Survey Confirms IWA Campaign Priorities
The recently released Canal & River Trust Boat Ownership Survey has confirmed what IWA and many other waterway organisations and users have been concerned about for some time. Dredging, vegetation management and routine lock and waterway maintenance have all been curtailed significantly as a result of the Trust's (and previously BW's) funding being diverted towards urgent major works on embankment and reservoir safety. Many boaters and other users of the waterways have seen a deterioration in the network and their boating experiences. In 2009, for boaters' perceptions of the overall upkeep of the waterways, 42% said it was "good", 32% "ok", and 13% "poor"; the latest figures for 2012 are 32%, 39%, and 17% respectively.
The survey also highlighted that only 64% of boat owners were using their boats for cruising for leisure purposes, and 28% were now 'primarily residential'.
The CRT 2012 Boat Owners’ Survey contains the views of 3,588 boat owners who responded via an online quetionnaire via Survey Monkey, during April 2012.
Waterways Strategy for Chester
IWA's Chester & District Branch has been very involved with ensuring that a coherent strategy for the inland waterways features in the Chester One City Plan, which is headed up by Chester Renaissance.
Working in partnership with Canal & River Trust and Chester Canal Heritage Trust, the branch ensured that a key element of the plan now includes acknowledging the huge benefits that could result from linking the waterfront to the canal, to provide a vibrant area in a similar way to Stratford-upon-Avon. This plan should now be developed within three years and includes suggestions for a lock in the present weir on the Dee, and a half tide weir and lock downstream from the entrance to the sea lock, leading to the Shropshire Union Canal.
CRT has been commissioned by the Environment Agency to provide a study of Dee Lock and its use and IWA's Chester & District Branch will be part of a small team appointed to directly engage with Chester Renaissance and the Agency about the Waterways Strategy section of the One City Plan.
This work will link in with the improvement of the Shropshire Union Canal Corridor from Chester to Ellesmere Port which the Branch is also involved in.
The improvement of the Canal Corridor from Chester to Ellesmere Port
IWA's Chester & District Branch, working with the Boat Museum Society, has instigated a project with Canal & River Trust to discuss ways of improving the Shropshire Union Canal corridor and thus encourage visitors to visit the National Waterways Museum. This project team has now expanded to include members of Cheshire West & Chester Council and Chester Canal Heritage Trust resulting in significant proposals being put forward, including a run-around bus to cover all the key destinations in the area and a "huge steel structure" – similar to the 'Angel of the North’ (proposed by the Council) which would become a tourist destination in its own right but also give access to the canal. A project officer from CRT has been assigned to lead on all these proposals.
Wendy Capelle, CRT's Waterways Manager for the area also reported that her office had put a successful bid into the Trust's national dredging team which should result in the whole corridor being dredged in 2014, along with the area from Chester Basin down to Dee Lock. All of this attention should result in rising visitor numbers at the National Waterways Museum as well as creating a greatly improved cruising experience for those boating there.
IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch – Cheshire Locks Work Party
The second volunteer day on the Cheshire Lock flight of the Trent and Mersey Canal took place on Tuesday 18th September, a day of bright sunshine and sudden heavy showers. Despite the showers, good progress was made with finishing the vegetation clearance at Lock 54, starting to clear brambles and nettles at lock 53, wire-brushing the handrails and making a start on painting them, and some painting to the lock gates. Work is due to continue on this site at the next maintenance session, due to be held on Saturday 20th October, and if work at Lock 53 is completed then work will move up to Lock 52 for the following volunteer day, to be held on Tuesday 20th November.
These volunteer days are being organised by IWA's Stoke-on-Trent Branch, in partnership with the Trent & Mersey Canal Society and CRT. The plan is to work up the flight towards Kidsgrove carrying out similar tasks at each lock.
Volunteers can turn up just for the morning or the afternoon, or come for the whole day and bring a packed lunch. All tools will be provided – you just need to wear old clothes and stout shoes and bring waterproofs in case of rain. Future tasks will include vegetation clearance from walls and bridges, removing weeds and grass from cobble setts and painting handrails, balance beams and bollards.
