Photo: River Great Ouse at Ely by Ron Fisher
Another successful year of campaigning for the future of Britain's inland waterways has been demonstrated in the Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ending 31st December 2013, published on 25th July by IWA.
The Association has also published its Annual Review for 2013/14, a full copy of which is being posted to all IWA members with the Autumn 2014 edition of Waterways magazine. Amongst the achievements highlighted for the year:
Volunteers are involved in every aspect of IWA’s governance, campaigning and activities. Without them IWA would simply not be able to work towards the greater use, further restoration and better maintenance of Britain’s inland waterways.
The Association wishes to record its grateful thanks for the unfailing support of its members, volunteers, waterway groups, corporate members and other bodies.
Download IWA's Annual Report and Accounts.
Download IWA's 2013/14 Annual Review Summary (2.5MB) or read online.
Photo: WRG Canal Camp volunteers getting muddy in Inglesham Lock, July 2014
Significant progress is being made towards the restoration of Inglesham Lock by volunteers from IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group (WRG).
The work is a continuation of an appeal launched by IWA at the end of 2010, which raised over £100,000 towards the restoration of this iconic lock. Working with the Cotswold Canals Trust, this project will link the Thames & Severn Canal to the River Thames, creating a gateway to the Cotswold canals.
On the 14th July contractors, OnSite, installed a ‘Portadam’ temporary dam system at the entrance to Inglesham Lock. This was so the lock could be dewatered to allow volunteers safe access to the chamber to carry out restoration enabling works.
From Saturday 19th July to 9th August, over sixty WRG and Kent & East Sussex Canal Restoration Group volunteers are spending time clearing silt from the lock chamber, repairing the stop plank grooves and installing new stop planks to hold back the river Thames once the temporary dam is removed. Once this work has been completed a team of experienced volunteers will undertake a full survey of the chamber, assessing structural damage, to aid planning for further restoration work in 2015.
Take a look images from WRG's 2014 Inglesham Lock Canal Camp, which started on Saturday 19th July. So far, volunteers have removed silt from the lock that had reached a depth of over 1.5 metres. This led to the discovery of the invert and cill for the stop planks and allowed volunteers to make preparations for the stop plank groove liners. In addition to silt removal, 2,000 sand bags have been made-up, ready to go behind the stop planks once installed. There is plenty left to complete, including the repair of several sections of wall.
Over the past six months, volunteers have been working behind the scenes writing risk assessments, method statements, designing dams, and gaining permission to carry out the work. Several visits to the site have also been made by one of IWA’s honorary civil engineers, who has provided invaluable advice on the proposed restoration works and design of the stop plank grooves.
Rick Barnes, Inglesham Site Coordinator said “We’ve spent several months planning this summer’s work, liaising with Conservation Officers and Natural England, so it is fantastic we are finally able to access the chamber and start restoration work! Pack your wellies… it’s going to be muddy!”
Photo: Elvington/Sutton Lock, River Derwent
IWA is campaigning to save a section of the waterways system from becoming unnavigable.
Elvington Lock (also known as Sutton Lock) on the River Derwent in Yorkshire, is currently closed to navigation, following a temporary closure notice issued by the Environment Agency (EA) back in February. This has cut off part of the system from the national network and stranded a number of boats upstream. IWA is very concerned about the closure of this lock and wishes to see navigation up to Stamford Bridge re-instated urgently.
IWA has been concerned at the delay by EA in completing a structural assessment of the top guillotine gate in the initially promised timescale. IWA has now arranged to meet EA to press for action. EA has explained the reasons for the delay, and IWA is looking forward to working with it to secure the long-term maintenance and availability of the guillotine gate for navigation use.
The situation at Elvington Lock is unusual, with no one authority being responsible for the whole structure. Whilst EA owns the top guillotine gate, the bottom mitre gates are in a different ownership. These wooden gates are becoming life-expired and require replacement soon. IWA wishes to see the lower lock gates at this lock replaced and is keen to work with other supportive bodies to provide both practical help and funding to replace these gates.
