IWA Bulletin March

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HS2 Phase 1 Hybrid Bill Environmental Statement Consultation Response Submitted

Photo: How HS2 will change the view at Fradley. The top photo shows the area as it is at present, the hedge on the right hand side runs along the offside of the Trent & Mersey at Fradley, from Shade House Lock up to the turn where the canal goes to Wood End Lock. The bottom image shows the impact of HS2. The photographer is standing with their back to the Manchester Main Line crossing the canal, and in front are the two single link line crossings running from the HS2 main line to the left, across to the West Coast Main Line a few km off to the right. (Image from HS2).

After January’s Phase 2 Route submission, the end of February saw the delayed closing date for the consultation on the Phase 1 Environmental Statement that accompanied the HS2 Phase 1 Hybrid Bill.  The date was delayed from 24th January due to some 877 pages of information being missed from some printed documents.

IWA has submitted its response to the consultants who are handling this consultation. The Parliamentary process requires that an independent assessor be appointed by Parliament to consider these responses and produce a report for MPs in twenty-eight days or more. The Second Reading may not take place until at least fourteen days after that report is produced. At the Second Reading the principle of building HS2 will be debated and agreed (or not).

At that point the House will agree the future timetable for the Bill, including when and how to petition. This will be the main opportunity for those directly affected to petition the specially-convened Select Committee of MPs and make their case.

IWA's response included:

  • The need to preserve clearances over waterways, towpaths and restorations for permanent and temporary works
  • Canal & River Trust (CRT) to be involved in the design of feeder changes for the Oxford Canal
  • The need to reduce impact on the Trent and Mersey Canal at Fradley by redesigning the crossings
  • Better design of the HS2 underbridge over the Grand Union Canal at Saltley Viaduct, to keep the space and light and be less intimidating
  • The need for exceptional care with the Curzon Street Station design above the Digbeth Branch & Ashted Lock on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, to preserve operability of the canal and create a positive environment (fitting into Birmingham City Council’s recent announcement on a Canal Quarter)
  • More and better noise mitigation route-wide, with particular reference to canal users
  • The need to manage any ‘vertical deviations’ (i.e. raising or lowering the railway compared with existing plans) on canal crossings to ensure minimum headroom is maintained
  • Support for the use of CRT’s ‘Waterway Design Principles’ to guide the design of waterway/ HS2 intersections and make sure the ‘waterway angle’ is catered for

Specifically, the joint IWA/CRT report on the ‘Alternative Alignment’ proposal at Fradley has been received from our consultants Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd, and confirms the viability of IWA 's alternative proposed in January 2012. This report has been included in its entirety in IWA’s response. In parallel with this submission, CRT and IWA have held discussions at many levels, including IWA National Chairman to CRT Chief Executive, about how best to deploy the report, and are meeting with HS2 Ltd to discuss the Hyder Report and press for its adoption.

We hope to have news on the progress of these discussions in the next few weeks, with possible outcomes ranging from HS2 agreeing to adopt the ‘Alternative Route’ right across to flat refusal to change, with many possibilities in between. In the latter case the alternative of ‘Petitioning the Bill’ in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords remains open, and we will then need the support of individual members in lobbying their MP and campaigning hard to help IWA get ‘HS2 - the waterways view’ taken on board.

Gren Messham, IWA HS2 Campaign & Communications Group Chairman said "As always many thanks to members who have consistently supported IWA in pulling together this response, which we all hope will get a better outcome for waterways and waterway users impacted by HS2."

View IWA’s response (presented in the required format).

Read more about HS2.

Please send any comments by email to hs2comments@waterways.org.uk.


IWA News

IWA National AGM Weekend, 26th-28th September 2014

Leek Arm of the Caldon CanalPhoto: Leek Arm of the Caldon Canal (by Tim Lewis)

This year’s IWA AGM will be held in the historic market town of Leek, Staffordshire, on Saturday 27th September. In addition to the morning open meeting and AGM itself on the Saturday, the weekend will include social events on the Friday and Saturday evenings plus a waterway community event on the Sunday focussing on the Caldon Canal – full details will be announced shortly.

Leek is readily accessible by canal, public transport and from the motorway network. For those coming by boat the town is at the terminus of the Leek Arm of the Caldon Canal, with bus connections to popular mooring locations on the Caldon Canal and on the nearby Trent & Mersey and Macclesfield Canals. You can also arrive by intercity train with coach services into Stoke-on-Trent railway and bus stations, with very frequent bus connections to Leek.

