August saw the end of a very productive Himalayan Balsam campaign season in 2013. IWA Branches from across the country worked hard to locate and remove the invasive plant in order to limit its spread and hopefully eradicate the plant from areas over time. Eradication of this invasive species from inland waterways is important for boaters as its vigorous growth shades out all natural vegetation in the summer, but completely dies back in the winter, leaving canal banks vulnerable to great erosion and increasing dredging requirements.
A highlight of the season was seeing how successful IWA Chiltern Branch had been last year in ridding the side ponds at Marsworth of the plant. Having caught the Himalayan Balsam at its first growth in 2012 and removed it all, the plant was not present on the volunteers’ return to Marsworth in 2013. The group moved on to remove other invasive plants, encouraging the growth of native species and a healthy natural habitat.
Other Branches had to deal with more established growth, which can take several years to eradicate as seeds can lie dormant in the soil for up to three years. The established growth posed some challenges for IWA volunteers as plants at various locations were exceptionally tall or had very large stems. IWA Nottinghamshire Branch removed the tallest plants on the River Trent at Beeston where the Himalayan Balsam stood at 12ft/4m high. IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch removed Himalayan Balsam with the thickest stems at Falling Sands, Kidderminster where the base of the plants had diameters of 4inches/10cms.
In total, nine IWA Branches tackled Himalayan Balsam with 116 volunteers working over fourteen work party days, on ten different waterways, across eight counties. Thank you to the following Branches and all the volunteers who took part in our campaign against Himalayan Balsam in 2013.
IWA is to hold a National Campaign Festival on the Shropshire Union Canal in Chester over the weekend of 6th - 8th June 2014.
The Festival, hosted by IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch will be held in the Tower Wharf area, and the aim will be to promote the use of the neglected Dee Branch arm of the Shropshire Union Canal. The vision is to see a lock in the old mill race at the end of the weir, giving visiting boats access to the River Dee up to Farndon.
The Festival will be a colourful event with music, entertainment and children's activities.
Brian Phillips, IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch Chairman said "We are delighted with the national support for our waterways festival in Chester in 2014. The event will raise awareness about the neglected Dee Branch, raise funds, and demonstrate how a vibrant waterway can boost the local economy."
The last Rally held by the Branch in Chester was in 2010, at which there were over 100 visiting craft of all shapes, sizes and ages, as well as traders of all kinds.
Boat booking and trade stand forms will be available shortly, from the Festival Secretary, Lesley Taylor. Please email email@example.com for more information and to register your interest. Space is limited so book early to avoid disappointment.
IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch has been working in partnership with the Chester Canal Heritage Trust and Canal & River Trust to develop a waterway strategy which would be a key element in the Chester One City Plan. A suggested vision document has been presented to Chester Renaissance.
The vision will be a key element in safeguarding the Dee Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal and improving access to the upper reaches of the river Dee.
See full article on A Vision for Chester's Waterways
Download the full Vision document (2 MB PDF download)
Eighteen Waterway Recovery Group volunteers, working alongside the Swansea Canal Society and Canal & River Trust, spent a week at the beginning of September helping to restore a section of the historic Swansea Canal as part of a long-term project to bring the full length of the waterway back into use for boats. Whilst much of the original canal has been in-filled and associated industries have disappeared, the Swansea Canal remains an attractive wildlife corridor with around five miles still in water between Clydach and Ynysmeudwy. The long term aim of Swansea Canal Society is to recreate a navigable link along the Swansea Canal into the River Tawe and from there to join up with the Neath and Tennant Canals.
Over the week volunteers gave Lower and Upper Trebanos Locks a revamp, with work including the rebuilding canal-side walls, repointing damaged stonework, construction of bank protection and clearing of vegetation and debris from the locks. It is hoped that after the small steps taken this week by WRG, Swansea Canal Society will prevent further deterioration of the locks and act as the building blocks of this restoration project.
Take a look at the WRG Photo Gallery to see what the volunteers got up to during the camp.
