Boaters Newsletter - October 2016

Dear Users,

Perhaps the most important piece of information is to remind boaters that the Heybridge Basin sea lock will be CLOSED from 1ST NOVEMBER until 31ST MARCH 2017. If you wish to stay over winter in the Basin or leave the canal via the lock for the winter, you MUST do so BEFORE 1ST NOVEMBER. There will also be some short closures of the lock in October; please contact Grant Everiss, Heybridge Lock Keeper, for up to date information.

With the summer cruising coming to an end we will be turning our attention to winter maintenance and repairs to our infrastructure to ensure that EWL continues to improve the navigation for all its users.

Work completed

Weed cutting
Weed growth has persisted quite late this year with an alien pondweed proving particularly problematic in the Long Pond and especially in the Basin. Our lengthsmen removed a significant quantity of American Pennywort in August, followed by much appreciated assistance from the Chelmer Canal Trust work party.

Springfield Lock
A paddle repair to one of the top gates was required to keep the lock open in early July.

Beeleigh Lock
Bracket added to lower gates to strengthen a balance beam.

Sandford Lock
Repairs to pawl following vandalism.

The whole towpath received its second cut of the season by the end of July.

A 138 Chelmer Viaduct
The old road bridge has now been demolished and cleared away. Bank works beneath the bridge have now been completed.

Work Planned

Heybridge Basin
Major works are currently under way to prepare for the installation of the new caisson gate and new upper lock gates. Work is being carried out by Essex and Suffolk Water and their contractors IWS with assistance from EWL staff. The lock will be CLOSED from 1st November 2016 until the end of March 2017. In addition there will also be some lock closures in October. Please contact Grant Everiss, Heybridge Lock Keeper for up to date information on closures. Installation of a new sewage removal system is planned while the lock is closed this winter.

Little Baddow Lock
An application has been submitted to the Environment Agency for flood defence consent to re-pile the 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 October. The current walkway attached to the lower gates will then be removed. Completion of towpath surfacing above the lock.   

Hoe Mill Lock
New lower gates have been ordered and are due to be installed in late January. Local dredging to increase depth on moorings.

Sandford Lock
Winter refurbishment of lower gates planned.

Barnes Lock
We hope to replace the lower lock gates in March, but this is not certain yet.

Important Information

Heybridge Basin
Visiting from upstream – if you would like to visit and moor in Heybridge Basin
please contact Grant Everiss, our Lock Keeper before setting out to ensure that you can be

Please ensure that all tenders/dinghies have been identified within the Heybridge Basin Sailing Association storage area and elsewhere at Heybridge Basin. Boats not claimed by 30th November will be disposed of.

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.

Permanent moorings on the Navigation are almost at current capacity. If you plan to buy or sell a boat please ensure that you contact the Navigation Manager to facilitate mooring allocation.

Mooring fees 2017

Please note that long term mooring fees will increase by 2% effective from 1st January 2017.
Other associated fees for small craft, short term moorings,  and other services will also rise by varying amounts from 1st January, and a full schedule of charges will be available on our website from December. Fees for licence agreements for the yacht stores and other commercial leases will also rise by varying amounts from the 1st January and we will write to affected parties during October to give formal notice in each case.

Essex Waterways staff moving on

It is with regret that September saw two of our staff moving on to pastures new. Eve Sullivan, one of our lengthsmen has taken up an exciting post as part of the grounds maintenance team at Colchester Zoo. Eve has had a long association with the waterway, gaining a great deal of knowledge along the way, and playing a big part in maintaining and improving the Navigation. June Meads, one of our caretakers at Hoe Mill has decided to retire after 9 years and go back ‘ashore’. June did a fantastic job of keeping Hoe Mill immaculate and setting up and running the campsite. Thank you very much to both of them for all their hard work.

Social Scene

You are always welcome to IWA Chelmsford Branch social meetings. These are held at 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 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 - Branch Christmas Social: Bring and share buffet and quiz.

Wildlife Sightings

In the bird world autumn starts early. This was evident on the mudflats outside the lock with July sightings of black tailed godwits still in full summer plumage, having returned to the Blackwater all the way from Iceland. Bird numbers here will increase over the next few weeks with excellent bird-watching opportunities just in front of the lock on a rising tide.

Water voles continue to be seen occasionally at Heybridge, having now colonised the adjacent gravel pits.

Paper Mill Lock
Having bred on the upper catchments of our Essex rivers, mid September saw the return of a kingfisher to the weirpool. The excellent weather has provided a long season for dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies. Species seen have included Emperor Dragonfly, Brown Hawker, Black Tailed Skimmer, a multitude of Banded Demoiselles as well as Admiral, Painted Lady and Essex Skipper.

Send your wildlife sightings to the Navigation Manager

Contact Us 

Navigation Manager, David Smart 07966 375351,
Heybridge Lockkeeper
, Grant Everiss 07712 079764,
Moorings Administrator, Christine Walsh 01494 783453  ext 612,

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