IWA Bulletin

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Book Your 2016 Working Holiday

IWA's Waterway Recovery Group will offer 35 canal camps at 16 different sites in 2016, providing places for up to 580 volunteers to help restore some of the country’s best-loved waterways.  The camps, typically each a week long and housed in village halls, have become well-known over the years as rewarding opportunities for experienced volunteers to share their expertise and for newer enthusiasts to learn valuable practical skills while exploring parts of Britain’s rich industrial heritage.

WRG has built up an unrivalled capability in canal restoration over 45 years, and now its volunteers provide the catalyst for significant progress on canal restoration projects in a relatively short space of time. The intensive canal camps support the year-round restoration work of local canal societies and trusts across England and Wales. Typical WRG projects in 2015 included lock restoration at Bowbridge and Inglesham on the Thames & Severn Canal, Lock 15 on the Grantham Canal and Staveley Town Lock on the Chesterfield Canal, the site of IWA’s 2016 Trailboat Festival.

This year WRG will provide renewed impetus to work including uncovering and repairing a derelict canal basin on the Stover Canal in South Devon, building a new bridge on the Wey & Arun Canal at Compasses Bridge and relining sections of canal  near Newport, Shropshire.
Fifteen different waterways will benefit from WRG canal camps in 2016 and the group aims to increase the amount of volunteer time devoted to restoration projects by more than 10 percent compared to 2015.

There are 4 spaces left on WRG’s February Canal Camp on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation with volunteers carrying out towpath improvements from the 13th-20th February. To help maintain this beautiful waterway, WRG volunteers will be working alongside the Essex Waterways Team to help clear overgrown vegetation from the towpath, improving access for all waterway users. This will involve lots of scrub bashing, bonfires and other activities to keep you warm!  Accommodation (and beds!) on the Haybay Barge. The week costs £63, which includes food and accommodation. For more details and to book, click on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation Canal Camp page.

Places on some of this year’s canal camps are already fully booked, and WRG is advising potential volunteers to look at on the WRG website as early as possible for a full list of available dates and locations as well as the 2016 Canal Camps brochure. The WRG team have just launched a great video to promote the opportunity to get involved.  Take a look at the video on the WRG website.

IWA Festival of Water - Volunteers Wanted

Over the 2016 August Bank Holiday weekend the waterway around Pelsall, where the Cannock Extension Canal joins the Wyrley and Essington Canal, will be full of boats and activities as part of IWA's annual Festival of Water.  IWA would welcome offers of volunteering to help with the preparation and running of this event.  Go to the Festival of Water's volunteer page to see what opportunities there are for contributing to this festival.

There are spaces for 200 boats including leisure, trade and working narrow boats.  Activities will feature a boat handling competition and a parade of illuminated boats.  Places are filling up so go to the Festival of Water page to book in your boat or reserve a spot in the campsite.

WRG Barn Dance

Grab your Dancing Boots and Round Up your Partner!
The 2016 Barn Dance is Approaching Fast!

WRGies and IWAers of old may remember the annual Barn Dance – well it’s back!  Save the date – it’s 12th March 2016, at Rowington Village Hall, Warwickshire and make sure you bring your dancing shoes!  All profits from the evening will go to the WRG Van Appeal.

Tickets are £15 per person including a cowboy supper and booking in advance is essential as there are limited spaces available.  Cowboy supper will be lovingly prepared by top WRG cook, Jude Palmer and team.  

The live music band “Rogues Music & Friends”, featuring WRG members including George Rogers, will be keeping you on your feet and dancing the night away!
There will be a selection of local beers and other beverages available at the well-stocked bar.

Along with the dancing we will be holding a raffle and other competitions on the night so any donations of prizes would be much appreciated.  

Accommodation in the hall is available after the dancing has finished and cooked breakfast the next morning can be booked for £2 extra.  Campervans and caravans are welcome with parking in the village hall car park.
Book today on the Barn Dance page and secure your place!

Contact Emma Matthars at Head Office for more information on 01494 783453 ext 610 or email emma.matthars@waterways.org.uk.  

Waterway Restoration Workshop 2016

Date: Saturday 23rd April 2016
Location: Austin Court, Birmingham

IWA and CRT are running a series of workshops to provide support for waterway restoration projects. The theme of this year's workshop is 'Why the blue and the green matter'.
The aim of the workshop is to ensure that local waterways societies and trusts have more support and information to assist in the development of their schemes.  The day promises to be fun, varied and informative. It is an opportunity for those passionate about waterway restoration to come together and share and discuss ideas.

