IWA's WRG has taken delivery of two out of its four new vans which will enable its volunteers and equipment to get transported around the waterway projects. As reported in the Mid June Bulletin there is a competition to guess the total miles the vans will cover this summer. Go to the WRG Guess the Miles website page to submit your guess.
Photo: Welcome to Bob
On Sunday 12th June, two brave teams took on the challenge of pulling a ten ton canal boat along the Chesterfield Canal to raise money for the IWA's WRG Van Appeal. The working boat they were pulling, ‘Dawn Rose’, had been lovingly built by volunteers from original plans, when the last of its kind rotted away in 2000 – they were usually seen pulled by horses rather than people though!
The whole event, organised by Chesterfield Canal Trust and Friends of the Dawn Rose, ran over two weeks, with the canal being divided into twenty sections; on paying an entry fee to go toward the upkeep of the boat, teams could ‘adopt’ a stretch on which to pull the canal boat and raise money for a cause of their choice.
In the morning Mike and Jude Palmer donned the harnesses to pull the boat 3 miles from Drakeholes to Clayworth. Then Paul Ireson and IWA fundraising officer, Sarah Frayne took the reins from Clayworth to Clarborough (although sadly their efforts were somewhat hampered by inclement weather conditions!). It was both Sarah and Jude’s birthdays on the day – but what better way to spend it? The teams put in a good effort with only a couple of breaks; they have so far raised just over £1,200 for the van appeal. Mike and Jude can be seen in action on the Vimeo website.
IWA branches had also been involved earlier in the weekend, with Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch completing a 2.5 mile stretch on the Saturday afternoon, from Shaw Lock to Drakholes, raising £230.
Photo: Jude and Mike Palmer pulling Dawn Rose
IWA’s annual Festival of Water is set to bring over one hundred boats to the underused Wyrley & Essington Canal, when the event takes place at Pelsall Junction over the August Bank Holiday weekend from 26th to 28th August 2016. The location has been chosen to encourage greater activity on and around the northern section of the Birmingham Canal Navigations, and whilst 20 or so boats will arrive as part of the BCNS Explorer Cruise, over 80 more will arrive by other routes from across the inland waterways.
The main festival site will be on Pelsall Common and there is no charge for admission or parking. Mooring or camping for the weekend costs just £35 which includes wristband access to the evening entertainment. On arriving at the festival visitors will be welcomed by a collection of classic cars, a fairground organ and a miniature steam engine offering rides around the show. The less than usual sound of bagpipes will pipe festival goers around the site and children’s entertainment includes rides, water zorbing, birds of prey, the chance to drive a digger or build a wall with WRG and get up close to some reptiles and mammals such as a skunk!
Photo: Come and try hula hooping classes at IWA's 2016 Festival of Water
There will be lots of food choices and a real ale bar plus plenty of shopping opportunities both on and off the water. There will also be historic narrow boats to see, and the opportunity to learn about local and national waterway projects including the Lichfield & Hatherton canals restoration.
The Mayor of Walsall hit the nail on the head when he said “Our local canal network is an asset of which we can be proud and we look forward to welcoming boaters and visitors from across the country. The IWA Festival of Water is a celebration of what we have and I hope will encourage the people of Walsall to get to know our local waterways better.”
A reminder that bookings are open for this prestigious London event with priority being given to IWA members until the end of July. Cavalcade runs from 29th April until 1st May and is always oversubscribed so get the booking for your boat in early by going to the IWA Canalway Cavalcade website page.
IWA's Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday 24th September 2016 at 2pm at South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy, Prosser Street, Bilston, Wolverhampton WV14 0LN.
In line with recent years we are extending the formal Annual General Meeting to make a day that will give members an insight into IWA activities plus subjects of general waterways interest. The morning session will give the option of visits to the nearby CRT Bradley lock gates construction workshops to view the fascinating traditional skills being used, plus a walk down the line of the Bradley Restoration, a recent initiative supported by IWA. A hot lunch will be provided at no charge but we hope that as last year, there will be generous donations towards WRG's van appeal. There will be plenty of time to discuss issues with trustees and to network with your fellow volunteers and members. After lunch we shall hold IWA's awards ceremony and formal Annual General Meeting followed by short presentations on progress with our marketing of the Association and an update on our practical hands-on restoration activities from the WRG team.