Known as 'Queen of the Staffordshire Moorlands', Leek is renowned for its Arts & Crafts and William Morris connections. It nestles at the head of the Churnet Valley, borders the Peak District National Park, and has local landmarks that include the Churnet Valley Steam Railway, Alton Towers and the world headquarters of JCB, all aside the local Uttoxeter Canal restoration project.

Consider a weekend stay in Leek when attending the AGM to enjoy the other waterway activites on offer.


Increased Support for Waterway Recovery Group's Volunteering Activities

WRG Hard Hat

Much of the success of IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) Canal Camps, which take place over twenty-five weeks each year, is down to the hard work of the team of volunteer leaders. WRG leaders not only give up a week to run the camp but also invest time and effort to plan and set up the camp with our local partners on the ground. This background planning is just as important as running the actual Canal Camp.

With this in mind, and with additional Canal Camps being run throughout the summer of 2014, the WRG Board wants to ensure their leaders get as much support as possible so that WRG can continue to run safe, as well as fun and productive, sites alongside the local waterway trusts and CRT.

The WRG Board has agreed that additional staff time would give leaders much needed support, further building their confidence with camp planning and importantly maintaining and ensuring a consistent level of planning across all centrally organised activities, such as Canal Camps. The WRG Board has therefore decided to employ a full time Assistant Volunteers Coordinator to support the work of the Volunteers Coordinator, with all the necessary funding in year one to come from one of the WRG restricted funds. This will allow both Volunteers Coordinators to work alongside Canal Camp leaders to:

  • Support leaders whilst they plan and coordinate WRG’s Canal Camps – this may include providing advice on Health & Safety and working with the leaders to produce risk assessments and method statements
  • Provide leaders with on site support, if required, when they undertake site visits for their Canal Camp
  • Assist with site visits when planning the Canal Camps schedule

Mike Palmer, WRG Chairman said ‘The key to the continued success of WRG activities is confident and supported leaders running safe sites. We hope that this new role will allow for both Volunteers Coordinators to support leaders and ensure leaders feel confident in taking ownership of the Health & Safety management of their Canal Camp’.

WRG hopes to have the Assistant Volunteers Coordinator in place by 5th May so that they can attend the Leaders Training Day on the 10th May in order to meet everyone involved in running a Canal Camp.

More details about the role and application form can be on the WRG website.

Closing date for applications is Monday 24th March.


IWA Welcomes Legal Decision on Moorings

Photo: by Roger Butler

IWA has welcomed the decision by Mr Nick Brown, on 19th February, to abandon judicial review proceedings against CRT over its mooring guidelines. The Association believes this now clears the way for the Trust to make good progress on regularising misuse of visitor moorings by a minority of users.
The High Court Hearing for the Judicial Review was set to last two days, but the judge accepted an application to abandon the case from Mr Brown towards the end of the first morning, and before CRT had been able to present its advice. This followed comments from the Judge after the presentation of Mr Brown’s case. The Judge also ordered substantial costs to be paid to the Trust by Mr Brown.
Les Etheridge, IWA National Chairman, said “Visitor moorings on the inland waterways need to be managed with the best interests of the whole boating community. It is sad that Mr Brown’s actions caused the needless expenditure of CRT’s charitable funds on addressing an unnecessary legal action. With the matter now settled, boaters and IWA expect CRT to make solid progress in addressing the pockets of misuse of visitor moorings where they exist along the waterways. There has already been some progress on certain popular mooring spots, particularly in the South East. I am sure that the vast majority of boaters will welcome the settlement of this case, and look forward to properly-managed moorings on the waterways where visitors can confidently expect reasonable facilities, and in turn boaters must respect the rules and move on to new waters within a reasonable time.


Acheman Challenge Update

Toby Gomm training for the Acheman ChallengePhoto: Toby Gomm training for the Acheman Challenge

There is just over a month until four members of IWA Head Office staff will undertake the fifty mile Acheman Challenge along the Grand Union Canal to raise funds for a new excavator for IWA’s WRG. Toby Gomm, Stephanie Pay, Gemma Bolton and Jenny Black are hard at work training for the event and appealing to the public to support the cause. The group had (by the end of February) so far received £1147 in sponsorship with a further £150 pledged. Gift Aid takes the total raised to over £1300, of their target of £5000, which will go towards the cost of a new excavator for WRG to help IWA volunteers and other waterway groups carry out restoration work.

