IWA Bulletin Mid-February 2014

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Top Story

CRT Responds to Floods and Storms

Flooding at WallingfordPhoto: Flooding at Wallingford on the River Thames (photo by Bobby Silverwood)

Canal & River Trust (CRT) has launched a National Canal Flood Appeal as flooding continues across the country.

CRT's engineers will not be able to fully assess the level of damage caused by the prolonged extreme weather to its waterways, but there is known to be substantial damage to many canal-banks, towpaths, locks and other waterway structures. CRT staff and volunteers continue to work to deal with the situation as best they can but are appealing for donations to fund both the short and long-term repair work that is expected to cost millions of pounds.

The recent prolonged rainfall has seen flooding in many areas, particularly in the South East and water levels remain high in many areas.

In February there has been extensive flooding on the Grand Union Canal south of Leighton Buzzard, including the Rickmansworth to Watford stretch, from Cosgrove to Stoke Bruerne, the Aylesbury Arm and the Wendover Arm. The canal has overtopped on to towpaths and was closed in parts so that Canal & River Trust could drain water from the summit towards the Great Ouse catchment, to help reduce flows towards the Thames.

In Somerset, the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal was used to relieve the badly affected Somerset plains but is itself now in flood and sections of the towpath have been damaged.

In Gloucestershire, the tidal Severn has worn the embankment of the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal, the last line of defence for a large area of land, whilst the River Severn has been in flood at record levels for some time; with many structures submerged, damage is likely to be significant.

In Wales, the Monmouthshire & Brecon and Llangollen canals are being assessed by engineers as the heavy rains have caused embankments to slip. Damaged sections are being urgently stabilised.

The southern Oxford Canal was flooded at Lower Shuckburgh, Banbury Lock, Nell Bridge, Shipton, Aynho, Somerton and Lower Heyford, with high flows preventing navigation on the river Cherwell section. The flooding has damaged historic bridges and washed away towpath surfaces.

The Kennet & Avon Canal, Warwickshire Avon, Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, River Wey, Lea and Stort Navigations and Bristol Avon have also been largely un-navigable, at least in part, due to high water flows and flooding.

Extent of River Thames FloodingPhoto: Extent of River Thames Flooding, Chertsey Meadow (photo courtesy of National Police Air Service Redhill)

There are also closures at various places across the network, including on the Llangollen, Shropshire Union and Leeds & Liverpool canals, due to fallen trees and debris from adjacent buildings following the high winds on 12th and 14th February. On the evening of Friday 14th, over 100 trees fell onto CRT navigations alone.

There has been widespread news coverage of the floods along the Thames, particularly in Berkshire and Surrey, which saw homes evacuated. The western end of Droitwich Barge Canal has been closed. Floodgates and locks have also been closed along the Aire & Calder Navigations and the Trent.

The Environment Agency has said it had never issued so many severe flood warnings and that many areas had seen more than double their average rainfall for the time of year.

Scientists at the British Geological Survey say there is a risk of groundwater floods. Levels are likely to keep rising even if there is no more rain, as so much water is soaking through the soil.

To donate to the CRT National Flood Appeal, visit CRT's appeal page.

Find out about how to protect yourself and your boat from floods at CRT's website.

Notwithstanding the extraordinary conditions in many areas, large parts of the midlands network and northern and eastern waterways have come through unscathed, and where possible closed waterways will be re-opened as soon as it is safe to do so. Even where the full affects of the flooding and storms have been greatest, waterside businesses will pick themselves up and re-open for business as rapidly as possible. Visitors should continue to visit and support these businesses - what they need most is likely to be your custom!


IWA News

IWA Staff to Undertake The Acheman Challenge and Raise Funds for WRG

IWA staff taking part in The Acheman SectionPhoto, from left: Gemma Bolton - IWA Website & Design Officer, Toby Gomm - IWA Fundraising Officer, Stephanie Pay - IWA Design & Web Content Assistant, Jenny Black - IWA Volunteers Co-ordinator

Four members of staff from IWA's Head Office are to leave their desks and take to the towpath to complete The Acheman Challenge and raise funds for a new excavator for IWA’s WRG. The name, an intentional play on words with Robert Aickman's surname, is due to the physical nature of the challenge which may lead to some "aches".

