Les Etheridge, IWA National Chairman, along with Gren Messham, Chairman of Navigation Committee and IWA’s Parliamentary Advisor, Jonathan Shaw, attended a meeting recently with Waterways Minister, Rory Stewart MP.
The main topic of the meeting was the proposed transfer of navigations run by the Environment Agency to Canal & River Trust, with the Minister being enthusiastic about exploring different options for funding, whilst understanding the issues and merits of the transfer. Les thanked him for setting up the EA/CRT working group and assured him that IWA would be assisting the group in providing as much information and advice as possible. The IWA representatives were able to reassure the Minister of the excellent work being done by EA staff in difficult conditions and were pleased to see the Minister give a clear indication of how keen he is to find a workable solution for the transfer. The meeting represents real progress for IWA’s EA transfer campaign, and was an opportunity to reaffirm IWA’s standing as a long established and respected organisation at a Parliamentary level.
Photo: Rory Stewart MP, Waterways Minister, meeting Les Etheridge and Gren Messham of IWA. Left to right – Gren Messham – Chairman IWA’s Navigation Committee; Rory Stewart MP – Waterways Minister; Les Etheridge – IWA National Chairman
More than 70 volunteers spent two days removing an estimated 44 tonnes of rubbish from the Walsall Canal over the weekend of 16th and 17th April. The people taking part included volunteers from Waterway Recovery Group (WRG), who travelled from far and wide to spend the weekend working on the canal. They were supported each day by dozens of volunteers from IWA, Birmingham Canal Navigations Society, Dudley Canal Trust, Coombeswood Canal Trust, CRT, Friends of Tipton Cut and local residents.
Over the weekend the volunteers cleared 8 miles of the Walsall Canal from Walsall Town Basin through Darlaston to Ocker Hill. Lots of interesting ‘treasures’ were pulled out of the canal including bikes, an electric guitar, a gas barbecue, a mountain of tyres … and of course lots and lots of shopping trolleys! It is hoped this annual effort on the Birmingham Canal Navigations will help keep the less well used parts of this network of canals from getting choked up with rubbish and becoming impassable for boats.
WRG Leader Chris Morgan said ‘Our band of committed volunteers aged between 16 and 73 travelled from all over the UK and as leader of the event I am extremely proud of the work they did on behalf of the waterways of the West Midlands. Thanks must go to all the canal societies who supplied the work boats to take the rubbish away and to Canal & River Trust staff who worked diligently to empty the boats.’
Photo by Alan Lines - Volunteers with some of the rubbish removed from the Walsall Canal.
After months of training and a close call involving a trip to A&E and some last minute physiotherapy, David Edwards-May successfully completed the London Marathon this Sunday, 24th April. David was still recovering from a swollen knee, but managed to finish the gruelling 26.2 miles in an impressive four hours and ten minutes, a testament to his commitment and the hard work he put in before the event. He estimates that between training and fundraising, his preparation for the marathon has taken up nearly a quarter of his time since January. He has not been put off however and says he would like to do another marathon in the future – after a significant break!
Photo: David’s family was there to support him and cheer him on, as was IWA’s Fundraising Officer, Sarah Frayne and he said that the great atmosphere in London helped to spur him on. On finishing, David enjoyed a well deserved pint at a pub close to the finish line – on the house for runners of course!
David’s fundraising has now raised just over £3,700, which is also a very impressive feat but still short of his target of £5,000. He has received donations from people in sixteen different countries and four different continents; some of his most generous sponsors have been Derek Banks of European Waterways and Dutch Yacht builder, Linssen Yachts. There is still time to add to David’s total via his Virgin Money Giving Page,
IWA would like to thank David for all his efforts and also extend gratitude to all those who have donated so far.
Ahead of the Welsh Assembly election coming up on 5th May, IWA has produced a Welsh Waterways Manifesto which asks candidates for their support in promoting the waterways of Wales. The candidates of all the main political parties in Wales have been sent a copy of the document. As well as background information about the waterways of Wales, the document outlines 5 main points that IWA is asking candidates to support. These issues are protecting waterways heritage, building a relationship with local waterway groups, joining the Cross Party Group on Waterways, promoting a sustainable future for the waterways and supporting waterway events.
If any members in Wales come across candidates during the lead up, or meet elected candidates after the event, they are encouraged to ask for their support for the funding and regeneration of the waterways of Wales. The manifesto document can be seen on IWA’s website.
64 volunteers, 5 Canal Camps, 2 Bridges and a Lock! Easter was a busy time for WRG this year, with 5 Canal Camps running on three different sites - Weymoor Bridge on the Cotswold Canals, Bridge 70 on the Uttoxeter Canal and Staveley Lock on the Chesterfield Canal.
