IWA Bulletin Mid-March 2014

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Top Story

Sir Tony Baldry MP Wins IWA's Parliamentarian of the Year Award

Sir Tony Baldry receives Parliamentarian of the Year Award from IWA National Chairman, Les EtheridgePhoto: Sir Tony Baldry MP receives Parliamentarian of the Year Award from IWA National Chairman, Les Etheridge

Sir Tony Baldry MP received the “Parliamentarian of the Year Award” at IWA's Award Dinner held at the House of Commons on Monday 10th March.

Sir Tony Baldry MP, a former Waterways Minister, was presented the award for his long history of support for IWA and the inland waterways. Whilst Waterways Minister, he attended and opened IWA's 1991 National Festival at Windmill End as well as attending one of IWA's Waterway Recovery Group digs on the Wilts & Berks Canal. Sir Tony has been a member of IWA for over twenty years and his influence on the inland waterways continues as co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group.

The dinner saw lively discussion take place on various waterway issues. Amongst the guests were about twenty MPs including the Waterways Minister, Dan Rogerson MP, and four former Waterway Ministers, demonstrating a high level of ongoing support for the waterways. Also in attendance was a member of the House of Lords and representatives from Canal & River Trust (CRT).

During his address, Les Etheridge, IWA National Chairman, referred to the formation of CRT, which represented a step towards IWA's vision of a National Waterways Conservancy. The Conservancy is an idea that the Association has promoted since the 1950s and advocates a single body to manage all the nation’s inland waterways. Les Etheridge thanked the previous Waterways Minister, Richard Benyon MP, for his support of the concept and for his help in securing the funding package for CRT.

Les Etheridge went on to say that IWA was encouraged that the transfer of the Environment Agency’s waterways to CRT remains Government Policy, but IWA was disappointed that the original timescale of transfer in 2015/16 had not been met.

Les Etheridge also commented on the impact of HS2 on the waterways. The merit of HS2 is an issue on which IWA has no view, but IWA is concerned that the inland waterways should be properly protected with any impacts on them mitigated. IWA has been particularly concerned about the impact of HS2 in the Fradley area on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Lichfield.  IWA is also greatly concerned about Phase 2 where the restoration of the Chesterfield Canal is threatened and where large amounts of volunteer work could be lost.

IWA has identified an alternative route at Fradley with one crossing point, whereas the initial HS2 plans had four crossings of the canal in a very short distance. IWA and CRT jointly commissioned an independent engineering report which confirmed the viability of IWA’s proposed alternative route.
Les Etheridge said "Our inland waterways are enjoyed by millions of people every year. We are all guardians of them and must act to ensure they can continue to be enjoyed by future generations, but Members of Parliament are in a unique position, and the Association is ever grateful that so many parliamentarians play a keen and active role in support for the Association’s work. Sir Tony Baldry’s support has been regularly demonstrated over a period of more than twenty years and we are pleased to acknowledge him as a true and loyal friend of the waterways."
Dan Rogerson MP said “I value the importance of our waterways. They are valuable not only in terms of our historic heritage but are used and enjoyed by countless numbers of people... The work that volunteers do for our inland waterways is invaluable to the upkeep of our waterways. In 2013 there were over 10,000 [IWA] volunteer days spent on the inland waterways, which included many different aspects of the work that The Inland Waterways Association does including lock painting, vegetation clearance, brick laying and litter picking. Their efforts like the work of many volunteers is greatly appreciated.”


IWA News

IWA Announces Waterways Pageant Event at Saul

Saul Rally 2005Photo: Saul Rally, 2005

IWA's Events Team (formerly IWA Festivals) is pleased to announce its new summer event. The Saul Waterways Pageant will be held over the August Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 23rd to Monday 25th August 2014, at the junction of the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal and Stroudwater Navigation.

The event will focus on waterway activities with a programme of competitions including boat handling, canoeing, tug of war, Best Boat in Bloom, illuminated boat display, best kept engine and room, as well as three cruising awards kindly sponsored by River Canal Rescue.    

Holding the event on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal will also allow inland waterways access for sailing ships and other much larger vessels to attend and celebrate the Pageant.

The event will showcase  the diversity of interests on and around the waterways. As well as the water-based competitions, activities will include walking, fishing, cycling and Geocaching.  