The challenge should test the endurance of participants and Toby, Stephanie, Gemma and Jenny are already working to build their stamina. The group regularly run during lunch and outside of work, as well as attending gym sessions. As the weather improves and the evenings become lighter the group hopes to get out on their bikes more in the lead up to the event.

On the evening of 13th March, the group has planned a canoeing training session with Paddlesport Racers Association in Milton Keynes. The training is to take place along the stretch of the Grand Union Canal that the challengers will travel in April so that they can familiarise themselves with the route. IWA would like to thank Paddlesport Racers Association for their support in the provision and transport of the canoes, safety equipment and training.

Many more hours of training are planned in the lead up to the challenge, as well as a work party in Marsworth where the staff will help to improve a section of the Grand Union Canal that they will travel along for the Acheman Challenge. To keep up to date with the participants’ preparation check the Acheman Challenge web pages or follow IWA on Facebook and Twitter.  

You can sponsor Toby, Stephanie, Gemma and Jenny and help raise funds for WRG’s new excavator:

  • Online, via Virgin Money Giving
  • By text, text ROLT46 followed by the amount in pounds e.g. “ROLT46 £10” to 70070
  • By phone, call Toby Gomm at IWA’s Head Office on 01494 783 453
  • By cheque, payable to The Inland Waterways Association and sent to Acheman Challenge, IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA

Alternatively, you can fill out a form to pledge your support and give your donation after the challenge has been completed. After the event, pledged donations can be paid by cheque or over the phone, call 01494 783 453, by 19th April.


Update on Threat to the Swansea-Neath Integrated Waterway

South Wales Waterways MapImage: Map showing the waterways of South Wales, the proposed Swansea-Neath intergrated waterway would comprise the River Tawe and numbers 6, 8 and 10 on the restoration map

There are plans for a thirty-five mile waterway linking the Swansea and Neath & Tennant canals that will be affected by the Neath Port Talbot Council’s Local Deposit Plan. IWA South Wales Branch explains why it is important for people to submit comments on these plans to protect the restoration of the Swansea Canal and proposals for the Swansea-Neath integrated waterway.

Neath Port Talbot Council has produced the final version of its Local Deposit Plan, which now goes to the Welsh Assembly Government Planning Inspector. In the plan, the safeguarding of three lengths of canal that were in the Urban Development plan has been removed. In view of the number of objections that were received, three Alternative Site Proposals for these stretches have been posted.

All comments on the Alternative Site Proposals will go to the Inspector with any comments already made. IWA South Wales Branch hopes that the Alternative Site Proposals will be supported by as many people as possible, although the branch has been informed that if an individual has already made an objection they cannot submit further comments in support of the Alternative Site Proposals. However, the branch urges these people to inform others of the situation.

The Alternative Sites Register can be found at the council’s website with the Response Form and details of the sites. The sites related to canals are:

  • AS(A)9 Trebanos playing fields to Pontardawe
  • AS(A)19 Gnoll Road to Woodman Terrace
  • AS(A)5 Ysgwrfa Bridge to Manor Drive

The site of particular importance is AS(A)9, which joins the two protected sections of the Swansea Canal. It should be noted that Neath Port Talbot Council wants firm proposals and funds in place for the connection of the two protected sections of the Swansea Canal before it will safeguard the relevant areas. If the protection is not put in place the restoration of the Swansea Canal is threatened, as are plans for the Swansea–Neath Integrated Waterway.

A new feasibility study for the restoration of this section has been commissioned and will be ready to for submission before the response deadline, which is 10th March. IWA South Wales Branch is appealing to the public for further support of the Alternative Sites in the form of comments submitted to the council.

For more information of what comments from the public should include visit IWA South Wales Branch’s web pages.

The deadline for comments is 10th March.


Toyota Supports IWA’s WOW Education Programme

Gillian Bolt receives check for £800 from Toyota Manufacturing UKPhoto: Gillian Bolt receives cheque for £800 from TMUK’s representatives Akihito Isobe, Deeside Executive Advisor, and Graham Hillier, Senior Manager

IWA was delighted to receive £800 from the Toyota Manufacturing UK (TMUK) Charitable Trust to support the new Wild Over Waterways (WOW) Buildings & Structures children’s activity leaflet.

IWA has already funded the design and print of WOW leaflets that feature Wildlife and Boating History, so Building & Structures will be the third in the series. Collected in a folder, the leaflets are given away to families taking hire boat holidays, those attending waterways events and other adjacent venues. The aim is to encourage children’s interest in their local waterways and educate in a fun way.