The focus of the Weymoor Bridge Canal Camps was to rebuild the brick arch, ready for further rebuilding work over the summer. Despite lots of hard work the camps didn't quite manage to finish the work, but luckily WRG BITM returned two weeks later to join the arches.
On the Uttoxeter Canal Camps volunteers concentrated their efforts on restoring the only remaining bridge on the canal, Bridge 70. With Heritage Lottery Funding due to finish in May the race was on to complete the work in just two weeks making the pathway safer for pedestrians and horses. Did they complete the work in time?
The Chesterfield Canal Campers were equally as busy! Working alongside the Chesterfield Canal Trust they spent the week helping to prepare Staveley Town Lock and surrounding area for its grand opening at IWA's Trailboat Festival on 28th/29th May. It’s not often that WRGies see a canal restoration project in water with boats on it just a few weeks after they leave!
For more details about the work of WRG have a look at the website.
The Van Appeal has reached another milestone, now totalling just over £100,000. In particular, significant donations from WRG North West and a number of individuals have helped boost the amount since the last fundraising event in March.
To continue the fundraising effort, WRG volunteers and staff will be selling fudge at Cavalcade this weekend – you can find them at stand W2 on Warwick Crescent. There are also plans for WRG volunteers to take part in an organised boat pull along the Chesterfield Canal – more details to follow!
Two vans have now been ordered and will be ready to use in time for this summer’s camps.
Saturday 23rd and Monday 25th of April saw the official launch of The Cheshire Ring: Ringing the Ring project organised by IWA with CRT support. The mooring rings were funded through the IWA Restoration Raffle that had raised £2100, enough to fund 200 new rings. The project was originally conceived back in 2014 to mark the 40th anniversary of the reopening of the Cheshire Ring in 1976. The aim of the project is to revisit original mooring ring locations and improve them, replacing missing rings, and then to identify new locations where visitor moorings would be advantageous.
Photo: Saturday saw IWA Chester and Merseyside Branch led by John Brighouse and Mike Carter along with 8 volunteers install 32 rings at the Anderton Boat Lift.
Monday saw project leads from IWA North Staffs and Cheshire, Chester and Merseyside and Manchester branch come to Bosley Locks for a training day, to install two new mooring rings sites. These rings were concreted in using the specified CRT method.
If this volunteering opportunity interests you please contact IWA's Assistant Volunteers Coordinator, for more information.
Photo: Lionel from CRT demonstrating how to install a mooring ring
Photo: That's the way to do it!
Members of IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch have been recognised by CRT for their hours of volunteering at an event at Anderton Boat Lift. Derek Smith received his award for identifying launching places across CRT's North Wales & Borders area and Mike Carter for his organisation of work parties.
Photo: Left to right - Derek Smith, CRT's Chief Executive Richard Parry, Mike Carter at Anderton Boat Lift
Preparations are continuing for the Eldonian Festival with the latest clean up at Eldonian being along the Bootle stretch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. The latest working party was reinforced by a work boat appearing, staffed by CRT employees. A lot of rubbish was cleared, and CRT intend to bring a boat to the area every two weeks up until the Eldonian Festival which takes place on 11th and 12th June. More details of this festival are available on IWA's Events website page.
The Grand Union Canal from Fenny Stratford to Old Wolverton is now spick and span after IWA's Milton Keynes Branch carried out a Canal Cleanup through the city on 15th and 16th April. The event, sponsored and supported by Wyvern Shipping Co Ltd and supported by CRT, is staged twice a year.
IWA members and other local volunteers were joined by seven CRT executive and bankside staff who gave much-appreciated assistance on the workboats, and litter-picked from the towpath and hedges. A CRT dredger accompanied the convoy to help lift heavy items from the water.
Rubbish grappled from the water and collected from the banks was piled into CRT work-boats towed by Branch members’ boats. Boaters moored on the stretch were offered a one-off chance to put out rubbish for collection. Items retrieved included a fridge, microwave and other electrical items, bicycle, motorcycle, wheelchair, sledge, car battery, and assorted timber and other refuse amounting to an estimated six tons. One CRT volunteer even bagged a small Christmas tree to take home and plant in his garden!
IWA Milton Keynes Branch will be staging its next Canal Cleanup on 14-15 October, and will be clearing the canal and its banks from Fenny Stratford Lock to the south side of Leighton Buzzard.