The Saul Waterways Pageant will celebrate the restoration work taking place on the Cotswold Canals, and promote the forthcoming Heritage Lottery bid the Cotswold Canals Trust is making. During the pageant, IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) will be working with the Trust, to restore the canal at Ham Mill and Bowbridge Locks near Stroud. Members of the public are invited to come along and see ‘WRG in action’. WRG will also be holding Canal Camp restoration holidays in other locations on the Cotswold Canals over the summer.

Refreshments will be available from the Real Ale Bar alongside artisan food stalls. An evening social programme is also being planned for IWA members, boaters and campers. On the Bank Holiday Monday a Boat Jumble will be open from 10:30 – 15:30.
The event will promote the use of the waterways locally and nationally as well as the campaigning work carried out by IWA.

There will be no admission charge, although there will be suggested minimum donation of £2 per person.
On the Saturday and Sunday there will be a market and the Events Team would like to hear from boaters, charities and local groups who are interested in having a stall and fundraising for their chosen cause and IWA.
Boat, camping and trade booking forms are available to download from IWA's website.
Kevin Woods, IWA Events Team Chairman said "This is a fantastic opportunity for IWA to launch a new look event to attract boaters and the public and promote IWA"

Les Etheridge, IWA National Chairman said “I am sure this event will prove an attraction for many boaters, and help to draw further attention to the excellent restoration work promoted by Cotswold Canals Trust. The Trust has IWA’s strongest support in its bid for further Heritage Lottery Funding, which if successful would link the restored parts of the Stroudwater Navigation and Thames & Severn Canal to the rest of the connected navigable network at Saul Junction.”


Acheman Challenge Update

Photo: Gemma Bolton prepares for canoe training

Four members of IWA Head Office staff will undertake the fifty mile Acheman Challenge along the Grand Union Canal in just under three weeks time. Toby Gomm, Stephanie Pay, Gemma Bolton and Jenny Black have raised £3032 towards a new excavator for IWA’s WRG, with pledges taking the total amount to £3262. The excavator will help IWA volunteers and other waterway trusts and societies carry out restoration work.

Toby, Stephanie, Gemma and Jenny have trained hard over the past few months and continue to do so with an increased focus on their canoe skills. On 13th March, they travelled up to Milton Keynes to train with Paddlesport Racers Association and learnt how to improve their canoeing technique in preparation for the last stretch of the challenge. Despite a couple of wobbles they all managed to stay in the canoes and got some good practice in before sunset.

In addition to the total donated to the challenge a generous pledge of £1000 has been received from IWA Ipswich Branch. The branch has pledged this amount subject to completion of the event, an excellent incentive for the team to carry on training to make certain they cross the finish line.

On 26th March, the group plans to attend a work party in Marsworth. Weather permitting, the group will be lock painting alongside IWA Chiltern Branch to help improve a section of the Grand Union Canal that features in the challenge. After the work party some of the team plan to attend a second canoe training session to further develop their confidence on the water.

To keep up to date with the participants’ preparations check the Acheman Challenge web pages or follow IWA on Facebook and Twitter.  

You can sponsor Toby, Stephanie, Gemma and Jenny 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

Alternatively, you can fill out a form to pledge your support and give your donation after the challenge has been completed. After the event, pledged donations can be paid by cheque or over the phone, call 01494 783 453, by 19th April.

Toby Gomm, IWA's Fundraising Officer, has said “After much zigzagging along the Grand Union we feel that more practice is needed and we are looking forward to the next session on the 26th. The important thing is that we all remained dry!”

IWA would like to thank: David King and the rest of IWA Milton Keynes Branch, Chris and Judy Clegg of IWA Chiltern Branch, Canal & River Trust,  The Coy Carp in Harefield, The Three Horseshoes in Hemel Hempstead, The Grove Lock in Leighton Buzzard, Camphill Café in Milton Keynes, The Black Horse in Great Linford, The New Inn in Milton Keynes, The Galleon Pub in Wolverton and Paddlesport Racers Association in Milton Keynes for the support they have provided in the planning and logistics of this event.


HS2 Plus - The Sir David Higgins Report on HS2

The report HS2 Plus, which reports on the strategy, proposals and budget of the HS2 project was published on 17th March.

The report was requested by the Prime Minister in November 2013 and written by Sir David Higgins, Chief Executive of HS2.