On the 5th April, Toby Gomm, Stephanie Pay, Gemma Bolton and Jenny Black will undertake a 50 mile challenge along the Grand Union Canal from Harefield to Wolverton, Milton Keynes. They hope to raise £5000, around 20% of the cost of a new 2.5 tonne excavator, to replace WRG’s old JCB 803 excavator Blue, which was recently donated to Buckingham Canal Society.

The challenge, a quadrathlon, will be a test of stamina, fitness and skill, taking between ten and twelve hours to complete. A selection of waterway users' interests will be represented as the challenge comprises the following disciplines:

  • Bike – 40 miles
  • Locking a boat – 7 locks through Marsworth (1 mile)
  • Run – 6 miles
  • Canoe – 3 miles   

The new excavator will assist WRG volunteers with waterway restoration work as well as allowing other waterway societies to undertake projects without the costs involved in commercial plant hire. The new excavator will also be used to train the next generation of waterway navvies in the operation of a technical, but essential, piece of equipment.  

You can sponsor the IWA staff participating in The Acheman Challenge and help raise funds for WRG’s new excavator:

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

Toby Gomm, IWA's Fundraising Officer, has said “I never envisaged I'd be doing something like this. It's a fantastic opportunity to get fit, raise funds and promote the interests of waterway users. I just hope I'll still be able to walk by the end of it!”

Mike Palmer, WRG Chairman, said “It's great to see staff at Head Office undertake such a difficult challenge for a worthy cause.”

IWA would like to thank David King, Chris Clegg, Canal & River Trust, The Coy Carp - Harefield, Camphill Café, The Black Horse - Milton Keynes, The New Inn - Milton Keynes, The Galleon Pub - Wolverton, and Paddlesport Racers Association - Milton Keynes, for the support they have provided in the planning and logistics of this event.

As well as raising funds for WRG's new excavator, The Acheman Challenge, recognises the centenary of the birth of one of IWA's founders, Robert Aickman.


IWA 2015 Calendar Competition Shortlist Announced

Voting is now open for the calendar competition!

Over 600 brilliant photographs featuring waterways, activities and wildlife from all over the UK waterway network were submitted for the latest calendar competition.

The photographs have now been shortlisted into categories; Winter; Spring; Summer; Autumn and Cover.

Waterways featured include the Shropshire Union Canal, Trent & Mersey Canal, Kennet & Avon Canal, Grand Union Canal, Wendover Arm,  Northampton Arm, Ripon Canal, Worcester & Birmingham Canal, Coventry Canal, Aire & Calder Navigation, Northampton Arm, River Avon, Ashby Canal, Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal, Oxford Canal, Lancaster Canal, Norfolk Broads, River Thames, Bridgewater Canal, Stourbridge Canal, Regent's Canal and the River Rother.

Take a look at the shortlisted photos and vote now!

We are offering three free calendars to the photographers whose photos are used in the final calendar.

View all entries in the calendar competition group on Flickr.

IWA Christmas Card: Two winter shots were also chosen to be used as a 2014 Christmas card. The photos were Heavy hoar frost near Rugby, Warwickshire by Roger Butler, and Wendover Arm in Winter by Chris Sargeant. These photographers will receive three calendars PLUS ten packs of their Christmas Cards.


IWA Branches, Regions and WRG Groups Donate Over £22,000 in 2013

Chiltern Branch present CRT with donation, National Festival July 2013Photo: Chiltern Branch present CRT with donation at the National Festival, July 2014 - from left, Keith Clayton - IWA Middlesex Branch Chairman, Jon Guest - CRT London Region Manager, Brian Fender - London Region Partnership Chairman, Ian West - IWA Festivals Chairman, Dave Chapman - IWA Chiltern Branch Chairman, John Best - South East Region Partnership Chairman, Jeff Whyatt - CRT South East Region Manager and Paul Strudwick – IWA London Region Chairman

IWA branches, regions and WRG regional groups were busy fundraising throughout 2013. This has allowed them to make significant donations, a total of almost £22,250, to waterway organisations over the year.

The group that donated the most in 2013, was IWA Chiltern Branch who donated £3175 in total. This was largely possible because of a strong year of fundraising that saw the branch secure £3490. £2000 was donated to Wendover Arm Trust, a restoration project that the branch has long supported through donations and practically as many of its members attend the regular work parties. The branch also gave a total of £1000 to CRT to help fund emergency repair works to the Aylesbury Arm Lock and Reeds Bridge on the Slough Arm.