Photo shows volunteers clearing vegetation and preparing handrails for painting at Lock 53, Rode Heath on the Trent & Mersey Canal, by Alison Smedley
On Saturday 15th September, IWA's Manchester Branch hosted a meeting between local volunteers and Canal & River Trust, to discuss future volunteering projects in the area around Dukinfield Junction, where the Ashton and Lower Peak Forest canals meet, and near to the junction with the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.
The turnout included a good mixture of experienced and established local boaters as well as some people new to volunteering on the waterways. Discussion included some of the local issues and how their collective experience could be used to work together in partnership. There was enthusiasm for a regular monthly volunteer days to carry out vegetation clearance and clearing rubbish from the canals in the area.
These monthly maintenance sessions will start in November (dates still under discussion) and will follow on from the Dukinfield Canal Clean Up that is planned for 13th and14th October to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ashtac.
The meeting was followed by a scrub bash which saw ten volunteers clearing vegetation from the towpath in the area around the junction and on the Lower Peak Forest and Ashton canals. This work will be continued during the October weekend. The monthly maintenance sessions will tackle similar tasks but perhaps over a slightly wider area.
Photo showing some of the volunteers clearing vegetation from the bridge at Dukinfield Junction, by Alison Smedley.
Restoration of the Lichfield Canal is making impressive progress with work underway on both sides of the Tamworth Road. At Darnford Park, contractors for the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust are finishing a sewer diversion and, working with the Trust's volunteers, excavations for the new canal channel and staircase locks are underway. The spoil is being used to landscape the park and to construct a baffle mound alongside the A38 which will shield it from traffic noise. A geotextile reinforcement is being used to stabilise the sandy soil.
Meanwhile, on the south side of Tamworth Road, the Trust's regular restoration parties and visiting groups have completed a new overflow weir structure, are extending the towpath walls and have laid the foundation pad for a canal narrows. Some of these works were carried out by WRG regional groups, London WRG, wrgNW, and KESCRG on 8th - 9th September. These are all works towards rewatering the next pound down to the A38, to extend the successfully watered section above Lock 26.
IWA's Lichfield Branch has recently donated £200 to the work.
Anyone able to volunteer to help with this work or to make a donation towards the materials and plant hire costs can do so through the Trust's website at www.lhcrt.org.uk
Photo by Phil Sharpe
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last (mid-August) edition of the Bulletin:
The following IWA region and branch magazines have also been added in recent weeks:
Chiltern Branch - Chiltern Grapevine - Autumn 2012
Lee & Stort Branch - Recorder - September 2012
Leicestershire Branch - Winding Ways - September 2012
Milton Keynes Branch - Towpath Telegraph - September 2012
North Lancs & Cumbria Branch - Towpath Topics - All 2012 editions now available
Northampton Branch - Endeavour - August 2012
Warwickshire Branch - Bear Essentials - September 2012
Photos have been submitted for the 2014 IWA Calendar competition and are available to view online in our gallery of competition entries.
We are offering three free calendars to the photographers whose photos are used in the final calendar. Photos for the Calendar need to be digital with a resolution of at least 300 DPI and at least 2100 pixels x 1500 pixels (can be landscape or portrait). You can usually adjust the settings on your digital camera to take high resolution photos.
Photos for the competition need to be submitted by 31st January 2013. The photos will then be shortlisted and then put to a public vote.
See more information on the calendar competition and uploading photos
We are saddened to report the death, on 20th September, of Bill Sinclair, one of the stalwarts of IWA’s Chester & District Branch. An IWA member for over 30 years, Bill was vice chairman of the Branch and was actively involved with a range of navigation issues in Cheshire.
IWA's Finance Commitee has set up a small working group to review the Association's banking arrangements. This is planned to be a short exercise and has been prompted by excessive bureaucratic demands and poor service from the Association's present bankers. Advice is being sought from any IWA members who have current or very recent relevant experience in the corporate (or third sector) banking industry. If you can help, please contact Alan Platt (email@example.com) or Kerry White (firstname.lastname@example.org).
