As previously reported in Bulletin, Peel Holdings, owners of the Bridgewater Canal are now enforcing charges of £40 for boaters staying on the waterway for more than seven days or returning within 28 days. This will have an impact on private boaters wanting to cruise in this area and for hire boat companies, particularly those around the popular Cheshire Ring as a hire boat will be charged when it enters the Bridgewater Canal regardless of the fact that it has a new crew.
As part of IWA's campaign to ensure the Bridgewater Canal is accessible for cruising, IWA members and boaters who live in parliamentary constituencies which include the Bridgewater Canal are being encouraged to write to their MPs to raise concern about Bridgewater Canal Company’s changes to the reciprocal licensing arrangements for CRT licence holders.
The effect of these charges on boaters and traders could be very serious and if the Bridgewater Canal becomes underused it will have consequences for the health and future of the waterway itself.
Bridgewater Canal Company is owned by Peel Holdings, who have declined to reconsider these new arrangements despite approaches by IWA and CRT.
A letter template for those wishing to contact MPs is available for you to download and use. Parliamentary constituencies which include parts of the Bridgewater Canal are: Altrincham & Sale West, Halton, Leigh, Manchester Central, Salford & Eccles, Stretford & Urmston, Tatton, Warrington South, Weaver Vale, Worsley & Eccles South and Wythenshaw & Sale. Boaters and members are also encouraged to write to their own MPs about this situation.
Photo: Wyrley & Essington Junction with Cannock, Pelsall
Boaters attending this year's IWA Festival of Water at Pelsall are being encouraged to explore the Birmingham Canal Navigations labyrinth of canals. Ivor Caplan, IWA's deputy chairman, explains why.
"I occasionally hear from boaters whose cruise onto the Birmingham Canal Navigations consists of a quick dash along the Main Line to the safety of Birmingham's Brindleyplace before heading off into the country. Well this is the year, whether heading for the Pelsall Festival of Water or not, to explore the northern parts of the system and discover their unique character.
The main attraction is the sheer choice of routes. In fact, the system is so complex it's quite possible for boaters to actually get lost! Yes, a map is recommended, but don't let uncertainty deter you from exploring the remainder of the many arms which fed the industry of the Black Country.
Then there is the variety of scenery, from industrial areas that recall the commercial heritage of these waterways to some surprisingly rural views. A summer evening at Anglesey Basin just below Chasewater Reservoir is one of the most peaceful waterways experiences. In contrast, a mooring at the end of Walsall Town Arm or at Brownhills is not as quiet but gives ready access to shops and hostelries. However, I'm sure you'll come up with your own list after visiting these canals in 2016"
If this has tempted you to take a look at the Birmingham Canal Navigations there is still time to book your boat into IWA's Festival of Water on the Wyrley & Essington Canal from Saturday 27th to Monday 29th August. Go to the Festival of Water page for the Pelsall booking form.
Over the past week, we have been running a campaign to help increase awareness, reporting and removal of invasives species that choke up our waterways.
In a survey carried out with our members earlier this year, only 16% of respondents felt well informed about the effect of invasive species on our waterways. 61% underestimated the cost of invasive species to the British economy, and over 60% never Check-Clean-Dry their equipment.
There are lots of easy ways you can support this campaign and help raise awareness:
Join us and take part in #CutInvasives campaign.
IWA's Essex Waterways will have a new look sea lock this winter with three sets of working gates to increase capacity which is dependent on the tide. The new steel sliding caisson gate has been built and a trial operation carried out in Cardiff. It has been dismantled and delivered to Essex ready for installation together with new mitred wooden top gates next winter. Hargreaves in Halifax are constructing these top gates for Heybridge Lock. This work will be carried out and funded by Essex & Suffolk Water as part of the agreement they have for water extraction. Additionally, the Environment Agency has de-silted the seaward side of the bottom gates. Further information on Essex Waterways is available in its Boaters Newsletter.
Photo: Heybridge Lock gates in dry dock
Photo: Heybridge Lock gates in kit form
Navigation Committee is the national committee of IWA that monitors and responds to all matters relating to the use and maintenance of navigable waterways. It meets every two months usually at Rowington near Warwick and expenses can be claimed for attendance. Navigation Committee is currently seeking new members with experience of boating and navigation issues to add to the breadth of knowledge and skills on the committee.