Full details will follow but please put the date in your diary now - 24th September 2016.
For some time IWA argued against proposals by CRT for installing paddle pawl stops that would prevent the paddle pawl from being completely moved out of the way whilst a paddle is being wound down. This issue has been raised locally by IWA branches and nationally through boating forums as IWA was concerned that paddle pawl stops would be included in proposed designs being trialled, and that CRT did not taking into account the safety hazards that would be created by this approach. IWA considered that more needed to be done to educate boaters about replacing pawl catches in position after winding a paddle down, using the right windlass hole and not leaving windlasses on spindles once the paddle gear is wound up. Educating boaters about these three things would reduce the number of accidents so IWA welcomes a video which demonstrated best practice in operating a lock that CRT has produced. To watch this video click on to YouTube.
IWA's popular photography competition is now open for entries. The best images will feature on Christmas cards, the 2018 IWA calendar and other promotional materials which will raise the profile of canals and waterways. Go to IWA's website for further information.
Photo by Mark Gliddon: Winner of 2017 Calendar Competition
A well deserved award was presented this month to Mike Slade of IWA's West Country Branch who was recognised for his contribution to the local community with Taunton Deane's Volunteer of the Year Award 2016.
Photo: Mike Slade (right) receiving his certificate
On Saturday 2nd July Welshpool is hosting a Canal and Food Festival and the Branch will be there with their stand and WOW activities for children. As well as the food stalls, angling and entertainment this is also an opportunity for teams of four to try their hand at coracle racing - contact details are on the Welshpool Town Council website. All are welcome and no previous experience is needed!
IWA’s Himalayan Balsam campaign has got off to a good start this year with several branches holding work parties around the country to clear this invasive plant, and many more work parties planned over the coming weeks.
IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch kicked off their programme of 7 Himalayan Balsam work parties on the Caldon Canal with an evening session on the evening of Monday 27th June. The volunteers split into two groups, with one team clearing all the Himalayan Balsam growing along the towpath between Denford and Cheddleton, and the other team clearing the plant on the offside of the canal from a boat. The volunteers were pleased to notice a reduction in the amount of Himalayan Balsam compared to last year, particularly on the towpath side.
We are saddened to report the death in June of David Bullock, for many years a member of IWA East Midlands Region Committee, editor of 'Aegre', committee member of Barnsley Canal Group (before it became Barnsley Dearne & Dove Canal Trust), editor of its magazine 'The Keel' and supporter of the Huddersfield Canal restoration.
WRG volunteers Becky Parr and Kirsty Wallace married on the 4th June. Becky and Kirsty met on the Grand Western Canal Camp in 2010. Both have been involved with WRG for many years, volunteering to run canal camps, helping set up IWA’s national waterways festival as well as working behind the scenes to help recruit new leaders. This summer both Becky and Kirsty will be volunteering on the Grantham Canal Camps.
Photo by Zak Scicluna: Becky and Kirsty's wedding day
WRG volunteers George ‘Bungle’ Eycott and Melanie Eycott celebrated the birth of William on 3rd April. Bungle first became involved with waterways through the Wilts & Berks Canal and became much in demand when it was discovered he could rebuild and drive tractors and dumper trucks. He worked on the 1998 national trailboat festival and has been setting up IWA events and festvals ever since.
Photo: A future working party volunteer - William at Canalway Cavalcade
IWA West Riding Branch has paid tribute to Jo Cox MP who was tragically killed on 16th June. In response to IWA's Waterways Manifesto during the last general election Jo responded by saying "I wanted to drop you a line to let you know that I'm very happy to support the IWA agenda. I myself lived on a narrow boat for many years and currently live with my family on an old Dutch barge on the River Thames”. She also attended IWA’s Parliamentary Reception in July 2015.
A ‘Last Push’ appeal is being made to complete a new bridge which will allow a section of historic canal to be re-opened. Wey & Arun Canal Trust is seeking to raise £120,000 to finish the crossing in Alfold, its largest restoration scheme so far in Surrey. With volunteers now busy on the final stages of construction work, the Trust has calculated this amount is needed for the completion of the Compasses Bridge project.