IWA Committee Help Wanted
Restoration Committee - Minutes Secretary
IWA's Restoration Committee wishes to recruit a new minutes secretary, as the present minutes secretary to the Committee has now become a full member of the committee. Restoration Committee meets six times per annum at different venues around the country, providing an opportunity to learn about a wide range of restoration projects. The role would entail taking minutes at the meeting and writing them up promptly afterwards for agreement with the committee's chairman before circulation. Travel expenses are offered. If you are interested, please contact Vaughan Welch (email@example.com), the committee's chairman.
Promotions and Communications Committee Members
Promotions and Communications Committee is one of IWA's National Committees. Our role is to consider areas within our remit and to respond to new challenges as they occur. For a list of our roles and responsibilities see www.waterways.org.uk/information/national_committees/promcomm
We are looking for people who are prepared to join us for meetings every two months near Solihull, West Midlands, to tackle what is usually a fairly demanding agenda. You need to be able to join in and enjoy discussion with a view to evolving policy to recommend to IWA's trustees. You should be willing to take on a specific project as might occur and see it through to completion. We are also faced with larger events to manage and attend, running recruitment and sales stands.
Meeting and talking to people is a necessary skill, both inside committee and outside.
Please contact Jerry Sanders (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information.
Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches at: www.waterways.org.uk/about/vacancies/vacancies
Wey & Arun Southlands Lock Gets Gates
Work to restore Southlands Lock, near Loxwood in West Sussex, on the Wey & Arun Canal will be closer to being realised at the end of September when a new set of lock gates is delivered to the site. Delivery of the gates will mark the final stages of a programme of work to rebuild the lock that has taken two years and more than 5000 hours of volunteer labour.
Restoration of the lock will enable The Wey & Arun Canal Trust, which has been working to restore the canal for over 40 years, to extend the navigable section of the route further northwards. The Trust has currently restored a section around Loxwood and operates boat trips on this section which currently stop at Devil’s Hole lock to the south of Southlands Lock.
The £44,000 lock gates are in the final stages of construction at Hargreaves Lock Gates' yard in Halifax, West Yorkshire, but will soon be making their journey south ready for fitting in a four-day operation starting on 24th September.
The 3.5-tonne bottom gates and 1.5-tonne top gates are expected to be lifted into position by a 24-tonne tracked excavator on 26th September.
Once the lock gates are in position, more volunteer labour will be called for to construct the gate-top walkways and refit the lock operating mechanisms and fittings that were removed at the start of the restoration operation.
More information is available at The Wey & Arun Canal Trust's website www.weyandarun.co.uk
Walk an Arm’s Length Hit With Walkers
The Walk an Arm’s Length, sponsored walk took place on 2nd September. About 388 walkers took to the Arm and walked the 6 3/4 mile route from Wendover to Bulbourne Junction.
Visitors were able to see the Trust’s restoration volunteers in action as well as hearing first-hand what is involved and how their sponsorship money will be spent. Canal & River Trust staff opened Tringford Pumping Station for tours so people could see down to the pumping chambers that pump water from the reservoirs into the canal.
This is the Trust’s major fundraising event of 2012 and stands to make a healthy sum for the canal's restoration.
More information about the Trust is available at its website wendoverarmtrust.co.uk/
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 NarrowBoat subscription
The annual get-together for 100+ volunteers, hopefully bringing together first-timers from this year's camps, old hands and regulars from all of WRG and other regional volunteer groups for a major scrub bashing and big party on the Saturday evening.
This year we will be holding the weekend on the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal after a successful Easter Camp which saw 275 metres of new canal created by WRGies in just two weeks - see photos here. The plan for the weekend is to clear around a mile of canal, thick with trees and vegetation in preparation for excavation and towpath work in 2013. There will also be work for WRG Forestry and the possibility of some machine work.
For more information and to book please see WRG's pages on the website
IWA's National AGM Weekend 2012 - 29th September
This year's IWA National AGM will be held on 29th September at King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford.