Selly Oak Development and Lapal Canal, Birmingham
The outline planning application for the new Sainsbury’s store at the junction of the Lapal and Worcester & Birmingham canals was considered by went to Birmingham City Council’s planning committee on 5th September, with considerable objections from waterways interests and the local community. Councillors were very critical of the developer for not including the full reinstatement of the Lapal Canal across the site, the general view being that the scheme was simply “not good enough”. The application was deferred and urgent discussions are taking place with the developer, the Harvest Partnership regarding inclusion of the full canal and resolving the many other objections.
IWA is inviting members and non-members to take part in our social media survey.
Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr and YouTube, provide a platform for communicating with members and potential members and promoting IWA campaigns.
Whether you interact with social networking sites, or prefer not to, we would like to hear your views.
IWA Fundraising Officer: IWA seeks to improve its generation of income (apart from income through membership fees and trading via its subsidiary trading companies), and in particular the need to address new funding sources. The Association also wishes to establish a more professional and vibrant income generating scene that will bring benefits to IWA’s overall image within the waterways community.
This post holder will play a central role within the Head Office team and will be responsible for identifying and generating new funding sources for the Association.
Design & Web Content Assistant: The Inland Waterways Association has been working to promote its campaign work by improving print and digital communications. IWA is seeking to strengthen its waterway campaigning presence by increasing output of print material, website and social media content. The new Design and Web Content Assistant will assist with the current promotional activities together with the Website and Design Officer.
The successful applicant will be able to demonstrate strong graphic design skills, in order to prepare layouts for advertisements, leaflets, posters, publications and other printed material as well as web graphics. The role will also involve designing emailers, web content editing as well as assisting with maintenance of social media channels.
Membership Assistant: An opportunity has arisen for a Membership Assistant to support the Membership Officer & Office Manager in the day to day administration of the Membership Department. The role will include dealing with member enquiries, maintaining accurate database records, incoming and outgoing communications to members, production of subscription renewals, processing payments and direct contact with members and volunteers. The post-holder will be expected to assist with other jobs within the charity’s Head Office as required.
Janet Carter is leaving the Association's employment at the end of September and Bethlee Jones left at the end of August, and has been succeeded by Katie Thomas. See the current team at Head Office at Contact Us.
A Members Workshop is to be held before IWA’s National AGM on the morning of the 28th September, starting at 10.30am. All members are invited to join the discussion as we seek your views on the following subjects:
How do we make IWA more distinct from Canal & River Trust?
What should IWA be campaigning for?
Members attending may wish to read the document "IWA who we are and what we campaign for" (1.1 MB Download) as a basis for this discussion.
The workshop offers an opportunity for all members to have a say in these subjects as you do not need to be a committee member of your branch to attend. If you know of other members who might be interested please let them know.
The intended format will be tables of up to 8; a short introduction to the topic, table discussions and a feed-back of conclusions.
If you would like to attend, please book by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The event venue is Ettington Community Centre, Rogers Lane, Ettington, CV37 7SX - www.ettingtoncommunitycentre.co.uk - and includes free refreshments and buffet lunch. Full details of the AGM are in the current edition of Waterways magazine.
IWA Manchester Branch, working in partnership with Canal & River Trust and supported by Waterway Recovery Group, is planning another weekend canal clean up event, 'Operation Starburst', in the Manchester area from 19th to 20th October 2013.
'Operation Starburst' will follow on from the event that commemorated the 40th anniversary of ASHTAC last year. Volunteers will create a starburstt effect as they travel from a central meeting point (Portland Basin) to work on canals in five different locations - Hyde (on the Lower Peak Forest Canal), Stalybridge (on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal), Ashton Locks on the Ashton Canal, and Newton Heath and Failsworth on the Rochdale Canal.