In summary, Sir David’s report discussed the potential of the new HS2 infrastructure to rebalance the current and growing north-south disparity and give local business the confidence to invest, creating economic activity, jobs and wealth. He highlighted the need to integrate HS2 better with existing infrastructure to improve east-west connectivity, which he believes is probably also inhibiting growth across the country. He confirmed the budget for HS2 Phase 1 as adequate, and made the point that the contingency should not be reduced until the likely level and duration of Parliamentary scrutiny was clear, as a longer time would increase uncertainty and cost.

The report made the following specific points:

  • A more comprehensive redevelopment of Euston Station was needed as the current proposal was not ambitious enough.
  • The Phase 2 route should be accelerated to reach Crewe by 2027 six years ahead of schedule, and serve a new integrated road & rail hub there. The rest of Phase 2 could be accelerated to complete three years ahead of current plans.
  • Phase 2 needed to be better integrated with Network Rail’s classic network plans, especially where east - west connectivity could be improved.
  • There should be no reduction in mitigation measures, whether noise or environmental.
  • Phase 1 budget was confirmed as adequate, with contingencies retained at current levels especially due to the uncertainty of the Parliamentary process.
  • The HS1-HS2 link represented poor value and should be reconsidered.

With the exception of the HS1-HS2 link, where its axing would eliminate any impact on the Regents Canal and Hawley Lock, it is not possible to see direct effects of this report on waterways at this stage.

Read Sir David Higgins’ Report HS2 Plus.

View the PowerPoint slides used by Sir David Higgins in the presentation of the HS2 Plus report.

In addition to the release of this report there has been another recent HS2 development that affects Fradley Junction. Earlier this month it was reported in a Bulletin update that on 7th March IWA jointly issued with CRT a briefing note on progress with improvements to the HS2 route at Fradley Junction. IWA suggested an alternative route avoiding the canal in 2012, and this has been progressed by CRT and IWA together commissioning the Hyder Report, culminating in a meeting with HS2 Ltd. The full briefing note can be read in the news article, HS2 – Progress Made to Protect Fradley Junction.


'Water Adds Value' - Waterway Restoration Workshop

WRG Chesterfield Canal Camp Site 2013Photo: Restoration progress on the Chesterfield Canal at 2013 WRG Canal Camp

On 10th May, IWA and CRT plan to host a Waterway Restoration Workshop at the Bond in Birmingham.

This workshop will build on last year’s successful volunteer conference, and will be attended by key stakeholders such as restoration groups, waterways press, IWA representatives and CRT staff.

The aim of the workshop is to ensure that local waterways societies and trusts have more support and information to assist in the development of their schemes.

The day promises to be fun, varied and informative. It is an opportunity for those passionate about waterway restoration to come together during what is an important year with many waterway restoration anniversaries occurring.

During the day delgates will:

  • Hear from external experts such as the University of Northampton who will present their research in to the economic and social benefits of waterway restoration
  • See CRT's new video showing the wider benefits of restoration
  • Take part in discussion groups to identify what support would be helpful to restoration groups
  • Have the opportunity to share and hear success stories

In the first instance, there is only one place available on the workshop for each society/trust. As places are allocated we may be able to extend the invite to more members.

To book a place, please download and complete the booking form and email back to Jenny Black or book online.


Site Wanted for 2014 Waterway Recovery Group's Reunion Weekend

Volunteer clearing vegetation at WRG reunion 2013Photo: Volunteer clearing vegetation at WRG reunion 2013

Every year in November, WRG holds its annual get-together for over 100 volunteers in order to undertake some major canal restoration work. WRG is still looking for a canal restoration site and group to host the event in 2014 over the 8th-9th November.

The site would need to provide appropriate winter work for around 100 volunteers; this could be vegetation clearance/scrub bashing/ towpath maintenance/ clean-up work. If other work is available WRG would be willing to consider different activities. Last year the Reunion Weekend was located on the Cotswold Canals and work included landscaping, reinstating of coping stones and vegetation clearance.

Read more about the 2013 Reunion Weekend.

The first stage of the process invites canal societies, trusts and waterways groups to express their interest in hosting the Reunion Weekend. WRG appreciates that many of the details depend on funding and other variables and, therefore, understand if a definite proposal cannot be made yet. However, WRG would still like to hear from you if you want to be considered at this stage. If you are interested, please contact Jenny Black directly (details below) as soon as possible so that she can further discuss any possibilities and arrange a site visit.