Paul Roper, IWA Navigation committee Chairman said "I hope the lock will be reopened as quickly as possible and IWA will be working hard to try and ensure this."
IWA has no wish to re-open previous legal arguments about rights of navigation on the River Derwent.
Further background to the situation can be found in IWA’s Position Paper (1.17MB) prepared on behalf of IWA’s Navigation Committee.
IWA continues to be concerned at the implications for boat owners and boatyard operators following the decision by the European Commission to take the UK Government to court over current UK laws, which allow leisure boaters to purchase off-road diesel that is used by the farming and fisheries industries, commonly known in the UK as red diesel.
This is despite the agreement made with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in 2008, whereby boaters can purchase red diesel for propulsion whilst paying the required standard rate of tax, with a form of self-declaration allowing a proportion of the diesel used for heating and lighting to be purchased at a lower rate of tax.
The European Commission has referred the matter to the European Court of Justice, stating that the UK is "not properly applying" European excise rules.
The outcome may mean the end of the use of red diesel for any leisure boating, with boatyards and fuel suppliers having to supply unmarked (white) diesel. Whilst red diesel could continue to be used for heating, it would have to be in a separate tank, and there would be no dispensation for any proportion of fuel used by the engine for generating heat and light. Commercially operated boats would still be able to purchase and use red diesel, but this would require fuel suppliers and boatyards to have two separate tanks (and pumps) for the different fuels.
IWA is concerned at the increased costs that will be faced by both boat owners and boatyard operators if this change is implemented. Whilst accepting that any fuel used solely for propulsion should be subject to the higher rate of tax, IWA considers that it is unfair for boat owners to have to purchase fully taxed white diesel for heating and cooking.
IWA is also concerned at the costs to boatyards and other fuel suppliers in having to install a new or second tank and pump in order to be able to supply white diesel.
IWA considers that it is not practical for most boats that use the inland waterways to have two tanks – one for red diesel and one for white; that inappropriate modifications would raise safety concerns; and that many diesel suppliers would simply not supply both red and white diesel.
Now that the issue has been referred to the European Court of Justice, IWA will continue to make representations to the UK Government to resist pressures from Europe that will cause both additional cost and inconvenience to UK boat owners.
Further background to the situation can be found in IWA’s Briefing Note on Red Diesel, which can be found on IWA’s website.
Further to the report in IWA’s Mid-March 2014 Bulletin, that the UK and Irish governments are to introduce a new product to mark rebated fuels to help tackle the criminal market in off-road diesel, HM Revenue & Custom (HMRC) has now announced that the new fuel marker will be introduced from 1st April 2015.
From that date, all rebated fuel supplied will have to contain the new marker along with existing markers. The new fuel marker, to be produced by Dow Chemical Company, will be added to kerosene, primarily used as heating oil, and off-road diesel that is used by the boating industry and commonly known in the UK as red diesel. HMRC says that the new product is more resilient to filtering techniques that launderers use to remove the red dye from off-road diesel and should make it more difficult for this fuel to be laundered. HMRC has stated that the new product is to be introduced in consultation with the oil industry and other affected sectors and as an additional marker rather than a replacement for existing markers. HMRC has recommended that businesses in the boating and marine sector give consideration to ensuring that they will be able to continue to operate machinery and boats without any problem after the introduction of the new fuel marker.
IWA is pleased to announce the launch of its 2014 National Waterways Restoration Raffle.
The raffle aims to raise £10,000 to support waterway restoration and development by donating 100% of the profit to restoration projects run by IWA corporate members and to a moorings improvement project on the Cheshire Ring to be carried out by IWA volunteers.
The raffle provides every person that purchases a ticket the option to nominate an eligible project of their choice on every ticket purchased. After the raffle has been drawn, the number of nominations for each project will be calculated and the money each restoration project receives will be in direct proportion to their total nominations. For example, a project receiving 10% of the total nominations would receive 10% of the money raised.