These days, whilst inland waterways are highly valued by communities for leisure and wildlife, in some areas they are subjected to fly-tipping and vandalism. Waterway volunteers coordinated by IWA have become renowned for canal clean ups around the Birmingham Canal Navigation each year. The Manchester annual event builds on this and gives volunteers a chance to take part in a canal clean up in the north of the country. The improvements, both to navigation and the overall appearance of the canal and towpath, will benefit all users of Manchester’s waterways.
Work, which will involve pulling rubbish and debris out of the canal with grappling hooks, as well as litter picking for those who prefer a lighter task, will take place between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October. Volunteers are advised to wear stout footwear and bring waterproofs in case of rain.
For volunteers from further afield wishing to make a weekend of it, basic accommodation will be available and can be booked via the WRG website.
Further details are available from Alison Smedley, IWA Branch Campaign Officer, by email email@example.com or phone 01538 385388/07779 090915.
We are saddened to report that waterway artist, Harley Crossley, died on 23rd August 2013, aged 77, at the family home near Sherborne in Dorset. Harley Crossley provided original paintings for numerous IWA Christmas cards and was a regular at IWA National Festivals for many years, painting waterway scenes.
We are saddened to report that Michael John Fox died on 21st June. Michael Fox joined IWA in the1950s and quickly began work to prevent the closure of his local waterway, the Stratford Canal. This began with a letter of protest, published by the Birmingham Post and commended by IWA, and progressed to the purchasing of a ticket for and undertaking of a canoe trip on the canal, providing proof that it had been navigated in the previous three years and hence preventing the canal's closure.
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
South West & South Wales Region - Sou'Wester - Summer 2013
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added in recent weeks:
Milton Keynes Branch - Towpath Telegraph - September 2013
Thursday 20th August saw volunteers return for another work party painting Cheshire Locks. Volunteers spent the day finishing the work started last month on Lock 50 (Lawton Locks) on the Trent & Mersey Canal and then moved on to the last of the Lawton Locks - Lock 49.
As usual, everyone worked hard and the end result was a much improved sets of locks. The day was busy with both passing boat traffic and towpath walkers, many of who stopped to talk to the volunteers expressing their appreciation for the work being done. This certainly gave a boost to the volunteers working on what turned out to be a very warm day. Many thanks once again to the returning volunteers, the new volunteers who came along for the day and to CRT for their usual support in terms of materials.
The next Cheshire Locks work party is from 10am-4pm on Saturday 21st September at lock 49, the last of the Lawton Locks. A further work party to continue working up the Cheshire Locks will take place on Tuesday 15th October.
Anyone who would like to volunteer for all or part of these days is very welcome. All tools and materials are provided by CRT, however you need to wear old clothes and stout shoes or boots and bring waterproofs, just in case!
If you have any questions regarding future work parties then please contact Bob Luscombe, Work Party Organiser, IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch.
A successful work party was held by IWA Oxfordshire Branch on Sunday 1st September, when twenty people gathered at the Oxford Canal’s Hythe Bridge Arm for a day’s volunteering.
After a health and safety induction, work commenced in the 'pocket park' at the end of the arm adjacent to Hythe Bridge Street, including litter picking, vegetation clearance, pulling rubbish out of the canal and painting the balance beams of the capstan sculpture. Other volunteers litter picked and cleared some overhanging vegetation along the towpath of the arm. Meanwhile at Isis Lock, another team of volunteers painted the railings near the lock whilst others weeded and cleared the lockside of litter and leaf debris.
Despite concerns about parking when planning the event, it wasn’t, in the end, a problem with all the volunteers opting to arrive by either foot, boat, train, bicycle, motorbike, or on the park and ride bus.
The end of the arm was a spot to be tackled with Orange Balsam, an invasive plant that crowds out native species, being removed as well as a variety of rubbish. Amongst the rotting vegetation and general litter there was a bicycle, in full working order as one of the party demonstrated by riding it around the grassy area.
IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch hosted a group of children and leaders from the St. Andrew's Light Seekers Youth Group, in Cheddleton, who spent the evening of Monday 2nd September tackling the invasive non-native Himalayan Balsam plants that are growing along the Caldon Canal and the River Churnet in Cheddleton in Staffordshire.
