Over 50 people attended a Parliamentary Reception held at Westminster on Tuesday 27th June. All new and re-elected MPs with waterways in their constituencies were invited to call in to the afternoon session to meet IWA representatives and to hear more about current campaigns and discuss waterway issues in their areas. A number of peers who are supportive of waterway issues also attended the event, along with representatives from three navigation authorities.
The event followed on from IWA’s Waterway Manifesto campaign, where parliamentary candidates were asked to pledge their support for IWA’s campaigns in the lead up to the recent general election. During the event members of both Houses and from across England, Scotland and Wales took part in conversations about a wide range of topics including the potential transfer of EA’s navigations to CRT with a sufficient funding package; the need for more affordable moorings and other issues affecting residential boaters; the need to mitigate the impact of HS2 at specific waterway locations, and restoration and regeneration projects around the country.
All the MPs and peers who attended were encouraged to join the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways, which will now be reconvened for the new Parliament, and were also encouraged to develop a close relationship with local waterway groups such as canal societies and IWA branches in their constituencies.
IWA’s National Chairman, Les Etheridge, said “We were pleased that so many MPs and peers were able to take time out of their busy schedules to drop in to our event, and we look forward to working with them in the future both nationally and locally across the country.”
Photo: IWA's National Chairman with Maggie Throup, MP for Erewash where IWA's 2017 National Festival of Water at Ilkeston will be held
Photo: IWA's Ivor Caplan discussing the proposed Milton Keynes-Bedford link with Mohammad Yasin, MP for Bedford & Kempston
This six day cruise evolved from a similar exploratory exercise undertaken in 2016 by Dave Pullen, East Midlands Region Chairman, and colleagues from Lincolnshire Branch. As previously, this year’s four boat flotilla cruised, via the Wash, up the tidal River Welland to Spalding, and on to Crowland and beyond. However, this time, on their return, they detoured onto the River Glen – where the three narrow-boats were able to make a rare, in fact probably unique, flotilla transit of Surfleet Sluice onto this beautiful little gem of a river.
The prime purpose of this campaign, which met all its objectives, was to assess the feasibility of similar, and perhaps more frequent, trips in the future – all part of an on-going campaign to keep the ‘Fens Link’ project alive in the minds of both national boaters and local residents. One big advantage of that project will be that the transit from the tidal Witham to the Welland and the Glen will not require sitting out in the Wash for four or five hours waiting for the tide to turn, and will therefore not be quite so tide and weather dependant as this year's cruise was.Photo: The intrepid crew members celebrating their safe return to Boston – from an ‘off-piste’ adventure that took them to places where narrow-boats just don’t go. Left to right: David Collin, Mick Golds, Richard Sear, Dave Pearson, Carole Golds and Ian Fletcher representing IWA Lincolnshire, Notts & Derbys, Birmingham BC & W, and Warwickshire branches on cruiser Bouncin Brass and narrow boats Electra, Earwig and ‘API.Wanderer.
If you are out for a walk along a waterway this summer, look out for Himalayan balsam. Whether you are walking the dog or out with family and friends, everyone can help by pulling up a few plants if you see it before the seeds have started to develop, making sure that the land owners are happy of course! #PullSnapStomp
Here’s what to do:
There are some things to be aware of:
If the seeds have already developed then please don’t pull the Himalayan balsam as there is no benefit and you could spread it to new locations; Himalayan balsam is non-toxic, but it is still advisable to wash your hands after carrying out this activity (and before eating) due to animal-carried diseases such as Weils Disease; be aware of the water’s edge or any steep drops and leave any plants that you can’t safely reach; don’t trespass onto private land beyond the towpath or bank, and if anyone asks what you are doing – refer them to IWA’s campaign and website.
Volunteers from WRG, Cotswold Canals Trust, Wiltshire & Berkshire Canal Trust and Buckingham Canal Society gathered for a weekend of training funded by a grant from the Pilgrim Trust. Subjects covered included bricklaying, operating plant (dumpers and excavators), scaffolding, safe use of bricksaws, CAT scanning, vans and trailers. As part of the weekend 15 volunteers took part in an Introduction to Bricklaying Course run by lime mortar and heritage construction specialists Ty Mawr. The instructors helped volunteers learn about the basics of using lime in construction as well as how to bricklay, types of bonds to use and different building techniques.
Volunteers will use skills learnt on this weekend on WRG’s canal camps running in the summer to restore derelict lock chambers.Photo: Learning bricklaying skills - more pictures from this restoration skills weekend are available online here.
