Boaters Newsletter - January 2019

In the depths of mid-winter the Navigation, while quiet from a boating point of view, is a busy hive of activity with volunteers and staff active throughout the waterway with a programme of works to improve the Navigation for all. 

Work completed

Beeleigh Lock
New top and lower gates were installed earlier in the winter along with new cills and capping boards.  This long awaited project was completed by our contractors and our own Lengthsmen Team with financial assistance from Northumbria Water Ltd.  In addition bankside silt and vegetation were cleared above the lock. 

Hoe Mill Lock
New guard rails have been added to the top gates and improvements made to the gear, making winding the paddles a much easier job.

Weed Clearance
Removal of Floating Pennywort has taken place at various locations.  This alien plant remains a constant issue and requires ongoing effort to control.  Chelmer Canal Trust have also been particularly busy, as usual with this work.  A successful joint application between Essex Waterways and Chelmer Canal Trust has resulted in a grant of £4600 to cover equipment purchase and training of volunteers and staff for further control methods.

Tree Work
Some tree work has been completed on the upper section of the Navigation.  A large and potentially dangerous willow has also been removed from the towpath at Heybridge Basin.

Heybridge Basin Lock
The caisson gate is in its reliability testing phase.  We are currently working with Northumbria Water Ltd and their contractors to iron out the final issues.  Visit the lock on spring tides to see it in operation.  

Springfield Basin
Work has just been completed on the final phase of re-building the wharf wall at Cressy Quay which will provide additional moorings with services. 

Paper Mill Lock.
Improvements have been made to the winding gear of both sets of gates.  Work is currently underway to improve ‘Victoria’ visitor reception facilities at Paper Mill.  For more information or to book ‘Victoria’ please call Sue Clift on 07507 055021, email or go to

Tree work
50 mature willows have been harvested with a further 300 setts planted.  Cricket bat willows remain an important source of income

Landing Stages
A number of landing stages have been repaired and/or replaced

Work Planned

Beeleigh Lock
The footbridge and footpath require refurbishment.

Paper Mill Lock
The footpath between the road bridge and the tea rooms will be levelled and re-surfaced.

Long Pond
A dredging project is currently being planned between Beeleigh and Chapmans Bridge.  The consents have been obtained and it is hoped to complete some work before the end of the winter.

Tree Work
Further substantial work is required to cut back/remove trees from the section between Stonham’s Lock and Cuton Lock.  This will take place before the end of the winter.  Additional willow setts will be planted. 

Springfield Basin
Infrastructural improvements are planned to facilitate three new residential moorings, for which planning permission has been granted.

Important Information

Volunteers wanted!
We are always looking for volunteers to come and help maintain the Navigation.  From crewing our new 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 the Navigation Manager.

Residential Caretaker Vacancies
There is currently a vacancy for a residential caretaker at 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 the Navigation Manager

Key Facts
Alongside the usual documents, new customers to the Navigation will be issued with a ‘KEY FACTS’ sheet.  This is a quick and convenient introduction and reference to those all-important sections contained within our mooring agreement.  Can all existing customers please also be reminded of these points;
Mooring – you cannot sell your mooring with your vessel
Lock gate setting – please leave locks full
Landing stages – do not alter without consent
Speed limit – 4mph
Insurance – certificate must be provided
Angling – not permitted from the bank between boats

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.

Social Scene

Chelmsford IWA Socials are at:

The Galleywood Heritage Centre,
The Common, Galleywood,
Chelmsford, CM2 8TR

Time: 19:45 for 20:00

Thursday 10th January
Dr Colm Lanigan - The Work of Mercy Ships

Thursday 14th February
John Pomfret - The story of Braunston, canal age transport hub

Thursday 14th March
Chelmsford Branch AGM. Followed by Martin Wade - The work of The Mersea Lifeboats

Thursday 11th April
Athina Beckett - The Buckingham Canal Society

Thursday 9th May
To be Announced

Wildlife Sightings

In line with the season the estuary is currently full of birds.  At Heybridge Basin Brent geese are notable, moving between the river and the gravel pits, as are dunlin, their murmurations wheeling above the big winter sky.  On the Navigation Little Grebes and Kingfishers are present throughout as are roving mixed flocks of passerines feeding in the riverside trees.  Beeleigh is a good spot for close up views of Little Egret and Teal. 

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

Staff Changes

David Smart, Navigation Manager, will be leaving us in February to return to Essex Wildlife Trust to take up the post of Head of Landscape Conservation, covering the whole county, after just over two and a half years on the Navigation.  The Navigation Manager post is currently being advertised.

Christine Walsh, who has been Moorings Officer, based at Chesham, for nearly 12 years retired at the end of December.  Much of Christine’s work is being transferred to the Paper Mill Office, and your point of contact for moorings queries will be Sarah Phillips.  Invoices for moorings and other costs will still be sent from Chesham – contact Paula Smith or Heather Masters (01494 783453) with any queries.

We are pleased to welcome Tony Fallon and Amy Saddington as new residential caretakers at Sandford and Heybridge respectively, and Sam Colley as trainee lengthsman.

Contact Us

Navigation Manager, David Smart 07966 375351
Heybridge Lockkeeper, Grant Everiss 07712 079764,
Chelmer Cruises, Sue Clift 07507 055021,
Administrative Assistant, Sarah Phillips, 01245 226245,

Essex Waterways Ltd.