The bridge is on the waterway’s summit level, at one of the entrances to the Dunsfold Park aerodrome and business complex. Replacing a 1930s concrete causeway which blocked the canal, it was opened to traffic at Easter. “The Trust is launching this new ‘last push’ appeal so that we can complete this project by the end of the year then our teams can move on to the next restoration project and keep up the momentum of bringing a 23-mile green corridor back to life” said Trust Chairman Sally Schupke.
Work started at the bridge site a year ago. Volunteers are currently laying facing bricks on the concrete shell and demolishing the causeway, with jobs to be finished including landscaping and building a public viewing platform. The bridge will be officially opened on Sunday, October 2nd, as part of celebrations marking the Wey & Arun Canal’s bicentenary. Around a mile of waterway will be available to navigation by small boats, towards Tickner’s Heath at Dunsfold and going up to the A281 in Alfold.
Donations can be made via the home page of the Wey & Arun Trust or by sending a cheque made out to the Wey & Arun Canal Trust to Compasses Appeal, WACT Northern Office, Bridge End, Somerswey, Shalford, Guildford, Surrey GU4 8EQ. The Trust asks that eligible donors Gift Aid the money they give, which adds 25p from the Government to every £1 – declaration forms available via the website if required.
Photo: Volunteers working on Compasses Bridge
Thirty new heritage mileposts have been re-cast in iron to mark the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Bicentenary - part of CRT's EveryMileCounts project. The Trust, which cares for the canal, is marking the 200th anniversary with a major fundraising appeal to restore or replace missing mileposts along the waterway’s 127 mile route.
After a comprehensive survey of the entire length, it was identified that 30 posts needed replacing with brand new posts. Merseyside Castings in Knowsley, Liverpool, has been awarded the contract to create the new mileposts and also 109 missing individual mileage plates. The family firm, run by George Harris and his two sons Paul and David, is the only foundry in Merseyside still producing cast iron products. They have made new moulds for the mileposts and mileage plates using original Leeds & Liverpool Canal patterns.
The project is backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, whose grant of £36,600 has supported the appointment of a project officer, the fabrication of new mileposts and a programme of activities, heritage events and art workshops for local residents.
Although the canal is 200 years old, the original cast iron mile markers date back to the 1890s. They were installed as a response to legislation introduced to regulate canal freight tolls - the Railway and Canal Rates, Tolls and Charges Order of 1893. This prompted the whole of the canal to be re-surveyed and new mileposts, along with half and quarter mileposts, installed along the towpaths.
Photo: Mileposts in production
Photo: George Harris delivering the mileposts to CRT's Alice Kay
Engineers from CRT are completing investigations to assess the stability of a landslip that has been blocking part of the Rochdale Canal at Todmorden.
Following heavy rainfall over the Christmas period the landslip caused the surface of a slope above a section of the Rochdale Canal to slide down on and into part of the canal. The slip blocked the way with earth, trees and debris and damaged the canal which also saw sections temporarily closed due to scoured towpaths, damaged locks and a failed section of canal bank.
Since then the Trust has been liaising with the owners of the slope, with a view to reopening the canal as quickly as possible. With one of the owners’ insurers disputing the extent of their cover, the landowner has, in the meantime, helpfully agreed to grant the Trust permission to access the slope. This has enabled engineers to help with the important job of assessing whether the damage caused has resulted in any further movement of the land.
These essential ground investigation works have initially focussed around one property’s driveway, and the slope leading to the canal. Engineers have dug a bore hole to assess the extent of the stability/instability of the slope above the canal, which also extends on to neighbouring land. Once this has been ascertained then remedial work and clean-up plans can be put into action so that the canal can be reopened as quickly and safely as possible.
CRT and Help for Heroes are working together to deliver an ambitious canal restoration and career recovery programme for wounded, injured or sick servicemen, women and veterans. Up to 60 veterans, from across the country, will join the Heritage Heroes project and work alongside local canal societies and CRT engineers and heritage advisors to transform and repair four canals. The 18-month project will also see hundreds of new volunteers recruited from nearby local communities.
The project, made possible by £500,000 funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery will equip the servicemen/women with City and Guilds qualifications in construction, health and safety, horticulture and land-based management which can be used to help them identify a new career.
The first phase of the project is taking place in Gloucestershire. Working in partnership with the Cotswold Canals Trust, the veterans will be restoring 500m of canal bank and towpath at the historic Ryeford Wharf. Currently the 200 year old canal is at risk. Left untouched, the nearby River Frome is encroaching on its banks which could cause the towpath to disappear. This restoration project will enable the preservation of our heritage and protect against the destructive effects of the fast-paced river.