Gillian Bolt, IWA’s voluntary Youth Development Co-ordinator, said “We are very grateful to Toyota for their support with our WOW education/activity programme. The money will pay for an additional 10,000 print run which will make a huge difference to the numbers of WOW folders we can give away.”

WOW is IWA’s education programme that consists of various activities to help children learn more about inland waterways. Activity stands can be found at inland waterway events across the country and a selection can be downloaded for use at home or by schools and youth groups.


IWA Chiltern Branch Donates £1000 to WRG's Excavator Appeal

Tim Lewis receives £1000 check from John BricePhoto: John Brice Presents Tim Lewis with £1000 check for WRG's excavator appeal

IWA Chiltern Branch has donated £1000 to IWA's WRG's funds for a new excavator. The cheque was presented to Tim Lewis (member of London WRG) by John Brice (IWA Chiltern Branch Fundraising & Waterways Events Officer) at IWA Chiltern Branch's social meeting on 26th February. WRG are very grateful for this donation from IWA Chiltern Branch, which will help the group purchase a new excavator to allow WRG volunteers continue in their important restoration work on the waterways.


Plans for a New Canal Quarter in Birmingham Welcomed

Aston JunctionPhoto: Aston Junction where the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal meets the Digbeth Branch Canal

Plans to create a new canal quarter in Birmingham as part of the city’s aim to use HS2 as a catalyst for regeneration and growth have been unveiled.

Birmingham City Council’s plans for the new canal quarter at Curzon Street have been welcomed by both IWA and CRT, who, alongside other partners, are working with the Council to ensure the development of HS2 in Birmingham benefits the canal in Eastside and Digbeth.

The historic Digbeth Branch of the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, presents a significant opportunity for regeneration and a focal point to the Birmingham Curzon HS2 Masterplan area. The canal is an important historic and cultural space in the city; provides pedestrian and cycle connections between Birmingham City University, Eastside Locks and Digbeth; and forms an important waterway link into the city from the South.

Les Etheridge, IWA National Chairman, has said “Birmingham City Council’s proposals provide a welcome opportunity to transform the Eastside area and gain benefit from HS2 beyond just a railway connection. The proposals need to be carefully developed so that more people will discover and enjoy the wonderful opportunities our inland waterways network provides, whilst retaining the qualities that make our canals so special.”

The plan suggests buildings on both sides of the canal stepping down from the street to the towpath level with new high-quality public spaces and access points, and active uses at the waterside level to animate the space. To the east of the canal there is also the opportunity to build beneath the new HS2 viaduct. There will be considerable space at this location, which the Council has earmarked as ideal for student sports facilities, health club or business spaces. Birmingham City Council has successfully completed canalside regeneration projects in the past, including the regeneration of Cambrian Wharf and Gas Street Basin.


IWA National Awards

National Award Winners at IWA AGM 2013Photo: IWA National Award Winners at 2013 IWA AGM

A reminder to IWA members, branches and regions that they are invited to nominate individuals and organisations for an IWA National Award.

The awards are:

  • Cyril Styring Trophy - for an IWA member who has made an outstanding contribution in furthering the Association's campaign
  • John Heap Salver - for an IWA member who has made an outstanding contribution to raising funds for the Association
  • Richard Bird Medal - for members of the Association whose efforts and support are considered to have brought significant benefit to the Association over a sustained period
  • Christopher Power Prize - for a person, society or trust who has made the most significant contribution to the restoration of an inland waterway
  • Vivian Bulkeley-Johns Salt - for the person or organisation who upon a recommendation from IWA's Inland Waterways Freght Group, has made an outstanding contribution to the furtherance of commercial waterways transport in the United Kingdom

Nominations for these awards should be emailed to awards@waterways.org.uk by 31st March. Award nominations are considered by an Awards Panel nominated by trustees, and recommendations made to trustees for final approval.

Further information about individual awards, including past winners, is available at IWA's website.


March IWA Desktop Calendar

The winning photo for March's desktop calendar is 'Kayaks on the Grand Union Canal above Leighton Buzzard' by Richard Varnes. Download the March desktop calendar now.

'Bridges' is the next theme for the April calendar, enter your photographs to the IWA Flickr group page for the calendar competition before the 28th March 2014 to be in with a chance of winning. The winner will be announced on IWA's Facebook and Twitter accounts.

More information is available from IWA's website.