To help WRG get a better picture of the proposed work please include (if possible):

  • A description of the work
  • Any photos of the site
  • Details of potential accommodation for WRG volunteers

If you have further questions, please email Jenny Black or phone 01494 783 453 ext 604.

Download more information about hosting a Canal Camp (42KB, Microsoft Word Document).


Braunston Boat Gathering

Photo: The Iron Bridge at Braunston (photo by Tim Coghlan)

IWA Northampton Branch
has announced the programme for its Braunston Boat Gathering to be held over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, Friday 2nd May – Monday 5th May at Nurser’s Dock. There will be a full range of attractions starting on the Friday evening with a welcome event, which will include a barbeque, music and light-hearted games. Saturday evening will feature live music from duo Nijinxsky and Sunday evening is quiz time preceded by a fish and chips supper. During the day there will be a Village Treasure Hunt, Guided Heritage Walks, a Best Turned Out Boat Competition, a Boater’s Auction, Tombola & Raffle and Historic Working Boats Sculptor, Nutfield & Raymond, will be open for viewing. The weekend which will also feature a Real Ale Bar and Cat’s Tea Rooms, will be officially opened by CRT CEO Richard Parry.

Full details of what is planned and booking forms can be found at the branch web pages.


Branch Joins Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership Board

Photo: Boating in the Churnet Valley

IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch
has joined the partnership board of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape (CVLLP). CVLLP is a Heritage Lottery funded project which will deliver a wide range of projects in the Churnet Valley in North Staffordshire, including several canal projects on both the Caldon Canal and the derelict Uttoxeter Canal. IWA branch members have already been involved in supporting various projects, but this formalising of the relationship with CVLLP will enable IWA to become even more closely involved with the work that is already under way. The Caldon Canal in the Churnet Valley is often described by visitors as the most beautiful canal in England, so IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch is especially pleased to join in protecting and enhancing this very special area.


WRG Volunteer, Mr Mac, Receives IWA Manchester Branch Achievement Award

3  Mr Mac's 90th Birthday celebration with WRGNW Stand cake and trophy presented by Denise Connolly on behalf of IWA Manchester BranchPhoto: Mr Mac receives the IWA Manchester Branch Achievement Award presented by Denise Connolly on behalf of the branch at his 90th birthday celebrations (photo by Alison Smedley)

WRG volunteer, David McCarthy MBE, better known as Mr Mac, received the IWA Manchester Branch Achievement Award on Saturday 1st March.

The award was presented to Mr Mac by Denise Connolly, IWA Manchester Branch Membership Secretary, at Mr Mac’s 90th birthday celebrations. The award was given to Mr Mac in recognition of his many years of support for waterway restoration in the north west, work with WRG North West and his unique fundraising initiative - the Paperchase.

Read more about Mr Mac’s involvement with WRG in the IWA blog.


Canalway Cavalcade Volunteers

The organisers of IWA’s Canalway Cavalcade are looking for volunteers to join the team responsible for the organisation and running of the festival, now in its 31st year. This year Canalway Cavalcade will once again be held in Little Venice over the three days of the May Day Bank Holiday (3rd – 5th May 2014).
Volunteers are needed both before and over the weekend to help with preparations for and manning of the festival. Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Assistant to the Commercial Director (Trade show and stalls)
  • Assistants to the Entertainments Manager (3)
  • Assistant to the Sponsorship & Advertising Manager
  • Catering Assistant
  • Site & Services Team Assistant
  • Stewards
  • IWA Marquee Assistants
  • Public Address Announcers
  • Information Point Assistants
  • Waterspace Marquee Assistants

More information is available at the IWA Website. To apply email Jerry Sanders, Commercial Director, or phone 07788 204442.


Funding for Waterway Restoration

IWA has recently updated the Funding for Waterway Restoration document on the website. This document provides information on how to raise funds for Waterway Restorations from a wide range of sources. Those concerned with the financial and promotional side of Waterway Restoration may find the document, which can be viewed on the IWA website, of use.


