Boaters Newsletter - April 2018

A busy programme of winter maintenance has seen some significant improvements throughout the Navigation.  A cold March has delayed the arrival of Spring but hopefully some warmer weather is on the horizon to encourage everyone to come and enjoy what the Chelmer and Blackwater has to offer.

Work completed

Tree work
More overhanging and fallen trees have been removed from several locations.  This should significantly improve access along some stretches where trees had been causing problems.

Heybridge Basin Lock
The caisson gate has now been installed by Essex and Suffolk Water and is fully operational.  A new set of lower timber gates has also been installed and most of the lock chamber brickwork has been re-pointed and the flooring blocks re-sealed.  We are grateful to Essex and Suffolk Water for the significant amount of work undertaken at Heybridge again this winter.

Springfield Lock
New upper and lower gates have been installed.  The lock is now open.  However the lower gate, towpath side remains very heavy to open and may need some remedial counterbalancing.

Paper Mill Lock
Work is almost finished on alterations to buildings to facilitate the operation of our trip boat ‘Victoria’.  Victoria herself is currently undergoing survey work and some renovation, including a full complete repaint.
For more information or to book ‘Victoria’ please call Sue Clift on 07507 055021, email or go to the Chelmer Cruises pages online.

Willow Planting
Several hundred willow sets have been planted along the banks.

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

Work Planned

Our workboat ‘Dredger’ is currently undergoing an engine re-fit and will be better equipped to tackle a wide range of tasks to help keep the Navigation open.

Little Baddow Lock
A partial failure of the weir and associated wing wall occurred in mid March and has resulted in the closure of the Navigation between Little Baddow and Stonham’s locks.  Repairs are currently underway and will be completed as soon as possible.  We apologise for the inconvenience and will re-open this section as soon as repairs have been completed.

Beeleigh Lock 
New top and lower gates are planned for replacement this spring.  Notification will follow regarding the timing of this work.

Long Pond
A dredging project is planned between Beeleigh Lock and Chapmans Bridge.  We are currently seeking the necessary permits.

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 it is planned to carry out maintenance and cleaning of mooring stages.

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 car parking (IMPORTANT, please read)
Car parking enforcement is planned at Heybridge Basin.  Notification will follow regarding the start date.  This is being undertaken to protect the boaters’ car parking area from unauthorised parking and to ensure that those who are entitled to park have somewhere to do so.  You must visibly display an Essex Waterways car parking permit (old or new version) which must be affixed to the inside of any window in your vehicle.  If you do not have a permit, you can obtain one from Grant Everiss at Heybridge Basin or from David Smart at Paper Mill.  If you do not display a valid permit correctly you will receive a fixed penalty notice.  Further reminders will be issued before the start date of this new arrangement.

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

  • Thursday 12th April, 7.45pm for 8.00pm start Kevin Bruce ‘A trip up the Blackwater in old photographs’
  • Sunday July 1st Chelmsford River Festival  

Wildlife Sightings

The Paper Mill kingfisher has become rather famous.  It has attracted dozens of photographers in recent weeks, going almost viral on some social media sites.  Some fish remains suggest an otter has been present in the central section of the Navigation.  With spring now on the way there should be plenty of birdsong in the valley.  Listen out for whitethroats or look overhead for a swallow from mid-April.  Heybridge Basin on a flooding tide is a good bet to spot some black tailed godwits coming into summer plumage. 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