Campsite Entry Forms Now Available for 2014 IWA National Trailboat Festival

Campsite entry forms for the 2014 IWA National Trailboat Festival are now available to download from IWA's website. Forms should be printed, completed and sent to the address provided on the form.

The 2014 IWA National Trailboat Festival is to be held at the Grand Western Canal Country Park over the late May Bank Holiday weekend, 24th – 26th May in 2014.  There will be a big public festival day held at the Mid-Devon Showground on Saturday 24th May, with a range of live music, performers and entertainments, all with a birthday party theme.  


National Chairman Public Presentations

IWA National Chairman, Les Etheridge, is due to give presentations at various events throughout the year. Non-members are welcome to attend these events and find out a bit more about IWA. Meetings are scheduled for:


Vote for IWA 2015 Calendar Photos

Over 600 photos were entered in the calendar competition this year. From these a shortlist was created that comprises of five categories Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Cover. There is still time to choose the photos you would most like to see featured in the 2015 IWA Calendar. You can vote for one photo from each category on the IWA website, voting closes on 16th March.

Two winter shots have already been chosen to feature on IWA 2014 Christmas cards. The photos were Heavy hoar frost near Rugby, Warwickshire by Roger Butler, and Wendover Arm in Winter by Chris Sargeant.


Other News

CRT Flood Appeal Update

River Severn Worcester, February 2014 FloodsPhoto: River Severn Worcester, February 2014 Floods (by CRT)

CRT continues to appeal for donations to aid repair works to its network as more damage comes to light.

Thankfully, large parts of the waterway network in the North and the Midlands, escaped the worst of the weather undamaged and remained open through the course of the winter storms. Additionally, many other parts of the network that were affected continue to be re-opened as quickly as possible, with most fallen tress and debris already removed. It is important that waterside businesses in all areas continue to receive the support of their customers. Many businesses never closed and those that did have quickly solved any problems and have reopened. Continue to show support and visit waterway businesses over the coming weeks, if you are concerned that flooding may have affected services, ring in advance to check the situation.

Despite this more positive outlook for many of the waterways, there are still areas that are of concern for CRT. Wales has been badly affected with CRT aware of two major incidents.

The Brecon & Abergavenny Canal is closed between Govilon and Llanfoist as a 125-metre section of the embankment near Tod's Bridge has slipped down the hillside. Movement was first noticed after Christmas and the section of canal drained, however, rising ground water and heavy rain have saturated the embankment and caused an increase in the weight of the land and further movement. Emergency repairs are already underway and CRT engineers began work to pin the embankment back in place on Monday 24th February. Engineers plan to insert 500 10-metre metal pins at an estimated cost of £1 million. The section of canal is expected to be closed for at least nine weeks, a clearer idea of the date when the canal will be reopened should be known by the end of March. The canal north of Govilon and south of Llanfoist will remain open whilst the canal is repaired. The towpath is also closed but a diversion has been put in place so walkers and cyclists can continue to visit the area. CRT has said it will work with local businesses to discuss ways in which the impact of the closure can be lessened.

In addition to the work at Llanfoist, a land slide into the canal at Llangattock has caused further damage to the Brecon & Abergavenny Canal. CRT has said the cost to clear this second sllippage is likely to be around a further £150,000.

The Llangollen Canal is currently closed as part of the embankment has been damaged, with a serious embankment leak at Hampton. Emergency repair works have already begun as there is a serious risk of an embankment breach and disruption of the water supply to the local area. Engineers hope to have the canal reopened by the start of April.

Elsewhere on the CRT network:

  • On the River Severn, water levels have begun to fall but the navigation remains closed as a significant amount of mud and debris has limited access to structure. Some river locks along the Severn have been fully submerged for several weeks and this has caused damage to the electrical and mechanical workings of the lock gates, which now need to be repaired.
  • On the Kennet & Avon Canal, fallen trees and flooding continue to cause problems in some areas.
  • The Droitwich Barge Canal is closed in places due to flooding.
  • Bridges and sections of the towpath on the Oxford Canal have been damaged by floodwaters.

With costs for repairs to the Brecon & Abergavenny Canal alone estimated at over £1 million, CRT’s funds are stretched. To donate to the CRT National Flood Appeal, visit the website.

For full details of stoppages and notices across the CRT network visit CRT's website.


Landslip on the Basingstoke Canal

Landslip on the Basingstoke CanalPhoto: A landslide along the Basingstoke Canal has narrowed the navigation and pulled trees down (by Basingstoke Canal Visitor Centre)

A landslide at Dogmersfield on the Basingstoke Canal has led Hampshire County Council to close the waterway and towpath whilst engineers inspect the site.

