Photo: Illuminated boat parade, IWA National Trailboat Festival 2014, Grand Western Canal (photo by Geoff Roberts)
The Chesterfield Canal Trust is to host IWA's National Trailboat Festival in 2016 at Staveley Town Basin on the Chesterfield Canal.
The programme for the Festival, which is planned for the 2016 Spring Bank Holiday, is already being developed and currently includes an illuminated parade of boats on the Saturday night and a convoy up to the River Rother at St Helena’s on the Monday. There are also plans for boat rides, canoeing, children’s rides, dozens of stalls and a Real Ale bar.
The Trust has run previous IWA Trailboat Festivals at Tapton Lock in 2002 and 2005, which were both successful, as was the IWA Campaign Rally held at Kiveton Park in 2009.
Robin Stonebridge Chair of the Trust said: 'We are delighted that IWA has chosen to return to the Chesterfield for its 2016 Trailboat Festival. The boaters who came here in 2002 or 2005 will see a great change, both on the canal and in the surrounding area. Canals get restored by continuously making the case, by hard graft and by spreading the word and building support from across the country. Although we still have eight miles to restore, the Festival will be a good way to celebrate the Trust's efforts thus far and for visitors to have a really good time here in North East Derbyshire.'
IWA national chairman Les Etheridge said: 'Our 2016 Trailboat Festival will help to demonstrate the community benefits that flow from the revival of functioning waterways. As well as providing a great day out, we hope the festival will stimulate renewed support from the public and local interest groups for the Trust’s sterling restoration work.'
The Chesterfield Canal in Derbyshire is currently cut off from the rest of the network as the section between Staveley and Kiveton Park has not yet been restored; the section is owned by Derbyshire County Council.
The Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure Councillor Dean Collins, Derbyshire Council, said: 'The newly developed Staveley Basin has made Chesterfield Canal an attractive area for boats and we’re delighted to be hosting the National Trailboat Festival in Derbyshire next year.
'We’re committed to helping to improve Derbyshire’s economy and tourism has a massive role to play.
'We’re looking forward to welcoming the boating community to Derbyshire to enjoy our beautiful county and all it has to offer.'
Find out more about IWA’s 2015 Trailboat Festival, which is to be hosted and organised by Lancaster Canal Trust.
Find out more about IWA’s past Trailboat Festivals.
Photo: Martin Maudsley at Heybridge
The lockkeeper responsible for Heybridge Sea Lock in Essex is leaving his post after seven years of service. Martin Maudsley has been employed by Essex Waterways Ltd to operate the sea lock where the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation connects to the tidal estuary of the River Blackwater, but is now moving on to a new challenge with his family in the Lake District.
The tradition of a lockkeeper at Heybridge Basin dates back to 1796. Martin has played an important role in this tradition and the Essex waterside community as he is only the 14th lockkeeper to hold the post. He has helped over five thousand vessels through the sea lock and met many interesting people from all walks of life. During his tenure Martin has saved a number of lives, rescuing people who fell into the water, usually from their boat. Martin’s daughter, Maya, also added to the history of the role when she was born at Heybridge Basin in 2013, as she is believed to be the first lock house baby since it was built.
Having joined Essex Waterways less than three years after the company took over management of the Navigation, Martin believes Essex Waterways has gone from strength to strength and has said 'I am proud to have been a part of developing a very strong base which will help Essex Waterways operate successfully in the future.
'I wish the new lock keeper every success and happiness in their time here. It can be a challenging role and sometimes not as idyllic as it sounds, but on balance is a wonderful way of life that holds a great responsibility to keep the traditions and character of Heybridge Basin alive.'
Essex Waterways is now looking for a new lockkeeper at Heybridge basin. This is a rare opportunity for a unique way of life. The role, which benefits from waterside accommodation in the lock cottage with spectacular views over the Blackwater Estuary, includes operating the sea lock, site maintenance, crane operations and other varied duties. More information about the vacancy is available at Essex Waterways Ltd's website.
Photo: Narrowboat enroute along the River Thames from Teddington to Limehouse (photo by Andy Clarke)
Following a Port of London Authority (PLA) investigation into an accident that involved a hired narrowboat on the tidal Thames, PLA and representatives from British Marine Federation (BMF) and Association of Pleasure Craft Operators (APCO) have together addressed the safety issues related to hire narrowboats on the tidal Thames.
The group intends to agree clear and practical rules and guidelines for hire narrowboats that wish to transit the tidal Thames. To date, PLA and BMF have agreed a set of requirements for narrowboats that want to transit the tidal Thames between Brentford and Teddington Lock. Guidance documents for boat operators that will outline these requirements are expected to be published by the end of April. This follows IWA’s enquiry, at the end of 2014, that asked PLA to explain why it believed its request that hire companies ceased operations on the tidal Thames was appropriate, and in what way it would contribute to better safety on the tidal Thames.
