IWA Bulletin - 11th October 2016

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IWA News

IWA Raises Navigation Concerns over Boston Barrier Proposals

Photo: The site of the proposed barrier

IWA has raised concerns about proposals for a tidal barrier on the River Witham at Boston in Lincolnshire and has lodged a formal objection to the Environment Agency's application for a Transport and Works Order that would enable EA to build the barrage.    Although IWA acknowledges the need for a tidal surge barrier at Boston, the current plan for construction and operation of the barrier could significantly limit navigation.
Within the formal objection letter to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, IWA highlighted areas of concern, including:

  • lack of detail about water flows around the barrier, which could make navigation more hazardous
  • a risk of collision due to both limited line of sight because of the location of the barrier on a bend in the Haven, and because the flows and eddys may make controlling lower powered boats more difficult
  • the proposed minimum 18 metres width of the channel, which would bypass the works and lead to high flows at some tidal conditions
  • the proposal to close the navigation on occasions during construction, to the detriment of the commercial fishing fleet and leisure users.

Gren Messham, Trustee and Chairman of IWA’s Navigation Committee, said “IWA considers that in the absence of firm and detailed proposals to address and mitigate navigational risk, and given the concerns of local individuals, organisations and regulatory bodies, there is insufficient evidence to allow the Order to proceed without further investigation.”

IWA has asked that the application be further investigated by inquiry, hearing or written representations.  IWA hopes that its considered comments will result in a better and more complete outcome of the application.
Up to early 2015, plans for Boston’s tidal surge barrier included a parallel lock and improvements to the water front in Boston which could have mitigated these concerns.

Read IWA’s full response to the consultation on the Order.

IWA's 2017 Calendar

IWA's calendar is now available to purchase online. It is compiled by using images from the winning entries of the annual IWA photography competition and includes canals such as the Oxford, Shropshire Union, Trent & Mersey, Coventry, Monmouthshire & Brecon, Kennet & Avon and Grand Union.

Photo: A selection of photos in IWA's 2017 calendar.  Buy your copy now.

IWA's popular photography competition is now open.  As well as appearing on IWA's calendar and cards, the best entries will be used to promote the waterways of the country in posters, flyers, leaflets and websites.

For details on how to submit photographs take a look at the calendar competition page.

Winding in the Willows?

IWA is running a long-standing campaign on winding holes with the aims of:

  • Working with CRT and other relevant organisations to improve the standard of information about winding facilities
  • Lobbying to improve the standard of signage, dredging and vegetation clearing at winding holes
  • Determining where additional facilities could be established and what the optimum specification is to meet 21st century needs, in order to reduce unnecessary travel and consequent use of water and other resources, and to increase the options for cruising.

To find out more take a look at IWA's new briefing note on winding holes.

turningpointPhoto:  Can I turn my boat here?

turning2Photo by Rupert Smedley: An historic boat making use of a winding hole

Autumn and Winter Volunteering with WRG

Three October camps
IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group has three Canal Camps planned in October and the one on the Grantham Canal still has three spaces available.  
Volunteers are returning to the Chelmer &  Blackwater Navigation in Essex, and thanks to funds raised by IWA's Waterways Triathlon in September, they will be repairing more stretches of towpath to add to the success of the towpath work completed earlier this year.  
WRG’s Forestry Team are holding a camp on the Utttoxeter Canal to carry out tree clearance work along the line of the canal.

GranthamPhoto: Come and join WRG onsite on the Grantham Canal

Lock 15 on the Grantham Canal will have one last visit from WRG this year.  This summer our volunteers have spent over 3,200 hours helping restore the lock chamber - laying bricks, helping with concrete pours and earth moving.  We decided to run an extra camp this October to give the project one last push before the winter.  This camp still has 3 spaces left.
Book a space on the Grantham Canal Camp now.