In 2014 during the celebrations of the re-openings of the Stratford Canal and River Avon at the Stratford River Festival, an IWA member met the daughter of Stan Clover, to whom Luddington lock on the River Avon is dedicated. Stan was a past chairman of the Upper Avon Navigation Trust who long worked for and navigated this beautiful waterway. His daughter talked about the lock and pointed out that 2016 would be the centenary of his birth, which then identified a future project for IWA Warwickshire Branch.
On the weekend of 2nd and 3rd April ten volunteers descended on the lock each day and rubbed down all the old paint on the lock and bridge railings and applied two coats of paint to the white areas and one coat to the black. The lock notices were also cleaned.
Luddington lock is now the site of the old footbridge over Bancroft Basin Lock which was built by prisoners in 1963 at their workshops in Wormwood Scrubs, London, placed in position by the Royal Engineers, Long Marston in 1964 and installed by prisoners from Winson Green in Birmingham. Volunteers took the opportunity to bring this iconic structure back to its former glory.
Photo: Volunteers restoring work previously undertaken by prisoners
Northampton Arm "Heroes"
Members of the Northampton Branch Adoption Group were grateful when local resident Claire Smith presented them with a well known brand of boxed chocolates at a recent task party. Claire lives in one of the new apartments overlooking Lock 17 on the Northampton Arm and wanted to reward the army of volunteers for their hard work. Claire said:"I've been watching from my window and have been so impressed by how hard you all work and the amazing results you have achieved, I just had to come and say thank you." Claire told the volunteers; "I think you are all 'heroes' giving up your time for the benefit of the community."
Photo: Unfortunately Branch Chairman Bernie Morton was temporarily absent and by the time he returned all the chocolates had gone. What a shame!
At the time, the task party were busy preparing for the installation of a mosaic seat which was to be unveiled at Lock 17 on 21st April by Northampton Mayor Penelope Flavell and Richard Parry, CEO of CRT. The seat has been designed by the Branch and artist David Bowers; concrete formwork installed with the help of The Canal & River Trust and the project made possible with sponsorship from Bellway Homes, developer of the new apartments overlooking the lock.
Photo: Unveiling of mosaic bench by Mayor of Northampton, Penelope Flavell and Chief Executive of CRT, Richard Parry.
The Avon Navigation Trust and local boat operators arranged a moving Stratford-upon-Avon tribute to John Macartney-Filgate whose death was reported in IWA's Mid April Bulletin. All other river traffic stopped as a mark of respect on Monday 18th April as he passed by on his final Avon trip to the Holy Trinity Church for the celebration of his life.
His coffin was transported on board The Rita Ellen, the wide-beam cruiser he had built accompanied by ANT Tug Eric leading the way and Tug City behind. The City and Eric boatmen lowered their boathooks and gave a blast of their horns as John left the river for the last time at the mooring by the church, where ANT Directors lined up in two columns at the entrance and over 200 people, handed bunches of rosemary to place on the coffin in remembrance, waited inside.
Nature did her bit too. “As The Rita Ellen docked a flight of seven swans flew overhead, like a Red Arrows fly past in white. Everyone wanted to know how we’d organised it,” says ANT General Manager Clive Matthews.
Photo: John Macartney-Filgate's final journey on the Avon
Max Sinclair, who died on 18th April, understood the value of patience. It took him more than 40 years to achieve his goal, restoring the Droitwich Barge Canal, overcoming obstacles physical and bureaucratic.
As president of the Droitwich Canals Trust, it was Max who from the Sixties provided the driving force for the renovation of the Droitwich Barge Canal and its equally moribund extension, the Droitwich Junction Canal. By turns encouraging and cajoling, he fought his way to his objective through a tangle of official, and sometimes public, hostility and inertia. That dedication had won him an Angel award from English Heritage in 2012 which recognises those who have striven to protect their local landmarks from ruin.
“I was a child of the war and did not want to see things destroyed,” said Max, speaking to The Telegraph in 2013 about his award. “It offended me to see something beautiful smashed up, and others felt the same. Suddenly, in the Sixties, there was a great enthusiasm for saving things. People didn’t want to lose their canals and railway branch lines.”
Completed in 1771, the Droitwich Barge Canal was the work of James Brindley, king of the canal builders, and linked Droitwich to the River Severn. The Droitwich Junction Canal, linking the town with the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, was completed in 1854. Seven miles long in total, the two canals thrived for a time before entering a long decline following the coming of the railways. The last consignment of salt was carried in 1916 and the canals were finally abandoned in 1939. Over the years, their waters seeped away and undergrowth obscured the towpaths. Erosion destroyed brickwork in lock walls and bridges and spoil from the building of the M5 was dumped between the banks to create a level surface in some places. At Hawford, the barge canal was blocked by a road bridge strengthened during the Second World War to take armoured vehicles. When Max took an interest in the early Sixties, the waterway was a sorry sight for most of its length and non-existent in some stretches.