PLA and BMF have stated that requirements will be based on existing safety certification with additional measures introduced to reduce the likelihood of hire narrowboats flooding on the tidal Thames. There are also plans for the documentation provided and existing handover procedures between the operator and the hirer or charterer to be improved.
Potential requirements for hire narrowboats that want to navigate the more complex tideway conditions between Limehouse and Brentford are still under discussion.
More information is available at British Marine Federation’s website.
Photo: Offside vegetation work being carried out by contractors this winter on the Caldon Canal
IWA has recently updated its policy on vegetation management and has also produced a briefing note to provide an overview of the subject.
IWA has been actively campaigning about vegetation management and particularly excessive offside vegetation at both a local branch level and nationally for many years, and is pleased to note the increase in offside tree and vegetation cutting that has taken place this winter on Canal & River Trust waterways. In some areas, volunteers have been involved in this work and IWA encourages the continuation and growth of such involvement.
IWA Warwickshire Branch’s offside vegetation project is an example of how volunteers can contribute to offside vegetation management. The Branch has successfully cleared vegetation from the offside lock landings along the Hatton lock flight of the Grand Union Canal, which has improved access. IWA and WRG volunteers have also supported recent work led by the Macclesfield Canal Society on the Macclesfield and Upper Peak Forest canals, which has seen substantial cost savings through volunteers carrying out this type of project.
Download and read IWA Briefing Note – Vegetation Management (PDF, 385KB).
Read IWA’s Vegetation Management Policy.
Photo: David Edwards-May training for the 2015 London Marathon
There are less than six weeks to go before David Edwards-May undertakes the challenge of running the 2015 London Marathon for IWA.
David has been hard at work training for the event, which takes place on Sunday 26th April, and aims to raise £5,000 for IWA. He hopes that with your support he will be able to reach this target.
David explained that he wanted to support IWA by running the London Marathon because of his passion for waterways. He said, 'I have always believed that inland waterways are priceless assets, to be preserved and enjoyed by all'.
If you would like to support David in his efforts to raise funds for IWA’s campaign and restoration work, you can sponsor him:
More information about David’s progress is available at IWA’s website.
After consultation with interested parties, IWA South Wales Branch has announced that the proposed integrated waterway, which would link the Swansea Canal to the Neath and Tennant Canals via a new route through Swansea Vale, the River Tawe and the Docks, is to be called the Swansea Bay Inland Waterway.
The proposed waterway would provide a 37-mile navigation from close to the Brecon Beacons National Park, via the Tawe and Neath valleys, to the South Wales coast at Swansea and Neath.
More information about the proposals area available at IWA South Wales Branch's website pages.
Photo: IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch Chairman, Peter Bolt and Paul Mills from the Small Tasks Team (photo by Gillian Bolt)
IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch has donated £200 to local volunteer group, Small Tasks Team.
Small Tasks Team is a group of volunteers that makes a real difference to the local waterways through work on specific projects that utilises the engineering skills of the Team. An example of the projects undertaken by the Team is the work carried out at the water points above Hurleston Locks. Here, Small Tasks Team has installed proper drainage and sets around the water points so that boaters no longer have to stand in deep muddy puddles to fill up with water. The volunteers also plan to relay the towpath in the area in the near future.
Branch Chairman, Peter Bolt welcomed Paul Mills, who started Small Tasks Team, to the Branch AGM on 10th March, where Paul was presented with the cheque for £200. The Team plans to use the donation to help fund the purchase of equipment, which is much needed as the Team’s numbers continue to grow with twenty-four volunteers signed up for the next project.
Trustees have recently created a working group to look at the present structure of branches and regions to see how they can be better suited to the modern IWA. An important part of this is to review the various guides for branches on IWA's website to see how they could be improved, primarily to shift the emphasis from regulation to support.
Rather than a review of the various handbooks and guides being undertaken by one of the members of the working group, who are mainly trustees, it has been suggested that it would be positive if the exercise was undertaken by an active branch member or members with practical experience of branch engagement. If any branch members are interested in this task could they please contact the group’s chairman, Alan Platt at email@example.com or contact him by telephone on 01352 720649.
There is still time to sign up to IWA and Canal & River Trust's (CRT) 2015 Waterway Restoraition Workshop. The workshop, titled 'Getting it on the Map', will focus on how to safeguard the line of canals under restoration and aims to ensure that local waterways societies and trusts have more support and information to assist in the development of their schemes.