Bonfire Bash

November is the month for WRG's annual Bonfire Bash. This year we are working on two canals – Chesterfield and Cromford on the 5th/6th November.  At Chesterfield, the focus will be on scrub bashing on multiple sites, including returning to some of those bits we didn’t quite finish on the last reunion there in 2014.  There is a possibility of some new sites near Norwood Tunnel.  The published routes for Phase 2 of HS2 have caused great difficulties for the restoration of the Chesterfield Canal so volunteering for this camp can help raise the visibility of the restoration and the pressures on it.  At Cromford, a group will be continuing the new towpath installation started by WRG NW in July at Ironville.
The Bonfire Bash is alot of fun and attracts between 80 - 100 volunteers each year. 
Reserve your space at the Bonfire Bash now.

Beat the post Christmas slump!

Although WRG's main Canal Camps programme ends in October, we don’t stop our restoration work. WRG works all year round and this year we are running a Christmas Camp on the Cotswold Canals from 26th December - 1st January. This camp is the perfect way to work off your Christmas dinner with plenty of vegetation clearance, bonfires and other winter activities.
Book a space on the Christmas Camp now.

An Opportunity to Run the London Marathon for IWA

Marathon runner

Photo: Sharon Linacre raising money for IWA

Always wanted to run the London Marathon?   Please write a brief paragraph on why you would like the place and how you might raise the sponsorship money, and email this to Sarah Frayne or telephone 01494 783 453 ext.611.

Boats visit Chelmsford city centre

Boats in Springfield Basin

Sixteen boats visited Chelmsford’s city centre last weekend, creating a stir amongst on-lookers and demonstrating the recrational potential of the town's waterways.  The boats cruised to town from Sandford Boating Club based on the 14 mile long Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation and they stayed overnight in Springfield Basin. 

There are nearly three hundred boats on the Navigation and the skippers of the visiting boats commented on what a pity it is that the Navigation is not linked to the city’s rivers.  The link, which would permit boats to travel through the centre to the new Bond Street shopping and restaurant area, remains an aspiration in the council’s development policies.

The Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation has been managed by a subsidiary of IWA, Essex Waterways, since it was saved from closure in 2005, and the waterway continues to go from strength to strength.

New footbridge for Paper Mill Lock on the Chelmer & Blackwater in Essex

Paper Mill footbridge is craned into position

Photo: The new Paper Mill footbridge is craned into position

IWA has taken delivery of a new footbridge at Paper Mill Lock on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation.  Paper Mill Lock is a popular spot along this largely rural Navigation, with a tea room overlooking the lock and moored boats, and the footbridge provides access to moorings and the Navigation Manager’s office on the lock island.   

During late October, the new bridge will be installed across the tail of the lock and the current walkway will then be removed.  Once the new bridge has been installed, resurfacing of the towpath above the lock will be completed.

Course Invitation: Managing Waterway Restoration

IWA and CRT have jointly organised a "Managing Waterway Restoration" course to be run by Dr Geraint Coles.  The course will appeal to all those working to restore canals and river navigations in England & Wales.

The course is divided into three sections:

  • Part One:  From Creating a Vision to Restoration Planning:
  • Part Two:  Managing Restoration Delivery
  • Part Three:  Keeping the Lights On

Part One will take place in Wigan on 22nd October and will look at the skills and aspects needed during the key development stages of a restoration project. 

Part Two will be in the East Midlands area on 28th January 2017 and will address the core principles of construction design and management as well as health and safety and how the two interweave. 

Part Three will be in Gloucester on 18th March 2017 and will focus on sustainability and the development of a robust business case.

The course will take place in three different locations to improve accessibility.  The idea would be to attend the course closest to you whilst the notes from each of the Parts will be made available online. 

For more information about the course and how to book in, please take at a look at the course details here.

Free Donations to IWA Every Time you Shop Online

It is so easy to do your shopping via easyfundraising.  Every time you do, a percentage will be donated to IWA and it will cost you absolutely nothing extra.

There are over 3,100 shops and sites for you to browse and buy through on the easyfundraising site.  Usually the thing that stops people raising money in this way for their favourite charity is that they simply forget.  Since we launched IWA onto easyfundraising we have raised over £1000 so it is a brilliant way to support IWA.  Find out more about easyfundraising.