Educated at Worcester Royal Grammar School, Max worked in engineering after National Service in the Royal Engineers. A railway enthusiast, he was persuaded by a friend to try a canal holiday in 1960. “I remember driving home and the children saying from the back of the car, 'Can we have a boat, Dad?’ We bought an old general trade narrowboat, Vesta. What I liked was that as a family we were all packed in. I was travelling all over the world at the time and this was a chance to be together.”
His imagination was soon fired by the prospect of helping to restore the canal network but the Ministry of Transport had other ideas. “We were at Stourbridge doing some work – that was in 1961 – and this chap in a suit came along,” remembered Max. “He said that if we so much as disturbed the water on the canal we would be prosecuted. Someone gave the excavator driver a wink and he swung the bucket around and covered the chap in mud.”
The Droitwich Canals Trust was formed in 1973 after a local public meeting voted overwhelmingly in favour of restoration.
“We had a thousand volunteers turn up and what had been a totally abandoned canal was cleared in a weekend. The people in the village nearby couldn’t believe it. We put people up in church halls and pubs all over the district.”
Max and his wife, Jocelyn, organised dinner dances and other events to raise money. “I was known as the Severn Bore because of all the time I spent giving talks and promoting the trust,” said Max. “Joss worked tirelessly. She made sandwiches for events and helped to saw up elm logs to sell as firewood to raise money for the restoration.
“We needed every penny because there was a great opposition campaign that tried to block us at every turn. In the middle of Droitwich, the council built a bowling green across the canal. They laid drains and sewers and water pipes and filled in the railway bridge. They were petty people in my view – couldn’t think of anything better to do. Luckily, the local authority chief architect and engineer were with us.”
In 2004, the HLF awarded £4.6 million to a consortium including the trust. Max remembered that summer’s day in 2011 when his dream came true and the canals were finally declared open. “It was a wonderful day,” he said. “Fifteen thousand people turned up. My only regret was that my wife had passed away and was not there to see it.”
Max's funeral will take place at Worcester Crematorium, Astwood Cemetery, Tintern Avenue, Worcester WR3 8HA on Monday 9th May at 12.15pm. Family flowers only but there will be a leaving collection to a charity to be announced.
IWA has now appointed a new Finance Manager, Andrew Overy, who is due to commence duties at Head Office on Tuesday 3rd May.
Andrew is a chartered accountant and former finance director in the Investment Management Division of Legal & General Group plc before leaving in 2013 to take part as crew in a Round the World Yacht Race. Andrew is also co-owner and director of a small business, Hulbert Brothers Ltd.
Engineers have started the job of taking down the historic Elland Bridge, over the Calder & Hebble Navigation, which is being rebuilt after the Boxing Day floods caused catastrophic damage. The bridge has been closed since the force of the floodwaters washed out its foundations and undermined the road above.
The work can get underway as utility companies have recently completed works to divert important services such as electricity cables, gas pipes and telecoms wires, which were carried on the bridge. These services now cross the waterway via a specially constructed temporary bridge.
Built in around 1811, Elland Bridge is Grade II listed and contractors are taking a sensitive, methodical approach to the works. Important features are being carefully removed and catalogued so that they can be re-used in the replacement bridge. These include the huge stone copings on the top of the bridge, the dressed stones over the arches (known as voussoirs) and the remains of cast iron rope rollers which allowed boat tow ropes to run smoothly through the bridge back in the days when freight barges were pulled by horse.
The new bridge has been designed to look similar to the existing one but with a strengthened concrete arch inside it. The result will be a stronger bridge, built to modern standards whilst still reflecting the history of the canal.
Once the bridge has been taken down then works to build new foundations will begin. When these are completed, around the end of June, the canal beneath the bridge will be reopened to boaters while the remaining works take place.
The Government has pledged up to £5m for the replacement of the bridge. As part of the package CRT is also providing its expertise to replace the nearby Crowther Bridge which is owned by Calderdale Council and was also severely damaged by the floodwaters. Managing the two projects in tandem will mean that the most can be made of cost-efficiencies in design and construction.
It’s anticipated that both bridges will be built and available for use before the end of the year. A temporary footbridge next to Elland Bridge which was constructed in January will remain in place throughout the works.
Photo: Damage to Elland Bridge
Photo: Conserving stone for re-use on Elland Bridge
At Cosgrove work is being carried out to discover how much of Bridge No 1 of the Buckingham Canal remains as, for a considerable period, it was thought most of this bridge was missing but towards the end of 2015 volunteers carried out exploration work on the bridge and a lot more of it appears to be there buried under several layers of earth.