The free workshop is scheduled to take place at The Bond in Birmingham on Saturday 25th April 2015. Full details and booking information are available at IWA’s website.
Many organisations and charities offer free funding opportunities in the form of grants that can be applied for by going through their specific application process.
To view the list of all the grants currently on the website please visit Available Grants.
This month the following grants have been added to the website:
Photo: Stanley Holland, as featured in Navvies edition 193 (June-July 2002) with a letter from Stanley talking of his involvement with WRG, national festivals and Navvies Jerusalem.
IWA is saddened to report the death of Stanley Holland, who passed away peacefully at his home on 6th March aged 93. Stanley had supported WRG, and the waterways, as an active volunteer for many years. He took part in WRG’s restoration work, was involved with IWA’s National Festivals and shared his enthusiasm for the waterways via talks to other groups. As well as being a staunch supporter of the waterways, Stanley was also an authority on canal coins, a subject that he wrote on in his book Canal Coins: An Illustrated History of the Coins, Tokens and Medals of the Inland Waterways.
Canal & River Trust (CRT) has announced plans to install new moorings close to Macclesfield town centre on the Macclesfield Canal.
A new 84 metre pontoon is due to be fixed to the side of the canal bank, near to the A6 Buxton Road Bridge (Bridge 37), in order to create visitor moorings for up to six boats.
Work on the project is due to start in mid-March and should be finished before Easter. After the installation of the moorings, volunteers plan to work on a complementary project to improve the local towpath and access to the Canal from Buxton Road.
More information on the new moorings is available at CRT’s website.
Wilts & Berks Canal Trust has launched an appeal to raise funds for a project at Royal Wootton Bassett, which plans to restore a 1.25 kilometre section of the Wilts & Berks Canal and create a wildlife trail alongside a former landfill site. Over £600,000 is needed in total, some of which has already been secured in the form of grants. Costs for preliminary work are estimated at £50,000 and include site clearance, ground investigation, land drainage consent and confirmation of the methodology for the works. One funder has agreed to release part of their grant for this initial work. However, it will only match fund what the Trust can raise. The Trust has launched this appeal to raise £25000 as every pound raised will release another pound of funding, bringing the overall total to £50000 as needed for initial work.
More information on the project and appeal, including how to donate, is available at Wilts & Berks Canal Trust’s website.
On 29th March 2015, Thames & Medway Canal Association plans to celebrate the completion of a new slipway, which has recently been built to enable boats to cruise around a mile of the Thames & Medway Canal, and works on the Swing Bridge, which the Association has been able to restore thanks to a donation from Gravesham Borough Council.
The celebration will take the form of an open day with a number of attractions planned, including the launching of a narrowboat and a static photo display of the almost 200 year old Canal.
More information about the open day is available at the Thames & Medway Canal Association’s website.
On 6th March, Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust (LHCRT) held a ceremony to mark the start of work on its project to reinstate a culvert and aqueduct of the Lichfield Canal, which were demolished when the M6 Toll motorway was built. The ceremony was attended by Local MP Michael Fabricant who cut the first sod.
More information on the project and the ceremony is available at LHCRT’s website.
At the beginning of March a major breach of the Caledonian Canal occured at Cullochy Weir. The breach requires a major civil engineering response and has resulted in the closure of the Canal to sea to sea navigation.
The breach was caused when unusually high water levels on Loch Oich significantly undermined the weir at Cullochy and partially washed it away. Work has begun to repair the breach, with access created next to Aberchalder Bridge to allow excavators to get close to the water's edge and install blocks to stem the flow of water near to the Bridge. Repairs can then be carried out on the weir.
Scottish Canals has said that the Caledonian Canal, which was due to open for the season on March 23rd, will potentially be closed to sea navigation until the end of April. It then plans to manage further works around boat movements so that the canal can be operational from the end of April. It could, however, be some time in June before works are completed fully.
More information, including updates, are available at Scottish Canal's website.
Canal & River Trust announced on 12th March, that repairs to a leak between Bridge 88 and Worcester Bar Stop Lock on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal have been completed and the navigation is now open. This stretch of the Canal was closed in February after concerns of a leak at the Aqueduct were raised. Further investigation revealed a large hole in the canal bed that has now been filled.
Canal & River Trust (CRT) has announced that Graham Boxer has been appointed as Head of Museums. Graham will be responsible for the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port, the Gloucester Waterways Museum and all of the designated museum and archive collections.
More information is available at CRT’s website.