Expressions of interest together with a brief resume should be sent to Alison Smedley, Campaigns Officer in the first instance.
IWA’s Navigation Committee is seeking a suitable candidate to represent IWA on the Boat Safety Scheme Advisory Committee, to replace the current representative, Ian Fletcher. Ian wishes to step down in February 2017 and has suggested that the new representative could accompany him to the next meeting, scheduled for November.
The BSS Advisory Committee is the stakeholder committee that makes recommendations to the BSS Management Committee on matters concerning the operation and impact of the Boat Safety Scheme. The Committee meets twice a year at Hatton, Warwickshire.
It will not be necessary to become a member of Navigation Committee or to attend Navigation Committee meetings provided regular reports are submitted.
Expressions of interest together with a brief resume should be sent to Alison Smedley, Campaigns Officer in the first instance.
IWA’s Navigation Committee is seeking a suitable candidate nominated by IWA as a director on the Tees River Users Trust, to replace the current director, John Reeve, who wishes to step down after many years in the post.
Tees River Users Trust Ltd is a company limited by guarantee of which IWA is a member, as a corporate entity, which entitles IWA to appoint a director to the board of the company. The main function of the trust is to look after the River Tees Water Sports Centre so the position would be ideal for someone with corporate experience as this is a large organisation which is home to many water and sailing based associations and clubs. Further information can be obtained on request.
This role reports to IWA Navigation Committee and the post holder should also keep IWA North East & Yorkshire Region informed about any significant issues. It will not be necessary to become a member of either IWA committee or to attend their committee meetings provided regular reports are submitted.
Expressions of interest together with a brief resume should be sent to Alison Smedley, Campaigns Officer.
IWA's Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice in 2017 will take place from 29th April to 1st May. Places for boaters are always in demand for this prestigious event but priority booking for IWA members is only available until 31st July. After this date spaces will be available to the public so, if you are a member and would like to attend, go to the priority booking form .
IWA is currently advertising a staff vacancy for a residential caretaker based at Essex Waterways. This post is based at Hoe Mill Lock and includes a residential mooring (chargeable) with maintenance/security duties. For further details go to the Essex Waterways pages. There is a closing date of 30th September.
Fifteen volunteers from IWA's Warwickshire Branch and local residents tackled the Himalayan Balsam which has infested parts of Myton Fields in Warwick on a work party on 10th July. The volunteers were pleased to see that the amount of Himalayan Balsam was less than in previous years due to their activities in the summer of 2015.
Himalayan Balsam prefers damp conditions and spreads along natural drainage routes. Removing the plant before the flower heads have matured prevents its spread to the surrounding area. The plant is shallow rooting so a tug on the stem dislodges it from the soil. The stems and flower heads were stored in plastic bags. In all, the volunteers filled about 50 bags with the plants which were collected and destroyed by Warwick District Council. Clearing Himalayan Balsam is a long term project and so IWA Warwickshire Branch will be holding another event in Myton Fields on Sunday, 14th August at 10am until 1pm. Further information is available from the Branch contact.
Photo: IWA Warwickshire Branch's Sue Roy with an unwelcome bouquet
Photo: IWA Warwickshire Branch members attempting to contain Himalayan Balsam
A series of Himalayan Balsam work parties, to help control this invasive non-native plant which is a problem in the Staffordshire Moorlands, took place on the Caldon Canal again this year. The work parties were jointly organised by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust and contributed to the final year of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership’s Big Pull Project as well as nationally to IWA’s invasive species campaign.
On Monday 27th June an evening session with half a dozen people saw all the Himalayan Balsam on the towpath between Denford and Cheddleton removed, along with quite a lot from the other bank, courtesy of the use of a locally based day hire boat to access the offside. On Thursday 30th June volunteers met at Consall Lime Kilns to work upstream on the river section, and on this occasion were grateful to have the help of Barry from CRT and CRT’s trailable aluminium work boat to access the offside bank. On Monday 11th July the young people from Cheddleton’s Light Seekers youth group enjoyed their annual outing to pull up Himalayan Balsam along the canal in Cheddleton. On Saturday 16th July a family volunteering day saw all the Himalayan Balsam along the towpath between Stockton Brook and Endon cleared, along with much of what was growing on the John Emery Land near Endon. Finally, on Sunday 17th July, a group of half a dozen volunteers took time out from enjoying the successful Froghall Canals Fun Day to clear Himalayan Balsam between the basin and the tunnel.