Another group that gave generously was WRG North West, who donated £3000 to various groups. £2000 of this was donated to The Cotswold Canals Trust’s Lock appeal and £1000 to Wilts & Berks Canal Trust. The £1000 went to the Seven Locks appeal along with a further £2500 from IWA Restoration Committee, just two of over 450 donations Wilts & Berks Canal Trust received, totalling around £40,000, which funded the purchase of locks 2, 3, 4 and 5 on the Wilts & Berks Canal.

A further seven branches donated amounts of £1000 or more:

Combined, branches, regions and WRG groups donated the large sum of £19,405 to trusts and societies that work to restore, conserve and maintain waterways across the country. Of this £19,405, a number of donations were made to:

  • Wendover Arm Trust - £3150,
  • The Cotswold Canals Trust - £2650,
  • The Grantham Canal Society - £2100,
  • Wilts & Berks Canal Trust - £1900,
  • The Wey & Arun Canal Trust - £1250.

In addition, the combined donations of branches, regions and WRG groups to the restoration and maintenance of a variety of  historic and community boats was £1074. Part of these donations also made up the £755 given to community boats such as CanalAbility.

In 2013, a total of twenty-six branches, one region and two WRG groups donated to another organisation. This would not have been possible without the fundraising efforts IWA volunteers undertook to make sure the money was available to help fund projects that contribute to the maintenance, conservation, restoration and promotion of the use of waterways across the country.

Fundraising activities carried out included recycling waste paper, lock winds and second-hand stalls. If you are interested and want to raise some funds for your branch to support your own work or that of others, take a look at IWA’s website for fundraising tips.

Finally, thank you and congratulations to the following IWA branches, regions and WRG groups for the funds raised and donations made in 2013:


About People: Philip Ogden

Philip Ogden is presented with Richard Bird Medal by John Fletcher, 2008Photo: Philip Ogden (left) is presented the Richard Bird Medal by then IWA National Chairman John Fletcher (right), which Philip received in 2008 (photo by Clive Henderson)

IWA is saddened to report the death of Philip Ogden at the age of 100, he passed away peacefully at his home in Rowington on Wednesday 5th February. Philip was a long-standing member of IWA who joined shortly after the organisation formed, he held a continuous membership from 1956 onwards and had been a member at times before this. In 2008, IWA awarded Philip the Richard Bird Medal for efforts and support that were considered to have brought significant benefit to the Association over a sustained period, and in particular his long tenure as IWA’s Hon. Consultant Engineer during the 1970s and 80s.

Philip was involved with various waterways including the Kennet & Avon Canal. In 1961, he became Kennet & Avon Canal Trust’s Assistant Hon. Consultant Engineer, and later the Hon. Consultant Engineer. During his time as a consultant engineer for the Trust, Philip worked on the restoration of the Kennet & Avon Canal. The British Transport Commission had claimed that such a restoration would never happen due to issues with the water supply. Philip compiled a report, which refuted these claims and demonstrated how sufficient water could be supplied to the canal. The production of this report has been acknowledged as a key step in the full restoration of the canal.

In 1965, Philip compiled another report, this time with David Cooper for Surrey County Council on the restoration of the Basingstoke Canal.

Philip joined and provided advice to various other waterway organisations throughout his life, including The Saltisford Canal Trust and The National Association of Boat Owners (NABO). He was a Trustee of The Saltisford Canal Trust for thirty years from its inception, as well as the Chairman and President at various times, and served on NABO’s council where he became their representative for the disabled. In addition, for a period in the 1990s Philip was Chairman of the Upper Avon Navigation Trust.

In accordance with Philip's wishes, there will be no funeral.


Nottinghamshire & Nottingham Waste Core Strategy and Waterbourne Freight

Waterways FreightPhoto: Boats loading with aggregate

IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch has successfully campaigned for the inclusion of waterbourne freight in the Nottinghamshire & Nottingham Waste Core Strategy.

The Branch Planning Officer, Mike Snaith, has been commenting on various stages of the development of the strategy over the last couple of years. This Waste Core Strategy has now been finalised and was adopted by Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council on 10th December 2013.  