This year's workshop will look at the following topics:

  • Where does water come from - and linking to the main system.
  • The environment - positive mitigation.
  • Constructing the canal for wildlife - what materials to use.
  • State of the Nation Report.
  • Forecasting the benefits of your canal restoration project.
  • Writing a restoration strategy.
  • Fundraising for your restoration project.
  • Using social media to get the word out.

It will be the same format as previous workshops - large group sessions, with breakout seminars.

The event is free. Reserve your place now on the Waterway Restoration page
Bring a friend!  IWA and CRT are keen to encourage new faces into the canal restoration movement. An additional space is available to each canal restoration group so they can bring along a new volunteer who is interested in getting more involved.

Seat on CRT's Council for IWA

As an indication of the value that CRT places on the relationship with IWA, the Trust has allocated a place on their Council to IWA.  This decision is greatly appreciated by the IWA Trustees who have appointed the Chief Executive, Neil Edwards into this important role.  Neil will take up his responsibilities in March 2016.

IWA National Awards

Members are reminded that nominations for IWA’s national awards are now open.  Nominations can be made by individual members or branch and region committees, and should be submitted by 31st March, by post to Awards Panel c/o Head Office, or by email to awards@waterways.org.uk.  

The winners of IWA’s national annual awards for 2016 will be presented at the Association’s Annual General Meeting on 24th September.  

These awards are presented each year as a way of recognising the amazing amount of work carried out by IWA volunteers throughout the year, and over many years, and members are encouraged to think about who they might wish to nominate.  

Full details of all the awards that nominations can be submitted for can be found on the website.

IWA Member Discounts & Special Offers

If you’re looking to make a few savings as the new year gets underway, then why not take a look at IWA’s list of great member discounts and special offers?  Just one of the benefits of belonging to IWA, your personal membership number provides you with access to some excellent promotions.  

There is something useful for everyone, boat owners can save on everything from chandlery and specialist products to marine breakdown cover and recovery, whilst those without their own vessel can take advantage of discounts on holiday boat hire and trips, as well as outdoor clothing and equipment.  Also available are special offers for training courses, car rental and magazine subscription rates to name but a few.

A list of our discounts and special offers can be found in every edition of Bulletin and full details are available on our Member's Area pages or alternatively please phone 01494 783453
Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.

If you’re not already an IWA member, join today and take advantage of our great member benefits.

Also, we would like to draw your attention to IWA’s newly updated listing of corporate members.  Designed to help you find waterway associated products and services offered by our corporate supporters, the list is a useful tool. To view please visit our Support our Corporates page.

IWA Branch News

IWA Oxfordshire Branch
With 60 miles of the River Thames, 35 miles of the Oxford Canal and 25 miles of the Wilts & Berks Canal (which is under restoration) IWA Oxfordshire branch has a varied range of waterways in its area.  The branch is an active member of the Banbury Canal Partnership, a group formed to protect and promote the canal through the town.  Banbury, of course, is historically significant to IWA as the place where Tom Rolt set off on his travels round the waterways on his narrow boat Cressy.

There are over 270 IWA members across the county and the branch would like to ask those members and any other interested local residents to get involved in the planning and support of the Banbury Canal Day and other outdoor events coming up.  If you think you might like to volunteer some time to support the branch's work please do email oxfordshire@waterways.org.uk.

IWA Peterborough Branch - Work Party Report
What better way to work off the festive season excess than to volunteer for some brisk physical work clearing away dense brush and tree growth from a river bank.  That’s just what a group of keen members of the IWA Peterborough branch set out to do during the first week in January along the banks of the Forty Foot river from the ‘B1098’ bridge near Chatteris leading up to the Horseways Lock.  Well supplied with safety equipment and hand tools from IWA funds, the team made an impressive start clearing around 35 metres in a five hour session.
Photo: The IWA Peterborough branch, ‘Project Hereward - Welches Dam to Horseways', first volunteer work party L/R; Roger Mungham, Ray Cross, Andrew Storer,Roger Green,Roger Ilett, David Venn, John Revell and Steve Haywood.

“Today is our first ever volunteer work party formed after a unique agreement between the Middle Level Commissioners, (MLC) and our branch of the IWA”, explained David Venn, the Peterborough branch Chairman.  He added: “We plan to continue with work parties every two weeks until around mid- April to avoid upsetting the bird nesting season and then start again in the autumn. The plan is to eventually clear from Horseways Lock back to the road bridge, a distance of about a kilometre.  This section of the Forty Foot is currently underused for navigation and therefore somewhat neglected due to the Environment Agency, who were concerned about flood risk, suddenly closing the channel from Horseways Lock to Welches Dam with a cofferdam in 2006”.