In addition, the project will see the Wilts & Berks Canal transformed by the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust. Veterans and volunteers will make a major contribution towards rebuilding an abandoned stretch of canal and lock. Ironically the lock was used for military demolition practice during the Second World War and needs a complete restoration. Veterans will learn masonry skills as they piece together the lost lock and bridge.
The relaunched Thames Traditional Boat Festival has been expanded to three days this year - and promises to be bigger than ever. The event nearly disappeared from the Thames summer calendar last year but a new committee breathed new life into Europe’s biggest gathering of traditional boats resulting in record crowds. Now the festival, being held at Fawley Meadows, Henley, from 15th-17th July, promises to be even better. Over 200 boats are expected and what has previously been a two-day weekend event expanded to Friday as well.
A plan by a city council to issue on-the-spot fines for boaters mooring without permission has gone out for public consultation. Oxford City Council wants to impose a Public Spaces Protection Order across waterways within its boundaries – the Thames, Cherwell and the Oxford Canal. The order would give council officers power to impose £100 fines or commence legal proceedings which could result in £1,000 court fines for unauthorised mooring or anti-social behaviour near the waterways. It would cover the mooring by riverbanks without permission from riparian landowners, obstructing paths or waterways, putting up structures or leaving rubbish and failing to control dogs. The first phase of the consultation is expected to be completed in September. A meeting last autumn of the city’s Unlawfully Moored Boats Enforcement Group, which has representatives of various organisations, heard there were a number of hotspots in Oxford. These included areas where there were unlawfully moored boats or were known for anti-social behaviour. They included Castle Mill Stream, Folly Bridge, Fiddlers Island, Donnington Bridge, and Aston’s Eyot.
Three seasons of archaeological excavations on the Stover Canal at Ventiford Basin, near Newton Abbot in Devon, came to a climax in late May, when the hulk of one of the canal’s barges was fully revealed. The work has been undertaken as a community project on behalf of the Stover Canal Trust, under the direction of their archaeologist, Dr Phil Newman. The remains of the barge showed a surprisingly well-preserved lower portion of the vessel, including structural timbers, planking from the hull, and various ironwork. This is the only Stover Canal barge, so far, to have been archaeologically excavated and recorded, providing some unique insights into how it was constructed.
Stover Canal was commissioned by James Templer of Stover House; it was opened in 1790, to be completed by 1792. The waterway was primarily used to carry ball clay from local clay pits, down to Teignmouth, from where the clay was transhipped for distribution. The canal was also used to move granite from Haytor Quarries on Dartmoor, which was transported to Ventiford via George Templer’s famous granite tramroad from 1820 until the 1840s. Barge traffic finally ceased in the 1930s, although the upper section of the canal, including Ventiford, was abandoned probably before the 1880’s, so the barge may have been abandoned over 140 years ago. It has not yet been possible to establish the date the vessel was built but it is believed to be over 200 years old.
Other developments at Ventiford this year included the further uncovering of an 80m section of the Haytor Granite Tramroad on the eastern side of the canal quay. The 12km tramroad has international heritage significance and is a unique monument to industry, because the track was built from elongated granite blocks placed end to end, with flanges along the rails to guide the wheels of the trucks, rather than using the more traditional iron rails with flanged wheels on the vehicles. Although long and impressive sections of the tramroad survive in situ within Dartmoor National Park, until now it had been believed that the track was lost completely between Bovey Tracey and the head of the canal. However, this amazing find, which represents three sidings off the main trunk, provides the only significant surviving section of tramroad outside the national park.
For further information on the Stover Canal, please visit the Trust's website.
Photo: Work in progress unearthing the timbers of the Ventiford barge.
Photo: Revealing the stone setts of the Haytor Granite Tramway at Ventiford.
Inland Waterways International's conference will take place this year from 19th to 22nd September in Inverness, Scotland. Check out the conference website for further details.
The programme includes a cruise on Loch Ness, a tour of a distillery, study visit to Caledonian Canal, a session on waterways as a driver for regeneration, growing tourism and safeguarding the heritage of our waterways.