As the seed pods had now started to develop, the flowers and seeds were cut off and put into black sacks for later disposal, before pulling up the remaining plant to leave the ground clear for native plant seeds to take hold.
The children and leaders, clad in official volunteer fluorescent vests, gardening gloves, long sleeves and trousers, tackled the plants that were within reach and this helped to stop further spread of the invasive Himalayan Balsam. The work will contribute to the Churnet Valley Living Landscape’s Big Pull project which aims to get 1000 people out pulling up Himalayan Balsam in the Churnet Valley over the next three years.
IWA Branch Volunteer Vacancies:
Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches.
Devon County Council has reported that restoration work on the Grand Western is ahead of schedule due to the recent period of dry weather.
In November last year, flooding caused a breach on the Canal at Halberton. Restoration work to repair the breach began in July and has so far focussed on rebuilding the embankment and the building up of the canal bed. Although the rebuilt embankment is within the existing footprint, it has been raised to provide greater protection against any future overtopping.
Material from the original embankment has been used in the repairs. The original material was mixed with powdered lime to improve its suitability as an embankment material. The process, known as ‘lime stabilisation’, produced a strengthened fill material that was layered with geotextile mesh to enhance the stability of the embankment.
The dry weather that has allowed the repairs to progress quickly has, unfortunately, caused problems on the Tiverton side of the breach where water began to evaporate from the canal. To ensure the waterway remained navigable, water was pumped in during August.
The canal profile will now be trimmed to the final shape in preparation for the instalment of an impervious polyethylene liner along the embankment, the canal can then be refilled and the currently diverted towpath reinstated. The repairs are expected to be completed by early 2014 but work will continue elsewhere on the canal over the following years to reduce the risk of a similar breach occurring again in the future.
IWA's Trailboat Festival 2014 will be held on the Grand Western Canal from the 24th - 26th May.
The Port of London Authority (PLA) has issued a safety bulletin to all recreational boat owners navigating the tidal Thames following an incident where a recreational motor boat lost power when approaching the Thames Barrier. This resulted in the boat being swept into a closed barrier gate. Fortunately, the boat was recovered without injury to the crew or damage to the vessel.
As a result PLA has issued a bulletin to reiterate the importance of boaters taking certain safety precautions when navigating the tidal Thames. PLA recommendeds that all sailing and powered vessels on the tidal Thames should be equipped with a suitable anchor of good working order and a sufficient length of chain. The anchor should be ready to deploy in an emergency. If a boat comes into difficulty on the tidal Thames, the anchor should be deployed when it is safe to do so and taking into account the chart of the area. London Vessel Traffic Services should then be called on VHF Channel 14 or on 020 8855 0315.
Canal & River Trust has announced that The Kennet & Avon Waterways Partnership is holding a consultation to seek the views of boaters, businesses, local authorities and other canal users regarding ideas to improve the access to fair mooring on the canal between Devizes and Bath.
Those who use the Kennet & Avon are being invited to give feedback on a Towpath Mooring Plan, which has been developed by a working group including those who use the canal in various ways. The aim of the plan is to provide greater clarity on how the moorings on this stretch of canal should be used, which should improve access to moorings for everyone. A 12-month pilot of the plan will then be undertaken subject to any changes that arise as a result of the consultation.
The proposals individuals are being asked to consider include:
The consultation takes place from 30th August to 29th November 2013. Boaters who CRT know to be used the Kennet & Avon Canal over the past 12 months should receive the consultation by email or post, as will local canal-side businesses, local authorities and local interest groups associated with the canal. More information is available from CRT’s website.
Following meetings between the Environment Agency and Upton upon Severn Town Council in July the rocks placed in the River Severn at Upton upon Severn have been removed and the moorings near the Swan Hotel are now fully operational. Furthermore, an agreement has been reached between the Town Council and Tingdene Upton Marina that offers passes for up to 28 days free mooring at their marina at Upton upon Severn. These passes are available from the Upton Tourist Information Centre, The Plough Inn, The Swan Hotel, The King’s Head, The Anchor, Sean’s News and Upton Newsagents.
