(Photo by Gillie Rhodes)
This is the last edition of IWA's Bulletin for 2014, it will be back in January with the usual news and stories from across the waterways. In the mean time we would like to wish readers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Photo: Volunteers on the bed of the Regent's Canal at the London Region clean-up, 22nd November
An Autumn of IWA Canal Clean-ups has taken place with eleven days of events organised by IWA branches around the country between 21st September and 23rd November.
During the two month period 20 miles of towpath were cleared of litter and vegetation and 17 miles of canal bed were grappled for rubbish.
The clean-ups took place in eight cities on eight different waterways over eleven days, with Birmingham, Leicester, London, Nottingham, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Sheffield and Warwick all benefitting from the campaign.
The clean-ups were supported by CRT and local organisations, who supplied six work boats across the eleven days of events, along with some workboats supplied by a city council for one of the events.
As well as the usual bicycles, shopping trolleys, motorbikes and tyres, among the more unusual items were a camera, a lamppost, an office chair and a huge number of fence panels.
Over the nine weeks, 317 volunteers contributed a whopping total of 1634 volunteer hours to cleaning up the city canals around the waterway network. The volunteers included IWA members and non-members alike, along with members of other waterway organisations and Cubs and Scouts.
Dust off your (steel toe-capped) boots and spend a week with IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation this February.
The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation (managed by Essex Waterways) runs through rural Essex and connects Chelmsford with the tidal estuary of the River Blackwater at Heybridge Basin. To help maintain this beautiful waterway WRG volunteers will be working alongside IWA’s Essex Waterways Team from 14th to 21st February to help clear overgrown vegetation from the towpath in order to improve access for all waterway users. As with every winter Canal Camp there will be lots of scrub bashing, bonfires and other winter activities to keep you warm! Accommodation for the week is on a barge converted for residential use and moored in the tidal estuary.
More details are available at WRG’s website.
WRG is busy planning the rest of the Canal Camp Dates for 2015. If you would like to receive a Canal Camps Brochure once these are finalised, please email email@example.com with your name and address. The brochures are expected to be available from mid-January.
Photo: IWA Northampton Branch receives Volunteer Recognition award. From left to right - Miriam Tedder, CRT SE; Geoff Wood, IWA Northampton Branch; John Highmore, CRT SE; Neil Owen, CRT SE; Lee King, CRT SE; Mick Butler, IWA Northampton Branch
On Saturday 13th December, IWA Northampton Branch was presented with the Volunteer Organisation Recognition Award 2014 by Canal & River Trust (CRT) South East.
The award is in recognition of the Branch’s work carried out along the entire 4-mile stretch of the Northampton Arm, Grand Union Canal by volunteer members of IWA Northampton Branch Adoption Group led by Geoff Wood and Mick Butler. The Branch adopted the Arm in July 2013 and has since undertaken various works along the waterway to improve the condition of the navigation. This has included painting over half of the locks, litter picking and vegetation management. The work has been noticed by users of the Arm as well as the Branch receiving formal recognition of its hard work in the form of this award form the local CRT team.
Bernard Morton, Chairman of IWA Northampton Branch said “We are delighted that the Canal & River Trust has chosen to recognise the hard work of our volunteers with an award. Since we adopted the Northampton Arm over a year ago a great deal has been achieved. We are very grateful to the Trust for the support it has given our group, resulting in a very visible transformation.”
The award was presented at CRT’s volunteer Christmas social at Stoke Bruerne, an event for those that volunteer on CRT waterways in the South East region whether as part of CRT Towpath Taskforce or through other groups like IWA Northampton Branch.
IWA West Riding Branch has responded to the consultation on Wakefield Council’s towpath scheme for Knottingley.
The consultation closed on 30th November and was intended to help shape the details of the scheme. An outline plan was available as part of the consultation and the Council believed the plan showed its commitment to the principle that the towpath surface should reflect the preferences of all users and not just cyclists. Initial suggestions are that the current surface should be upgraded, with Bitumen used only for access points. IWA West Riding Branch has said further consultations are expected once the Council has more developed plans. The current outline plan is available at the Branch's webpages.