As reported in IWA's Late May Bulletin, Paul Shaw is cycling the length of Britain to raise funds for IWA's WRG. Since he set off on 20th June from Land's End he has reached Lancaster by travelling along the Grand Western Canal between Tiverton and Bristol; Bridgwater & Taunton Canal; Worcester & Birmingham Canal through Telford up to Market Drayton; Shropshire Union Canal; the Trans Pennine Way beside the Manchester Ship Canal; and Leeds Liverpool Canal from Wigan to Johnson's Hillock, north of Chorley, where it meets the Lancaster Canal.
Paul is fuelled by great determination and Jude Palmer's excellent WRG special flapjack. Please support Paul on this journey by visiting his Virgin Money Giving web page and making a donation.
Photo: Paul Shaw at Land's End - keep up with his travels on his Facebook page.
Removal of one of the last obstacles to the restoration of the Montgomery Canal in Shropshire has been given the go-ahead by Shropshire County Council. A railway embankment which crosses the Montgomery Canal at Railway Bridge 89 at Pant near Oswestry can now be taken away. The Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust has embarked on a major phase of reopening the canal all the way from Lower Frankton near Ellesmere to Newtown.
The plan is to remove the embankment across the line of the canal down to the canal towpath level with the help of IWA's WRG in the North West. The excavation of the channel will take place at a later date when the full restoration is carried out. The embankment was put in place in order to enable the route of a railway line, this is no longer in place and unlikely to be reintroduced.
About 50% of the 35-mile long canal has already been restored and work on the next stage, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, should be completed by 2020. It will see a further one and a quarter miles of the canal and a ‘winding hole’ reopen to Crickheath, Shropshire.
It will also improve access to the canal, create new nature reserves and improve almost four miles of towpath between Welshpool and Llanymynech on the English border.
Further information can be obtained by attending the Montgomery Canal Forum at 2.30pm on Monday 3rd July at Oswestry Golf Club, Queen's Head, Oswestry, Shropshire. SY11 4JJ. These are exciting times for the Montgomery Canal: the next stages of restoration are under way with the aid of a 2.5 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the Restore The Montgomery Canal! appeal is raising funds for the volunteers to carry on after that.
This year's prize will be a £100 voucher to spend in IWA's online shop. The best images will feature on Christmas cards, the 2019 IWA calendar and other promotional materials.
Photographs can feature different weather conditions and seasons as well as a range of waterway activities and subjects such as different types of waterways craft, cycling, angling, walking, wildlife and structures. Photos need to be a high resolution at least 300dpi and at least 2100 pixels x 1500 pixels.
To enter please send your photos by email, dropbox link or wetransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A maximum of 20 photographs can be entered per person. The competition deadline is 31st January 2018. Further details are available on the competition page online.
Photo by Brian Evans: A preview of one of the images that will be appearing in IWA's 2018 calendar
Ten members of Lancashire & Cumbria Branch carried out a Lock Wind at Johnsons Hillock on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal on 30th April with the aim of helping boats through the seven locks to publicise IWA, maybe recruit new members and raise money.
The Branch had a home-made cake stall which did very well and they received many donations but for a Bank Holiday Sunday both the canal and the towpath were quieter than usual. Only four boats passed through the locks all day plus the trip boat that came down the top two locks then went back up.
Maybe one reason for the towpath being quieter than usual was the temporary closure of the ‘Top Lock’ pub. It is hoped that it will be open again soon for the summer. The problem for thirsty boaters (are there any other sort?) is that the next pub along, ‘The Boatyard’ at Riley Green suffered a disastrous fire recently and is likely to be closed for the rest of the year. That was after being closed for many months for a major refurbishment.
Photo: Les Fragle helping the trip boat in the 2nd lock. He is well wrapped up - although it was a dry day it was not very warm.
Photo: A sad sight - Top Lock Pub closed
Following a 1 km adoption of part of the Ashton Canal in the spring of 2016, IWA Manchester Branch decided to further attract the local community to the part of the canal between lock 4 and lock 11. This led to the Branch teaming up with Incredible Edible, a network of groups around the UK that encourages communities to come together by growing food together. The result is the Incredible Edible Ashton Canal via IWA Manchester Branch garden at Lock 4 which was completed at the Branch’s work party in June 2016. A hive of activity, the volunteers constructed a raised bed for the garden and planted it with strawberries, beetroot, chives, onions, parsley and peas. The garden also features an information board providing background on the plants, such as their growing cycle, as well as some recipes for the vegetables planted there and encouraging local people to tend to the garden as well as pick the herbs and vegetables as they need. A year after establishing it, the garden has become well received and well used: the herbs have been picked and in between the monthly work parties it has always stayed watered and well tended by member of the local community.
