Boaters Newsletter - January 2018

Maintenance and repairs are in full swing on the Navigation in what is shaping up to be a potentially cold winter.  A number of projects have already been completed with others planned before Easter.  We hope that this will further improve the Navigation and provide an even better experience for our customers in 2018.  At the time of writing the Caisson gate at Heybridge is on track to be installed on time.  The Lock is due to reopen on 23 March 2018.

Work completed

Weed cutting and lifting
American Floating Pennywort continues to blight the Navigation with its presence.  This stubborn alien has shown its resilience this year by multiplying into large rafts in parts of the Long Pond.  It has also been noted in many other upstream areas of the Navigation.  Ongoing efforts by Chelmer Canal Trust and EWL staff and volunteers were given a boost in November when Waterway Recovery Group BITM joined us for a weekend’s weed busting between Chapman’s Bridge and Beeleigh. A great deal of weed was removed, helping our perennial battle against this most resilient plant.  This work is vital in keeping the Navigation open.  Many thanks to all those involved.

In other areas EWL staff have been removing encroaching reeds and other marginal vegetation in order to maintain the width of the Navigation.

Tree work
A number of overhanging and fallen trees have been removed from several  locations; above Barnes Lock on the flood meadows, Ulting Church, below Hoe Mill and adjacent to Wave Bridge, Heybridge.

Paper Mill Lock
‘Victoria’ made her last trip of the season on 5th November 2017, bringing the total to 48 for the year, which was above target for our first short season.  Alterations to Paper Mill buildings are currently under way to facilitate bookings and catering for next season.  For more information please call Sue Clift on 07507 055021, email or go to our Chelmer Cruises website area

Little Baddow Lock
A replacement beam has been fitted to the island side upper gate.

Stonhams Lock
Two new paddles fitted to lower gates.

The bankside vegetation has been cut on a number of stretches.

Work Planned

Springfield Lock 
New top and lower gates are scheduled for replacement in January.  Due to the condition of the existing gates, use of the lock remains TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED.

Beeleigh Lock
New top and lower gates are planned for replacement in March.

Heybridge Sea Lock
New lower gates are planned for replacement in February.

Long Pond
A dredging project is currently being planned to cover the length between Beeleigh and Chapmans Bridge.

Willow Planting
Several hundred willow sets will be planted along the banks during January.

Important Information

Lock gate setting
It is most important to ensure that when re-setting lock gates that they are mitred correctly.  The mitred faces of the uprights MUST meet correctly in order for the gates to function correctly and safely.  It has been noted on numerous occasions that this best practice has not been followed.  Should anyone require a lock use refresher, please contact the Navigation Manager to arrange.

Mooring stages
Boaters are politely reminded that mooring stages must not be altered without prior consent from EWL.  Please note that we plan to carry out maintenance and cleaning of mooring stages in the New Year.

Permanent moorings on the Navigation are almost at current capacity (other than in the marina at Springfield). If you plan to buy or sell a boat please ensure that you contact the Navigation Manager well in advance to facilitate mooring.

Heybridge Basin wheelbarrows
Please ensure that you return wheelbarrows to their rightful place after use.  This is a polite reminder that wheelbarrows are provided for the use of all of our customers.

Users Meeting
The annual Users Meeting will take place on Tuesday 6th February 2018 at 7pm at Langford and Ulting Villlage Hall, Maldon Road, Langford, Essex, CM9 4SS

Social Scene

You are always welcome to IWA Chelmsford Branch social meetings.  Meet at 7.45pm for an 8pm start, home made cakes provided. These are held at The Galleywood Heritage Centre, The Common, Galleywood, Chelmsford, CM2 8TR
This is 1 mile from the A12 junction 16. For directions and a local map click here. 

Upcoming events

  • 11th January, ‘Wherry Maud Trust’, Linda Pargeter
  • 8th February, ‘History of Navigation at Sea’, Malcolm Case
  • 8th March, ‘Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation’, David Smart
  • 12th April, ‘Trip up the Blackwater in old photographs’, Kevin Bruce

Wildlife Sightings

Up to ten Red Admiral butterflies were seen feeding on Ivy flowers at Heybridge during a warm spell in early November.  Since the arrival of lower temperatures a number of Little Grebes have been seen in various locations.  The Paper Mill kingfisher often entertains the tearoom clientele, perched atop the lock gate railings or a nearby boat.  Close to Paper Mill a Little Owl frequents the dead oak on Bumfords Lane and the game cover there plays host not only to pheasants and partridges but sizeable mixed flocks of finches and buntings.

Send your wildlife sightings to the Navigation Manager, contact details below.

Contact Us

Navigation Manager, David Smart 07966 375351
Heybridge Lockkeeper, Grant Everiss 07712 079764,
Moorings Administrator, Christine Walsh 01494 783453 ext 612,
Chelmer Cruises, Sue Clift 07507 055021,

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