After weeks of heavy rain on 10th February, land on both sides of the waterway at Dogmersfield slipped into the canal and brought around six trees down across the navigation. Over fifty trees had previously fallen across the navigation along its length due to recent poor weather and staff have been working hard to clear them. Once those at Dogmersfield have been removed, engineers will be able to better assess the situation. It is currently clear that this section of the canal has been severely narrowed as a result of the slip and cannot be navigated.


Temporary Closure of Elvington Lock on the Yorkshire Derwent

The Environment Agency (EA) has closed the guillotine lock at Elvington/Sutton Weir on the Yorkshire Derwent after visual inspections highlighted severe corrosion to the metal frame that holds the gate. The concern is that the frame could fail during operation and cause injury to boaters, members of the public or EA staff.

The lock was closed on 19th February and EA expects the lock to remain closed for at least six weeks whilst a full inspection is carried out. Once the inspection results have been obtained EA will review the temporary closure and decide how to move forward.


CRT Youth Engagement Advisory Group

CRT has launched a Youth Engagement Advisory Group to help get more young people involved with their local waterways.
The group is chaired by 19 year old Chloe Donovan who has experience of youth volunteering. She is joined by a number of individuals who bring a variety of experience to the group, including IWA's voluntary Youth Development Co-ordinator and retired Assistant Head Teacher, Gillian Bolt.


SeaVue Watchkeepers Afloat Launched to Improve Safety on the Water

The Merchant Navy Association Boat Club (MNABC) has launched a new scheme, SeaVue Watchkeepers Afloat, to help improve safety both offshore and on inland waterways.

Members of MNABC can sign up to be part of the scheme where they 'Spot, Plot and Report' incidents to HM Coastguard or the relevant navigation authority. The necessary help can then be deployed to attend any incident as quickly as possible.


Waterways on TV

Starting on 10th March at 9pm is a new television series, Great Canal Journeys. The series will be aired on More 4 and follows Timothy West and Prunella Scales as they embark on four canal journeys across Britain. The first episode follows the pair's journey along the Kennet & Avon Canal from Bath to Devizes.

Additionally, the second episode of an older series, Nairn Across Britain, which was first transmitted in 1972, is now available on BBC iPlayer. The episode follows Ian Nairn as he travels by boat along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal across the Pennines looking at the industrial area of the North.


Easter Boat Gathering at The National Waterways Museum

CRT’s Easter Gathering and Sea Shanty Festival is to take place over the weekend of the 18th-20th April, at the National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port.
The Festival will be attended by a number of colourful canal boats and visitors who can enjoy the music, children’s activities, stalls and more. For the fourth year, Sea Shanty performers from across the country will perform on boats and in the museum’s restored buildings throughout the festival as well as in concert on Friday and Saturday nights. Visitors can also enjoy two new exhibitions, artist Rob Pointon’s collection, to include some of his ‘Rob’s Year of the Boat’ paintings, and the Ellesmere Port ‘Then and Now’ collection of photographs.
For more information including admission fees or to book a boat into the festival contact the museum on 0151 355 5017 or visit CRT's website.


IWA & WRG Work Party Reports

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.


A Wet Work Party for IWA Lichfield Branch

Volunteers at St Augustine's Bank, February 2014Photo: Volunteers at St Augustine's Field by the Trent & Mersey Canal (by Margaret Beardsmore)

Valentine's Day must have been one of the soggiest on record for IWA Lichfield Branch's work party at St Augustine's Field in Rugeley. Nevertheless a small but intrepid band of volunteers duly arrived and worked hard all morning next to the Trent & Mersey Canal.

There were two main tasks to complete at this work party. Firstly, the canal-side decking needed to be cleaned and chicken wire laid to make the decking safe to walk on. Secondly, the area next to the canal needed litter picking and scrub clearing.

By lunchtime these objectives had been completed and it was decided to call a halt to work in view of the weather!

Well done to all who braved the weather, and big thanks to the cake makers and tea suppliers.


Alternative Valentine’s Weekend for WRG’s Forestry Team on the Cotswold Canals

Twenty-eight volunteers from Waterway Recovery Group’s Forestry Team spent three days, from the 14th-16th February clearing trees and vegetation on the Cotswold Canals near Stroud.