How to remind yourself to raise money for IWA via easyfundraising:

By using the app, the reminder toolbar or shopping through the easyfundraising site, you can help IWA raise hundreds and hopefully thousands of pounds.

The mystery of Sir Peter Scott's Beatrice.  Can you help us solve it?

Sir Peter Scott, IWA's first Vice-President and former trustee, cruised the waterways extensively on his narrow boat Beatrice but after he sold her in 1952 very little is known of her whereabouts.  The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, which Sir Peter Scott founded, has appealed to us to find out what happened to the boat after it was sold. 

Can you help us out with any information?  If you do have any knowledge of Beatrice post-1952 we would be very interested to hear.  Please email our chief executive, Neil Edwards - firstname.lastname@waterways.org.uk.

IWA Branch News

IWA Manchester Branch

During August IWA Manchester Branch was presented with a framed certificate of their Adoption of locks 4 to 10 on the Ashton Canal.  Not wanting the grass to grow under their feet, the Branch kept busy while waiting for the presentation by clearing back the “landing stage” below lock 4 and having a litter pick.  It was suggested that the certificate design could be incorporated in the display boards on the raised bed.

In September the weather was fine enough to finally paint lock 5. CRT distributed enough painting equipment to paint Manchester City's Etihad Stadium, but the scrapers/wire brushes had a quality control issue as they disintegrated fairly quickly. This was to be the Branch's first time of working on a match day and whilst the security manager was OK with vehicles being parked in the stadium car park he wanted them away by 2pm. By 1pm, in the hurry to get finished, there were up to five volunteers painting a single lock gate but it was good to see the canal towpath being used by so many fans. The Branch plans to finish the top gate and fencing next month.

iwamanchesterPhoto:  How many volunteers does it take to paint a lock gate? 

IWA Middlesex Branch - Slough Canal Basin Proposals for Regeneration

Plans have been put forward to create a new waterside destination and housing around the basin on the Slough Arm of the Grand Union Canal.  

IWA Middlesex Branch, alongside the Friends of Slough Canal, has lobbied the planners of Slough Borough Council for a long time for the area to be developed.  Historically there have been several similar proposals for the terminus of the 5 mile Arm, but to date none of these have come to fruition.  

Robin Bishop of IWA Middlesex Branch said "The development should open up the area and breathe new life into this part of Slough. It will also encourage local residents to use this wonderful amenity on their doorstep."

The plans have been put forward by Slough Urban Renewal, which is a joint venture between Slough Borough Council and Morgan Sindall Investments.  

See IWA's Facebook discussion on the topic.

IWA West Country Branch

A successful outing for 40 members and volunteers took place on Sunday 11th September with a coach trip from Somerset to Exmouth, followed by an 11am boat trip up the River Exe Estuary to the Exeter Ship Canal at Turf Lock.  A 5-mile trip up the Canal led to arrival at Exeter Quay, where the 450th anniversary of the Canal was being celebrated by a good crowd, with stalls and a jazz band in the Transit Shed in addition to the usual tea shops, restaurants and other attractions at the Quay.

In the afternoon the trip moved on to the Stover Canal where visitors were given a guided tour of the northern half of the canal, from Ventiford Basin to Teignbridge.  Remains of the former barges which have recently been unearthed were shown, as well as the granite rails of the former tramway at the basin.  The restoration work being carried out by Stover Canal Trust at Graving Dock Lock, with help over several years from Waterway Recovery Group, was pointed out.

The day was rounded off with a Devon cream tea in Teignbridge.

IWA Branch and Region Network

IWA is organised through a network of eight Regions and 33 Branches across the country.  To find a Branch near you click on this link which will take you to information about the Branches, their newsletters, contacts and the local waterways in their area.

Other Waterway News

New Online Booking System for Passages and Dry Dock Space

CRT will be introducing a new online self-service booking system which will allow boaters to book passage through some of the charity’s most famous landmarks.

When the system goes live on 14 November 2016, boaters planning trips through Anderton Boat Lift, Standedge Tunnel, Liverpool Canal Link, Ribble Link and Frankton Lock, or wanting to use Wigan and Ellesmere dry docks, will be able to book up to two years in advance.  If these prove successful then the Trust will look to roll out online booking to other bookable passages and dry docks across the network.