Another benefit stemming from the IWA/MLC co-operation is that for the first 180 metres from the road bridge the MLC is unable to gain access with their machinery and so IWA volunteers will ‘hand drag line’ the river bed to clear any obstructions.  Once this first stage of clearance by volunteers is accomplished IWA hopes and anticipates a favourable response from the Environment Agency to eventually allow the main thrust of the ‘Project Hereward - Welches Dam to Horseways’ campaign to begin in earnest.  This would again reinstate a through navigation to the Old Bedford River via the Forty Foot opening a second much needed link through the Middle Levels, as reported in the last issue of Bulletin.

IWA Leicestershire Branch
During this coming weekend (30/31 January) CRT are draining Freemans Meadow Lock and opening it for people to visit and look inside at the workings of the lock. CRT has asked IWA Leicestershire branch to help by offering tea and coffee to visitors which will give them a chance to talk about the waterways and about IWA and what goes on in Leicestershire.  Can any local IWA members come to help? CRT is planning to be on site from 9am until 3.30pm on both Saturday and Sunday.  Call Ian Mcdonald on 07950 003383 to chat or email ian.mcdonald@waterways.org.uk.  While there, members can walk along to look at the mile post which was installed in 1996 to celebrate 50 years of IWA.

IWA Chester and Merseyside Branch
Following a very successful Campaign Festival in Chester Basin in June 2014, IWA Chester and Merseyside Branch has donated £1000 to the Chester Canal Heritage Trust (CCHT) to use for a local waterway project which has been identified as the Chester Old Port interpretation board.  Although badged as IWA's National Campaign Rally, CCHT members were very involved in the organisation of the event and their local contacts enabled them to raise significant funds, supporting the entertainment and other activities.

IWA Lancashire and Cumbria Branch
One of the first of a series of events to celebrate the 200 year anniversary of the opening of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal will happen on Sunday 31 January at Barrowford Locks from 10 am to 3pm when CRT are allowing people the opportunity to see a lock from close up inside.  IWA Lancashire and Cumbria Branch will be there to talk to members and the public about the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at the start of this important year.  Visitors can find out what else is happening in this 200 year celebration and maybe even venture to the bottom of lock 47.

On Wednesday 27th April 2016 at 7.30 pm, the Lancashire & Cumbria branch of IWA and the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society will be holding a joint event to celebrate 200 years of the Canal.  The venue will be the Pendle Hippodrome Theatre, New Market Street, Colne, BB8 9BJ.  Doors will be open from 7pm.  The event is open to all who want to find out more about the canal.  Entry to the event is free but there will be a collection on the night.  Come along and hear Mike Clarke, Chairman of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society talk about the canal and the events planned for 2016.

Another way to celebrate this bicentenary is to travel the length of this canal and receive a special IWA Trans-Pennine plaque which has been commissioned by IWA Lancashire and Cumbria Branch.  Boaters must provide proof of travel from end to end of the canal from Office Lock, Leeds to the Eldonian Village, Liverpool or vice-versa within a 12 month period.  Photographic evidence is acceptable.  Why not combine your journey with a visit to IWA's National Campaign Festival at Eldonian Village in June? 

When you have completed this journey send your application to: A Smith, 15 Dark Lane, Whittle-le Woods, Chorley, PR6 8AE.  Enquiries: Audrey@familysmith.co.uk.  Cost: £7.00 including post and packing.

Photo: IWA Lancashire and Cumbria Branch also offer a plaque for passage of the Liverpool Link - from the main line of the canal near Eldonian Village to Salthouse Dock.  Conditions and details as above.
IWA Chiltern Branch
IWA Chiltern Branch is taking its commitment to restoration very seriously with continued support for opening up the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal from Bulbourne to Wendover.  At the January branch meeting it presented the Wendover Arm Trust with a cheque for £1000. 
 Photo: Digging out the Wendover Arm

IWA North Staffordshire and South Cheshire Branch Work Party Report
Eight willing volunteers turned up on the cold morning of 21st January for the Cheshire Locks work party. It was too cold for the normal painting activity so the team concentrated on filling pot holes in the Red Bull access and parking area; and started work to build a new memorial garden adjacent to the car park and canal. With the assistance of 2 CRT staff the team moved, levelled and compacted 5 tonnes of stone and cleared vegetation from the overgrown garden area. At the end of the day with 44 hours of volunteers' effort, a massive improvement really could be seen.