It is hoped that over the next few months volunteers will be able to clear away the soil so that further work to repair the bridge can be started by the two WRG canal camps that are being hosted in the summer months. These take place from Saturday 23rd till Saturday 30th July and then from Saturday 30th July until Saturday 6th August when work to restore the bridge will be carried out.
If anyone wants more information about the canal camps please consult the WRG Canal Camps booklet for 2016 which is available on the IWA website.
On 12th April Mr Justice Holgate handed down his judgment on the High Court judicial review into the decision by the Broads Authority in January 2015 to use the term “Broads National Park” when referring to the area as a brand name and for marketing related purposes. The Judge has supported the Authority’s decision to use the term Broads National Park in its marketing material, and rejected the judicial review in full.
The Court was asked to consider three grounds of challenge:
The claim was dismissed on all three grounds.
This is an important decision for the whole of Norfolk and Suffolk supporting the presence of the Broads in the East of England as the Broads National Park. The use of the term would be not just a welcome boost to the important tourism industry but also helpful to conservation organisations such as the Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB in attracting visitors to their reserves and promoting understanding of the very special wildlife present in the Broads.
Candidates for the Mayor of London have been outlining their policies for the River Thames in the Port of London Authority's publication, Thames News.
Londoners go to the polls on May 5th to elect a successor to Boris Johnson. The River Thames News had asked each of the candidates their priorities for the capital's waterway. All the candidates who replied agreed that the river is at the heart of London and should be used more as a waterway partly to ease congestion and pollution elsewhere.
Here are the other headlines - Candidates who have responded are listed in alphabetical order.
Green Party candidate Sian Berry wants more cross-river ferries, is concerned about pollution from the planned Greenwich Cruise Terminal and the cleanliness of the Thames.
BNP candidate David Furness wants more investment in river piers, calls for commuter services to be extended and for the Garden Bridge plan to be scrapped.
George Galloway, the Respect candidate, is calling for the scrapping of the Garden Bridge in favour of new cycle and pedestrian bridges, and make improving the Thames Path a priority.
Conservative Zac Goldsmith wants to increase leisure use of the river, improve the Thames Path from Teddington to the sea, and require companies to consider moving freight by road and river.
Labour's Sadiq Khan says crossings east of Tower Bridge are desperately needed, wants to complete the Thames Path and clean up the river.
Ankit Love, the One Love Party, says the Silvertown tunnel project should be scrapped and the Garden Bridge delayed, wants to cut emissions from vessels and encourage an increase in the eel population.
Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon would scrap the Garden Bridge in favour of more pedestrian and cycle crossings, encourage more energy schemes like hydro-power, and do more to clean up the Thames.
UKIP's Peter Whittle backs plans to boost passenger traffic, freight transport and leisure activities on the Thames.
Independent John Zylinski wants to double the number of river passengers and extend services further upstream and downstream, and also increase the amount of freight carried on the river.
The new Port of London Authority chairman, Christopher Rodrigues has heralded a bright future for the tidal Thames. Addressing over 250 representatives of companies and organisations on the Thames and including shipping minister Robert Goodwill MP, he highlighted strong prospects for growth and a new skills academy to facilitate the training of people to work on the river.
A strong year of growing river use saw port trade exceed 45 million tonnes and over 10 million passengers travel on the river. He said activity on the river is expected to grow strongly over the next 20 years, with the Thames Vision consultation project identifying six goals for growth.
They include the biggest ever Port of London; 20 million boat passengers on the river; more freight moved on the Thames; greater participation in sport combined with an improved environment and more people enjoying the river than ever before.
The Thames Vision consultation closed in mid-February and drew over 120 responses. The responses will be published on the PLA website shortly and the outline plan for delivery will be published in the next few months.
The owners of two boats found navigating the River Thames without valid registrations have been convicted by Redhill Magistrates this week. One was ordered in his absence to pay a total of £1181.15 for failing to display a valid registration plate, fined £440, ordered to pay compensation to the Environment Agency in respect of the unpaid registration fee of £612.15, prosecution costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £44. The other pleaded guilty by post for failing to display a valid registration plate on her boat and ordered to pay a total of £673, a fine of £220, £371 in compensation to the Environment Agency, prosecution costs of £60 and a victim surcharge of £22.
The Inland Waterways Order 2010 requires all vessels 'kept' or ‘used’ on the River Thames, to be registered with the Environment Agency and display a valid annual boat registration plate (similar to a vehicle tax disc). The Environment Agency carries out checks along all 135 miles of the navigable non-tidal River Thames to ensure that all boats kept or used on it have a valid registration plate. It takes enforcement action against all those which don’t. It also takes enforcement action against a wide range of other offences relating to boating, often working as part of a multi-agency approach with the Police and local councils.