The nomination system means that waterway restoration across the country can benefit. Waterway restoration can bring social, economic and environmental benefits to an area and the 2014 National Waterways Restoration Raffle will support this nationwide effort.
There are many exciting prizes to be won. The top prizes are:
Tickets cost £2 each and are in books of five tickets. A book of tickets has been included in the Autumn issue of Waterways and will be inserted into the August/September issue of Navvies.
The raffle will be drawn on 16th January 2015 at IWA’s Head Office in Chesham.
To purchase tickets or find out more about the raffle, eligible restoration projects, details of all the raffle prizes and for full terms and conditions, visit the raffle webpages.
Alternatively, contact Toby Gomm at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01494 783453 ext.611, who will also be able to help restoration societies with eligible projects obtain stocks of the raffle tickets to sell to increase nominations for their project.
IWA would like to thank Middlewich Narrowboats, Wyvern Shipping, Cambrian Cruisers, ABC Leisure, Canal Cruising Company, Harper Collins Publishers, Waterways World, Midland Chandlers, Sir Steve Redgrave and Stone Boat Building Chandlery for their support of the raffle.
Photo: WRG volunteers on Building Bridges project
IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group has been announced as one of the 2014 Living Waterways Awards finalists.
WRG is one of five finalists in the Community and Volunteering category. WRG was chosen by an independent panel of experts for its Building Bridges project. The Building Bridges project was established by WRG alongside CRT as a means of working collaboratively to get more volunteers restoring features, in particular bridges, on navigable waterways in addition to the work WRG volunteers already do on derelict waterways. Over the past few years Building Bridges projects have been carries out on the North Oxford Canal and at Lady Capel's Bridge on the Grand Union Canal.
The Living Waterways Awards were launched by Canal & River Trust (CRT) in January. CRT has said the awards seek to recognise the most inspiring and exciting waterway-based improvement projects across the UK.
The finalists in the seven categories are:
The winners of the 2014 Living Waterways Awards, which are sponsored by Keir, CPC Civils, Galliford Try and Hyder Consulting, will be announced at a ceremony at the Royal Armouries, Clarence Dock, Leeds on 24th September 2014.
Information for boaters attending IWA's Saul Waterways Pageant over the August Bank Holiday weekend, is now available to download from the website.
The document includes details of dredging, tall ship movements and visitor moorings leading up to the event.
The event will showcase a diversity of interests on and around the waterways. As well as water-based competitions and demonstrations, activities will include walking, fishing and cycling as well as featuring live music, markets, refreshments and a real ale bar.
For more information and to download booking forms and other documents, please visit the Saul Waterways Pageant website pages.
IWA is pleased to announce that it does not plan to increase membership subscription rates in 2015.
More information on membership subscription rates and how to become an IWA member is available on the membership web pages.
As the Association does not plan to hold National Festivals on the same scale as past years, ‘The Tardis’ (the large wagon in which Festivals’ equipment was stored) is to be sold and the range of festival-related equipment held is being down-sized. Good waterways homes are now being sought for the equipment listed below. Priority will be given to waterway-related charities and similar non-profit-making organisations (to whom equipment is likely to be donated free of charge), but expressions of interest are invited from all, with appropriate donations expected for private acquisition. If you, or an organisation you represent, are interested in acquiring any of the following equipment, please contact John Baylis (email@example.com) or phone IWA Head Office on 01494 783 453.
There is also a collection of a full range of catering cutlery and crockery, about thirty place settings, that ought to go to a single home, and might possibly be useful to a boat club or similar.
IWA is pleased to welcome King’s Lock Chandlery as its latest corporate member. The company, based at Middlewich, close to the junction of the Trent & Mersey Canal and the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal, is the UK’s main distributor for Webasto and Vetus.