Other News

CRT Publishes Response to Kennet & Avon Towpath Mooring Plan Consultation

Caen Hill - Kennet & Avon - Devises - John EllisPhoto: Caen Hill, Kennet & Avon, Devizes (photo by John Ellis)
CRT has published its response to the consultation on the towpath mooring plan, proposed by the Kennet & Avon Waterway Partnership, to encourage fair use of the busy stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal (K&A) between Devizes and Bath.
CRT supported the development of a local plan to deal with the problems on this part of the network in response to complaints received and concerns aired about the large and continuously growing numbers of moored boats and the presence of boats moored in one area for long periods of time. Over the past twelve months CRT’s K&A Waterway Partnership, made up of a group of local stakeholders, has developed and consulted on a towpath mooring plan for the area, the bulk of which will be implemented by 1st May.
CRT has stated that boaters without a home mooring on the western end of the canal between Bath and the bottom of the Caen Hill flight, who adopt the range of movement and mooring described in CRT’s response, will not face enforcement action by the Trust for a twelve month interim period.
CRT believes that this is the best way to achieve the long-sought improvements to the canal that will benefit all users and will work with the K&A Waterway Partnership to monitor the impact of this plan over the twelve month period.
CRT’s full response to the K&A Towpath Mooring Plan is available at CRT’s website.


New Fuel Marker for Off-road Diesel

Photo: Fuel pump

On 13th February, the Government announced that the UK and Irish Governments are to introduce a new product to mark rebated fuels, including off-road diesel that is often used by the boating industry and commonly known in the UK as red diesel.

The new fuel marker, to be produced by Dow Chemical Company, should help HM Revenue & Custom’s (HMRC) and the Irish Revenue Commissioner’s work to tackle the criminal market in off-road diesel, marked with a red dye in the UK, and kerosene, primarily used as heating oil. HMRC says that the new product is more resilient to filtering techniques that launderers use to remove the red dye from off-road diesel and therefore, should make it more difficult for this fuel to be laundered. HMRC has stated that the new product is to be implemented in consultation with the oil industry and other affected sectors and as an additional marker rather than a replacement for existing markers. It is anticipated that the new marker will be introduced within twelve to eighteen months and the relevant legislation will be amended during this period.

HMRC has recommended that businesses in the boating and marine sector give consideration to ensuring that they will be able to continue to operate machinery and boats without any problem after the introduction of the new fuel marker.


Kennet & Avon Canal Remains Closed Between Kintbury and Reading

CRT has announced that although the Kennet end of the Kennet & Avon Canal has started to return to normal operating levels and flow rates, the navigation between Kintbury and Reading remains closed.

The River Kennet typically responds slowly to changes in weather conditions so a complete return to a normal and navigable state will take time. Additionally, at present, County Lock remains submerged and inoperable and CRT has chained lock gates closed further upstream in order to control boat movements. Even where water levels have returned to normal, flows remain exceptionally strong and most control structures (including weirs and sluices) are open, creating strong and turbulent localised currents.

In addition, sections of the towpath are still submerged or badly damaged and unsuitable for use.

CRT expects the navigation to return to operational levels prior to the Easter Holidays and recommends that boats on the affected stretch of the waterway do not attempt navigation until such a time when it is safe to do so.


£650,000 Funding Boost for Historic Sankey Canal

The Coastal Communities Fund has announced that a £654,000 grant is to be awarded jointly to Warrington Borough Council and Halton Borough Councils, after these local authorities’ and Sankey Canal Restoration Society’s partnership funding bid was successful.

The councils plan to use the grant to finance a new Marsh House Bridge for the Riverside Trading Estate, create twelve apprenticeships and improve marketing, signage and branding in order to protect and grow existing businesses and help create new ones along the Sankey Canal.

Warrington Borough Council has said it will contribute a further £225,000 so that a high quality lift bridge can be installed with the potential to open for waterways traffic if and when the canal to the west of the bridge is restored.


Foxton Locks to Benefit from Arts Council Investment in the Midlands

Foxton Locks on the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal, is to benefit from the Art Council's Renaissance strategic support programme, a programme that plans to invest £1,455,114 in ten Midland attractions over the coming year.

Leicester Shire Promotions with support from CRT, Foxton Inclined Plane Trust, Foxton Canal Museum, Leicestershire County Council and Harborough District Council put in a bid and received £193,000 for the project "Revealing the Treasures of Foxton Locks".

The Foxton Locks project is to include a new interpretation of the attraction with trails, guides, audio and digital enhancements and an interactive website portal. There are also plans to install interpretation panels at key sites with QR codes, create a 3D digital model of the boat lift and to install a local Wi-Fi network.