Sitting within the boater’s portal on the Trust’s website, the system offers boaters 24/7 online access and takes out the paper element of the booking process.  Boaters will know immediately if the booking has been successful and can track and change confirmed bookings online.  Some things are staying the same: there will be no additional charges to those currently applied, and boaters can talk to Trust staff who can book passage for them if they prefer.

Do You Come from a Boating Family?

There is a website called www.spellweaver-online.co.uk which has been set up by someone whose family worked on the canals in the Midlands as boatmen.  The site includes newspaper articles about boatmen and their way of life.  There has been very little available on this subject online and boatman ancestors are notoriously difficult to trace for anyone interested in family history. 
familyhistoryPhoto from the Spellweaver website: Canal Boat Ancestors

New Thames River Crossings

London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has given the go-ahead to three new River Thames crossings in the eastern area of the city with an emphasis on more environmentally friendly options.  A four lane motorway style road will link Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, whilst a pedestrian and cycling bridge will improve the journey between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf.  The third route will see an extension to the Docklands Light Railway.  The first route will open in 2023 and costs are likely to be in excess of £1billion. 

Celebrate the Reopening of Carpenters Road Lock

The lock opening ceremony and associated festival to mark that the Olympic Park Waterway in London is fully open to through navigation is scheduled for the late May Bank Holiday Weekend 2017 (Friday 26th to Monday 29th).  This waterway has been blocked by Crossrail construction work and the restoration of Carpenters Road Lock.  To be included in this celebratory cruise send your boat name and index number to the organiser at London Legacy.  This will be recorded as a non-binding expression of interest. Because the quantity of participating vessels will be limited, it's important to register early, even if you withdraw nearer the date.olympiccruise1607Photo by Roger Squires: Olympic Park cruise July 2016 - next year it will be open to through traffic

Rochdale Canal open again

The Rochdale Canal has reopened after many months of hard work by volunteers, CRT staff and contractors who finished off some really complex repairs.  CRT has said that it is likely that people will come across things that they feel they should advise the Trust about and they should contact the CRT office at Red Bull.

Rochdale Canal landslip completion

Towpath Access Consultation on the Lancaster Canal

The Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership is currently gathering the opinions of many canal communities, businesses, charities and individuals to contribute to the development of a strategy for a Towpath Trail between Kendal and Lancaster.  There is to be wide consultation on the draft strategy with a view to stakeholders and other interested parties having an opportunity to comment on it and influence the final version.

If you would like to participate in the consultation please complete a short survey online.  This consultation is open to all so please share it as widely as possible with any contacts you have who you believe may be interested.

The partnership see the Towpath Access Strategy as an important step in the regeneration of the Lancaster Canal.

Roses and Castles.  New play opens for one night

A new stage play drama which tells the story - through music and prose - of the English canals from the 18th century to the present day, follows the fortunes of a canal family and their boat – “Phoenix” – across nearly two hundred years of history. 

Based on IWA volunteer officer, Phil Underwood's personal experiences as a boatman living on the Grand Union Canal, Roses and Castles is based on solid oral and written historical research, weaving actual canal life and real stories into the plot.

The performance is scheduled to run at the New Theatre Royal on 20th October 2016.  For tickets visit the theatre website

IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

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

Enjoy the Waterways Through Hire Boats and Leisure

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 - 5 issues for £5.00
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

Eating Out

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
Waterside Inn Leamington Spa, CV31 3JZ - 15% discount on food from main menu
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

IWA is delighted to welcome the Waterside Inn to its list of businesses offering discounts to members.  Situated next to the canal between Leamington Spa and Warwick, the Waterside Inn has a beautiful, large beer garden where you can sit and enjoy a meal or a drink with friends and family.  In addition there is a new al fresco dining area overlooking the water. 

Better Value on Boats and Equipment

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

Boat Insurance

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

See more information about the IWA insurance scheme for boaters

Contact Us

IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453