The original aim of the weekend was for volunteers to work on two separate sites – pollarding trees at Ryeford Swingbridge and felling trees at Wallbridge Lower Lock. Unfortunately, due to heavy rain and winds the team could only carry out the enabling works at the more sheltered site of Wallbridge Lower Lock. The purpose of this clearance work was to allow for restoration of the lock to continue. Experienced chainsaw operators from the WRG Forestry team felled self-seeded sycamores from the narrow towpath close to the lock and other volunteers cleared vegetation.   

WRG Forestry plans to return on the 8th-9th March to help Cotswold Canals Trust with further tree clearance work.

See photos (by Alan Lines) from the weekend.


WRG Bit In The Middle Volunteers Brave the Wiltshire Weather

The third weekend of the month, 15th-16th February, means that wrgBITM (Bit In The Middle) is back out on a project to help restore one of Britain’s abandoned canals. During February’s work party, ten of the group’s regulars spent Saturday and Sunday on a project to widen and to improve access to the existing towpath along a stretch of the Wilts & Berks Canal near Dauntsey Lock in Wiltshire. More manpower came on site on Sunday, with the arrival of a team of volunteers from the local canal restoration society to supplement BITM’s efforts.

The work involved trimming back the overgrown hedgerow over a 100m-long stretch of the canal, which in this area is already back in water. A further 200m length of the towpath was cleared using a brush-cutter, while the branch of a willow tree that had broken off in the recent storms and was in danger of rooting itself in the canal bed was pulled out using hand-operated Tirfor winches.

The weather conditions could not have been more different between the two days. On Saturday, the BITM volunteers worked in full waterproof clothing, which was shed on Sunday as the sun shone all day.


Students Join IWA Manchester Branch Work Party

Students from the University of Manchester lend IWA Manchester Branch a hand relaying a towpathPhoto: Students from The University of Manchester help to lay the towpath

IWA Manchester Branch and the local CRT Towpath Taskforce faced a change of location to the geographically opposite side of Manchester for the work party on February 22nd. This change also brought about a similarly opposite change in the type of location.

Bridge 15 on the Manchester and Bolton and Bury Canal is a canal under restoration and as such has a well used towpath. This footfall, coupled with the recent prolonged rainfall has lead to a deeply pooled mud-bath, and the plan was to reinstate this towpath with some six tons of stone. CRT’s Hazel Mayow had managed to source a stone with high grit content, hoping that this would help to bond the surface. Manchester Branch and CRT were pleased to welcome a group of 12 students from The University of Manchester's Student Development & Community Engagement Division and over the fine sunny day some five tons of stone was laid.     


Damp weekend on the Wey and Arun for London WRG

Photo: London WRG volunteers erect fencing along the Wey & Arun Canal (by Martin Ludgate)

Over the weekend of 22nd-23rd February, thirteen volunteers from WRG’s regional group London WRG visited the Wey & Arun Canal. Travelling from London, Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Essex, Wiltshire, Hertfordshire, Hampshire and even as far away as Devon, volunteers spent the weekend erecting 120 meters of fencing along the common land boundary between the canal and Dunsfold Aerodrome. The original machine work planned for the weekend had to be put on hold due to the muddy conditions on site but this did not dampen the volunteers' spirits and other tasks were completed instead. Volunteers cleared vegetation and debris left over from channel improvement works, carried out by contractors, and London WRG’s chainsaw operator also created wooden bollards, which will be installed once ground conditions have improved. The work done by contractors will enable the Wey & Arun Trust to run a second trip boat operation on the summit pound.

Hopefully weather conditions will be better next time London WRG heads out. On the 15th-16th March London WRG will be working on the Thames and Severn Canal at Griffin Mill Lock, concreting the upper cill and brickwork. They will also be helping to set up the Bowbridge Lock site in time for WRG’s Easter Camp.


IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch Continue to Clean-up Ahead of National Campaign Festival

Photo: Volunteers working along the canal

On 1st March, following a sharp frost, the day cleared and with a lovely blue sky and no wind, it became very warm as the morning wore on. Four volunteers with IWA Chester & Meseyside Branch cleaned and repainted the railngs on the bank of the Dee Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal, by Williams' Moorings and others took on the task of clearing years of mud and weed debris from the edging stones around the basin, on the side by Telford's Wharf pub.

Mooring rings were found underneath the weeds and the edging looks much better, although there is still much more to be done. The aim is to have edging all clear in time for the waterways Campaign Festival in early June.

Later some volunteers undertook the inevitable litter pick again.  However, the message may be getting through as the area now looks much improved.