Work on the garden will continue next month on Thursday 18th February and weather permitting the lock painting will take place in parallel to complete the upgrading of the Red Bull area.
 Photo: Work starts on filling pot holes at Red Bull

Photo: The garden area before work started

  Photo: A happy work party in front of the cleared garden
area at the end of a successful day's work

About People

Brian Kingshott
We are sad to report that Brian Kingshott, IWA West Midlands Region secretary, died peacefully in his sleep on 9th January.  Brian was involved with the IWA Birmingham Branch’s Icicle Cruises around the BCN in the very early 1980s when he was branch secretary.  He was also the editor of Navigation, the West Midland Region magazine for around 15 years until around 2000.  Brian was also secretary of three successful IWA National Campaign events at Pelsall (1987, 1994 & 1998).  His tact, diplomacy and guidance have been much valued by his fellow IWA committee members.

Photo: Brian Kingshott

Tony Martin
We have been informed by Peter Scott, Chairman IWA North East and Yorkshire Region that Tony Martin, Secretary and founder Chairman of IWA's North Riding Branch has died.  Tony had been in poor health for some time and he had been looked after in a care home and in a hospice for the last month or so.  We send our condolences to his sister and their family.

Photo: Tony Martin working the quirky River Foss lock in York, where he led the IWA team which operated the lock for boaters wishing to use the river.

Impact of Recent Floods

Canal & River Trust launches flood appeal

CRT has launched an appeal to help restore the waterways for the boaters and communities in the north of England affected by the recent floods.

As water have receded, local people have been counting the cost of the repairs.  On the waterways this includes damage to bridges, embankments, towpaths and canal banks.  Some sections of affected waterway could be reopened in a matter of weeks, however others, where significant engineering works are needed, could be closed for several months.  For example Elland Bridge on the Calder & Hebble Navigation has suffered serious structural damage. Engineers have worked with the local authority to install a temporary footbridge until the bridge is rebuilt with agreed government funding.  Linton Lock on the River Ouse is closed until further notice although river levels have now fallen.

Richard Parry, Chief Executive of CRT comments: “Many people, including our supporters and boaters, were faced with some of the worst flooding the country has seen.  Homes, businesses, canal banks and towpaths were destroyed.  We have been assessing the extensive damage wreaked by the floods and putting together plans for repair.  Many stretches of towpath have been closed.  We need to rebuild them, so we can continue to provide much needed places for people to escape to, now more than ever.

It is going to be no easy task to repair all of the damage done by the floods, but with so many communities rallying together to make this happen, we know we are not alone.  We are exploring all funding sources, including Government grants, to help us with the clean-up.  To support this we are today launching a targeted fundraising appeal to raise vital funds for re-building the waterways in those communities that have been most impacted."

To find out more about the appeal please visit the Canal & River Trust website.

Calder & Hebble Navigation

Members of the Calder Navigation Society and IWA have been offering their boat-handling skills to enable staff from CRT  to assess the damage on the Calder & Hebble Navigation from the water.

The floods were some of the most devastating ever seen on parts of the waterway network in the North and the scale of the damage means that the Trust’s own workboats either couldn't get to some areas or were being used on other flood-related repairs.

Using a boat lent by hire firm Shire Cruisers at Sowerby Bridge, members of the Calder Navigation Society and IWA took staff from the Trust out on to the water to get a better look at lock gates and mechanisms and also to check out any obstructions in the water.

Jon Horsfall, waterway manager for CRT said; “We were delighted to receive the offer from the Calder Navigation Society, IWA and Shire Cruisers and it’s been a genuine help in enabling us to get a clearer picture of the damage caused by the floods.

“Their offer has helped us to see things that you wouldn’t be able to from the towpath and to get into hard to reach places on the opposite side of the canal. It’s a fantastic, and very warmly received, example of people pitching in to get things back up and running as quickly as possible.”  

The Trust held a volunteer event on the Calder & Hebble Navigation supported by IWA West Riding Branch on Saturday 23 January focusing on the canal between Elland Lock and Park Nook lock.  Local people could help repair the towpath, rebuild a damaged dry stone wall and clear the rubbish that the floodwaters have dropped.  For more information on volunteering contact Lucy Dockray on 07767 383736 or lucy.dockray@canalrivertrust.org.uk.

Photo: CRT Park Nook Lock

Volunteers help reopen the first stretches of towpath along the Rochdale Canal.

Volunteers supported by staff from CRT have been out in all weathers moving over 200 tonnes of stone and other materials – the weight of 15 double decker buses – to fill holes and long scours that were left by flood waters along the popular towpath through Sowerby Bridge, Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.

In the past week a mile and a half stretch of towpath between locks 7 and 10 has been reopened by CRT with more to come.  It is expected that by the end of the week local residents will once again be able to use the towpath all the way from Sowerby Bridge to Hebden Bridge.  