In all locations an improvement on previous years was noted. As the Himalayan Balsam is late in developing its seeds this year, July/early August is not too late for it to be pulled, and all walkers, anglers, boaters and anyone else using the waterways are encouraged to pull it up, where safe to do so.
Photo by Alison Smedley: Volunteers tackle the balsam on the river section of the Caldon Canal at Consall
Photo by Alison Smedley: Cheddleton Light Seekers youth group prepare to go balsam bashing
Canals, pottery, boats and bells came together at an event to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the start of the Trent & Mersey Canal, along with the 300th anniversary this year of the birth of James Brindley, at Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday 23rd July.
The event, which had been organised by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch, Trent & Mersey Canal Society and North Staffordshire Association of Change Ringers, saw crowds gather on the banks of the Trent & Mersey Canal for a re-enactment of the sod cutting ceremony which took place in nearby Brownhills in 1766.
Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire Mr Ian Dudson, CBE CStJ, attended the event and told the gathered crowds how important the Trent & Mersey Canal was to the industrial revolution and the pottery industry. Local historian and actor Ray Johnson recreated the 1766 speech as Josiah Wedgwood, with Duncan Bourne taking the part of James Brindley and preparing the ground for the first sod to be cut by Josiah Wedgwood. The 50 year old spade, which had been kindly loaned by Stoke-on-Trent Boat Club, had originally been presented by the then Lord Wedgwood at an event in 1966 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the canal.
IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch had their branch sales and publicity display at the event, along with archive film footage. The North Staffordshire Association of Change Ringers gave bell ringing demonstrations throughout the day on the Lichfield Diocesan Mobile Belfry, and the Trent & Mersey Canal Society and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust also had stands. Historian and author, Victoria Owens, had books on James Brindley for sale at the event. Live music was to be heard throughout the day with performances from local bands Steamhead, The Boat Band and the Clay Chorus.
There were also four locally based historic narrow boats at the event (Lindsay & Keppel, Skylark and Sudbury). Crowds gathered again later in the afternoon to hear a full performance about James Brindley from Josiah Wedgwood (again with Duncan Bourne and Ray Johnson in their respective roles).
The bellringers had also organised a wider geographical event, with bells being run for special “quarter peals” at 27 churches to mark the celebration along the whole length of the Trent & Mersey Canal during the day.
Photo by Alison Smedley: Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire Mr Ian Dudson, CBE CStJ in attendance as Ray Johnson (as Josiah Wedgwood) and Duncan Bourne (as James Brindley) entertain the crowds at the re-enactment of the 1766 sod cutting ceremony at the Bells for Brindley event on 23rd July 2016.
Photo by Rupert Smedley: Bells for Brindley event – left to right – Phil Gay (who organised the North Staffordshire Association of Change Ringers involvement in the event), Eddie Kingswell representing Trent & Mersey Canal Society, Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire Mr Ian Dudson, CBE CStJ, Ray Johnson (as Josiah Wedgwood), Duncan Bourne (as James Brindley), Chris Skelhorne, president of IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch, and Alison Smedley who organised the event on behalf of IWA.
Mike Slade of IWA West Country Branch is organising a combined boat and coach trip on Sunday September 11th to the Exeter Ship Canal and the Stover Canal.
There will be a 2.5 hour boat trip along the Exeter Ship Canal into the Exeter City Centre Basin. The Exeter Ship Canal celebrates the 450th anniversary this year of the opening of this route and commemorative events are planned to take place on this weekend. The coach then travels to the Stover Canal located near Newton Abbot. The Stover Canal Trust are going to provide guides who will talk about the current restoration work on the canal and about their plans for future projects.
Bookings and full payment will need to be made to Mike Slade by Monday 8th August.
Waterways Minister Rory Stewart was moved to International Development in the recent ministerial reshuffle and Therese Coffey (Suffolk Coastal) has been moved to Defra as his replacement. Alex Cunningham has resigned as shadow minister and has been replaced by Rachael Maskell (York Central).