To celebrate its support for IWA, King’s Lock Chandlery is offering IWA members a 5% discount on all prices, including fuel and pump-outs, for the next six months. IWA members just need to show their membership card when visiting the Chandlery.
More information is available at the King’s Lock Chandlery Website.
Photo: Lydney Harbour (photo by John Pomfret)
The Environment Agency (EA) is looking to work in partnership with local and national development bodies to continue the regeneration of Lydney Docks and develop a self-sufficient facility.
As a publicly funded body, EA feels unable develop the docks as a commercial operation so is looking to transfer its interest in the site to a suitable person or body who will take on the statutory responsibility for maintaining and managing Lydney Docks.
The site is to be sold on an informal tender basis. Interested parties are invited to examine the supporting documents and the draft Heads of Terms, which sets out the proposed structure and obligations on each party.
Lydney Docks has a rich history that EA has worked to preserve. The Docks were built in the early 1800s to transport iron and later coal from the Forest of Dean. Its location offered easy access to the Severn and became the last port on the Severn where sea-going boats could unload. The Docks were an important trading centre and at the height of there use there was around 300,000 tons of coal being exported annually in over 2000 vessels.
The final export of coal from the Docks was in 1960 when it was then used to import logs for the manufacture of plywood until 1977. In 1985 the harbour from the swing bridge downstream was scheduled as an ‘Ancient Monument’, due to the historic importance as a transport link for the Forest of Dean to the Severn, and in 1988, the Swing Bridge was designated a Grade II Listed Building.
In 1998, the Lydney Docks Partnership was established to create a sustainable future for this Scheduled Ancient Monument. In 2003, it secured a grant of £873,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the Docks. This was supplemented by further funding from EA, English Heritage, Gloucestershire County Council, Forest of Dean District Council and Lydney Town Council. The restored Docks were re-opened in 2005 and since then EA has continued to improve the area by enhancing flood defences, dredging the dock and harbour and improving access for all amongst other developments.
More information, including how to access supporting documents and the outline of the process of the disposal, is available online.
Following a consultation CRT has announced that it plans to make changes to four visitor mooring sites in central London this August.
CRT says that plans are to help make sure the limited space on London waterways is shared fairly between visiting boats and those who live on the capital’s waterways.
Changes to four sites that are popular and often busy, have been considered. These site are Victoria Park, Broadway Market, Little Venice and Kensal Green. This follows CRT’s consideration of visitor moorings at Islington and in Paddington Basin earlier in the year.
CRT has outlined the plan for each of these four sites:
As part of the rollout of these changes, CRT has said it will update the signage at all the sites, including details of the stay times, a clear description of the location and the post-code and grid reference in case of emergencies. It is also investigating the options for implementing the Volunteer Caretaker Boater scheme and providing a reserved berth at each visitor mooring to help manage the sites and provide information and advice to boaters.
CRT developed the plans with the Better Relationships Group, which was set up with boating groups to help improve communications and engage boaters. Drafted plans were consulted on via a survey emailed to boaters in London and a number of pop-up towpath meetings. CRT says it has incorporated the feedback into the final plans.
More information on the consultation can be found at CRT's website.
Photo: Dredger near Slough Arm basin (photo by CRT)
Towards the middle of July the dredging work on the Slough Arm of the Grand Union Canal got within 20 metres of the terminus before CRT's contractors Land & Water had to suspend the operation.
Oxygen levels in the water became critically low, compounded by high temperatures, and there was a high risk of killing fish if dredging continued. The dredger moved to the east of Mansion Lane to remove large quantities of scrap and fly tipped debris whilst the team waited for CRT’s fisheries consultant to carry out a fish rescue so as to allow dredging in the basin to begin again.
In July the Environment Agency (EA) agreed to consult on increasing navigation charges for 2015/16 by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
It proposes to apply an increase of the July 2014 CPI figure to current charges for all navigation registration schemes, including private, commercial, unpowered boats and its block registration agreements. The June CPI figure was 1.9%.