CRT Roving Mooring Permits

CRT has concluded that roving mooring permits, which it was proposing to introduce in two local areas from April 2014, cannot be used to deal with localised issues of mooring congestion on the waterways. This follows further consideration of legal issues which raised doubts about the practical implications the scheme. 


Bridgwater & Taunton Canal Towpath Improvements

A £600,000 scheme plans to improve a mile stretch of the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal Towpath.

CRT plans to create a cycle path and walking route with better lighting and new signs between Hamp Bridge and Albert Road. The works have been funded by the Department for Transport and is expected to take four months to complete.


Short Film Details the History of The North Walsham & Dilham Canal

Norfolk Uncovered: The North Walsham & Dilham Canal by Chris Richmond, is a short film (twenty-five minutes) on the history on the North Walsham & Dilham Canal. The film looks at the history, neglect, restoration and future plans for the canal and can be viewed on the IWA website.


Have Your Easter Cruise Featured in the IWA Blog

Is your canal trust or society running public boat trips over Easter or at other times in April? Then get in touch with cruise details and photos to feature in IWA's Easter Blog, to be published mid-April. Details should include:

  • Trust or society name
  • Cruise location
  • Cruise dates and times
  • Cruise cost and what this includes
  • If there is a need to book in advance
  • Contact details that readers can use to get more information
  • Any other relevant information

Send your Easter cruise details and photos to Stefanie Preston by 9th April.


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 the group has been undertaking.


IWA Milton Keynes Branch Helps to Reinstate Broad-walk

Broad-walk cleared at Fenny StratfordPhoto: Hedge by broad-walk trimmed and brambles cleared ready for work to begin preparing the hedge for the planting of whips (Photo by Rodney Evans)

IWA Milton Keynes Branch has been busy through the winter continuing work in the Fenny Stratford area on the Grand Union Canal, with a focus on the broad-walk behind the towpath hedge running north of the lock and alongside the visitor moorings. The branch, Milton Keynes Council, Tesco and CRT entered negotiations about the broad-walk, as it was clear no one was taking responsibility to maintain the walk or the hedge. The result was that Tesco accepted responsibility for the maintenance of the broad-walk, as it is on its distribution centre site, and hired in contractors to clear the mass of brambles. A three-metre wide strip of brambles was left behind the towpath, as the heavy plant could not clear this area without damaging the hedge and trees. It was this strip that IWA Milton Keynes Branch tackled, clearing head-high brambles and other brash whilst CRT topped some 100 metres of the hedge. The plan now is to tackle the ground growth in the bottom of the hedge and to fill any gaps in the hedge with whips.


Offside Vegetation Clearance at Hatton

Some of the IWA Warwickshire Branch team tackling the offside vegetation on the Hatton flightPhoto: Some of the IWA Warwickshire Branch team tackling the offside vegetation on the Hatton flight (Photo by Greta Russell)

On Sunday, 2nd February, twelve members of IWA Warwickshire Branch worked on the offside of Hatton flight on the Grand Union Canal, above Warwick. This was part of the plan to re-instate the path on the offside to allow boaters' crews passage on either side of the middle section of the flight. Vegetation on the offside lock approaches to locks 32 and 29 was cleared to allow two boat lengths of clear space. The vegetation below lock 30 was also removed, thus completing the first stage of this operation. The soil, which obstructs this lock landing will be removed and a retaining wall built by future work parties.


Cheshire Locks Work Party Tuesday 18th February 2014

Volunteers at Malkins Bank, February 2014Photo: Volunteers painting at Malkins Bank, February 2014 (photo by Bob Luscombe)

A bright and sunny morning greeted eleven volunteers for this month’s IWA North Staffordshie & South Cheshire Branch Cheshire Locks Work Party at Lock 63, Malkins Bank on the Trent & Mersey Canal.

Because of the recent wet weather, it was not possible to finish painting the lock gates, however the group were kept busy painting metal railings and continued vegetation clearance at both Lock 63 and Lock 64. The team finished all the metal work, leaving just a small amount of wood painting to finish next month, before work can begin at Lock 62.

The work of the group is consistently noticed by locals, and this month new volunteers came forward as a result of having witnessed the work party’s progress. In addition, local residents are getting increasingly involved in helping to monitor the state of the locks the group has already worked on.

CRT again provided good support and Edd Moss, CRT National Volunteering Manager, joined the group for the day.

The Cheshire Locks work party continues throughout 2014 and new volunteers are always welcome.