Photo: Volunteers tackle floating litter at Bridgwater Docks on IWA West Country Branch work party
IWA West Country Branch carries out regular work parties on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal. The volunteers meet at a variety of locations to paint locks, cut back vegetation, litter pick and remove floating litter from the water. This last task requires the use of a small craft so that the groups can reach the litter in places such as Bridgwater Docks. CRT has unfortunately encountered problems with suitable vessels on the Canal and there is likely to be some delay before a craft is available for use by the Branch.
There has already been an increase in the floating litter at Bridgwater Docks since access to a suitable craft was lost. This illustrates how important the Branch’s work parties are in helping to manage the situation. The Branch has issued an appeal for a suitable rowing boat, an engine would also be useful, that could be donated or loaned to the group for use in this task on a fairly regular basis. The craft does not have to be in top condition as volunteers are happy to carry out minor remedial works and could be of a number of styles. The Branch could collect it from within a reasonable distance and have arranged secure storage for the boat when not in use.
If you are able to help in any way or would like more details of what the Branch is looking for, please contact IWA West Country Branch Chairman, Bob Abbott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many organisations and charities offer free funding opportunities in the form of grants that can be applied for through their specific application process.
To view the list of 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:
Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) North West was shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Jim Lamen on 8th December. He had been one of WRG North West’s most stalwart volunteers since the 1980s and had even attended one of the Rochdale Nine clearances in the early 1970s. He involved his whole family in attending work parties and other WRG activities both locally and nationally, and will be greatly missed. Until retirement he had been in the carpet business and had been in good health, having attended WRG North West’s Christmas weekend celebrations on the Cromford Canal only the weekend before his death.
IWA is saddened to report the death of Steve Hudson on 2nd December after a short illness. Steve Hudson owned SM Hudson Boatbuilders of Glascote and was well known and respected for the production of high-quality boats of a distinctive style. His funeral will be held at 2pm on Friday December 19th at Loughborough Crematorium, LE11 2AF.
Photo: Bridge 211, Trent & Mersey Canal (photo by Derek Quilliam)
At the end of November CRT closed the Trent & Mersey Canal between Bridge 211 and Dutton Stop Lock to investigate a substantial leak.
Stop planks were installed and the canal drained, which revealed a hole of about 1 metre in diameter in the original sandy lining of the canal, adjacent to the major repairs that were carried out in 2013.
CRT engineers have been carrying out extensive investigations since the beginning of December. Working alongside cotractors Kier, CRT intends to commence works to fix the problem at the beginning of January and expects to re-open the canal in spring 2015.
CRT has said that if the Canal closure is causing anyone difficulties that they need to speak to them about, please contact their office at Red Bull on 0303 040 4040. Updates are available at CRT's website.
Photo: Artist's impression of Gloucester Waterways Museum (supplied by Canal & River Trust)
Staff and volunteers at Gloucester Waterways Museum have celebrated confirmation of a grant of £994,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the revitalisation of the CRT-run museum, based in Gloucester Docks.
CRT hopes that the HLF supported project will allow the museum to further emphasise the significance and uniqueness of the River Severn and Gloucester & Sharpness Canal as well as emphasising the strategic role Gloucester Docks and the local canal network had in transporting goods to the industrial Midlands.
The Trust plans to use the funding to install a new visitor entrance, exciting new galleries on the ground and first floor and a modern gift shop.
There are also plans for Sabrina 5, a 90-foot long cargo barge, moored at Gloucester Waterways Museum, to be given a new lease of life as a floating learning space to teach families and youngsters more about England’s canals and rivers. Built in 1944 for the Ministry of War Transport, the barge is part of the National Historic Fleet and, alongside the Cutty Sark and HMS Victory, among 200 historic boats considered nationally or regionally significant in the UK.