The year 2014/15 was the last of EA’s three year charging plan which saw charge increases of CPI plus 2% each year.
On 21st July CRT launched its Waterway Heritage Skills project to recruit and train new waterway heritage workers.
CRT wants to recruit forty-two people to keep alive the traditional techniques that were used to construct the waterways across the country more than 200-years ago. Trainees will learn lime mortaring, stonemasonry and carpentry, amongst other skills that are essential to maintaining and improving the network.
£607,000 of the overall £811,000 for the scheme comes from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future programme. The Radcliffe Trust is contributing £9,000, the Norton Foundation providing £2,000 and CRT is providing the remaining funds. The project aims to recruit fourteen trainees each year for three years, with each post lasting twelve months. The trainees will work alongside CRT’s staff across the country on projects such as the winter stoppage programme. Through this work current experts will pass on their experience to the next generation of heritage workers.
More information about the roles, including details about how to apply, is available at CRT’s website.
Photo: Opening of restored section of the Montgomery Canal
On Saturday 19th July the new length of the Montgomery Canal was formally opened.
The stretch of canal from Redwith Bridge to Pryces Bridge was been restored by Shropshire Union Canal Society (SUCS) volunteers and on completion was opened by Rt Hon Owen Patterson MP accompanied by Tony Hales, Richard Parry and Pat Wilson (Chairman of SUCS). The ceremony took place on narrowboat Montgomery with Mike Friend, who supervised the work parties, at the helm. The ceremonial ribbon cutting was followed by speeches and a guided walk down the new length.
The Wey & Arun Canal Trust (WACT) has launched its appeal to raise £700,000 as part of the Compasses Bridge Project.
The project aims to replace the causeway at the summit of the partially restored Wey & Arun Canal, which blocks the navigation for boats, with a new bridge.
WACT hopes to raise £180,000 of the target by the end of this year so that work to replace the existing concrete causeway can start on site in April 2015. WACT will then have to raise the next £290,000 by September 2015.
Completion of the project will result in a further 2km of the canal being restored and create more opportunities for trip boats and for boating events.
More information on the Compasses Bridge Project, including how to donate, is available at Wey & Arun Canal Trust's website.
Dudley Canal Trust has secured further funding of £100,000 from The Garfield Weston Foundation, for its Portal Project.
The money will make a considerable difference to the project, a state of the art new centre to improve the visitor experience at the Trust’s Todd’s End site on the Dudley Canal. Schools, community groups and the general public are amongst the groups who will benefit from the new facilities.
The Portal will enhance the connection between the Dudley Canal and Limestone Mines and the Castle Hill Development Project including the nearby Black County Living Museum, giving visitors to both attractions new opportunities to explore both sites. In addition to new car parking, a swing bridge across the canal, and a covered area for people embarking on boat trips, there will be more volunteering opportunities for people to get involved in protecting, conserving and learning about the heritage of the area.
Construction on the new building will start before the end of the year, with the building opening mid-2015.
Photo: Chesterfield Canal Trust's Boat Madeline (photo by Chesterfield Canal Trust)
Chesterfield Canal Trust has started running canal boat trips on Saturdays from Hollingwood Hub on the Chesterfield Canal. There will be five trips every Saturday between 26th July and 30th August on Madeline, a new boat fitted out entirely by the students and staff of Eckington School. The School and the Trust will split the takings equally.
If the trips prove popular, it is hoped that the run will be extended into the autumn.
More information is available at Chesterfield Canal Trust's Website.
The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust has exchanged contracts with Wadworth Brewery for the purchase of the Peterborough Arms at Dauntsey Lock on the Wilts & Berks Canal in Wiltshire.
This historic pub is one of only two next to the canal in its entire length. It was closed by Wadworth in April 2013. Since then the Trust has been in negotiations to buy it, and agreement has been reached.