IWA Volunteering Opportunities

IWA Branch Volunteer Vacancies:

New opportunity: IWA South London Branch is seeking three volunteers to fill the positions of Events & Marketing Officer, Sales Officer and Secretary. More information is available from the branch's web pages.

Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches.


IWA Branch and Region Magazines

The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:

West Riding Branch - Mile Post - January 2014

The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added in recent weeks:

South West Region - Sou'Wester - Winter 2014
South East Region - Cargoes - Spring 2014

Peterborough Branch - Hereward - Winter 2013/14
Chelmsford Branch - Chelmsford Branch Newsletter - January 2014
Lichfield Branch - Lichfield Lines - Winter 2014
Chiltern Branch - Grapevine - February 2014
Great Ouse Branch - Ouse News - Spring 2014


Waterway Events

Major IWA events in 2014

3rd - 5th May 2014 - IWA Canalway Cavalcade, London
24th - 26th May 2014 - IWA Trailboat Festival, Devon
6th - 8th June 2014 - IWA Campaign Festival, Chester

Branch Boating Events in 2014

2nd - 5th May 2014 - Braunston Boat Gathering (IWA Northampton Branch)
4th - 6th July 2014 - Ware Boat Festival (IWA Lee & Stort Branch)
6th - 7th September 2014 - Maesbury Canal Festival (supported by IWA Shrewsbury, District & North Wales Branch)

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.

See IWA's Events Calendar for a full list of waterway events. You can also search by event type or find out what's going in on your area with the map search.


Upcoming Volunteer/Clean-up Events

5th March Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
5th March Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
8th - 9th March Work Party Weekend - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
9th March Warwick Canal Clean-up (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
11th March Work Party - Northampton Arm (IWA Northampton Branch)
12th March Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire)
12th March Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
13th March Vegetation Clearance - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
15th March Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
15th March Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
19th March Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
20th March Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
22nd March Work Party - Hyde (IWA Manchester Branch)
23rd March Work Party - Northampton Arm (IWA Northampton Branch)
26th March Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
28th March Erewash Canal Clean-Up (supported by IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch)
29th March Erewash Canal Clean-Up (IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch)

2nd April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
2nd April Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
5th - 6th April BCN Cleanup 2014 (Waterway Recovery Group)
5th April Work Party - Dee Branch, Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
5th April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
7th April Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
8th April Work Party - Northampton Arm (IWA Northampton Branch)
9th April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
9th April Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
10th April Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
11th - 12th April Milton Keynes Bi-annual Canal Clean-up (IWA Milton Keynes Branch)
12th - 13th April Work Party Weekend - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Countyr & Worcestershire Branch)
13th April Bi-Annual Canal Clean-up - Tinsley (IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch)
13th April Work Party - Beverley Beck (IWA East Yorkshire Branch)
15th April Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
16th April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
23rd April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
26th April Work Party - Hyde (IWA Manchester Branch)
27th April Work Party - Northampton Arm (IWA Northampton Branch)
30th April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)

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


Upcoming Towpath Walks

4th March Walk at Alvecote, Warwickshire (IWA Lichfield Branch)
16th March London Towpath Walk (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
18th March Walk - Earlswood Lakes (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
27th March Waterside Walk - Tiverton (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)

6th April London Towpath Walk (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
20th April London Towpath Walk (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
24th April Waterside Walk - Marston (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)

To advertise your towpath walks 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:

  • ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount
  • Airedale Cruising - 10% Discount off skippered day cruises
  • Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
  • Calcutt Boats - 5% Discount
  • Canal Boat Magazine - 6 Issues for £6
  • Channel Glaze - 10% discount on double glazing for boats
  • Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
  • Europcar - Special hire rates to IWA members
  • Grand Union Diesel Services - 5% discount
  • IceGripper - 20% discount
  • Lee Sanitation Ltd. - 10% on orders over £100
  • Midland Chandlers - 5% discount  
  • Paper Wizard - 15% discount
  • River Canal Rescue - up to 15% discount
  • RoadPro - 5% discount
  • UltimateBerths.com - Free Listing
  • Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard 
  • Worcester Marine Windows Ltd - 5% discount
  • Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd - 10% discount on published prices
  • Zead - Free postage and accessories

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

Boat Insurance

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

See more information about the IWA insurance scheme for boaters


Contact Us

IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453
Bulletin is edited by Stefanie Preston


IWA's March 2014 Bulletin newsletter is available to read in an alternative format.
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