CRT has announced that the HLF revitalisation project will begin early in 2015 and expects that the museum will be closed to the public from autumn 2015 until spring 2016 for galleries to be remodelled and improved. During that time museum staff intend to establish pop-up museums around Gloucester to reach out to new audiences and maintain relationships with the thousands of local families who visit the museum each year.
Photo: Regent's Canal by Granary Square (photo by Deborah Bevan)
CRT has announced that it plans to work with with local councils, boaters and residents, to develop an action plan for the Regent’s Canal throughout Islington and Hackney. By working together they will consider how better to tackle issues such as graffiti and rubbish clearance as well as exploring how to improve the towpath and manage moorings.
While the growth in popularity of London’s waterways has led to conflicting demands between different users, it has also created opportunities to enhance the canal and its contribution to local communities. The Trust has been working with Islington and Hackney Councils to identify actions that can be taken collectively to improve the way the canal is managed.
On 1st December CRT held an inaugural meeting at the Canal Museum in King’s Cross as part of this process. Chief executive Richard Parry and London waterway manager Jon Guest, as well as representatives from Islington Council, covered mooring control, community safety, crime, antisocial behaviour and ways that working with local partners and communities can make the Regent’s Canal a better place for everyone. CRT has said that it wants to work with local boaters, residents and stakeholders to think about effective management of the canal.
The Trust has also announced that it aims to have a London-wide ‘Mooring Strategy’ ready in the spring, which will include a review of mooring capacity and site development opportunities for facilities. In the New Year the Trust plans to extend the action plan process to engage with residents and boaters in Hackney.
While CRT has said it will pay for some of the improvements, the charity is hoping to find partnership funding for the benefits that will make things better for the communities that live alongside the Regent’s Canal.
As part of a range of initiatives to better help boaters in difficulty CRT signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Workplace Matters (WM) in June 2014. Operating mainly in the South East, the Waterways Chaplaincy, part of WM, offers help regardless of faith or gender to those in need.
CRT has announced that in line with this aim WM has this winter launched a Waterways Hardship fund for boaters. WM has invited the public to help boaters who find themselves facing hardship this winter by donating to the fund via the dedicated JustGiving webpage.
WM has listed how donations could help boaters who are struggling for various reasons in a variety of ways:
WM thanked all supporters in advance and reminded UK taxpayers to confirm that they would like to reclaim Gift Aid on their donation.
CRT has announced that Marsh Christian Trust is supporting a new waterway award to recognise volunteer excellence on the 2,000 miles of waterways cared for by CRT.
Community groups and individuals are encouraged to put themselves forward for three new volunteer awards that celebrate young people, long service and those who give up their time to teach people about the nation’s historic waterways.
The winners from each category will win prize money of £500, which has been kindly donated by Marsh Christian Trust, a grant making body that provides grants to environmental, social welfare, arts and heritage charities.
The award categories are:
The Heroes of the Waterway award and the Young Volunteer award are open to all CRT and partnership volunteers. The Education Explorers Volunteer award category is open to CRT’s education volunteers only.
The awards will be judged by a range of representatives from organisations including CRT, Marsh Christian Trust, national volunteering organisations, educational experts, and members of the wider charitable sector.
The deadline for nominations is 16th January. For more information and to download a nomination form please visit CRT’s website.
Sustrans has proposed the development of a pedestrian and cycle bridge across the River Thames between Rotherithe and Canary Wharf.
The government has expressed interest in the proposal and announced in the National Infrastructure Plan that the potential for such a structure, which could be called Brunel Bridge, should be looked at in more detail. Southwark Council recently gave its in-principle backing to the proposed bridge, and Mayor of London Boris Johnson has also expressed interest in the scheme.
Access to the Pool of London by Tall Ships and Liners could be obstructed by a bridge in this location, depending on the design. IWA fully supports the Port of London Authority’s position on the matter, or any other bridge developments, which is that the structure must not prejudice the public right of navigation.
Louth Navigation Trust has appealed for members of the public to sign its petition to allow the Trust to restore the full length of the Louth Canal and bring the watercourse back into full operational use. This would encompass the renovation of existing locks and associated structures and banks. In addition, measures would be taken to ensure an appropriate depth is achieved along the waterway so that various craft can navigate its length.