The transport of goods by water creates less CO2 and noise, uses less land and is more cost-effective than other forms of transport.

The quotes below, taken directly from the adopted strategy document, cover the comments made over the course of the strategy's development.
From Section 6 "Strategic Objectives"
"SO5 Sustainable transport - encourage alternatives to road transport such as water and rail where practical."
From Section 7 "Policy" under the heading "Encouraging sustainable transport
"7.50    ...Most of our waste is currently transported by road but encouraging alternative forms of transport, such as water or rail, can help to reduce the environmental impact of waste management in terms of possible emissions and congestion. The River Trent, a major waterway running north-east through Nottinghamshire has the potential to provide freight movement by water..."
Policy WCS11 Sustainable Transport
"All waste management proposals should seek to maximise the use of alternatives to road transport such as rail, water, pipeline or conveyor in order to minimise the impacts of the use of less sustainable forms of transport..."

Read the full Nottinghamshire & Nottingham Waste Core Strategy at Nottinghamshire County Council’s website.

Find out more about the use of waterways freight.


WRG Leaders Training Day

Booking is now open for WRG's Leaders Training Day 2014, to be held on Saturday 10th May at Ettington Community Centre (near Stratford Upon Avon).

The day is open to everyone who already runs or helps run canal camps, including experienced leaders, assistants and cooks, as well as those who want to find out more about these roles. Other waterway trusts and societies are also welcome to attend.

The agenda is made up of subjects that you, the leaders and volunteers, think leaders should know about, so send any questions, comments and items to Helen Gardner.

The day is free and lunch is provided so why not come along and find out what leading is all about! Once again overnight accommodation is available in the hall with a BBQ that evening and breakfast the next morning.

Find out more at WRG's website.


Bookings for IWA Campaign Festival, Chester

IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch has reported that all spaces for boats at the IWA Campaign Festival on 6th-8th June have now been filled, with over 120 craft booked to attend.  Any further bookings received will be placed on a waiting list and the individual contacted if a place becomes available.

With a number of trade bookings also made, the event promises to be a good showcase for Chester’s waterways and should help to emphasise IWA’s campaign for the development of a safe link onto the upper River Dee. The latest addition to the activities on offer are angling taster sessions for young people. Angling 4 Positive Futures is holding free angling taster sessions on Wednesday 4th June, from 6pm-8pm and throughout the day on Saturday 7th. Any groups interested in the evening session on Wednesday should contact Gillian Bolt for more information.

For more information about the Festival visit IWA's website or contact Festival Secretary, Lesley Taylor.


Other News

The Port of London Authority Launches New Ebb Tide Flag Warning System

The Tidal ThamesPhoto: Tidal Thames (photo by Tim Lewis)

The Port of London Authority (PLA) has launched a new web-based safety indicator system, the ‘Ebb Tide Flag Warning’ system, which alerts rowers, canoeists, and other small recreational vessels of conditions on the tidal River Thames. This system is mainly for when the ebb tide and fluvial flows combine to make river conditions perilous, much as they are at present after sustained periods of heavy rain and flooding.

The warning system is designed to inform users of the tidal Thames of potentially dangerous conditions. The appropriate flag for the ebb tide will be posted on PLA's website.  A red flag indicates that PLA urges extreme caution and advises that man-powered vessels do not go afloat. A yellow flag indicates that PLA advises against navigation of the tidal Thames by those who have little experience on the tidal section of the river, including schools, novices and junior crews.


Regeneration Plans for Bridgewater Canal Receive HLF Funding

Worsley - Bridgewater CanalPhoto: Worsley, Bridgewater Canal (photo by Adrian and Gillian Padfield)

A five-mile stretch of the Bridgewater Canal in Salford is to be regenerated as part of a £5.5m scheme.

Salford City Council has been awarded £3.6m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and has also secured private and public funding to improve the canal between Boothstown and Barton. The Council plans to use the funds to help conserve the canal’s heritage features such as the Barton Swing Aqueduct and  Worsley Delph, where coal barges once emerged from the Duke of Bridgewater’s mines. There are also plans to light the aqueduct, re-open Worsley Delph and to carry out work on the path network to improve access to both the site and local heritage. The work will build on the efforts of volunteers who have already given 2,300 hours to clear paths, plant trees and build new benches.