The Trust has been working on a detailed project plan to turn the site into a canal centre. The plan is for pub to continue to operate as a pub and for it to be expanded. In addition, the Trust intends to add other features such as a cafe and a museum with the hope that in the future boat trips and bicycle and boat hire could also be operated from the centre.
The purchase of the Peterborough Arms has been funded by loans from members of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust.
More information is available at Wilts & Berks Canal Trust's website. To get involved with the project, take part in the loan scheme or make a donation email Chris Coyle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tees Rowing Club, a member of the Tees River Users Trust, & its River Tees Water-sports Centre, celebrated the 150th anniversary, of its foundation in July.
To celebrate this around 100 members travelled from Teesside to the Henley Royal Regatta where a representative eight-man crew competed and completed a lap of honour. Among the crew was club member and Ladies Lightweight Double Sculls Olympic Champion, Kat Copeland.
Photo: Roger Lorenz Trust at Stratford Festival (photo by Roger Lorenz Trust)
Following a successful launch at the Stratford River Festival, the Roger Lorenz Trust is offering places on its first traditional barge handling course on the 30th and 31st August at Evesham. The weekend course is for young people aged 18-30 and costs £50 including food, accommodation and training. Places are limited.
For more information contact Stef Lorenz on 01617 070 588 / 07825 447 029 or email email@example.com.
Torfaen County Borough Council is currently recruiting a Canal Restoration & Training Officer to help support the delivery of the ‘Waterworks’ Restoration & Heritage Skills Training Project on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal in Cwmbran.
The project, which is being delivered in partnership with the Monmouthshire, Brecon & Abergavenny Canals Trust, is restoring a 1 mile section of canal that includes eight disused locks with the help of community volunteers and funding from the Heritage Lottery.
The post will play a key role in overseeing the restoration work on site and the supervision and training of volunteers in heritage and canal restoration techniques. Further details are available via the Council website.
CRT has developed its Boating Buddies scheme to provide all its staff with the opportunity to experience a day out on a boat.
CRT hopes that staff will learn about the challenges and joys of boating from a boater’s point of view through the scheme. CRT says it is really keen for its staff to all experience life afloat for a day and to be able to talk with a boater face to face, each learning about what the other does.
For more information about the CRT Boating Buddies Scheme contact Sian Ferry at firstname.lastname@example.org or Damian Kemp at email@example.com.
Somerset Waterways Development Trust (SWDT) based at Taunton in Somerset plans to begin a new trip boat service.
The Trust hopes to be able to offer the disabled and disadvantaged youth of Somerset experiences of waterways aboard its new nine-seat boat. The trips are to be volunteer led and there are vacancies to be filled with no experience necessary. Anyone interested in volunteering with SWDT should contact Ken on 07794 441 479.
On Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st August, Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust is holding Over Festival. The Festival is located at Over Basin on the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal. There will be plenty to entertain all visitors with boat trips, canoeing and kayaking, heritage boat processions, a canal working horse, stalls, music and much more.
For more information visit Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust's website.
This section contains volunteer reports from IWA branches and IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (WRG). IWA branch reports contain information from their latest work parties where volunteers have worked to help maintain their local canals. WRG reports on its Canal Camps and weekend digs to keep readers up to date with the restoration work the group has been undertaking.
Photo: Light Seekers youth group Himalayan Balsam pull (photo by Alison Smedley)
July was another successful month of Himalayan Balsam work parties with even more volunteers joining the campaign. Branches that had been out in previous years reported a reduction in the numbers of plants and IWA Chiltern Branch was pleased to report the area it usually visits was free from the plant this year. These are encouraging signs that the work of IWA volunteers alongside many other organisations is improving the environment of the waterways. Read on to see how different branches contributed to the campaign throughout July.