Jon Stopp, a lead volunteer with CRT comments: “The response from the community has been fantastic.  The canal is such an important part of life around here and getting the towpaths back open is really important".

The work on the Rochdale Canal continues.  In the next week, the Trust hopes that work in and around Todmorden will mean that the canal towpath is once again open from there all the way to Manchester.  There is also considerable work to do on the canal between Hebden Bridge and Todmorden where the flooded River Calder washed away an entire stretch of canal bank and where hundreds of tonnes of soil, trees and debris slid down the side of the hill and blocked the canal.

Jon continues: “The work on the canal is ongoing and we’ve a working party this Saturday in Sowerby Bridge.  All volunteers are welcome: meet at the Wharf at 10.30am.  Just bring sturdy footwear, warm clothes and be prepared to get stuck in".

“We want to get the canal and towpath back to its best as quickly as possible so that it can once more be enjoyed by the local community. That’s why we’re asking local people to help where they can and this volunteering day will be a great opportunity for us all to pull together and get things back to normal. We’ve already had lots of fantastic support and we’re very grateful for any help that people can give.”  

For more information on the impact of the recent floods on the region’s waterways go to the Canal & River Trust website.

Stainton Aqueduct, Lancaster Canal  - Aqueduct 22

As a result of recent flooding, Stainton Aqueduct has unfortunately been very badly damaged. Excessive and fast flowing water through the beck beneath Stainton Aqueduct has scoured away the foundations on the underside of the downstream abutment of the structure. The downstream wash wall, footpath and steps were also affected by this incidence of flooding. Shortly after this event, and as a result of further devastating weather, a large section of the downstream voussoir (a wedge shaped stone) and supporting abutment detached from the main aqueduct causing the above spandrel wall to fail.

The photos below show the structural failure of the aqueduct and washed out material under the access steps from the aqueduct which lead down to the ‘beck’. The front face of the aqueduct can be seen with the voussoir and abutment detached with a major change in alignment of the aqueduct.

As an immediate response the CRT contractor Kiers were asked to install a portadam and provide security over the holiday period to protect against a potential breach of the canal.  Pumps were also employed to maintain a differential across the dam and reduced the load on the aqueduct.  The cost of works undertaken so far is approximately £100,000.  In the short term it is proposed that a clay dam be installed to replace the current portadam and mechanism installed to pump out any accumulated water between the dam and bridge 172. In the longer term a full scale repair will be required.  The initial estimate for both short term and long term work is approximately £2m.

The Trust has had to close the towpath along the aqueduct due to the risks to the general public that are now apparent. At this stage it is not known  when the towpath can re-open.

The aqueduct is a very significant piece of infrastructure for the Trust and is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, as Grade II. It is dated c1817 and spans approx. 6m over Stainton beck and has an overall length of 29m.  Stainton Aqueduct is one of a group of important canal structures in the area that also includes the Hincaster Tunnel and Sedgwick Aqueduct.  Despite being built some twenty years after Rennie’s masterpiece, the Lune Aqueduct, Fletcher and Crosley’s structures on the northern section are equal in terms of design, engineering and ambition.  

Lancaster Canal - Project Officer Wanted

The restoration of the Northern Reaches of the Lancaster Canal is an ambitious multi-million pound project to re-open the most northerly 14 miles from Tewitfield to Canal Head in Kendal.

Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership have been working towards improving the Northern reaches of the Lancaster Canal since the 1990s and includes:  South Lakeland District Council, Cumbria County Council, Kendal Town Council, CRT, Lancaster Canal Trust, IWA, Lancashire County Council, Lancaster City Council and other interested groups.

Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership have adopted a three phased approach to restoration of the canal - phase one covered the improvement of the 1.5 miles route from Kendal Natland Road to the edge of Kendal and the regeneration of Canal Head. Phase two covers the Kendal to Crooklands section of the canal and finally phase three will see improvement from Crooklands to Tewitfield.

Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership is now looking for a self-employed project officer to help progress the new plans for the trail.  The focus of this new role is to increase usage of the northern reaches of the Lancaster-Kendal canal through the creation of a multi-use leisure route, promote the long term aims of full canal restoration and to support the delivery of projects within the Partnership's action plan.

Hal Bagot, Chairman for Lancaster Canal Regeneration Project, said: “I am delighted that the Partnership is proceeding with the appointment of a Project Officer. This enables all uses of the Lancaster Canal up to Kendal, both in water and as a presently dry bed, to be explored for everyone”.

Interested individuals should email lancastercanalpartnership@gmail.com for more information on how to apply.