The Canalside Heritage Centre Trust in Beeston Rylands on the Beeston Cut is finally about to start work on its renovations of the derelict lock cottages and their transformation into a museum and heritage centre. The project, unique to Broxtowe and the County is supported financially by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Nottinghamshire County Council, Broxtowe Borough Council, CRT and several other charitable trusts. The project will restore the lock cottages at the end of Canalside Road in Beeston Rylands into a heritage museum as well as creating an exhibition gallery, resource centre, community café, fishing tackle shop, cycle hire facility, a kitchen garden and allotment space. The Beeston Cut was a link between the Nottingham Canal and the River Trent.
Trustee Chairman for the project, Stewart Craven, who has worked tirelessly on the project for more than 5 years, said that this was the start of something really special for the Beeston area. Stewart said: “I’ve lived on a narrow boat on the Beeston Cut for nearly 13 years so I’ve seen the cottages deteriorate over the years. I was determined to prevent them from falling further into oblivion so I’m absolutely over the moon that we can now start the restoration work".
Johnathon Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands, the primary funders for the renovation said: “This National Lottery funding will transform the derelict lock cottages into a place to learn about over two centuries of history and a base from which to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the canal. We are pleased that works are now able to commence and look forward to working closely with the Trust over the coming years to ensure the project is a success.”
The centre is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2017. For updates visit the Trust website.
Photo: Disused lock cottages at Beeston Rylands
Some detective work by CRT’s enforcement team has helped reunite a stolen boat with its rightful owner after they spotted something suspicious in their boat sightings. The alarm was raised when a CRT officer spotted an unidentified boat displaying only a name and sent in the details to the local team. There was only one boat of that name on the Trust’s database, so the owner was called to check if it was the same craft. While the owner was describing the boat, and how it was currently in a marina, it became obvious that it was the same vessel. Someone had taken it from the marina, and was now cruising away with it down the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal.
The theft was reported to the police and CRT's local teams, from enforcement to customer service and the people working on the canal went on high alert. They followed up a lead the owner had passed on and, confirming that it was the same boat, waited for the police and the rightful owner to get there. With the boat returned, the police are now searching for the thief.
Paul Griffin, enforcement operations manager at CRT, said: “It’s great that this story has a happy ending and the boat has found its way back home. Our team’s presence on the bank can be vital in situations like this. Boat thefts are, thankfully, rare and we do everything we can to support boaters. If a vessel goes missing we’d encourage boaters to tell the police in the first instance, and to get in touch with their local enforcement team so we can work together to try and track down the boat safely.”
Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust held a work party on 9th July to tackle Himalayan Balsam with the help of some young Army Cadet Force volunteers.
The source of Himalayan Balsam on the Newport Canal was tracked previously to Strine Park, so it was encouraging to see last year's work to the east of Town Lock had been effective as there was a lot less balsam this year.
Work to the east of Town Lock on the towpath and an overgrown island was hampered by a fallen tree so this area will need further work next year as there were many Himalayan Balsam plants spotted that were inaccessible.
Four volunteers (including two from CRT) and four CRT staff joined together on 2nd July to install 35 drilled and bonded mooring rings in Middlewich. The first task of the day was to identify existing rings obscured by grass and mud and reveal them once more. After four hours work there is now a continuous run of rings at 4 - 8m intervals from the Big Lock up to the start of the Andersen private moorings, interrupted only by the winding hole, the road bridge and a short section where sandstone copings mean that drilled in rings cannot be used. The hope is to return to this section later in the year with the concrete method rings.
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
Chelmsford Branch - News from the Mill
East Midlands Region - Aegre
Shroppie Fly Paper
Major IWA events in 2016/2017
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 August Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
6th August Work Party - Burslem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
10th August Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
10th August Work Party - Staffs & Worcester (IWA Birmingham)
11th August Himalayan Balsam Bash - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire)
13th August Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
14th August Himalayan Balsam Bash - Warwick (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
17th August Work Party - River Gipping Trust (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
20th August Himalayan Balsam Bash - Preston (IWA Lancs & Cumbria Branch)
24th August Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
25th August Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire)
3rd September Work Party - Burlsem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire)
7th September Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
10th September Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
14th September Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
21st September Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
28th September 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
7th August Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
21st August Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
4th September Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
6th September Waterside Walk - Rushall & Daw End Canals (IWA Lichfield Branch)
18th September 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:
ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount on holidays (Direct Bookings Only)
Airedale Cruising, Skipton, Yorkshire Dales - 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
Kings Lock Chandlery – 5% discount on purchases excluding all fuels (diesel, gas, coal, wood, etc)
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