A series of multi-agency action days in Surrey and other areas along the lower Thames has seen a number of illegally moored boats moving on, illegal mooring poles being removed, and a significant reduction in the amount of littering and other anti-social behaviour taking place.
Funding of £1.8m has been obtained by the EA Medway navigation manager Phil Munslow for the much need refurbishment of East Farleigh Lock. It was originally postponed due to insufficient funds. This major project can now go ahead and plans are going out to tender for a projected start date in August. One proposal to solve the difficult access problems for this busy lock is to construct a steel bridge across the weir stream to allow positioning of a 120 crane needed to lift the seven-ton lock gates and cofferdam pilling. This will take 4-6 weeks. A provisional closure date for the river navigation at this point is 26th September.
Are you looking for a new, exciting way to raise funds for your organisation or your favourite charity? If so, the Friends of Dawn Rose have a great idea. Your team can pull a 70 foot long, hand-built, wooden narrowboat on the Chesterfield Canal. The Friends are organising a Sponsored Boat Pull all the way from Shireoaks to West Stockwith and back. They will set off on June 4th and finish on June 18th. Don’t worry, you won’t have to pull it all the way! The journey has been split up into twenty sections which vary from less than one mile to four miles and no locks to eight locks. You can choose which section suits you on which day and at what time of day – morning, afternoon or evening. You pay a £50 fee to the Friends of Dawn Rose and everything else that you raise goes to your chosen good cause.
Pulling a ten ton boat might sound impossible but, in fact, it is surprisingly easy. The Friends will supply harnesses with which two people can pull Dawn Rose very comfortably and the team can take it in turns. The Friends will steer and manage the boat, but you will be able to help, under supervision. As you will be going at walking pace, you can bring friends and family to share in a great day out along this beautiful waterway. Some members of the Chesterfield MG Group came to Shireoaks to try it out. They got on really well and thoroughly enjoyed it, so they will be booking a section.
To find out more, go to the Chesterfield Canal Trust website , email the Friends of DawnRose, ring 01246 477569 or write to Sponsored Boat Pull, Friends of Dawn Rose, Hollingwood Hub, 22 Works Road, Chesterfield, S43 2PF. Leaflets are available from various outlets along the canal. Chesterfield Canal boats were built to a unique design dating back to the 1770s. They scarcely changed in 150 years. All the old ones have rotted away, so Dawn Rose is the only one in existence. It is 70’ long with no engine and was built over the course of four years by volunteers from the Chesterfield Canal Trust to the traditional design, using hand tools only, and was launched last year.
Photo: Cynthia Cooper and Barbara Lower in harness pulling Dawn Rose
Lichfield primary school children were given an insight into the importance of waterways in the Victorian period when they visited the city’s canal restoration project. Volunteers from Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust talked to Year 6 pupils at St Michael’s Primary School in March about ‘Canals and the Victorians’ and this was a return visit to the Trust’s Tamworth Road site to allow the children to see for themselves the work being done.
There was a great deal of discussion as the children read through the notice boards on the site to find out when the canal was built or was closed, what was the date on the large coping stone, where the Lichfield Canal will join the Coventry Canal, what the purpose of the ladder built into the wall of the lock is and many other searching questions.
Photo: St Michael's School pupils fact finding about the waterways
Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust has received a donation of around £530, thanks to shoppers at Waitrose. Under the store’s Community Matters scheme, shoppers are asked to vote for a donation to their favoured charity by placing a green token into a box. Each month, every Waitrose store donates £1,000 to local good causes, divided between three organisations, with the amount given to each determined by the number of tokens in the collection.
Photo: On receiving a cheque from the store organiser Sarah Fry, Trust Chairman David Dixon said: “We are very grateful to Waitrose for this helpful donation which is the third time from this source in recent years. It is good to know that so many of the shoppers support restoration of the nearby Lichfield Canal in this way.”
Residents of waterside homes at a Cambridgeshire marina were determined to fight demands that they pay a £430 annual river tax levied by the Environment Agency or face heavy fines and a criminal record. The caravan/lodge homes are on permanently fixed floating pontoons and connected to main services in Hartford Marina. They cannot be fitted with engines and with no means of propulsion are incapable of navigation on the waterways like a boat. By law, a registration fee is due on all vessels using the river to help pay the costs of the locks and weirs essential to navigation and services provided to boaters. The marina home owners use none of these river facilities and pay local Council Tax. A Crown Court Judge over-ruled local Magistrates and quashed the convictions of two residents. He found that the homes were not vessels and not subject to registration fees, and refused the Environment Agency leave to appeal.
