IWA Bulletin

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Uncovering the Value of our Waterways Heritage

We are asking our members and supporters to help with a new campaign looking at Waterways Heritage. Please help us uncover the real picture of the historical gems of the UK’s canal network – not just canalside buildings and locks but also the signage, canal furniture and remnants of its industrial past. We are looking to find out what has been saved, what has been lost and what is currently under threat. We would also like to know how you feel about Waterways Heritage, what is important to you and if you feel there is a place on the waterways for modern additions such as the Falkirk Wheel.

This activity is all part of a larger project to discover the true value of our waterways, both as a record of our past and as a resource for our future. We are hoping to commission some research into the value of Waterways Heritage as well as uncovering the value of active waterways.

As you are out and about on the network this summer, whether on the water or along the towpath, keep your eyes peeled for anything that you think is important from a Waterways Heritage viewpoint. We want to know about it.

Fill in the Heritage Tracker form. Alternatively you can email the details to IWA Campaigns & Media Officer, Jo Henderson on jo.henderson@waterways.org.uk.

Funding for EA Navigations

Defra and the Environment Agency recently announced that the potential transfer of EA navigations to Canal & River Trust will not take place “at this point in time”. We will continue to lobby Government for additional funding for these waterways, but welcome EA’s commitment to develop a long term funding and business plan for its navigations.  

In meetings with EA senior management over the last 12 months, IWA representatives have learnt about EA’s new strategies to support navigation and increase funding in other ways.  One of these is the inclusion of navigation in a new Future Funding Team that will be identifying potential funding opportunities.  We have offered our support for these initiatives, particularly proposals around using more volunteers and developing income from commercial opportunities.  One area that we are encouraging EA to consider is new mooring sites, particularly residential moorings, as a way of increasing income that would also help with the additional demand for moorings as more people take to a life afloat.

We disagreed with EA last year over its steep registration fee increases for boaters, which will see increases of over 30% over 3 years for some boaters, but agreed that additional funding sources need to be identified.  We will also continue to lobby Defra and Government for ongoing Grant in Aid for EA’s navigations to reflect the benefits that our waterways bring to the wider population though opportunities for leisure, health and wellbeing, as well as the economic benefits of vibrant, well maintained waterways to tourism and local communities.

IWA National Chairman, Ivor Caplan, said “We understand that current funding is constrained but believe that sufficient investment in waterways is essential to enable them to meet their full potential in environmental and amenity benefits. IWA will continue to campaign and to support EA in practical ways, in order to ensure that these benefits are realised.”

Carnival Celebrates the Reopening of the Forth & Clyde Canal

The reopening of the Forth & Clyde Canal between Falkirk and Glasgow was celebrated with a Spring Bank Holiday weekend of festivities, including a flotilla of boats.  The events marked the repairs to both Twechar and Bonnybridge lift bridges, following a £1.625m contribution from Transport Scotland as a result of campaigning by IWA and others.

The weekend kicked off on the Friday morning with a ceremonial re-opening of the lift bridge at Bonnybridge by Michael Matheson – cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity – sailing under the bridge in both directions aboard Maryhill, one of the
replica puffers.

In the evening steam boats and coastal rowers took a turn on the Falkirk Wheel, occupying a gondola apiece, to the strains of a piper.  Then it was on to an awards ceremony marking the volunteer effort that contributed to the renaissance of the Lowland Canals.

Over the weekend, a flotilla of around 70 boats, processed from the Falkirk Wheel to Glasgow with volunteers and Scottish Canals’ bank staff locking the craft though on a non-stop basis.

Photo by Jonathan Mosse

Historic Stonework Uncovered on Family Camp

IWA’s first Waterway Recovery Group Family Canal Camp of the year took place on the Uttoxeter Canal in the middle of June. Eight young people aged between 8 and 14 took part with their families, with three generations of one family joining in.

The families learned about heritage recording techniques, how to help control the spread of invasive plants, and woodworking skills when they made “bee hotels” as habitats for insect life. The work carried out included vegetation clearance, Himalayan balsam pulling and some careful excavation of a lock site, uncovering historic stonework.

WRG family camps are a great way to introduce young people to volunteering whilst getting them out in the fresh air and meeting new people. There are two more Family Camps due to take place this year – on the Grantham Canal and the Wendover Arm.

IWA Trailboat Festival Celebrates Lancaster Canal Bicentenary Year

The first weekend in June saw visitors braving the inclement weather to visit IWA’s Trailboat Festival on the canal next to the Westmorland Showground at Crooklands, Cumbria.

Photo by John Hewerdine

The event hosted by IWA Lancs & Cumbria Branch in association with Westmorland County Agricultural Society’s ‘Country Fest’, highlighted work to restore the Lancaster Canal's First Furlong.  There was fun for younger visitors as part of IWA’s ‘Wild Over Waterways’ children’s activities programme, Waterway Recovery Group’s ‘Drive a Digger’, free canoe rides and there was also brass rubbing, lace plate drawing, towpath walks and a litter-picking game. Cumbria Dry Stone Wallers showed visitors how to build a wall, giving them a chance to try it out for themselves.

Monday was a VIP day, with a reception for boaters, organisers and local dignitaries. There was also the boaters’ award ceremony. After the reception, some of the VIP guests were treated to a ride on the Lancaster Canal Trust’s trip boat, Waterwitch. They were shown the work on the First Furlong, had a look at around the works at Stainton Aqueduct and walked to the historic Hincaster Tunnel.

Wendy Humphreys explains, “Once they had experienced the canal, our VIPs understood what a wonderful attraction it will be when fully restored and connected to the national network. Lancaster Canal Trust was able to show everyone the work that is taking place at the First Furlong and how close they are to completing the project.”