The Bridgewater Canal, recognised by UNESCO as an area of historical importance, attracts an estimated 270,000 visitors each year. Once the regeneration is complete, improved access and the potential for new activities and events to be held at the site are expected to increase visitor numbers and bring a further £2m to Salford’s economy each year.  

Work on the regeneration is expected to begin in early 2015 and be completed by summer 2016.


Towpaths to Benefit from Staffordshire Cycle Route Improvements

Hazelhurst Juction on the Caldon Canal, Emma LambournePhoto: Hazelhurst Juction on the Caldon Canal (photo by Emma Lambourne)

£2m is to be spent on towpath improvements in Staffordshire, as part of a £7.5m project, funded by the Government’s National Park Cycle fund and other organisations, to improve cycle access to and around the Peak District.

The project will see the creation of four new cycle ways directly into the national park and is expected to benefit around 3.5 million people. One of the routes will include the Caldon Canal towpath, which will provide a link between the Potteries and the Peak District through the Staffordshire Moorlands. The project is the largest investment in Staffordshire’s canal network in recent years and should provide better access to the Peak District and Churnet Valley for both cyclists and walkers.

The County Council has said that education campaigns would be implemented to minimise conflict between various users. An unbound stone surface is to be laid to reduce mud and make the towpath easier to use by walkers, cyclists, pushchair users and wheelchair users. However, this loose surface should also encourage cyclists to slow down and protect the towpath from being churned up. Read IWA's Cycling Code.

IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust are currently working together to identify locations along the route of the towpath works where new visitor moorings could be created.  These proposals can then be submitted to CRT and Staffordshire County Council to be considered for inclusion in the overall project.

Work began at Stockton Brook in Stoke-on-Trent on 10th February. Work will be carried out on sections between bridges moving towards Endon and then along the Leek and Cheddleton Arms of the canal.  

The work is expected to be completed in June 2015. Small sections of the towpath will be closed at a time to allow the work to be carried out safely and to minimise any inconvenience caused.


Boaters Asked for Views On Temporary Changes to Moorings in Paddington Basin

Boats at Little Venice for Canalway Cavalcade 2013Photo: Boats at Little Venice for Canalway Cavalcade 2013 (photo by Tim Lewis)

CRT is to run an informal consultation on its proposal to trial a range of temporary changes to the moorings at Paddington Basin and Little Venice Pool. The temporary changes have been proposed as a way to meet a wider range of mooring needs in London over the coming summer.
The proposed changes include:

  • Allowing mooring alongside Rembrandt Gardens in the Little Venice Pool, to provide two new moorings;
  • Investigating the possibility of installing water points in Paddington Basin and changing a 14 day casual mooring to ‘water point waiting only’;
  • Changing three visitor moorings by Paddington Station to trade moorings; and
  • Allowing double mooring of narrow boats alongside St. Mary’s Hospital pontoon, providing four new visitor moorings.

These changes would provide more room and facilities for boats visiting this popular area.  The creation of new trade moorings in front of Paddington Station would make the most of the high footfall in the area.
The consultation will run until Monday 3 March 2014, to take part visit CRT’s website.


Derbyshire County Council Develops Draft Waterways Strategy

Derbyshire County Council has developed a draft Derbyshire Waterways Strategy, a document that, for the first time, addresses all the canals under the Council’s care. The strategy aims to identify projects that are achievable in the medium term and have them ready to deliver so that it is easier to apply for the relevant funding.

The document recognises that canals can help to produce positive outcomes in the Council’s six delivery areas:

  • Economy and Regeneration
  • Culture and Heritage
  • Environment
  • Access
  • Health and Well-being
  • Community

Additionally, the document recognises that canals can be used to help meet the aims of national projects such as the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and the Accessible Natural Greenspace Strategy.

Section 4 (pp13-16) of the Derbyshire Waterways Strategy Draft, outlines the County’s views for the future of the canals in Derbyshire, these views include that:

  • 'The Chesterfield Canal be restored and re-join the national navigable network.'
  • 'The profile of the full Cromford Canalwill be raised and wherever possible returned to water.'
  • 'The Derby and Sandiacre Canal will be restored to full navigation.'
  • 'The connection between the Erewash and the Cromford Canal will be extended and improved.'