An Abandoned Canal

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery is hosting a display on the history and future of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals from 26 January to 16 April 2016.
The Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust has been given a 'local communities' slot in the newly re-opened Shrewsbury Museum. This is for an exhibition covering the Shrewsbury and Newport  Canals from their construction in the 18th and 19th centuries through to their abandonment in 1944, what has happened to them since then and the Trust’s plans for their future. The themes that run through the displays are:

  • The coming of the canals to Shropshire (both the original Shrewsbury canal of 1797 and the Newport  branch from Norbury in 1835)
  • Working life on the canals
  • Canal restoration

Many items from the last two centuries are being loaned by the National Waterways Museum, the CRT boatyards at Ellesmere and Norbury, the Saturn fly boat project and by Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust members and other local people

Amongst the subjects covered by the displays are: canal engineering, including the role of smithies and foundries; how tolls were collected; the use of horses as motive power; the domestic lives of boating families; and canal restoration, with particular reference to the Shrewsbury and Newport canals. The displays include maps, a timeline, 'roses and castles' painted canal ware, horse paraphernalia and a reconstruction of a forge.

 A particular feature is an audio-visual display of some of the interviews with local residents that have been carried out by the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust’s Oral History Project, illustrated by past and present-day scenes of the canal in Shrewsbury.

During the event there will be several different talks on canal based subjects in the museum at 2.30 pm on Saturday afternoons. Tickets for the talks can be obtained in advance from the museum (01743 258885). The price of £3 per head includes free entry to the museum (normal price £4).

Talks at Shrewsbury Museum
6th February -  'The canals of East Shropshire' by Neil Clarke
19th March -  'The restoration of the Shropshire Union flyboat Saturn' by Tony Lewery
9th April - 'The Shrewsbury & Newport Canals and their Restoration' by Bernie Jones 

The Museum & Art Gallery is closed on 1st February and the 10th April 2016.
Take a look at the Shrewsbury Museum website or contact them on 01743 258885.

A New Waterfront for Daventry

Daventry District Council is proposing to build a canal arm that will connect Daventry town centre to the Grand Union Canal.

The Daventry Canal Arm would be one of the few new sections of canal to be built in the country for more than 150 years and is part of the vision to encourage visitors to Daventry and contribute to major regeneration and development of the area.  As the centrepiece to this innovative engineering project, Daventry District Council is proposing the construction of a boat lift.  This structure would perform the practical function of allowing boats to traverse a 12-metre change in height. Together with two locks elsewhere on the Canal Arm it would accommodate the 18-metre height difference between the Grand Union Canal and Daventry Town Centre.

The new canal arm would build upon the district's canal heritage. In 1793 an Act of Parliament was passed, which allowed for the building of the Grand Junction Canal's main line (now Grand Union canal), from the Oxford Canal at Braunston to the Thames at Brentford. The Act, which received Royal Assent from George III, also included four branches, one being from the Braunston summit to Daventry, but this branch was never built.  More than 200 years later, the Daventry Canal Arm would see a branch built on similar lines to these original plans.

The ultimate aim of the Daventry Canal Arm is to deliver a waterfront area to Daventry town centre. This would raise its profile and encourage inward investment. The proposal is for a mixture of leisure, residential, community, health, employment and educational facilities as well as mooring basins.  The canal arm would link into basins in the town centre, providing a destination for boaters and shoppers and attracting big-name stores to the town as well as investment from businesses, hotels and educational establishments.

The Thames Vision

Port of London Authority (PLA) is planning a 20 year development framework for the busiest tidal river in the UK which runs for 95 miles through London to the North Sea.  The Thames Vision sees greater use of the Thames from trade to passenger travel, sport and recreation to cultural enjoyment. PLA are working to forge strong partnerships with public, commercial and voluntary sectors as it believes the involvement of stakeholders will mean collective ambitions can be effectively met.  

IWA London Region have discussed the PLA proposals at their January meeting. IWA South London and IWA Kent & East Sussex Branches will also be considering these plans.  IWA are planning to submit a response in early February. See the consultation document on the Port of London Authority website.

Progress for Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal

The Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust is a charity with some 1,250 members that seeks to restore the whole of the 34 mile Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal from the heart of Hereford via Ledbury, Dymock, and Newent to reconnect with national inland waterways network at Gloucester.
A major new development in Hereford is to see one of the most difficult sections of the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal restored as an integral part of a development scheme.  Site owners Codex have been working closely with the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust to bring forward the redevelopment of the Holmer Trading Estate.  This will see ¼ mile of the Canal restored right up to Aylestone Park and include the transfer of the restored Canal and ¼ mile tunnel under Aylestone Hill to the Canal Trust.  The Canal through Holmer Trading Estate is currently a completely infilled cutting and is one of the most expensive sections of the canal to restore. It is currently used as temporary car sales lots.  This section will form a continuation of that in Aylestone Park where a slipway has already been built as well as a major storm overflow weir for the city centre. 