The petition can be signed at the Gov.uk website.
Photo: An illuminated boat at Stoke Bruerne's Christmas celebrations
Friends of the Canal Museum held another successful Carols, Illuminated Boats & Christmas Market at Stoke Bruerne on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th December.
The canalside event proved to be another magical celebration of Christmas. A highlight was the procession of illuminated boats along the Grand Union Canal accompanied by carollers beneath the Christmas tree that were led by children of Stoke Bruerne, Whittlebury & Tiffield Primary School.
As well as seeing the illuminated boats and joining in with the singing of carols, revellers were entertained by the Grafton Regis Scout Brass Band and members of the The Nene Consort, a classical recorder group, both of whom played a selection of well known seasonal tunes. Visitors were able to visit the colourful canalside Christmas Market at The Navigation pub complete with floating traders on the water.
Photo: Saltisford Canal Trust marks 30 years of volunteering with statue (photo by Saltisford Canal Trust)
On Saturday 29th November, Chris White MP unveiled a new statue to honour 30 years of volunteering at the Saltisford Canal Centre in Warwick.
The statute, named Celebration, is dedicated to all the volunteers who have generously donated their time and skills to support the work of the Saltisford Canal Trust over the last 30 years. Sculptor Paul Margetts created the piece initially for Budbrooke Youth Group, which sadly closed down leaving the statue in storage for many years. The Trust was happy to discover the potential for it to use the artwork and is now proud to be able to display Celebration in honour of a good cause. The statue now stands in the town centre canalside gardens in Saltisford, Warwick, on a plinth built by volunteers.
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 Manchester Branch volunteers on the Rochdale Canal
In October, IWA Manchester Branch began its work parties once again after a summer break and joined Manchester Bury & Bolton Canal Society (MB&BCS) for a weekend of tree felling. After this good start to the Autumn work parties, IWA Manchester Branch volunteers enjoyed a near perfect work party on the Rochdale Canal in Newton Heath in November.
The MB&BCS tree felling was by nature a technical operation undertaken with great care. Volunteers had a grand stand view whilst waiting at a safe distance before moving in to stack logs or lay bonfire piles. Various wildlife habitats were created and we presume lots of potatoes were roasted on the Sunday “fire up day.”
With regard to the Rochdale 18, an earlier CRT suggestion and a branch visit in September highlighted a considerable amount of litter on the bridge ramps and trapped in the bushes. On the day the new clean-up slogan “Eight is Great” proved to be very true as eight volunteers successfully filled 68 bags of rubbish. The weather was very kind and the words of appreciation from the passing public were the talking point of the day. One other striking point was the amenable attitude of the CRT van driver who was totally unabashed to be asked to stuff his van full of rubbish bags. Even more so when we realised he had only called to check Lock 74 sluices! Our three new faces had a pleasant initiation in the many possibilities of volunteering.
On Sunday 9th November, IWA Northampton Branch’s work party at Gayton Junction Yard was attended by seven volunteers, all there to carry out the next phase of work on the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal. The day was bright and dry, ideal for the task in hand, which was to paint the top and bottom gates of Lock 9. Under the guidance of volunteer Mick Butler, the group did so well that not only did they achieve this, but also painted the top gate of Lock 10. This was great progress for what was likely to be the last of the painting until spring next year due to weather conditions. The Branch has now painted about three quarters of the 17 locks on the Northampton Arm.
The second IWA Northampton Branch work party of the month on Tuesday 25th November, was not so sunny but rather cold and cloudy. Still a group of twelve volunteers met at Lock 17, Far Cotton, to undertake a variety of tasks. Roger Hasdell and Roger O’Dea spent their time on a search for the 4 mile posts that are down the arm. The discovery was that one cannot be accessed because of a towpath closure, one is half buried by Lock 15, one is completely buried by Lock 14 and needs to be located, the last one is accessible.
