IWA Bulletin - January 2017

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IWA News

Bridgewater Canal Leigh Branch – More Troubled Waters

Barton Swing Aqueduct, which carries the Bridgewater Canal over the Manchester Ship Canal

IWA has written to Peel Holdings, owners of the Bridgewater Canal, to express concern at the revised timing of a proposed stoppage at Vicars Hall Bridge, near Boothstown.  Originally scheduled for December 2016 to March 2017, IWA has asked Peel Holdings to reconsider the timing of the stoppage which is now scheduled to run from mid-February to mid-June, affecting the early part of the summer when many boaters will wish to use the canal.

The Leigh Branch of the Bridgewater Canal is a vital link between the canals of Lancashire and the Midland waterways.  Whilst for some boats it will be a very long way round via the Pennines and Yorkshire, for boats over a certain length it is simply impossible and they will be effectively trapped where they are until well into the summer.  This will affect many peoples’ boating plans for attending events around the country, from Easter onwards.  It will also affect many boats from elsewhere in the country who wish to visit Liverpool, Wigan and Lancashire, including the Lancaster Canal via the Ribble Link.  

Whilst IWA understands that the recent delays are as a result of regulator and statutory undertakers’ delays in responding to Peel Holdings plans, IWA has asked the owners to consider options that would minimise potential closures of the canal and towpath, as well as looking at whether there is an opportunity for some windows of opening to canal traffic, to enable boats to pass through in each direction on specific (and advertised) dates during the stoppage period.  Should none of these options be viable, IWA has asked Peel Holdings to consider postponing the stoppage further until the autumn.  

IWA’s full letter to Peel Holdings can be read here.

David Suchet Visits IWA Stand at London Boat Show

IWA gave a helping hand to the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust’s fund-raising efforts by hosting an appearance by David Suchet CBE, Vice President of the Trust, on IWA’s stand at the London Boat Show on Monday 9th January.

David Suchet and trustees of the restoration trust outlined their current “Tunnel Vision” campaign, endorsed and supported by IWA, to raise £1million before 2019 to install a tunnel beneath the main Birmingham-Lichfield railway line and so secure the restoration of the Lichfield Canal.

Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust has also benefited from other assistance from IWA recently, receiving over £4,000 in IWA grants (£2,250 towards road signs to raise local awareness of the canals, and just under £2,000 towards costs for planning applications in respect of works at Darnford Lane).
David Suchet is also an honorary vice president of IWA and recently unveiled a historic building blue plaque at 11 Gower Street, the former London home of IWA co-founder Robert Aickman and  IWA's first office.

suchetlondonPhoto: David Suchet CBE locating the Lichfield Canal on IWA's map of the waterways

Restoration Projects Gain from IWA Raffle

The Restoration Raffle has enjoyed another great year, generating over £11,000 for canal restoration projects around the country; this will mean a great start to many waterway groups' year of fundraising, with nearly 30 causes benefitting from the money raised.  Following a lot of hard work to get those vital nominations, Shrewsbury and Newport Canal Trust were the highest beneficiaries from this year’s event and will receive nearly £2000.  Bernie Jones, Chairman of the Trust said “The money will provide a fantastic and much-needed boost to our match funding, as required for our Heritage Lottery Fund Round 2 bid’’.

IWA’s Restoration Hub received the 2nd highest number of nominations. The Restoration Hub, launched at the end of 2016, was created to support, enable and champion canal restoration in the UK by providing resources, advice and practical help and it demonstrates IWA’s commitment to be at the forefront of the restoration movement. It is extremely encouraging to see such great support from IWA members and supporters for this initiative, through their raffle nominations.

Friends of Cromford Canal, another highly nominated cause, will benefit from a donation of just over £1300, helping them continue their valuable work.

Entrants this year had the chance to win some fantastic prizes, including a top prize of £1,000. The other prizes included:

  • 2nd Prize: A one-week boating holiday on a six-berth narrow boat with Wyvern Shipping, worth up to £1,500.
  • 3rd Prize: A weekend boating holiday on a four-berth narrow boat with Canal Cruising Company, worth £590.
  • 4th Prize: A one-night boating holiday on up to a four berth boat with Calcutt Boats, worth up to £300.