New Staffordshire Waterways website invites collaboration

A new website has been launched which invites Staffordshire residents, communities and businesses to explore ways they can work together to look after and enhance the county’s waterways.
Staffswaterways.org.uk has been developed by the Staffordshire Waterways Group to provide a vision for the County’s waterways. It suggests an approach to how each canal could be improved to deliver a better place to live and to create economic growth, and looks at the value of waterways from many perspectives including community, business, tourism, health, transport and the environment.
Individuals, groups, councils and businesses are invited to contact the Group if they want to get involved, have an idea they are looking to develop or wish to support any part of Staffordshire’s waterways. Through the website and their networks,  Staffordshire Waterways Group will provide contacts and make connections to help new projects get underway.

Staffordshire Waterways Group is a partnership of canal societies, working with Staffordshire County Council and Canal & River Trust. It comprises all nine waterway societies and branches of IWA from throughout Staffordshire which, at over 150 miles, has the greatest length of canals of any county in the country.  This Group has already helped attract considerable investment for towpath improvements, and delivered many great environmental and access projects.
Roger Savage, chairman of the Staffordshire Waterways Group, said: “Staffordshire is at the heart of the national inland waterways network; it has more miles of canal than any other shire county, along with rivers, lakes and reservoirs galore. We need to look after and to grow the use of our waterways; they are major assets which contribute substantially to our county’s health and well-being and to its economy, bringing visitors by boat, cycle and on foot. We all enjoy Staffordshire by water and the Group is passionate about helping others put their ideas into action.”
Gill Heath, Cabinet Support Member for Environment and Rural Affairs at Staffordshire County Council, said: “Staffordshire has a long and proud history of pioneering canal building and enterprising waterway restoration. We’ve been working closely with the volunteers from the Waterways Group on a number of exciting projects over the last few years including the multi-million pound Pedal Peak project to improve the towpath of the historic Caldon Canal. The new website is a wonderful tool to connect all our communities and their waterways, and help drive even more innovation around Staffordshire’s canals, rivers and reservoirs.”
The Staffordshire Waterways Group is endorsed by Ian J Dudson CBE CStJ, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire, who when High Sheriff walked the 154 miles of canal towpath within the County to raise money for the Staffordshire Community Fund. It is chaired by Roger Savage, Vice President of IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch.
Discover more on the Staffordshire Waterways Group website.
 Photo: Fradley Junction, where the Trent & Mersey and Coventry Canals meet near Lichfield, Staffordshire. © Waterway Images

Boat Safety

A man has sadly lost his life following a fire on a canal boat in January.  Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service was called to the Kennet and Avon Canal at Moulton Drive, Bradford on Avon at around 3.30am after a passer-by saw a narrow boat alight.  The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it is believed to have started accidentally.
Crews from Bradford on Avon, two from Trowbridge and Melksham attended, together with the heavy rescue unit from Trowbridge.  

 Photo from:: Bradford on Avon Community News

The Dangers
In the past 20 years, national figures show that 60 boaters have been killed as a result of a boat fire or carbon monoxide incident. CO poisoning is most likely to be caused by the exhaust emissions of portable generators, or problems with solid fuel stoves including flue pipes.  Although boat fires on inland waters are less common than fires on land, when they do occur, they can have devastating consequences. Boats are often in remote locations with difficult access, which may result in firefighters taking longer to arrive at an incident and allowing a fire to totally destroy a boat and everything on-board.

Top Tips

  • Fit a suitable smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm.
  • Make a fire action plan.
  • Take extreme care when refuelling with petrol or changing gas cylinders.
  • Avoid using portable gas equipment on-board, where possible, and store all gas canisters in special gas lockers or open places where any leaks will flow overboard.
  • Check items such as battery terminals and fuse box connections routinely for damaged strands or signs of overheating.
  • Take care when doing repairs, and keep interiors well ventilated when using adhesives, paints and spirit based products.
  • Always keep your eye on a solid fuel stove when it’s lit and try to avoid leaving the boat with the stove running.
  • Never keep fabrics, soft furnishings or piles of paper next to a woodburning stove.
  • If you smell gas, turn off the isolation valve and open windows, hatches and doors. Turn off the engine and put out all naked flames, including pilot lights. Evacuate the boat if possible and call for help.
  • Never decant fuel on board, in a lock or near other craft. Refuel outboard tanks ashore and well away from the boat.
  • Make sure you always know exactly where you are in case you have to call the emergency services.

