Photo: Himalayan Balsam on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (photo by Alison Smedley)
IWA's annual summer Himalayan Balsam Campaign begins with an Awareness Week from 16th-24th May, ahead of its main growing season, when the public will be asked for help to root out the invasive plant.
During Himalayan Balsam Awareness Week, IWA will spread the message about the damage this deceptively pretty but destructive plant can cause to river and canal banks, biodiversity and waterway habitats. Through social media and the Association’s website, IWA will share identification tips, interesting facts and information on how people can help by joining a Himalayan Balsam pull on their local waterway.
Education plays a key role in reducing the prevalence of Himalayan Balsam and IWA’s resources, which will be publicised throughout the week, are an interesting and helpful way for the public to learn more about the plant, how to report a sighting and how to get involved with removing it. IWA volunteers gave over 900 hours to the campaign last year and cleared over ten miles of waterway from the plant. IWA branches are already busy planning pulls so keep an eye on IWA’s website for more information about these events that will run mainly between late May and the end of July.
To learn more about the invasive plant make sure you follow IWA on Facebook and Twitter (@IWA_UK) and keep an eye out for the #rootout2015 hashtag during Himalayan Balsam Awareness Week.
IWA’s Waterway Manifesto campaign has continued to gain support ahead of the General Election in May. Thanks to IWA members and branches who have contacted their local parliamentary candidates, there have been fifty pledges of support for the manifesto. The list of candidates who have so far signed up their support can be found at the manifesto pages of the website.
There is still time for candidates to pledge their support for the five points outlined in the manifesto:
If you would like to get involved and support the campaign by contacting your local candidates, information, including a link to a website that gives names and email addresses for candidates where you live, a map showing constituency areas, and a template for letters and emails, can be found at the manifesto pages of the website. There also a downloadable PDF of a smaller manifesto leaflet, with space for candidates to pledge their support, which you can download and print at home. The new leaflet can also be downloaded from the manifesto pages of the website.
Photo: IWa's Canalway Cavalcade 2014 (photo by Roger Squires)
The 32-page brochure for IWA’s 2015 Canalway Cavalcade is now available to preview online, so with less than a month to go, take a look and plan your visit to Little Venice this early May Bank Holiday, 2nd to 4th May.
Canalway Cavalcade is a distinctive waterways and community festival that has been taking place at Little Venice since 1983 and this year promises to offer visitors a brilliant weekend once again.
Organised by IWA volunteers, there will be an array of boats, trade show stalls and activities for all to enjoy. Highlights include historic narrow boats, a pageant of boats and Procession of Illuminated Boats on the Sunday evening, live music, entertainment for children including Punch & Judy Shows and a Teddy Bear’s Picnic, and for the older visitors there will be a Real Ale Bar open each day.
In addition, there will be a variety of stalls to browse and shop at, as well as plenty offering a variety of food and drink.
Full details of the festival, including events, exhibitors and opening times, are available in IWA’s Canalway Cavalcade Programme.
More information about IWA’s Canalway Cavalcade is available at the festival webpages, and you can follow the event on Facebook and Twitter (@canalcavalcade) to keep up to date with the latest news.
Photo: WRG volunteer at Bowbridge Lock on the Cotswold Canals (photo by Bob Coles)
IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) has had a busy start to 2015 organising several weekend digs and running three week-long Canal Camps, restoring canals.
During February and March, WRG volunteers spent a total of 1028 volunteer hours supporting Grantham Canal Society and Canal & River Trust’s Heritage Lottery Funded project to restore locks 14 and 15 on the Grantham Canal. WRG’s Forestry team spent three days felling trees and clearing vegetation around Lock 15 to enable restoration work to start and WRG’s Regional Group, ‘Bit in the Middle’, ran a plant training weekend for Grantham Canal Society volunteers on small excavators and dumpers. WRG will be back on the Grantham Canal again in the summer, running three week-long Canal Camps from the 22nd August to 12th September. These camps are intended to start restoration work on the nearside chamber wall of Lock 15, as well as putting in clay dams and water control measures so other work can start.
In April, WRG made progress at Bowbridge Lock on the Cotswold Canals. Over the Easter holidays, 50 volunteers spent two weeks working on the lock restoration. This summer WRG has six week-long Canal Camps planned, to help ensure the lock is fully functioning by the end of 2015.
WRG’s volunteers continue to be hard at work throughout the rest of April, and over the weekend of 18th to 19th April, sixty volunteers will be supporting the annual Birmingham Canal Navigations Cleanup. The volunteers plan to clear the canal on the BCN Old Main Line at Smethwick Junction and surrounding locks.
More information on the activities WRG has for the rest of 2015 are available at WRG’s website.