With the success of the first garden, the Branch is now working on the next one so work on the lock garden at Lock 7 started this spring with the volunteers clearing the undesirable vegetation and roots in the garden, and digging the ground over. Lock 7 now boasts the first stage of the flower garden and at the next work party the Branch intends to make a start on building a walkway to it. Further work parties will focus on constructing another raised-bed vegetable garden next to the flower garden. A special area will be devoted to wild flowers, also an important aspect of the Lock 7 garden – as part of the Branch’s other long term project it plans for the Ashton Canal to become a “bee highway” and for this purpose they are sowing wild flowers for pollen production along the adopted section of the canal. The Branch is also making sure to be as sustainable as possible. The Incredible Edible garden planter is a good demonstration of the possibilities of recycling as the planters are made from the reclaimed wood of replaced lock gates, and there could really not be a better use for the old gates than to stay near the canal and taking on a new lease of life. The timber for the display boards is also salvaged which is further testament to the Branch’s commitment to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
The Branch is looking hopefully to the future and is encouraging everyone to visit the continually improving Ashton Canal, pick herbs and berries from the garden, enjoy the flower garden as well as the colourful wild flowers on the bee highway, or just enjoying the beauty of a well maintained waterway. Finally last, but certainly not least – alongside all its other undertakings the Branch has been ‘Re-Ringing the Ring’ – as boaters can see, there have been numerous new mooring rings installed along the canal by the Branch volunteers putting that power tool training to good use!
Photo by Phil Smith: IWA Manchester Branch with their Incredible Edible plot
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.
Boaters are being welcomed back to the Bow Back Rivers that run through East London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, after a 10-year transformation project that has turned the derelict, virtually unnavigable waterways into a major new route for the capital. It follows investment of over £60 million as part of the wider regeneration of the area in the lead up to and following the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Jon Guest, CRT's London waterway manager, said: “The transformation of the area has been incredible. Those with long memories will remember that the rivers in this part of the east end were all but unnavigable, subject to the tides and full of fly-tipped fridges, cars and tyres. I’m excited for everyone who will get to explore them, at a time when the capital’s canals and rivers are arguably more popular than any time in history.”
The three mile stretch of rivers in the Park were once used by local industries but the drop in canal freight after the Second World War, together with a build-up of silt, saw them decline until they were largely closed in the 1960s. The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games offered the opportunity to unlock the commercial and leisure potential of the Bow Back Rivers. The restoration of Carpenters Road Lock will be celebrated at an East London Waterways Festival at the end of the August. This summer the loop of waterways around the London Stadium, which includes the Old River Lea, City Mill River and St Thomas Creek, will open to public navigation for cruising without the need for prior booking. Closures will occur from time to time as part of the security requirements for high profile events in the Park. Boaters will be notified in advance of any closures via the Trust’s stoppage notifications and notices on site.
CRT is also planning to create a 100-metre stretch of short stay visitor moorings on a currently unmoorable length of towpath on the Lee Navigation near the Hertford Union Canal. As boaters may be journeying from far afield to visit the Park some of the new moorings will be pre-bookable to guarantee travellers a place to pull up. Boaters will be able to reserve a spot at the pre-bookable moorings for up to seven days at a cost of £10 per night with the other spots free for up to two days stay. These moorings will be available by the end of the year. There will be no mooring within the Park itself.
For more information about the waterways in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, including a video of Jon Guest explaining the restoration, visit the link on the CRT website.
Photo: CRT - Bow Back Rivers in 2006
Photo: CRT - Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Cruise 2016
A campaign to raise £1 million to build a canal tunnel under the Cross City railway line in Lichfield has reached almost a third of its target. The David Suchet Tunnel Vision appeal was officially launched in January by the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust has already reached £320,000.
The Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust is restoring the Lichfield Canal, from Ogley Junction to Huddlesford, and the Hatherton Canal from Calf Heath to Wyrley Grove, which when re-opened will re-establish the links between the underused northern sections of the Birmingham Canal Navigations and the Coventry Canal in the east and the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal in the west.
