction from the Blackwater Estuary.

Thursday 10th November
Ivan Cane: North Walsham & Dilham Canal 1826-2026 – an update

Thursday 8th December
Christmas buffet and quiz.
Farleigh Hospice ‘Walk for Life’ took place on Sunday 22nd May.  800 walkers took part raising over £60,000 caring for people with life limiting illnesses and their families.  Most walked from Heybridge Basin to Chelmsford and enjoyed the fine weather, bird song and great views.  The towpath was in great condition thanks to the efforts of our staff and volunteers the previous week.  Essex Waterways is proud to be associated with Farleigh Hospice and we look forward to another successful event next year.

Wildlife Sightings

New for this newsletter, it is hoped it will become a regular feature, highlighting some of the fantastic wildlife on what is effectively a 14 mile wildlife corridor across the county.

This spring the scrub alongside the towpath has been alive with birdsong, both resident and migrant species being present in good numbers.  Regular sightings have included Whitethroat, Blackcap and Cetti’s Warbler with Cuckoo present daily.  Mediterranean gulls have been exciting additions to the neighbouring gravel pits.  A water vole and a large grass snake were spotted on separate occasions during early May.

Paper Mill Lock
Swallows arrived on time and are now nesting under the road bridge.  Common terns are fishing successfully on the weir pool while a pair of Grey Wagtails are secretively nesting near the weir.  A Hobby did a dramatic fly by low over the office on 23rd May.
Early dragonflies are on the wing and will become more abundant as the temperature increases over the next few weeks.
Send your wildlife sightings to the Navigation Manager, contact details on the Essex Waterways contact page.

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