Some of the Trailboaters who visited the Lancaster Canal for the festival are planning to bring their boats back to the Northern Reaches once the First Furlong is open, which should be any time soon.

Dates Confirmed for Two-Day IWA Canalway Cavalcade in 2020

Our 2020 IWA Canalway Cavalcade will be celebrated over two days instead of three next year following the change to the early May Bank Holiday announced by the UK Government. London’s largest annual waterways festival will now take place over Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd May next year.

The theme will be ‘Celebrating 200 Years of the Regents Canal’. This is an historic moment in the waterways calendar and provides many exciting opportunities for boaters to decorate their boats for the themed boat pageant and illuminated boat parade. We already have a large number of boats and stallholders booked in and the event promises to be as good as ever.  

For further information or to book a space for your boat visit the IWA Canalway Cavalcade web pages.

Support IWA through the Giving Lottery for a chance to win £25,000

Taking part in the Giving Lottery is an easy way to support our work to protect and restore the waterways alongside a chance to win a £25,000 prize. For every £1 ticket you buy IWA will receive 40 pence with 20 pence going to other good causes. Tickets for the weekly draw are £1 each and are available from the Giving Lottery website.   

To celebrate the launch of this new online lottery, all tickets bought before 6th July are also entered into a draw to win an iPad Mini.

Do you have a connection to a City of London Livery Company?

If you, or anyone you know is connected to one of the City of London Livery Companies, usually known as a Worshipful Company or a guild of a particular trade, please could you let Fundraising Officer, Ellen Hawes, know ellen.hawes@waterways.org.uk. These organisation may have funding available to charities but sometimes only to organisations that they know about through those connected to them.

Pack your tent for Festival of Water

IWA's Festival of Water is set to draw the crowds to Lee Valley Showground in Waltham Abbey over the August Bank Holiday weekend.  Pack your tent and you can stay for the whole weekend for just £30.  This price includes access to free evening entertainment as well as the full festival programme during the day.  With over 100 boats already booked in, the days and evenings are sure to go with a swing.
Book your mooring or pitch here.   

Local School Children Help Complete Fourth Installation of “Art on the Arm”

IWA Northampton Branch has seen completion of another installation in its “Art on the Arm” initiative which aims to bring artistic enjoyment to the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal.
This latest instalment, completed last week, is a mural which was designed by the Blisworth Art and Craft Group and painted by the talented pupils from Year 6 at Rothersthorpe CE Primary School. The mural, which is 70 metres long and covers the non-towpath underside of the M1 motorway bridge, is nature-inspired and entitled “Nature Through the Seasons”.

This latest mural complements a mural painted last year on the towpath side of the underpass in collaboration with Lemon Pop Workshops and Year Six students from Delapre Primary School. The earlier mural is an historical timeline of Northampton.
Sandie Morton, Branch Secretary, IWA Northampton comments:
“This latest mural is part two of our work with primary schools and artists from the local community to improve the look of the underside of the M1 motorway bridge. It began with us removing graffiti and has grown from there into a wonderful artistic display. Both this year and last year, we were overwhelmed by the children's enthusiasm for their work and the end result is a wonderful reflection of this.”
The mural project as a whole has been largely funded by local company, Cummins Power Systems, which actively supports the Northampton Arm by regularly sending corporate volunteers to IWA work parties. Other expenses were covered by a legacy from a longstanding IWA Northampton Branch member, John Faulkner.
This mural is the fourth installation in IWA Northampton Branch’s "Art on the Arm" initiative.  The previous three have involved mosaics - a mural where the Arm leaves the Grand Union Canal at Gayton Junction, a mosaic bench at the end of the Arm in Northampton and a mosaic nature trail linking these two areas with panels at each of the 17 locks. The mosaic trail includes clues which make up a phrase as part of a Nature Trail Challenge.


Many of the offers below can be claimed simply by using your IWA membership card.  For others, log in or phone the membership team on 01494 783453 for details.

Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.

Enjoy the Waterways Through Hire Boats and Leisure

ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount on holidays (Direct Bookings Only)
Blackwater Boats - 10% discount on boat trips
CanalCruising.co.uk - 10% discount on holidays
Canal Boat Magazine - 5 issues for £5.00
City Centre Cruises - 10% discount for Sunday lunch cruises in Manchester
Frangipani SUP Ltd - 10% discount on adult beginner 'Stand Up & Paddle' lessons
Jenny Wren- 10% discount off cruises
Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd- 10% discount on published prices

Eating Out

To take advantage of eating out offers you just need to produce a valid IWA membership card.

Kings Lock Tearooms- 10% discount on food
The Clifford Arms Pub - 10% discount on food
The Three Locks Pub - 10% discount on food

Better Value on Boats and Equipment

Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
Boat Windows Ltd - 5% discount
Calcutt Boats - 5% online discount
Channelglaze Ltd. - 5% discount on double glazing
Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
IceGripper - 20% discount on ICETrekkers Diamond Grip
Kings Lock Chandlery - 5% discount (exclusions apply)
Marine Mega Store Ltd
- 15% discount
Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
RoadPro - 5% discount
Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard


Forge Studio - 10% discount
Harbour Clean - 10% 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 1 day RYA SRC VHF Licence Course

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

We have been looking at ways to provide more benefits to the waterways and everyone who uses them, and have extended our insurance offer to help you find the best available cover for your boat, your home and your car.  Every policy purchased or renewed helps IWA, allowing us to further our charitable work for the waterways.

See more information about the IWA insurance schemes 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.


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