On Monday 7th July, IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch volunteers joined forces with Light Seekers youth group, run by St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Cheddleton, to tackle Himalayan Balsam on the Leek Arm of the Caldon Canal. The work party took place on a delightful summer’s evening, where the young people enjoyed pulling and bashing the Himalayan Balsam growing on the canal embankment in the vicinity of Horse Bridge.
Later that same week on Thursday 10th July, the Branch was out again with Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust and young trainees from the Churnet Valley Living Landscape’s youth engagement project. The volunteers cleared Himalayan Balsam from between Oakmeadowford Lock and Consall Lime Kilns on the Caldon Canal. Some of the volunteers had cleared Himalayan Balsam in this area over the previous three years and were extremely encouraged by the reduction in the spread of the plant.
The trainees joined the Branch again on 24th July along with volunteers from the Churnet Valley and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust. This work party tackled Himalayan Balsam on the embankment between the Caldon Canal and the Churnet Valley Railway downstream of Consall Station.
The young trainees were there as part of a social action and personal development programme funded by the Cabinet Office and led by vInspired, a youth volunteering charity. Waterways Action Squad, CRT’s youth engagement programme, is delivering this project as part of the Churnet Valley Living Landscapes Partnership project in Staffordshire. Participants are working towards a level 2 qualification in Work Based Environmental Conservation that is accredited by City & Guilds.
The variety of the Branch’s Himalayan Balsam pulls was increased further on Monday 21st July, when IWA members were joined by local residents for an evening stroll to pull up Himalayan Balsam along the Caldon Canal from Denford. Volunteers ranged in age from nine to retired, and some of the Himalayan Balsam was up to 10 feet tall. A mile of towpath was cleared of Himalayan Balsam during the two hours, and the thirsty volunteers had a well earned drink at the canalside Holly Bush pub at Denford on their return.
IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch’s final Himalayan Balsam Work Party was on 30th July. The Branch teamed up with Support Staffordshire to host a family volunteering day of Himalayan Balsam pulling. On the Wednesday, the families who had signed up for the day gathered at Consall Nature Park for a health and safety briefing before walking down to Bridge 51 where they cleared all the Himalayan Balsam. The families really enjoyed the activity, and IWA plan to hold similar events next year.
Photo: Volunteers at Himalayan Balsam work party on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (photo by Alison Smedley)
On Wednesday 9th July, volunteers from IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch met at Falling Sands Viaduct on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal south of Kidderminster. The volunteers were very pleased to note the reduced growth of Himalayan Balsam in the area around the viaduct that had been cleared by the branch the previous year. The volunteers tackled the three quarters of a mile between there and Round Hill Bridge.
Over a dozen people tackled the Himalayan Balsam on the Shrewsbury & Newport Canal on Saturday 12th July at a work party supported by IWA Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch. The area to the east of Town Lock was cleared of Himalayan Balsam, as well as some work being carried out along the banks through Victoria Park. Body harnesses were used to access the area immediately below Fishers Lock where the bank drops away and the balsam was hard to get at. Two boats were used to take people across the canal to access the offside, to access difficult areas and to transport balsam across the canal for disposal.
On Saturday 19th July, IWA Lancashire & Cumbria Branch held a Himalayan Balsam pulling work party in partnership with the Friends of Haslam Park and Preston City Council on the Lancaster Canal. Fourteen 1 tonne builders sacks were filled with the pulled up Himalayan Balsam and emptied by the park wardens for rotting down in their yard.
Photo: Volunteers head off to tackle Floating Pennywort (photo by Alison Smedley)
IWA Leicestershire Branch combined its Himalayan Balsam pull on the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal on 22nd July with tackling a another invasive species, Floating Pennywort. Eighteen volunteers met at Leicester Rowing Club where two work boats were available. The Himalayan Balsam was cleared from the towpath side above Freeman’s Meadow Lock, and the Floating Pennywort was removed from the river above the weir.