The rest of the group concentrated on work around Lock 17, where they litter picked the area up to the B&Q Bridge 16 and yielded eleven bags of rubbish, a large cushion, a tyre and a shopping trolley. Not a bad haul that could have been bigger had the towpath closure, due to re-open in the New Year, not prevented continuation of the task past Bridge 16. The volunteers also opened up a view through the trees from the bottom gates of Lock 17 to the Environment Agency strong stream notice on the opposite side of the river bank. This was in response to concerns that the first time boaters would see this important sign was when they left the lock and were already on the river.
Everyone had a very satisfying, tiring day with one of the volunteers who lives in Daventry braving a walk home! He got to Weedon, about four hours away when the light ran out and he had to catch a bus for the rest of the journey - he said he slept well that night!
Photo: Volunteers from Lloyd's Bank
IWA West Country Branch was out twice in November, firstly on Wednesday 19th at Bridgwater Docks to carry out a variety of tasks. A good number of volunteers turned out including employees from the Bridgwater & Taunton Branches of Lloyd’s Bank.
With such good support it was possible to split up and carry out work at four different locations along the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal. Tasks included vegetation cutting, litter picking the towpaths and footpaths, painting some of the dockside equipment and planting flower bulbs on a site adjacent to the canal towpath. The bulbs were planted on behalf of the Bridgwater Town Council and the location chosen by local residents, through a poll of potential sites.
The volunteers also managed to clear accumulated rubbish from the canal including two shopping trolleys, which belonged to the near by supermarket, traffic cones and a pushchair.
It was brilliant to have the support that enabled the Branch to run a number of activities simultaneously. This meant that volunteers could choose what they wanted to do and event take part in more than one activity if they wished.
The second work party was on 29th November when CRT staff started the session with some training and instruction in the use of power tools. The volunteers then proceeded to carry out a deep cut of the excess vegetation along the towpath from Newtown Lock towards the Victoria Road Bridge on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal. This team was followed by a group with secateurs who trimmed the Hawthorn trees. It was thought best to do this by hand to avoid loss of the red berries that birds and other wildlife feed on over winter.
Finally, volunteers planted another fifty Daffodil bulbs donated by Bridgwater Town Council.
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:
Lichfield Branch - Lichfield Lines - Autumn 2014
Peterborough Branch - Hereward - Autumn 2014
South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch - Keels & Cuckoos - November 2014
Chester & Merseyside Branch - The Packet Boat - January 2015
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added in recent weeks:
Northampton Branch - Endeavour - November 2014
South London and North & East London Branches - Meridian Cuttings - New Year 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 Fundraising Events in 2015
22nd February 2015 - IWAlk, West Midlands
IWA Branch Events in 2015
4th - 5th July 2015 - Welsh Waterways Festival, 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 December Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
17th December Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
18th December Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
20th December Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
20th December Work Party - Hyde, Lower Peak Forest Canal (IWA Manchester Branch)
3rd January Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
3rd January Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
6th January Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
7th January Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
8th January Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
14th January Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
14th January Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
15th January Work Party -Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
17th January Work Party - Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
21st January Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
23rd January Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
25th January Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
28th January 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
1st January New Years Day Waterside Walk - Ashby Canal, Snarestone (IWA Lichfield Branch)
1st January Waterside Walk - King's Cross to St. Pancras (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
3rd January Waterside Walk - Wrexham (IWA Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch)
4th January Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal, Little Venice to Camden (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
18th January Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal, Islington to Hoxton (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
22nd January Waterside Walk - Little Neston (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar
The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:
Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.
To see details of how to take advantage of these offers, please go to www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/members_area/member_discounts_special_offers_public
For IWA members who receive a printed copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.
Members can also support IWA with a Narrow Boat magazine subscription
IWA has an arrangement with insurers Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue that provides top quality boat insurance and access to the basic waterway rescue service for boat owners, with the added benefit that every policy taken out and subsequently renewed helps IWA, and thus furthers our charitable work for the waterways.
See more information about the IWA insurance scheme for boaters
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