A list of the waterways projects receiving donations can be found online.  Thank you to all those organisations who donated prizes, without whom it would not be possible to run the raffle.  And of course a very big thank you to everyone who bought tickets this year. 

WRG in the Family Way

WRG has 28 Canal Camps planned for 2017 on 13 different canal restoration sites and for the first time it is running a Family Canal Camp weekend, open to families with children aged between 8 and 14, which will take place on the Uttoxeter Canal.   

Mike Palmer, WRG Chairman, commented: “We are really pleased we now have a workable programme in place to enable families with children to enjoy the camaraderie and canal experience together. It’s been a long-standing ambition to introduce younger volunteers in a fun, safe way and if we get the uptake that we’re hoping for we plan to expand the Family Camp opportunities in future years."

WRG also attracts a wide range of volunteers from abroad and its friendship with the French volunteering group REMPART and other European volunteers continues to grow. Over 20 international volunteers from Spain, Italy, Germany and France attended a Canal Camp in 2016. In addition, WRG helped 58 Duke of Edinburgh's Award participants complete their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award residential section.

A full list of Canal Camp dates and locations is now available online.  Click here to watch our 'Who Digs Canals' video.


Harness Your Talents - Play Your Part in Restoring our Waterways

Your fundraising, marketing or project management skills could help restoration groups around England and Wales.  As you might have read in the last Bulletin of 2016, IWA is stepping up the level of support we offer to the restoration movement and also working to improve the full nationwide coverage we give to restoration projects. Part of the support IWA gives comes through the Restoration Hub which answers enquiries from restoration groups and acts as a co-ordinating point for all restoration enquiries, providing up to date guidance on restoration issues.

An essential part of the Hub is its Panel of Experts who can be called upon to advise, offer experience, knowledge and time to restoration groups encompassing skills such as fundraising, engineering, environmental management, marketing and project management, amongst others.  Over the next few months we are looking to grow the number of experts we can call upon to answer queries, visit restoration sites to offer advice and help us build our online technical and practical resources. If you are interested in getting more involved please email  Jenny Black or call to discuss the opportunities on 01494 783 453 ext 604.


Sheila Nix

We are saddened to report that Sheila Nix, a life long enthusiast for inland waterways, died at her home in York aged 95, in early January.  She was active with IWA for more than 50 years, serving on region and branch committees for most of that time.  She was a founder member of the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society, and served as its secretary, and as editor of its magazine, Double Nine, from soon after the society was formed in 1969, until 2005.  She helped run the society’s sales stall, and took charge of the society’s information centre at Canal Head, opening it on Sundays and Bank Holidays throughout the summer months.  Sheila also took a keen interest in many other waterways, and was an active member of the Yorkshire Derwent Trust and the River Foss Society. Her services to the waterways were recognised in 1993, with IWA’s premier award, the Cyril Styring Trophy, for her outstanding contribution in furthering the Association’s campaign.  In the year 2000, she was appointed an MBE for services to the inland waterways.

Her funeral will be held at St Olave’s Church, York on Friday January 13th at 12.45pm.  More information can be found at this link to The York Press.

John Gornall

John Gornall, chairman of IWA Avon & Wiltshire Branch from 2011 until he retired in 2016 due to ill health passed away on 22nd October.  He was editor of Sou'Wester for six years with his involvement in IWA spanning over 40 years.  More details about John's contribution to the work of IWA can be found in the latest issue of Sou'Wester.

Ray Carnell

We are saddened to report the death of Ray Carnell 25th November.  Ray had been a member of IWA since 1972 and, together with his late wife Marion, were members of Guildford & Reading Branch.    He was joint editor of the South East Region’s newsletter ‘Cargoes’ and also manned the branch sales stand at a number of events.  

IWA Branch News

North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch

At the final work party of 2016 on the Uttoxeter Canal, volunteers started to look closely at Carrington’s Lock, which had been revealed by WRG Forestry at their week-long camp in October. Having removed the remaining ivy from the area around the top gate it was possible to see that the stonework within the lock is mostly still there and has not moved in the 168 years since it closed to navigation. Work parties in the New Year will continue to explore the remains of the lock as well as continuing assorted tasks at nearby Crumpwood Weir. At the request of a number of regular volunteers the Branch is currently looking at adding a Saturday work party each month. This will make it easier for those who usually work on weekdays to become involved.