The Environment Agency’s six-year battle to re-classify the private adjacent waters as part of the main river was rejected as unlawful by the Secretary of State in 2010. River taxes, or registration fees are only due on boats moored on or navigating the river.
On April 15th 2016, almost a year since Peterborough Crown Court quashed the Hartford Two’s convictions under Article 2 Environment Agency (Inland Waterways) Order 2010, the Divisional Court of the Queen’s Bench Division sitting in London affirmed the correctness of the judgement of the Crown Court. In delivering the lead judgment of the Court, Lord Justice Lindblom said that the Crown Court had been “right to find” that the “floating houses” at Hartford were “homes on water” rather than vessels capable of navigation: and in concurring judgments Mr Justice Teare and Mr Justice Holroyd both found themselves “unable to accept” that the homes at Hartford could be vessels. Mr Justice Holroyd added that to his mind, “a vessel …… must be navigable” and that these floating houses are most emphatically not that.
On 8th April, in the historic Hickling Warehouse, Sir David White presented awards to two members of IWA who had supported the restoration of the Grantham Canal over past decades. John Baylis enabled the Grantham Canal Society to receive a substantial legacy towards the rebuilding of Woolsthorpe Top Lock after its collapse in 2008. Mike Snaith received his award on behalf of IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch who have supported the restoration and given financial assistance to purchase 'The Three Shires' trip boat.
Photo: Presentation to John Baylis, past chairman of IWA East Midlands Region
Photo: Mike Snaith receiving an award on behalf of IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch.
2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port and to commemorate this important milestone for the UK’s inland waterways, the museum is hosting a weekend of celebratory activities on 2nd to 3rd July.
Photo: Opening day at the National Waterways Museum June 1976
The anniversary weekend will be full of things to see and do including the opening of its new ‘Window on the World’ experience, performances from the Museum’s artist in residence and the one-off chance to venture into the canal lock at the museum which will be specially drained for the replacement of two hand crafted oak lock gates.
Window on the World has been made possible thanks to generous grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Wolfson Foundation and AIM Biffa. It will showcase why Ellesmere Port was a ‘window on the world’ with the opening of the Port’s historic slipway, which was used for boat building and restoration between the 1840s and the 1920s. The Leeds and Liverpool short boat George is being rebuilt, and a grant of over £50,000 from the Wolfson Foundation has funded the preservation of the Mersey flat Mossdale.
Returning for the anniversary weekend will be Francesca Millican-Slater with her sell out performance of ‘Walking the Shroppie’, devised during Francesca’s ten month period as Leverhulme Artist in Residence at the National Waterways Museum. There will also be the opportunity to take a look into the work CRT does to keep the canals and rivers open as work is carried out to replace the locks gates on the Shropshire Union Canal within the grounds of the museum.
For more details on the weekend, opening times and prices please visit the CRT National Waterways Museum website.
Canoeists, kayakers and small boat owners have been invited to join a friendly flotilla exploring the River Arun. The occasion is the annual rally on the waterway between Pulborough and Pallingham Quay organised by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust.
This year’s event is on Sunday, May 22nd, celebrating the long tradition of boats navigating a river which was once part of a route from London to the South Coast.
A record number of craft took part last year, including members of the Trust, enthusiasts from canoe clubs and youth groups in the area and paddlers from as far away as Hampton in Surrey. “We were delighted with the 2015 turn-out, and we had a colourful array of small craft travelling along the Arun,” said Trust chairman Sally Schupke. “It was a convivial and very pleasant occasion, with participants telling us they had an enjoyable time on the river.”
The Arun is tidal as far as Pallingham Weir and the rally date has been chosen to ensure the tide is high enough for small craft to navigate a picturesque section of the waterway. The aim is to reach the site of the original junction of the canal with the river and then go on to the Pallingham Quay, the highest navigable point for boats on the Arun. The 18th century Stopham Bridge is another historic feature on the route. Launching at Pulborough is planned for between 1.30pm and 2pm for small boats which need to use the slipway there. There will be a break at Pallingham Quay and, if time and water levels permit, participants can also stop for refreshments at the White Hart by Stopham Bridge.
Photos: River Arun boat rally 2015
IWA is usually hearing about action to support canal restoration but this time Bulletin is reporting on protesters that marched through Daventry town centre on Saturday 16th April to voice their opposition to plans to build a canal arm into the town. Bulletin covered the proposals by Daventry District Council in late January.