Photo: Illuminated boat parade at IWA's 2014 National Trailboat Festival on the Grand Western Canal (photo by Geoff Roberts)
Canal & River Trust has announced plans to dredge parts of the northern reaches of the Lancaster Canal in time for IWA’s National Trailboat Festival, to be held at the end of May.
The Trailboat Festival will take place at the Westmorland Show Ground, Crooklands, Cumbria, on the northern reaches of the Lancaster Canal over the weekend 30th May to 1st June. The Festival, which is to be hosted and organised by Lancaster Canal Trust, will be part of the 'Country Fest' show, an annual canalside event.
In addition to planned dredging, the canal landing stage at Crookland has been restored by volunteers and a new landing stage installed at the Countryfest canal entrance in preparation for the event.
Over thirty trailboats are expected at the Festival, which will have plenty to offer visitors. One of the highlights will be the illuminated boat parade on the Sunday at 8.30pm from Millness to Wakefield’s wharf. There will also be a boaters day on the Monday, with a visit to the Hincaster Tunnel, and, hopefully, an opening of the restored stretch of the Canal.
More information about the Trailboat Festival and boat and campsite booking forms are available at IWA’s Trailboat Festival webpages.
IWA Warwickshire Branch was among many organisations and local residents opposing plans to demolish a footbridge which gives access for pedestrians to and from Coventry Basin.
Removal of the footbridge and the replacement of it with a pedestrian crossing were part of plans to redesign junction one of the Coventry ring road that would have seen some of the ring road traffic re-routed past canal basin businesses to create a slip-road.
The plans were largely objected to because of safety concerns associated with pedestrians having to use a crossing rather than the footbridge. Residents of flats near the proposed development were also concerned their properties could end up on an island surrounded by traffic.
However, the latest developments have seen proposed plans halted, as the local council focuses on other projects it expects to get European funding for. Nevertheless, the Council has said it will return to the proposals in the future and that they remain in its long term plan. It also stated that it is aware of the concern the proposals have caused and can use this time to reconsider the details of the plans in light of comments made.
IWA Warwickshire Branch continues to monitor the situation.
IWA North Riding Branch would like to advise boaters of a useful service available to the general public that could help when planning journeys to York on the River Ouse.
There are two webcams installed along the River Ouse. One at King's Staith, courtesy of The Lowther Public House, and the other by York City Rowing Club overlooking Museum Gardens Towpath, courtesy of the rowing club.
Both can be accessed online and could potentially help in planning a boat journey to York, where it is difficult to moor when the River is in flood. With the ability to easily look at the current situation, boaters could aim for an alternative destination at short notice should River levels suddenly change.
View the York City Rowing Club webcam.
View the King's Staith webcam.
There is still time to sign up to IWA and Canal & River Trust's (CRT) 2015 Waterway Restoration Workshop. The workshop, titled 'Getting it on the Map', will focus on how to safeguard the line of canals under restoration and aims to ensure that local waterways societies and trusts have more support and information to assist in the development of their schemes.
The free workshop is scheduled to take place at The Bond in Birmingham on Saturday 25th April 2015. Full details and booking information are available at IWA’s website.
Many organisations and charities offer free funding opportunities in the form of grants which can be applied for by going through their specific application process.
To view the list of all the grants currently on the website please visit Available Grants.
This month the following grants have been added to the website and are open to applications:
Photo: River Avon at Bath (photo by Brian Mansbridge)
The River Avon in Bath has been dredged for the first time in twenty years to help reduce the flood risk to 238 properties in the city centre.
The Environment Agency (EA) has focused the dredging on the stretch between Windsor and Victoria bridges, after the Agency carried out a survey of flood defences. Large objects abandoned in the river are a hazard to navigation and increase flood risk by disrupting water flow, this project has already removed 120 trollies, cars and mopeds.
Work began on Monday 13th April and is expected to be completed by the end of the week.
Photo: A new FiberCore bridge, similar to the Mapledurham design, being installed in Holland
The Environment Agency (EA) has awarded ECS Engineering Services a project to design, build and install a new bridge to replace the current structure at Mapledurham Weir on the River Thames, near Reading. The proposed design from ECS will use proprietary technology to construct a strong, lightweight and durable structure using fibre reinforced polymer (FRP).
When completed, the new bridge should improve the capacity of the local access routes to the Mapledurham Weir and lock complex, as the current structure has insufficient capacity for modern vehicles. Other benefits of the use of FRP in the bridge design include a reduction in build and installation times, a significant reduction in the need for maintenance over the lifetime of the bridge, which is expected to be in excess of 100 years, a fifty year limited warranty on construction and ten year limited warranty on surface wear.
Photo: Maesbury Marsh Navigation Inn, site of the excavation
A historic canal wharf, smelting house and bone manure works on the Montgomery Canal at Maesbury Marsh are to be the focus of an archaeological dig, planned as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund stage 1 phase of the Montgomery Canal Partnership project to restore the Montgomery Canal.