First Spring Clean-up a Success for IWA West Country Branch

Volunteer at Firepool Lock, Bridgwater & Taunton CanalPhoto: Volunteer at Firepool Lock, Bridgwater & Taunton Canal

On Saturday 1st March, IWA West Country Branch held its first canal clean-up of the spring. Throughout the day around thirty volunteers visited Firepool Lock on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal, Taunton, to lend a hand and improve the area ready for the cyclists, walkers and boaters that will shortly be venturing out more as the weather improves. Many were already using the towpath as the day was lovely and sunny and readily showed their appreciation of the volunteers’ work, proof that work parties like this are valued within the local community.

A group of volunteers cleared rubbish from the car park adjacent to the lock, before cutting back the overgrown vegetation. More vehicles can now be parked and the safety is improved as any vehicles can be seen from both the road and towpath.

A second group gave the lock gates some much needed attention. Firstly, the volunteers rubbed down the gates, handrails, iron work and mooring bollards to remove old flaking paint. All of these were then repainted, giving the lock a much improved appearance. It was lucky that the sun shined all day so that this work could be done.

Finally, a third group litter picked the towpath in both directions. Over thirty bags of rubbish were collected. The group also removed a large pile of debris from the far side of the lock. This was a difficult task as it involved moving many heavy barrow loads of wet vegetation along the lock, over the bridge and back to the car park.

Thanks to all volunteers who came to lend a hand. Thanks also to CRT, Bridgwater & Taunton Canal Association and Somerset Waterways Development Trust.


Sun Shines on WRG Volunteers Carrying out Restoration Work on the Pocklington Canal 

WRG NW on the Pocklington CanalPhoto: WRG North West on the Pocklington Canal

Spring arrived on the Pocklington Canal for WRG North West volunteers over the weekend of the 8th March. Sixteen volunteers from WRG North West, worked alongside two members of WRG’s Forestry team and spent the weekend clearing vegetation on the offside of the canal at Bridge 8. The aim of the tree clearance work was to improve light quality along the canal corridor, supporting the work of Natural England who are actively trying to manage tree growth along the canal.

Over the weekend volunteers were interviewed by the local community radio station, Vixen101, which gave them an opportunity to promote WRG’s canal restoration work and explain how to become a dirty weekender!  

WRG plans to return in the summer, holding a Canal Camp on the Pocklington Canal and Driffield Navigation, from the 16th-23rd August. The plan for the camp is for volunteers to improve the towpath on the Pocklington Canal, and to start construction of a new nature trail on the Driffield Navigation. It is hoped that the towpath works will create an amenity for the local community and improve access along the line of the two canals.


Over 80 Volunteers at IWA Warwickshire Branch Work Party

Filled hopper at Leamington Spa work party, March 2014Photo: Full hopper after IWA Warwickshire Branch's work party at Leamington Spa

On Sunday 9th March IWA Warwickshire Branch held a work party on the Grand Union Canal. The day was the warmest of the year to date and over eighty volunteers joined the branch to clean-up up the stretch of canal between Clements Street, Leamington Spa, and the Aqueduct over the River Avon in Warwick.

The day had not started well as the tug and hopper had been cast adrift from its moorings by thieves who had stolen the securing ropes. This did not deter the volunteers as once the craft had been retrieved everyone got to work with grappling hooks and litter pickers and collected enough rubbish from the canal and towpath to fill a hopper and car trailer. This was the biggest haul of rubbish IWA Warwickshire Branch has secured from a large clean-up event, which was largely due to the hard work of IWA members, Leamington Spa Army Cadets, students from The University of Warwick, a Warwick youth group and local residents.

The predominant items dragged from the canal were shopping trolleys, around fifty were recovered, and a selection of over twenty bicycles. Other more unusual items collected included, a ladder, a Heras fencing panel, traffic cones, a supermarket advertising banner, a gas bottle and mattresses. The litter pickers produced over thirty bags of rubbish.

The hopper hold was quickly filled to its full capacity with the debris collected. As the hopper was taken back to Hatton, walkers on the towpath stopped to photograph the unusual sight and struggled to believe all the rubbish had come from the canal in one morning.

Overall, the clean-up was a great success due in no small part to the incredible response from the local community and the support from CRT, in particular Steve Lambert who operated the tug and hopper.