A consultation of the draft is to run from 12th February to 12th March with a final version of the strategy, which takes into consideration comments received, submitted to the Cabinet for approval in April 2014.

Read the full Derbyshire Waterways Strategy Draft at Derbyshire County Council's website.


Two Waterway Projects Benefit from Landfill Communities Fund

The Veolia Environmental Trust, which awards grants through the Landfill Communities Fund, has awarded two grants totalling £140,000 to two waterways projects.

£40,000 was awarded to River Stour Trust to help fund the refurbishment of the Flatford and Dedham Locks on the River Stour in Suffolk. Plans are to replace the lock gates at Flatford Lock during phase 1 of the project, which should take place this year, followed by phase 2 works to stabilise the lock island and replace the lock gates on Dedham Lock in 2015.

Stroud District Council received a grant of £100,000 to restore part of the Stroudwater Navigation in Stroud. The grant will help fund restoration of 320 metres of canal between Wallbridge Lower Lock and Lodgemore Bridge. The plan is to dredge the channel, which is on the line of the original Stroudwater Navigation. This should restore a section that was abandoned in the 1950s.


Underwater Obstructions Cleared from the Cromford Canal

Diver recover rocks from the Cromford CanalPhoto: Divers recover rock from the Cromford Canal (photo from The Friends of the Cromford Canal)

The Friends of the Cromford Canal (FCC) and divers from Belper Sub Aqua Club have cleared underwater obstructions from the stretch of the Cromford Canal near High Peak Junction

Rocks and coping stones, originally from the canal bank, were removed from the waterway along with other large objects such as a railway sleeper and lengths of iron guttering. This clearance work and dredging carried out by Derbyshire County Council in 2013 has made it possible for FCC to run public narrowboat trips from Cromford Wharf to Leawood Pump House and back.


Wilts & Berks Canal Trust to Recognise Centenary of Canal's Abandonment

Wilts and Berks Canal Trust has been awarded £7,900 by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The money is to help stage a series of public events in Chippenham to mark the centenary of the Wilts & Berks Canal’s abandonment in 1914.

Held in partnership with Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre, Pewsham Locks, a centenary commemoration project will include half-term activities in the museum and a series of open days at the locks in the summer.


Opening Planned for the Latest Lock to be Restored on The Wey & Arun Canal

The latest lock to be fully restored by The Wey & Arun Canal Trust is Southland Lock situated between the villages of  Loxwood and Ifold on the Wey & Arun Canal. Volunteers laid bricks and fitted the canalside fixtures, which was a large portion of the £375,000 restoration, whilst contractors and businesses constructed the concrete shell, fitted the ekki (a sustainable hardwood from Africa) lock gates and supplied the pumps.  

An opening ceremony will be held at Southland Lock at midday on 21st June, more details available at The Wey & Arun Canal Trust's website


The Grantham Canal Society Receives Award from Lloyds Bank Community Fund

The Grantham Canal Society (GCS) has been awarded £3,000 by Lloyds Bank Community Fund.

The award has been given to help fund the training of GCS volunteers in skills utilised in canal restoration projects. It is hoped that younger volunteers will especially benefit from the training this award will fund.


IWA & WRG Work Party Reports

This section contains volunteer reports from IWA branches and IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (WRG). IWA branch reports contain information from their latest work parties where volunteers have worked to help maintain their local canals. WRG reports on its canal camps and weekend digs to keep readers up to date with the restoration work they have been undertaking.


Dee Branch of the Shropshire Union Benefits from a Further Twenty Hours of Volunteering

Volunteers at Dee Branch work party, February 2014Photo: Volunteers at IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch's February work party

Twenty more hours were given by IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch volunteers on the Dee Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal on the 1st February. This led to a productive, albeit cold, day during which volunteers managed to complete works to unearth some buried mooring rings at Tower Wharf. As well as this, the group cut back overgrown vegetation that was obscuring towpath moorings close to bridge 126 and after lunch undertook a very successful litter pick, bringing in ten bags of rubbish.