Canal & River Trust, a member of the Montgomery Partnership, has helped organise the event with specialists from Nexus Heritage. The dig is to be a community excavation that runs from Tuesday 21st to Sunday 26th April and anyone can sign up to take part in the project as no previous experience is required. There are opportunities to get involved with the excavation, artefact analysis and sample processing; as well as introductory sessions on historic building analysis and landscape survey.
In addition, members of the public have been invited to an open day on Saturday 25th April from 11am – 3pm, when they will be able to speak to the archaeologists and see what has been unearthed. Visitors can also add to the unfolding story by bringing old photographs or memorabilia of the canal wharf to the event.
More information, including how to sign up, is available at CRT’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: IWA Northampton Branch volunteers paint Lock 2, Northampton Arm
IWA Northampton Branch held another four work parties on the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal in March. Lately, the Branch has focused on litter clearance, with the aim to remove as much rubbish as possible before the vegetation grows and hides it from view. In total, over sixty bags of rubbish were collected in March, as well as some larger items including six shopping trollies and four tyres. In addition to litter picking, the weather was bright enough towards the end of March to start painting. The volunteers painted the top gates of Lock 2 and the garage by Lock 1, hopefully the weather will continue to be dry so that painting can be continued.
Improved weather in March was just what IWA Milton Keynes Branch volunteers wanted when they returned to Fenny Stratford on the Grand Union Canal after their winter break. They managed to plant, stake, collar and water fifty whips, which filled the last gaps in the hedge up to Bridge 96, many had already been filled in 2014. The group also did some maintenance work to the whips planted last year, replacing any that had failed and re-staking a few where necessary. In addition, volunteers weeded, removed dead growth, planted donated plants and bulbs in the pump house garden, cleaned the Swing Bridge and rubbed down and re-painted the white balance beam ends.
Photo: Volunteers at Uttoxeter Canal work party (photo by Evie Frost)
The latest IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust work party on the Uttoxeter Canal, continued work in the Crumpwood area. One group dealt with a large clump of hawthorn, which was hiding the wall of the weir-keeper’s cottage, while another group went to Bridge 70 to remove a tree beside the recently restored towpath. Work to reveal buried parts of the weir also continued. An investigation of the flood control sluice on one side of the weir indicated that the paddle might well still be in place, buried under years of accumulated silt. Full investigation of this will take place after a couple of large trees have been removed as part of the WRG Reunion Weekend in November.
The group’s work continues to generate much interest and attract new volunteers with three newcomers this month. Next month (on Thursday 14th May) the volunteers will once more split into two groups, working at Bridge 70 and by the Weir, carrying out a range of tasks including some vegetation management and path improvements. There are plans to start a weekend group for those who cannot make Thursdays. If you are interested in joining this new group, please contact Steve Wood at email@example.com.
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 following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
Chelmsford Branch - Chelmsford Branch Newsletter - April 2015
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added in recent weeks:
East Midlands Region - Aegre - March 2015
East Yorkshire Branch - Wolds Waters - April 2015
Warwickshire Branch - Bear Essentials - April 2015
South London and North & East London Branches - Meridian Cuttings - Spring 2015
Major IWA events in 2015
2nd - 4th May 2015 -
30th - 31st May 2015 - IWA Trailboat Festival, Cumbria
29th - 31st August 2015 - Festival of Water, Northampton
IWA Branch Events in 2015
3rd - 5th July 2015 - Ware Boat Festival, Hertfordshire
4th - 5th July 2015 - Welsh Waterways Festival, Welshpool, Mid-Wales
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.
16th April Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
17th-18th April Work Party - Milton Keynes (IWA Milton Keynes Branch)
18th April Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
18th April Work Party - Bridgwater & Taunton Canal (IWA West Country Branch)
18th-19th April BCN Cleanup 2015
22nd April Work Party - Leeds & Liverpool Canal (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
22nd April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
24th April Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
25th April Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
26th April Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
28th April Work Party - Burslem Arm (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
29th April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
6th May Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
12th May Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
13th May Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
13th May Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
14th May Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
16th May Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
20th May Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
21st May Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
22nd May Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
26th May Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
27th May Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
30th May Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
31st May Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
19th April Waterside Walk - Thames & Severn Towpath (IWA Gloucestershire & Herefordshire Branch)
19th April Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal, King's Cross to Granary Square (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
26th April Waterside Walk - The Olympics to the Bow Back Rivers (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
3rd May Waterside Walk - Regent's Park to Little Venice (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
5th May Waterside Walk - Huddlesford and Coventry Canal (IWA Lichfield Branch)
9th May Waterside Walk - River Foss, Terrington to Hovingham (River Foss Society)
17th May Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal, Mile End to Limehouse (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
18th May Waterside Walk - River Ouse, Linton-on-Ouse (River Foss 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