The Trust has overcome many obstacles since its foundation in 1988, including the construction of an aqueduct over the M6 Toll Road which David Suchet also supported by leading an appeal. When the Lichfield Southern Bypass was built, the Trust raised £490,000 to install a canal culvert under the new roadway. Now plans to extend the bypass are well advanced and these will include a new railway bridge which is to be installed during a brief possession of the Cross City line, probably in late 2019. Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust intends to take this opportunity to drive a canal tunnel under the railway line near the new bridge, and is working very closely with Staffordshire County Council to ensure the maximum cost benefit for both schemes, but to do that it must raise £1 million by Spring 2019.
Walkers strolling in the countryside and visiting historic locations have raised around £10,000 to help bring a 19th century waterway back to life. Their efforts supported the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, which is carrying out a number of restoration projects. The money was raised by 150 people who took part in the charity’s annual fundraising walk, the Poddle, at the beginning of June. The Poddle supports the restoration of ‘London’s Lost Route to the Sea’, a 23-mile waterway which ran from the River Arun at Pallingham in West Sussex to the River Wey at Shalford in Surrey.
This year’s walkers followed a 12-mile route around the Arun Valley, starting and finishing at Ingfield Manor School at Five Oaks, north of Billingshurst, with lunch at Wisborough Green Scout Hut. The route included the canal from Loves Bridge, past Rowner Lock – the site of the first volunteer working party on the canal – to Lordings, where walkers were able to see a unique waterwheel and a restored aqueduct.
Wey & Arun Canal Trust is currently putting the finishing touches to its first major restoration scheme in Surrey, the new £700,000 Compasses Bridge at the Alfold entrance to the Dunsfold Park aerodrome and business complex. The bridge is in the middle of the canal’s Summit Level, where around 1¼ miles of waterway are planned to be open to navigation by small boats by the end of this year. This will add to the 3½ miles of fully operational waterway at Loxwood in West Sussex. A new Gennets Bridge Lock is being constructed north of the current head of navigation on the Surrey-Sussex border and the Trust is in the advanced stages of planning the re-creation of the canal from the River Wey at Shalford down to Bramley.
Photo: Poddle walkers raising money for Wey & Arun Canal
EA is the authority for navigation on more than 350 miles of waterway in the Anglian Waterways network, as well as being responsible organisation for a vast system of associated facilities such as bridges, locks and moorings. Together, the two most popular rivers in this network – the Great Ouse and the Nene – attract more than 5,500 boaters and an estimated 1.1m visitors every year. They bring £64m into the local economy, support almost 500 businesses, and sustain nearly 5,000 jobs.
EA in partnership with Cambridgeshire ACRE has developed the Anglian Waterways Volunteer Scheme and is looking to take on 10 volunteers who will support aspects of the day-to-day running of the two pilot sites – the Denver Complex and Northampton Marina. These sites act as gateways for navigating these two main rivers which includes the moorings, locks and other facilities and any volunteers will help visitors to these waterways.
There is an Anglian Waterways Volunteer scheme website which gives more details about this initiative, and how to apply, which is available through this link.
With CRT’s towpaths fast becoming one of the nation’s favourite places to relax, the charity is urging people to slow down to ensure they remain the special places millions of people enjoy visiting every year.
In a recent survey* by the Trust as part of its Share the Space, Drop your Pace campaign, nearly a quarter (23%) of people said their biggest bugbears in public places is when cyclists speed past them so the charity is helping to remind people to watch their speed. With half of Brits (50%) going out of their way to find a quieter/greener area to escape the hustle and bustle of main roads this will be welcome news to those who like life by the water.
Throughout the summer the charity will spray messages on the towpath in the busiest areas around England and Wales to encourage people to ‘slow down and look around’ and that there’s ‘no need to rush, just relax’. Visitors will also be able to spot a 3D image of a sleeping policeman at certain points along the towpath encouraging people to drop their pace, a light-hearted nod to the physical speed measure often seen on roads.
Due to the heritage and environmental constraints and the need to make sure towpaths are easy for everyone to access, there are limited opportunities for the charity to add physical speed measures to the towpaths and the survey showed that 73 per cent of people agreed that physical speed measures are either a bad idea (50%) or should be used only as a last resort (23%).
National towpath ranger Dick Vincent and the sleeping policeman will be on tour this summer visiting hot spots across England and Wales where people may need a reminder to travel slowly.
For further information about the Share the Space, Drop your Pace campaign, visit CRT's website.
Photo: CRT - a sleeping policeman to slow down cyclists
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
Find your way around the waterways with Imrays Map of the Inland Waterways of Great Britain. Click this link to go to IWA's on line shop to order this indispensable tool for route planning.
The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:
ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount on holidays (Direct Bookings Only)
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
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
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
Harbour Clean - 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
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.
IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453