IWA Northampton Branch Reports on Progress

Northampton Branch volunteers lock paintingPhoto: IWA Northampton Branch volunteers lock painting

Since IWA Northampton Branch adopted and began work on the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal, it has run seven work parties, attracted twenty-seven different volunteers and amassed 246 volunteer hours. To help in its work the Branch has purchased two strimmers for vegetation clearance and seven volunteers have been trained by CRT to operate them. CRT has also allocated a secure storage area at Gayton yard for the Branch’s equipment.

With these resources the Branch has managed to litter pick about two-thirds of the Arm, which has yielded around 100 bags of rubbish plus larger items such as a boat toilet, vehicle tyres, cable insulation and wood pallets. Vegetation has been cleared from around the sanitation station at Gayton Junction and from around Lock 17, including from the lock landing on the river side and back to the narrows. Finally locks 14 and 17 have been painted and Lock 1 has been prepared ready to paint later this year.

The Branch now has a plan in place for the rest of the year. On the next two work parties it hopes to complete the vegetation removal around Lock 17 and complete the litter picking from Lock 17 back up to Bridge 14. This is a very urban part of Northampton so there is a lot of litter to be collected. This will probably be a job much like painting the Forth Railway Bridge, once a pick of the whole arm is complete it will all have to be done again.

From March/April, weather permitting, volunteers will start painting from Lock 1 and work down the flight to Lock 12. Once the lock painting is under way in April/May, volunteers will start to paint the sanitation station at Gayton Junction. This is in a prominent position at the Junction and is the first structure boaters see as they go past. This will be treated as a stand alone project and be managed by Mick Butler.

Finally, to add to the growing numbers of trained volunteers, two volunteers will be trained by St John Ambulance in emergency first aid at work to provide cover on the task parties.

It looks to be a busy year for Northampton Branch as it continues to look after the Northampton Arm of the canal.


IWA Volunteering Opportunities

IWA Branch Volunteer Vacancies:

New opportunity: Restoration Committee is seeking an organised volunteer to fill the position of Minutes Secretary. More information available at IWA's website.

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


IWA Branch and Region Magazines

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

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

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

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

Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch - Worcester Bar - Winter 2013/14
East Yorkshire Branch - Wolds Waters - January 2014
Northampton Branch - Endeavour - February 2014
South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch - Keels & Cuckoos - February 2014
Middlesex Branch - Middlesex Matters - Spring 2014


Waterway Events

Major IWA events in 2014

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

Branch Boating Events in 2014

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

Have you got a waterway event or activity to promote? - Anyone can add details of a waterways event or activity to this area on the website. You don’t even need to register with the website or provide any sort of password. Simply use the upload event form.

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


Upcoming Volunteer/Clean-up Events

18th February Work Party - Malkins Bank (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
19th February Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
20th February Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
22nd February Work Party - Hyde (IWA Manchester Branch)
22nd February Work Party at Leathermill Lane, Rugeley (IWA Lichfield Branch)
23rd February Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
26th February Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)

1st March Work Party - Dee Branch, Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
1st March Work Party - Firepool Lock (IWA West Country Branch)
1st March Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
1st - 2nd March Work Party Weekend - Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation (IWA Chelmsford Branch)
3rd March Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
5th March Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
5th March Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
8th - 9th March Work Party Weekend - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
9th March Warwick Canal Clean-up (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
12th March Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
12th March Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
13th March Vegetation Clearance - Caldon Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
15th March Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
15th March Painting & Vegetation Clearance - Work Party, Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
19th March Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
20th March Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
22nd March Work Party - Hyde (IWA Manchester Branch)
26th March Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
28th March Erewash Canal Clean-Up (supported by IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch)
29th March Erewash Canal Clean-Up (IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch)
30th March Bi-Annual Canal Clean-up - Tinsley (IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch)

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


Upcoming Towpath Walks

2nd March London Towpath Walk (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
4th March Walk at Alvecote, Warwickshire (IWA Lichfield Branch)
16th March London Towpath Walk (IWA Towpath Walks Society)

To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar


IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:

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

Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.

To see details of how to take advantage of these offers, please go to www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/members_area/member_discounts_special_offers_public

For IWA members who receive a printed copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.

Members can also support IWA with a Narrow Boat magazine subscription

Boat Insurance

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

See more information about the IWA insurance scheme for boaters


Contact Us

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


IWA's Mid-February 2014 Bulletin newsletter is available to read in an alternative format.
Download PDF
Read online (via Issuu)

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