A group of over 30 employees from three local McDonald’s stores did a massive clean-up on the Chesterfield Canal on 21st June as part of the company's Love Where You Live initiative. The stores that took part were the Chesterfield town centre McDonald's, the Drive Thru McDonald's on Derby Road and Markham Vale McDonald's.
One group did a litter pick in areas near the canal. A second group pulled up lots of Himalayan Balsam. This is a pernicious weed, imported by the Victorians, that spreads really fast unless kept in check. The third group painted an iron footbridge that crosses the River Rother. This bridge had been in a pretty poor state but by the time the volunteers had finished their painting, the bridge was totally transformed, looking really smart.
Derbyshire County Council’s Countryside Rangers played their part by cutting back some undergrowth and removing the dozens of bags of litter and Himalayan Balsam that had been collected.
At the end, the Mayor and Mayoress of Chesterfield, Cllr Steve Brunt and Mrs Jill Manion-Brunt, joined the Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, Cllr John Burrows, at Tapton Lock Visitor Centre to thank the volunteers for their hard work.
Afterwards a spokesman for McDonald's said “This has been a really worthwhile event. McDonald’s is committed to LWYL – Love Where You Live – and we hope to repeat the exercise next year.”
Photo: Footbridge over the River Rother having a make-over
Photo: Photo call after the clean up on the Chesterfield Canal
Major IWA events in 2016
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.
2nd July Work Party - Burslem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
5th July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
6th July Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
7th July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
9th July Work Party - River Gipping Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch
9th July Work Party - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (Supported by IWA Birmingham Branch)
9th July Work Party - River Cam (IWA Great Ouse Branch)
10th July Work Party - Sleaford Navigation (Supported by IWA Lincolnshire Branch)
10th July Work Party - Northampton Arm IWA Northampton Branch
10th July Himalayan Balsam Bash - Warwick (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
13th July Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
13th July Work Party - Staffs & Worcester IWA Birmingham Branch
14th July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
16th July Work Party - Greater Manchester IWA Manchester Branch
20th July Work Party - River Gipping Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch
27th July Work Party - River Gipping Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch
14th August Himalayan Balsam Bash - Warwick (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
3rd July Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
9th July Waterside Walk - The Olympics, Three Mills & Bow Back Rivers (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
13th July Waterside Walk & Picnic - River Avon (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
17th July Waterside Walk - The Olympics, Three Mills & Bow Back Rivers (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
7th August Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
21st August 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
The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:
ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount on holidays
Airedale Cruising, Yorkshire Dales BB18 6TP - 10% discount off skippered day cruises
Blackwater Boats, Essex CO4 5HF - 10% discount off boat trips
CanalCruising.co.uk - 10% discount
Canal Boat Magazine - 12 issues for £21.99 + Gourmet Society Plus
City Centre Cruises - 10% discount for Sunday lunch cruises
Frangipani SUP Ltd - 10% discount
Jenny Wren, London NW1 8QS - 10% discount off cruises
Middlewich Narrowboats - 25% discount off hire price of Willow
Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd- 10% discount on published prices
Bounty Pub, Bourne End SL8 5RG - 10% discount off food
Clifford Arms, Staffordshire ST18 0SR - 10% discount off food
Fingerpost Pub & Restaurant, Pelsall WS3 5AU - 10% discount off food
Kings Lock Tearooms, Leicester LE2 8LT - 10% discount off food
Ring 'O Bells Pub, Marple SK6 7AY - 10% discount off food
Three Locks Pub, Stoke Hammond MK17 9DD - 10% discount off food
Wharf Pub, Bugbrooke NN7 3QB - 10% discount
Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
Boat Windows Ltd - 5% discount
Calcutt Boats - 5% online discount
Channel Glaze - 10% discount on double glazing
Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
IceGripper - Special offer on ladies walking boots
Marine Mega Store Ltd - 15% discount
Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
RoadPro- 5% discount
Solar Technology International- 10% discount on PV Logic Narrow Boat Kits & Foldup Panels
Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard
Zead - Free Postage & Accessories
Europcar - Special hire rates to IWA members
Forge Studio - 10% discount
I Love Meet and Greet Ltd - 15% discount
Lee Sanitation - 10% on orders over £100
Paper Wizard - 15% discount
River Canal Rescue - up to 15% discount
Wavetrain Marine - 5% discount on selected training
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