IWA Branch Holds First Monthly Work Party on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal

Photo: Volunteers paint the lock gates

IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch
held the first of a series of monthly work parties on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal on Wednesday 12th March. Seven branch volunteers gathered at Falling Sands Lock, south of Kidderminster, where they were met by CRT Volunteer Leader, Steve Lambert. Work carried out included painting the lock gates and metal work at Falling Sands Lock, painting a nearby sluice that lets water in to the adjacent River Stour, and planting grass seed to finish a raised bank carried out as a flood precaution. The next work party will meet on Wedensday 9th April at Falling Sands viaduct to complete Falling Sands and to move on to Caldwall lock. 


Report on Caldon Canal Work Party 13th March 2014

Hedge laying at Froghall BasinPhoto: Hedge laying at Froghall Basin (photo by Bob Luscombe)

After such a wet winter, volunteers from IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canal Trust were greeted with warm sunshine when they returned to Froghall Basin on the Caldon Canal for their annual clean-up work party.  Eight willing volunteers spent the day clearing paths of vegetation along both the towpath and around the basin. In addition, a large quantity of rubbish, which had been fly tipped along the towpath near the tunnel was also gathered up for removal.

The volunteers then turned their hand to hedge planting making the most of the short time left for such activity. Some 300 hedging plants of various varieties were planted along the towpath from the tunnel entrance back towards the basin itself.

During the day, media students from the University of Staffordshire joined the work party to film some of the volunteers at work and to interview them on just what volunteering meant to them and why it is important that we encourage volunteers to work with us on the canal network.

At the end of the day, it was good to look at the work done and thanks to all the volunteers for their hard work once again.


IWA Volunteering Opportunities

IWA Branch Volunteer Vacancies:

New opportunity: IWA Milton Keynes Branch seeks a volunteer to fill the committee position of Treasurer. More information available at the IWA website.

Restoration Committee seeks 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:

East Midlands Region - Aegre - March 2014

Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch - Shroppie Fly Paper - Spring 2014

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

West Riding Branch - Mile Post - January 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
23rd - 25th August 2014 - Saul Waterways Pageant

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 (supported by 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

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)
23rd March Work Party - Northampton Arm (IWA Northampton Branch)
23rd March Work Party - Hatton Locks (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
26th March Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
26th March Work Party - Marsworth (IWA Chiltern Branch)
28th March Erewash Canal Clean-Up (supported by IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch)
29th March Erewash Canal Clean-Up (IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch)

2nd April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
2nd April Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
5th April Work Party - Dee Branch, Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
5th April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
5th - 6th April BCN Cleanup 2014 (Waterway Recovery Group)
7th April Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
8th April Work Party - Northampton Arm (IWA Northampton Branch)
9th April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
9th April Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
10th April Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
11th - 12th April Milton Keynes Bi-annual Canal Clean-up (IWA Milton Keynes Branch)
12th - 13th April Work Party Weekend - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Countyr & Worcestershire Branch)
13th April Bi-Annual Canal Clean-up - Tinsley (IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch)
13th April Work Party - Beverley Beck (IWA East Yorkshire Branch)
15th April Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
16th April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
23rd April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
26th April Work Party - Hyde (IWA Manchester Branch)
27th April Work Party - Northampton Arm (IWA Northampton Branch)
30th April 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


Upcoming Towpath Walks

18th March Walk - Earlswood Lakes (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
27th March Waterside Walk - Tiverton (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)

6th April London Towpath Walk (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
20th April London Towpath Walk (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
24th April Waterside Walk - Marston (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)

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
  • Marine Megastore Ltd. - 15% discount
  • Midland Chandlers - 5% discount  
  • Paper Wizard - 15% 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 North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch has joined the partnership board of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape (CVLLP).  CVLLP is a Heritage Lottery funded project which will deliver a wide range of projects in the Churnet Valley in North Staffordshire, including several canal projects on both the Caldon Canal and the derelict Uttoxeter Canal.  IWA branch members have already been involved in supporting various projects, but this formalising of the relationship with CVLLP will enable IWA to become even more closely involved with the work that is already under way. The Caldon Canal in the Churnet Valley is often described by visitors as the most beautiful canal in England, so IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch is especially pleased to join in protecting and enhancing this very special area.


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Mystery Photo Challenge

Think you know the name of this tunnel? Take part in the Bulletin's new feature, the mystery photo challenge and submit your answer here.

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