IWA West Country Branch had another successful Himalayan Balsam work party on 24th July on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal. Thirteen volunteers and two CRT staff turned out and contributed fifty-six volunteer hours to the Himalayan Balsam campaign.
With the help of the Branch’s volunteer work party coordinators, Somerset Waterways Development Trust, Bridgwater & Taunton Canal Association and a member for use of her boat the work party managed to tackle the Himalayan Balsam from towpath and water. All of which would not have been possible in the heat without water, sun cream and a local resident's contribution of tea and biscuits, delivered by bicycle.
On Saturday 26th July, ten volunteers from IWA Lichfield Branch turned out to continue the good work at the “Bloody Steps” and this included the removal of Himalayan Balsam on the Trent & Mersey Canal. The team made an early start on mowing and strimming the area from the Steps up to the Bypass bridge and during the morning another volunteer was trained with the CRT strimmer and presented with his certificate. The morning also saw painting the railings on the aqueduct over the River Trent, litter picking and Himalayan Balsam bashing. With the obligatory break for tea and the usual excellent cake provided by Pat and Margaret.
The Himalayan Balsam had reached a height of about eight feet and was removed just in time before the seeds had spread. After lunch the afternoon saw the completion of the painting work and more Himalayan Balsam pulling. Overall a hot and tiring day but with the satisfaction of several jobs well done.
The season for pulling Himalayan Balsam is now rapidly drawing to a close as the seed pods develop on the plant making pulling it up counter-productive. A slight knock of the plant can cause the seed pods to explode sending hundreds of seeds up to seven metres from the plant. This year volunteers often commented on the reduction in the plant’s spread, which is encouraging and a pattern that will hopefully be repeated in 2015.
Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches.
The Autumn 2014 issue of IWA's Waterways Magazine is now available to download or read online.
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
Chelmsford Branch - Chelmsford Branch Newsletter - July 2014
South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch - Keels & Cuckoos - August 2014
North Riding Branch - Northern Navigation News - Summer 2014
South London and North & East London Branches - Meridian Cuttings - Autumn 2014
Major IWA events in 2014
23rd - 25th August 2014 - Saul Waterways Pageant
Branch Boating Events in 2014
6th - 7th September 2014 - Maesbury Canal Festival (joint arranged by IWA Shrewsbury, District & North Wales Branch along with Friends of the Montgomery Canal)
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.
2nd August Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
2nd August Work Party - Dee Branch, Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
2nd August Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Pocklington Canal (IWA East Yorkshire Branch)
4th August Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
6th August Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
6th August Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
10th August Work Party - Northampton Arm (IWA Northampton Branch)
13th August Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
13th August Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
14th August Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
16th August Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
19th August Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
19th August Work Party - Northampton Arm (IWA Northampton Branch)
20th August Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
21st August Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
22nd August Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
27th August Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
1st September Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
3rd September Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
3rd September Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
6th September Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
6th-7th September Work Party Weekend - Chelmer & Blackwater (IWA Chelmsford Branch & Essex WRG)
6th September Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
7th September Work Party - Northampton Arm (IWA Northampton)
10th September Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
10th September Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
11th September Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
17th September Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
18th September Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
20th September Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
20th September Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
21st September Nottingham Canal Clean-up (IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch)
24th September Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
25th September Work Party - Banbury (IWA Oxfordshire Branch)
26th September Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
3rd August Waterside Walk - Stratford (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
4th August Waterside Walk - River Foss (River Foss Society)
17th August Waterside Walk - Enfield (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
28th August Waterside Walk - Wey & Arun Canal (Wey & Arun Canal Trust)
2nd September Waterside Walk - Basingstoke Canal (Railway & Canal Historical Society)
7th September Waterside Walk - King's Cross to Camden (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
21st September Waterside Walk - Stratford (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
25th September Waterside Walk - Wey & Arun Canal (Wey & Arun Canal Trust)
30th September Waterside Walk - Basinstoke Canal (Railway & Canal Historical 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:
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 www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/members_area/member_discounts_special_offers_public
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
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Read online (via Issuu)