Organised by members of the local Labour Party, the protest met in Bowen Square before heading down Sheaf Street and Brook Street to end by the Eastern Way playing field. The leader of the Labour opposition group on Daventry District Council addressed the march in Bowen Square. She said: “They talk about a new development in town, but we want the town to be revitalised. Little shops are talking to me – they say they’re at risk of going bust, that footfall in the town is falling. They fear spending money on this new ‘centre’ on Eastern Way will mean fewer people coming to the High Street and Sheaf Street. You should be expecting your councillors to be standing up on the district council. They should be standing up and voting against the canal because that is what their electorate want. But does that happen? No.”
The group of around 120 people headed off chanting ‘Say no to the canal – it’s a waste of money’.
Opponents of the canal proposals say that the district council has spent too much so far on the plans, and will spend even more in future, and that money could be better spent on rejuvenating the existing town centre.
Ian Lane, CRT's West Midlands Waterways Manager has made contact to explain the reasons for the Dudley No 2 closure at High Bridge. Apparently a scissor lift was stolen from a local construction site but the culprits appeared to have lost control of it on the narrow towpath and it tipped in to the water. This location is in a very deep cutting with limited access to vehicles so recovery was not straightforward. Fortunately a solution was worked out and the navigation is now open.
Photo: Navigation blocked at High Bridge
Photo: Blockage removed
Help raise money for canal restoration and have fun by going along to the Driffield Navigation Amenities Association Canal Festival on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th May at North Frodingham Landing. There will be boat trips, a duck race, food and drink and a pub night with entertainment.
Last year CRT's North Wales & Borders area was chosen for an initial trial of introducing recycling facilities to the waterways. The compounds being included so far have separate bins for general waste, for mixed glass and for dry mixed recycling which includes paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, hard plastics, aluminium and steel cans. An important factor is that any plastic bags, even ones used to transport the recycling, must be put in the general waste. If any plastic bags are found in the recycling the load will be considered contaminated and CRT will incur extra costs. All food waste must continue to go in the general waste bins and items like electrical appliances, engine oil, diesel fuel, used batteries must be disposed of at a council run household waste centre. IWA understands that these recycling facilities will be rolled out nationwide during this year but the timetable of this is not known at the moment.
Photo: The shape of things to come - recycling on the CRT system
CLESSE INDUSTRIES, manufacturer of LP gas regulator brand Novacomet issues an immediate product recall on LPG regulator product family BP1803. Used with propane and butane LPG cylinders, the recall involves all directly cylinder mounted, wall mounted single cylinder and two cylinder manual changeover versions manufactured between June 2010 and September 2015. Using the identification process, if your regulators are part of the recall, used for outdoor applications and fall within the specified dates, please register your details using one of the methods indicated below. If you are unsure how to identify your product, please visit the Clesse website or contact their Recall Help Line. Following successful registration and identification, Clesse Industries will process and supply replacement BP1803 regulators free of charge, as well as contribute to the cost of the product exchange that falls within this recall. Recall Help Line: 0800 088 5545.
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
News from the Mill
Warwickshire Branch - Bear Essentials
Peterborough Branch - Hereward
Major IWA events in 2016
30th April - 2nd May 2016 - IWA Canalway Cavalcade, London
9th July - Cruise around Olympic Waterways - Email for details
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.
3rd May Work Party - Liverpool (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
4th May Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
7th May Work Party - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (Supported by IWA Birmingham Branch)
7th May Work Party - Burslem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
8th May Work Party - Sleaford Navigation (Supported by IWA Lincolnshire Branch)
11th May Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
11th May Work Party - Staffs & Worcester (IWA Birmingham Branch)
12th May Work Party - Uttoxeter (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
14th May Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
15th May Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
17th May Work Party - Oxford Canal (Supported by IWA Oxfordshire Branch)
18th May Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
19th May Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
21st May Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
24th May Work Party - Oxford Canal (Supported by IWA Oxfordshire Branch)
24th May Work Party - Burslem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
24th May Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
25th May Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
25th May Work Party - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (Supported by IWA Birmingham Branch)
27th May Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
28th May Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
1st June Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
4th June Work Party - Chelmer & Blackwater (Essex WRG)
4th June Work Party - Burslem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
5th June River Don - Himalayan Balsam Bash (IWA South Yorks & Dukeries)
8th June Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
8th June Work Party - Staffs & Worcester (IWA Birmingham Branch)
9th June Work Party - Uttoxeter (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
11th June Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
15th June Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
22nd June Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
29th June 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
1st May Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
10th May Walk - Calke Park & Ticknall Tramway (IWA Lichfield Branch)
15th May Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
29th May Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
5th June Waterside Walk - Grand Junction & Regent's Canals (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar
The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:
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
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