A meeting for those who are interested in the running of the Association will start at 10.00 a.m. This is your chance to grill the trustees, discuss the future of the Association and meet old friends.
The formal AGM will be held at 2.00 p.m.
Attractions will include live music, stories, theatre and even Punch and Judy. There will also be a boat taxi service and boat trips run by IWA Oxfordshire Branch members, rides on the vintage double decker bus, continental market and varied craft, trader and charity stalls. There will be a 6 hour free folk concert, dancing and the Morris Dance teams.
Visit the official Banbury Canal Day website.
|Village at War Weekend - Northamptonshire||28th - 30th September|
|Parkhead Canal Festival - West Midlands||29th - 30th September|
|Banbury Canal Day - Oxfordshire||7th October|
|Stourbridge Navigation Trust - Open Weekend - West Midlands||20th - 21st October|
|BCN Society Bonfire Rally - West Midlands||4th - 5th November|
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.
29th September 2012 - Aylesbury Arm (IWA Chiltern Branch)
Details: Join IWA's Chiltern Branch for a lock painting session on the Aylesbury Arm. Meet at Tesco's superstore, Tring Road, Aylesbury, HP20 1PQ at 10.30 am for a briefing session with the Canal & River Trust, before setting off to paint Lock 15 nearby. All tools, materials, protective overalls and gloves will be provided by the Canal & River Trust.
Contact: Liz Norris, Branch Secretary on 07977 374116 or email@example.com
12th-15th October - Stover Canal (WRG BITM)
Details: Installation of concrete pad and raised access gantry to bring towpath through the obstruction, to enable public access to the canal.
13th October - Stourbridge Canal Litter Pick (Stourbridge Navigation Trust and IWA's Birmingham Black Country and Worcestershire Branch)
Details: A litter pick to tidy up the area around Stourbridge Basin ahead of the Stourbridge 50 event the following weekend. Meet at the Bonded Warehouse at 10.00 a.m.
13th-14th October - Dukinfield Junction (IWA's Manchester Branch)
Details: Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Ashtac by joining this "BCN Style" clean up, working from Dukinfield Junction in all three directions on the Ashton Canal, the lower Peak Forest Canal and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. Bring your own lunch, or refreshments available from the Bridge View Café adjacent to Portland Basin Museum. You are advised to wear stout footwear and bring waterproofs in case of rain. All tools will be provided. For volunteers from further afield wishing to make a weekend of it, basic WRG-style accommodation is being arranged.
20th October - Cheshire Locks Work Party (IWA's Stoke-on-Trent Branch)
Details: Monthly work party organised by IWA's Stoke-on-Trent Branch as part of the Cheshire Locks Project. Tasks will include vegetation management, clearing cobble setts, painting fences, balance beams and bollards. No experience necessary, all tools provided. Bring waterproofs and a packed lunch, and wear stout shoes.
20th - 21st October - Clean Up, Grand Union Canal, Fenny Stratford to Leighton Buzzard (IWA's Milton Keynes Branch)
Details: A two-day event supported by Canal & River Trust and sponsored by Wyvern Shipping. Heading south from Fenny Stratford, through 3 Locks and Leighton Buzzard to Grove Lock.
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar http://www.waterways.org.uk/iwa_calendar/
4th October - Norbury Junction (IWA's Lichfield Branch)
Details: Morning Walk at Norbury Junction. A circular walk of about 3 miles from Norbury Junction on the Shropshire Union Canal, taking in the canal towpath to Loynton Moss Nature Reserve and then return across the surrounding fields to Norbury Junction, where an optional lunch is available. Meet at Norbury Wharf (Post Code: ST20 0PN) at 10.15am for 10.30am start. Ground level is easy with no stiles, but can be muddy in places so strong shoes/walking boots are advisable. Dogs are welcome but must be on a lead at all times.
Contact: Kaye Harrison on 07973 281728 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar http://www.waterways.org.uk/iwa_calendar/
IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453
Bulletin is edited by Gemma Bolton