Boaters Newsletter - July 2018

An early spell of particularly warm and dry weather has made the Navigation a very busy place so far this summer.  The failure of Baddow weir was a challenge that is now behind us and the Navigation is fully open for business as usual.

Work completed

Baddow Weir
The initial and subsequent structural failures at Baddow Weir earlier this year have been a big challenge this spring.  Hampered by very difficult working conditions a large expandable floating pontoon was brought up the Navigation, on hire from local contractor Landbreach in Maldon.  This enabled work to continue and the repair has needed in excess of 50m3 of concrete to rebuild the wing wall, spillways and central pier.  The whole project has been professionally completed in an extremely cost effective way by our own team of lengthsmen.  

Weed Clearance
The hot weather has encouraged weed growth early this year.  Our weed boats have been on the Navigation clearing weed and will continue to do so until growth subsides.

Heybridge Basin Lock
The caisson gate installed over the winter by Essex and Suffolk Water and is now fully operational and is in a 28 day testing phase.  Visit the lock on high tides to see it in use.   

Hoe Mill Lock
We are most grateful to the work party from Ford Motor Co who visited us on 22nd June.  A really great effort from all concerned saw a great deal of painting and tidying to get Hoe Mill looking even better than normal.  Thank you to Colin Basil (lengthsman) and Laura Ellis (residential caretaker) for their assistance on the day.

Springfield Lock
New upper and lower gates have bedded in since installation in January and are now significantly easier to operate.   

Paper Mill Lock
Victoria trip boat is up and running.  She is available for group bookings.
For more information or to book ‘Victoria’ please call Sue Clift on 07507 055021, email or go to

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

‘Dredger’ has had a complete engine and drive system re-fit and is back in operation.  We have just completed the purchase of a 12 seat trip boat.  We plan to operate this from Heybridge and are seeking volunteers to help crew and maintain her.  If you would be interested to be involved please contact David Smart or Sarah Phillips (details below).

Work Planned

Beeleigh Lock 
New top and lower gates are planned for replacement. Notification will follow regarding the timing of this work, but it is not envisaged before October.

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

Tree Work
A number of trees need to be cut back or removed from the section between Stonham’s Lock and Cuton Lock.

Springfield Basin
Rebuilding the wharf walls at Cressy Quay in Springfield Basin is planned later this year. Work will not commence before October, and will require the water level to be lowered.


New Staff
We are pleased to welcome Sarah Phillips to the team as Administrative Assistant.  Sarah will be working Monday to Thursday from the Paper Mill office and can be contacted on 01245 226245 or at

Lee Rowley
We are saddened to report the death of Lee Rowley, following a short illness, at the end of May.  Lee was a hard working residential caretaker at Paper Mill and crew member for Victoria. His cheerful presence at Paper Mill is greatly missed.

Volunteers wanted!
We are always looking for volunteers to come and help maintain the Navigation.  From crewing our new small trip boat at Heybridge to cutting grass and hedges or maintaining landing stages, a wide variety of jobs await and volunteer roles can be tailored to suit.  Please contact David Smart or Sarah Phillips (details below).

Residential Caretaker Vacancies
There are currently vacancies for residential caretakers at Heybridge Basin and Paper Mill Lock.
Residential Caretaker positions come with a residential mooring (with local authority planning permission approved), for which the incumbent is charged the going rate (dependent on boat length). The post-holder is then expected to spend a minimum of 8 hours per week undertaking maintenance and security duties at the moorings area (e.g. grass cutting) for which they receive a modest salary.  For more information please contact David Smart or Sarah Phillips (details below)

Important Information

Lock gate setting
It is most important to ensure that when re-setting lock gates that they are mitred (i.e. the gates set so that they meet each other) 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, and this risks causing damage and weakens the gates shortening their useful life, and thus unnecessary expense.  Should anyone wish to have a lock use refresher, please contact the David Smart or Sarah Phillips (details below) to arrange.  Please don’t feel embarrassed to ask.

Boat sales
Boat owners are politely reminded that they are NOT able to offer their mooring to any potential purchasers.  Essex Waterways retains discretion over mooring allocation and upon the sale of any boat the mooring will be offered to existing customers who have already asked to move and are on the waiting list. This is conditional upon boat dimensions and mooring space available.  Any attempted queue jumping, with boats ‘sold with moorings,’ will not be permitted to stay on any given mooring without the prior consent of the Navigation Manager.  

Mooring stages
Boaters are politely reminded that mooring stages must not be altered without our prior consent.  Please note that maintenance and cleaning of mooring stages is carried out on a regular cycle, but you can help by keeping the landing stages by your boat clean and free from clutter.

Permanent moorings on the Navigation are almost at current capacity (other than in the marina at Springfield). As above, 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)
The contract with a new car parking enforcement company will commence soon at Heybridge Basin.  Notification will follow regarding the start date.  This is being undertaken to protect the boaters’ car parking area from unauthorized 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 or Sarah Phillips at Paper Mill.  Cars parked at Heybridge Basin not displaying a valid permit correctly you will receive a fixed penalty notice.  Essex Waterways will NOT be able to revoke tickets once issued.  Further reminders will be issued before the start date of this new arrangement.

Speed Limit
Please remember that the speed limit on the Navigation is 4mph.

Please note that fishing from boats is currently permitted whilst at your mooring, but fishing from the bank within 15metres of any mooring (including your own) is not.  This includes the landing stage. The fishing rules can be found in the Maldon Angling Society handbook.

Wildlife Sightings

Swan families have been out and about this last few weeks with 2 broods of 8 cygnets noted at Springfield and Beeleigh!  At least 1 singing nightingale joined the throng of other songbirds at Heybridge Basin this spring, the first for several years.  The recent very clear water has revealed a great number of fish with many roach, dace and chub sighted, interspersed with perch, carp and pike.  The Navigation is currently alive with dragonflies and damselflies, most notably there are very large numbers of Banded Demoiselles. Send your wildlife sightings to David Smart, contact details below.

Social Scene

IWA Chelmsford Branch meetings recommence in September.

Help us keep the Essex 10k running!

The Essex 10k returns on Sunday 16th September 2018 and we are looking for volunteers to help keep this event going.

Last year, we managed to raise a staggering £1500 for Essex Waterways Ltd to maintain the beautiful Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation.

This time round we are looking to raise even more awareness to this hidden gem and raise even more money for the Navigation. This was only possible due to the amazing efforts of volunteers who supported our runners throughout the event and encouraged them to cross that finishing line.

To keep up the momentum from last year’s event, we are calling on the community to help us organise another successful event.

What are we looking for:
We are looking for volunteers of all ages and abilities to help ensure the event runs smoothly on the day, whether that be signing in runners, manning a marshalling point or helping set up or take down the course, there is a role for you. No previous experience needed.

The details:
Once again returning to Hoe Mill on Sunday 16th September our 10k run will take place between 9am and 1pm and will take our runners through the picturesque Essex countryside.

Looking to run it?
For those who would be interested in running the Essex 10k the entry fee will be £15, with concessions for affiliated runners. More information is available on the website and the event Facebook page.

If you would like to get involved or know of anyone who would be interested please contact Alex Melson at or call 01494 783 453 ext 611.

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
Administrative Assistant, Sarah Phillips, 01245 226245

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