IWA Volunteering Opportunities

IWA Branch Volunteer Vacancies:

Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches.

IWA Branch and Region Magazines

The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:

Lichfield Branch - Lichfield Lines
Chiltern Branch – Grapevine   
Peterborough Branch – Hereward

Waterway Events

Major IWA events in 2016

30th April - 2nd May 2016 - IWA Canalway Cavalcade, London
28th May - 29th May 2016 - IWA Trailboat Festival, Staveley
11th - 12th June - IWA Campaign Festival, Eldonian Village, Liverpool
27th August - 29th August 2016 - IWA Festival of Water, Pelsall

Have you got a waterway event or activity to promote? - Anyone can add details of a waterways event or activity to this area on the website. You don’t even need to register with the website or provide any sort of password. Simply use the upload event form.

See IWA's Events Calendar for a full list of waterway events. You can also search by event type or find out what's going in on your area with the map search.

Upcoming Volunteer/Cleanup Events

3rd February Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
6th February Work Party - Burslem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
10th February Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
10th February Work Party - Staffs & Worcester (IWA Birmingham Branch)
11th February Work Party - Uttoxeter (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
13th February Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
13th February Work Party - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (Supported by IWA Birmingham Branch)
14th February Work Party - Sleaford Navigation (Supported by IWA Lincolnshire Branch)
14th February Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
17th February Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
18th February Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
20th February Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
23rd February Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
23rd February Work Party - Burslem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
24th February Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
24th February Work Party - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (Supported by IWA Birmingham Branch)
26th February Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
27th February Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)

2nd March Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
5th March Work Party - Burslem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
9th March Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
9th March Work Party - Staffs & Worcester (IWA Birmingham Branch)
10th March Work Party - Uttoxeter (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
12th March Work Party - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (Supported by IWA Birmingham Branch)
13th March Work Party - Sleaford Navigation (Supported by IWA Lincolnshire Branch)
13th March Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
15th March Work Party - Banbury (Supported by IWA Oxfordshire Branch)
16th March Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
17th March Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
19th March Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
20th March Canal Clean Up - Brownsover, Rugby (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
22nd March Work Party - Burslem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
23rd March Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
23rd March Work Party - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (Supported by IWA Birmingham Branch)
25th March Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
26th March Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
29th March Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
30th March Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)

To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar

Upcoming Towpath Walks

7th February Waterside Walk - The Olympics, Three Mills and Bow Back Rivers (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
21st February Waterside Walk - Limehouse, Thames and Docklands (IWA Towpath Walks Society)

6th March Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
8th March Waterside Walk - Hatherton Canal & Great Saredon (IWA Lichfield Branch)
20th March Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
27th March Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)

To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar

IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:

  • ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount
  • Airedale Cruising - 10% discount off skippered day cruises
  • Blackwater Boats - 10% discount
  • Boat Windows Ltd - 5% discount
  • Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
  • Calcutt Boats - 5% Discount
  • Canal Boat Magazine - Annual subscription for just £15
  • CanalCruising.co.uk - 10% discount
  • Channel Glaze - 10% discount on double glazing for boats
  • Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
  • Europcar - Special hire rates to IWA members
  • Frangipani SUP Ltd - 10% discount
  • Forge Studio - 10% discount
  • IceGripper - 20% discount
  • I Love Meet and Greet Ltd - 15% discount
  • King's Lock Chandlery - 5% discount
  • Lee Sanitation Ltd. - 10% on orders over £100
  • Marine Megastore Ltd. - 15% discount
  • Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
  • Middlewich Narrowboats - 25% discount on hire of classic boat Willow
  • Paper Wizard - 15% discount
  • River Canal Rescue - Up to 15% discount
  • RoadPro - 5% discount
  • The Three Locks Pub, Grand Union Canal nr. Milton Keynes - 10% discount on food
  • Wavetrain Marine - 5% discount on 1 day VHF SCR training courses
  • Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard 
  • Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd - 10% discount on published prices
  • Zead - Free postage and accessories

Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.

To see details of how to take advantage of these offers, please go to the IWA Members discount page.

For IWA members who receive a printed copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.

Members can also support IWA with a Narrow Boat magazine subscription

Boat Insurance

IWA has an arrangement with insurers Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue that provides top quality boat insurance and access to the basic waterway rescue service for boat owners, with the added benefit that every policy taken out and subsequently renewed helps IWA, and thus furthers our charitable work for the waterways. 

See more information about the IWA insurance scheme for boaters

Contact Us

IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453
Bulletin is edited by Marion Birch


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