The first Branch work party of 2017 took place on the Burslem Branch Canal. It was good to see four new volunteers as well as the regular faces. Great progress was made with the ongoing job of uncovering the towpath edge and, even though it was too damp to light a bonfire, a substantial pile of material has been built up ready for a future work party. In addition a litter pick along the whole branch was carried out and the path either side of the footbridge was tidied up to make it easier for pedestrians and particularly mobility scooter users from the adjacent extra care home to use as a route into Burslem town centre. nssc1

Photo: Volunteers Rob and Darren taking measurements at Carringtons Lock on the Uttoxeter Canal


Photo: Volunteer Nigel cuts back brambles next to the Shropshire Union warehouse on the Burslem Branch Canal

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

HS2 and the Chesterfield Canal

There is a consultation about the Government's preferred route through South Yorkshire for the proposed new High Speed Railway line, HS2, which closes on 9th March 2017.  The Chesterfield Canal Trust is asking for as many people as possible to respond to the consultation to support this route. The reason is that it will do far less damage to the restoration plans for the canal than the original route.

The Government announced in November that its preferred route for HS2 is the one proposed last July. This route crosses the canal once, at Norwood, rather than lying on top of it for 2 km, at Renishaw and Spinkhill, as was the case in the original 2013 route.  The line to the proposed Infrastructure Maintenance Depot at Staveley crosses the canal once, rather than three times as was the case in the 2013 route.

Information about the consultation can be found on the Chesterfield Canal Trust’s website.  In the official Response Form, there are nine questions. The question that affects the canal is Question 7:
“The Secretary of State is minded to move the alignment of the route between Derbyshire and West Yorkshire to reflect a change in the proposals for serving Sheffield. Do you support the proposal to amend the route to serve South and West Yorkshire? Please indicate whether or not you support the proposal together with your reasons.”

The Trust is asking supporters to respond to this question by saying that they support the Government's preferred route because it does less damage to the Chesterfield Canal's restoration route than the original proposal.  Respondents may fill in answers to other questions, or leave everything else blank.

The Trust’s website has links to HS2’s official online response form. Alternatively, you can email your response to route2b@dialoguebydesign.co.uk, or you can write to FREEPOST HS2 PHASE 2B ROUTE REFINEMENT CONSULTATION.

In the previous consultation in 2013/4, the Chesterfield Canal was mentioned in more responses than any other entity. The Chesterfield Canal Trust hopes to get a similar level of support this time.  There are HS2 consultation events in January and February right along the proposed line. The ones closest to the canal are in Staveley on 3rd February, Bolsover on 4th February and Aston on 8th February. Again the Trust would welcome a good turnout of its supporters.

For a reminder of the details of the wider impact of the HS2 proposals go to the IWA Bulletin of 13th December 2016

A Blow for the Basingstoke Canal

Negotiations to secure a sustainable future for the Basingstoke Canal appear to have come to an end.  Discussions had been taking place between Surrey & Hampshire County Councils and CRT about transferring the waterway to the Trust but it appears that no agreement has been reached on the funding required.  The councils are investigating the possibility of commercial or semi-commercial activities on or around the canal to enable the authorities to continue maintaining the waterway.

This decision is particularly disappointing for the Basingstoke Canal Authority and the increasing number of volunteers who have been carrying out regular maintenance work on the canal.  The Authority are concerned about the impact that reducing costs will have on flood management and the long term condition of the waterway.  For more details about the Basingstoke Canal visit the web pages of the Basingstoke Canal Authority or for information about the management of the canal visit the Surrey County Council web pages.

Cycling and Running on the Towpath - What Do You Think?

CRT is running a survey about cycling and running on towpaths.  Go to the CRT website if you would like to complete it.    It is possible to take part in the survey privately, anonymously or publicly.  The closing date is 20th January.

Free Trees

Need trees for your canal restoration/waterway project ...check out I Dig Trees Campaign by The Conservation Volunteers and apply for free trees online.

Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust Three Month Trip Deal

To celebrate a record year of Santa boat trips, with over 8,500 people enjoying a visit to Santa’s underground grotto in the limestone mines, Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust is discounting its January 45-minute boat trip tickets to just £3 for everyone, saving up to £3.95 per ticket.

The discounted January trips will start on 16 January 2017, when the boats return from their annual service, and discounts will continue through February and March, with all tickets in February costing just £4.50 and all tickets in March £5.50.  

Visitors who are able to gift aid their purchase will receive a return ticket valid throughout 2017.  Children under three go free but need a ticket.

During the 45-minute trip into Dudley Tunnel & Limestone Mines, this wonder of 18th century engineering with a history dating back 428 million years, is brought to life with on-board commentary, a music and light show in the Singing Cavern, a video show in Little Tess Cavern explaining how limestone was formed, and mannequin displays in Hurst Cavern depicting miners working during the 18th century.

At the Museum’s new £3million visitor centre The Portal, as well as embarking on their boat trip, visitors can enjoy an interactive exhibition in the Biffa Award Gallery, the Trust’s gift shop and waterside dining in The Gongoozler restaurant.


Canoe and Kayaking on the Wey & Arun

Canoeing and kayaking on the Wey & Arun Canal has been made easier with the installation of two new landing stages.  Inexperienced paddlers in particular will now find the waterway at Loxwood in West Sussex more accessible.  The stages have been built using a generous grant from Canoe England, which is part of British Canoeing, the national governing body for paddlesports in the UK.  They are next to the Drungewick slipway and near Drungewick Lock, at the southern limit for navigation on the canal to the east of Loxwood village.

Members of Canoe England and British Canoeing can use the canal free of charge, but must notify the Trust when they intend to visit. Others can purchase an annual licence for £15 or a day licence at £5 online via the boat licences page at www.weyarun.org.  Group rates are available for organisations such as the scouts and sea cadets.  All visits must be arranged in advance to avoid congestion, and all paddlers must book in at the Canal Centre, off Loxwood High Street before setting out on the waterway.

wactstagePhoto: The new canoe landing stage near Drungewick Lock on the Wey & Arun Canal at Loxwood, West Sussex.

wactcanoePhoto: Members of Brighton-based Martlet Kayak Club enjoy a festive outing on the Wey & Arun Canal at Loxwood.

Lock Repair on the River Weaver

Marsh Lock, one of the largest locks on the River Weaver in Runcorn, Cheshire, is undergoing important repairs as part of a winter makeover.  CRT is spending £500,000 to repair the huge ship lock.  Specialist divers working 6ft below water have installed a temporary dam using 54 large steel planks, allowing the lock to be drained of water for the first time in almost 50 years.  Now empty, engineers from the Trust are carrying out important repairs to the lock’s large oak timber gates.

Simon Harding, project manager at CRT said: “Marsh Lock is a large ship lock built in 1895 to link the Weaver Navigation to the Manchester Ship Canal and allow commercial boat traffic at that time to transport salt and all manner of goods to serve industry. To give some idea of the scale of the project, most locks we repair fit one narrowboat at a time - Marsh Lock is big enough to fit in 29!”

The repairs to the lock include refurbishing the outer lock gates, carrying out mechanical and electrical repairs to gate operating systems and other repairs within the lock chamber as needed.  The repairs to Marsh Lock are part of a £43 million restoration and repair programme taking place this winter on canals and rivers across the country. 


Introduction to Boating Sessions

On Sunday 23 April 2017 Drifters Waterway Holidays and CRT are offering people the chance to try canal boating for free at 20 locations across England and Wales.  The taster sessions will include free trips on skippered narrowboats, as well as boat tours and holiday discounts.  No advance booking is required, with people of all ages encouraged to just turn up.  

Full details of what each site is offering can be found on the Drifters website

Upcoming Volunteer/Cleanup Events

To find out what branch activities and working parties are going on in your area have a look at IWA's events calendar.  By volunteering for these clean up events you can make a big difference to your local waterway.  You can also search by event type or find out what's going in on your area with the map search.

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

IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

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

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, Soulbury, Stoke Hammond MK17 9DD - 10% discount off food
Wharf Pub, Bugbrooke NN7 3QB - 10% discount

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

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.

Contact Us

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