The Town Council says will continue to raise funds for the development of additional visitor moorings in the town.
MPs representing five Norfolk and Suffolk constituencies covering parts of the Broads Authority executive area met with senior members of the Broads Authority and the appointed members of the Broads Authority’s Navigation Committee in early September, at Westminster, to discuss concerns about the Authority’s governance, consultation processes and toll levels.
A key concern raised was the lack of representation for navigation interests within the Broads Authority. With only two representatives of the Navigation Committee out of twenty-one members of the Broads Authority there is a view that adequate representation for navigation, conservation, recreation and the Broads’ tollpayers is not present in the Authority.
Also questioned was the process of consultation with the Navigation Committee on navigation issues, especially when the navigation account was expected to make substantial financial contributions such as for the dockyard development at Griffin Lane, Thorpe.
A final concern centred around ignoring advice when was sought. The Navigation Committee produced guidance against a 3% increase in toll levels this year, but despite this advice the increase was made.
The meeting closed with the proposal that the Broads Authority should appoint a director to liaise with a Navigation Committee representative to discuss and agree changes to the internal consultation structure, with the aim of improving communication between the two groups.
Planning permission has been granted to reinstate Nelson’s Wharf on the Grand Union Canal at Stockton. The site is currently a derelict cement works but plans should see the off-side bank reinstated, the initial part of the derelict canal arm restored, mooring for a narrowboat training fleet installed and a new training centre built. Work is due to commence shortly and be completed by Spring 2014.
The Yacht and Harbour Association has recently introduced a new mapping tool to its website www.whichmarina.com which enables boaters to research marinas in any given area, including those on inland waterways, and then plan their journey using detailed marine charts. Users can also use ‘Geolocation’ to pinpoint their location, which can be used to display details of local marinas with Gold Anchor ratings.
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
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
October 2013 sees the 200th anniversary of the construction of the Wootton Wawen Aqueduct on the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal. In celebration of this, an informal gathering of boats will take place over the weekend of October 19th/20th – with a re-enactment of the opening planned to take place at mid-day on the Saturday.
The gathering will be led by, but is not confined to, four groups of local boaters, comprising of members from The Stratford upon Avon Canal Society, IWA Warwickshire Branch, Black Buoy Cruising Club and Mid-Warwickshire Yacht Club. There will be no limit on the numbers of boats that can attend free of charge but early completion and return of a boat entry form will help to manage the space available. Entry forms and further information available here.
Festivals and Boat Rallies
21st - 22nd September Whitchurch Gathering of Boats
21st - 22nd September Huddlesford Heritage Gathering
6th October Banbury Canal Day
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.
17th September Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
19th September Work Party - Lapworth (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
21st September Work Party - Cheshire Locks, Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
21st September Work Party - Lapworth (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
21st September Canal Clean Up - Nottingham (IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch)
21st September Chester Dee Branch Work Party (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
22nd September Bugsworth Basin Work Party (The Inland Waterways Protection Society)
24th September Work Party - Banbury (IWA Oxfordshire Branch)
25th September Work Party - Southcote Lock, Kennet & Avon Canal (IWA Guildford & Reading Branch)
27th-29th September Work Party - Ashby Canal (WRG BITM) NOTE: Date changed from 20th - 22nd September
28th September Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
13th October Bugsworth Basin Work Party (The Inland Waterways Protection Society)
13th October Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
13th October Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
15th October Work Party - Cheshire Locks, Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
24th September Towpath Walk - Grand Union Canal, Wolverton (Railway & Canal Historical Society)
1st October Walk - Hopwas Woods (IWA Lichfield Branch)
6th October London Towpath Walk (IWA London Region)
To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar
IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453
Bulletin is edited by Stefanie Preston