This section contains volunteer reports from IWA branches and IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (WRG). IWA branch reports contain information from their latest work parties where volunteers have worked to help maintain their local canals. WRG reports on its Canal Camps and weekend digs to keep readers up to date with the restoration work the group has been undertaking.
Photo: Volunteers hard at work at Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Work Party
Essex Waterways Ltd. hosted a WRG Canal Camp in February as well as several weekend work parties, with Essex WRG and IWA Chelmsford Branch, at the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015. The volunteers carried out vegetation management work on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation during the winter period to help maintain the Navigation. The towpaths along the Navigation are becoming busier each year and clearance work is much appreciated by the many users. The work has also enabled Essex County Council to carry out informal surfacing between Barnes Lock and Sandford and will assist with future access for Essex Waterways Ltd.'s Avant cutter.
Work in the Elms Farm Heybridge area was also completed on 7th - 8th March when Essex WRG was joined by IWA Chelmsford Branch and the Sandford Boating Club, with twenty-six volunteers on site on the Saturday and Sunday.
Photo: Northampton Arm Mile Post 3 buried
IWA Northampton Branch held four work parties in February, two of which focused on reinstating one of the historic mile markers on the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal. The marker, which had become buried over the years, needed digging out and re-setting. After the first day, the volunteers reached the 12” diameter plate concreted in with broken bricks and it became clear a second day’s work would be needed as well as a jackhammer. With the right tools for the job on the second day, the post came out and was reinstated at a proper height, before being given a good lick of paint.
Photo: IWA Northampton Branch volunteer paints reinstated Mile Post 3, (photo by John Bannister)
The group also had two litter picks during the month that collected a huge amount of rubbish. Volunteers at the first litter pick filled around 50 bags, and around 40 were filled at the second.
Photo: IWA Warwickshire volunteers help boat arrive to pick up rubbish at Leamington Spa Cleanup
IWA Warwickshire Branch held its latest spring cleanup of the Grand Union Canal and the adjoining towpath between Tachbrook Road and St. Mary’s road in Leamington.
A diverse group of sixty volunteers used grappling hooks to haul a variety of items from the canal bed. These included the usual selection of shopping trolleys and bicycles, plus two van doors and axles, a wheelie bin, a water butt, three motorcycles, lots of pipe and a mixture of metal and plastic. In addition, a litter pick produced over 30 black sacks of rubbish.
The volunteers were made up of IWA members, Warwick University students, St Mary’s Road residents, Love Leamington members and local residents; all supported by Canal & River Trust (CRT) staff and work boat.
As well as filling the CRT boat with rubbish, two large trailer loads of metal were carted away to be recycled. Local MP, Chris White made a visit and was very impressed by the volume and variety of the collection.
It is planned to continue the cleanup of the canal and newly laid towpath in Leamington in the autumn with a further event concentrating on the section from St. Mary’s Road towards Radford Semele. If you would like to help or would like details of other, similar events please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
Manchester Branch - Manchester Packet - March 2015
North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch - Knobsticks - Spring 2015
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added in recent weeks:
West Riding Branch - Mile Post - January 2015
Northampton Branch - Endeavour - February 2015
Peterborough Branch - Hereward - Spring 2015
Major IWA events in 2015
2nd - 4th May 2015 -
30th - 31st May 2015 - IWA Trailboat Festival, Cumbria
29th - 31st August 2015 - Festival of Water, Northampton
IWA Branch Events in 2015
3rd - 5th July 2015 - Ware Boat Festival, Hertfordshire
4th - 5th July 2015 - Welsh Waterways Festival, Welshpool, Mid-Wales
Have you got a waterway event or activity to promote? - Anyone can add details of a waterways event or activity to this area on the website. You don’t even need to register with the website or provide any sort of password. Simply use the upload event form.
18th March Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
19th March Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
20th-23rd March Work Party - Rugeley (IWA Lichfield Branch)
21st March Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
22nd March Work Party - Hatton (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
22nd March Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
24th March Work Party - Burslem Arm (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
25th March Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
27th March Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
27th March Work Party - Erewash Canal (supported by IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch)
28th March Work Party - Erewash Canal (IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch)
28th March Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
28th March Work Party - Bridgwater & Taunton Canal (IWA West Country Branch)
29th March Work Party - Sheffield & Tinsley Canal (IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries)
1st April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
7th April Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
8th April Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
8th April Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
9th April Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
15th April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
16th April Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
17th-18th April Work Party - Milton Keynes (IWA Milton Keynes Branch)
18th-19th April BCN Cleanup 2015
18th April Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
22nd April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
24th April Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
25th April Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
26th April Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
28th April Work Party - Burslem Arm (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
29th April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
18th March Waterside Walk - Stratford Canal (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
5th April Waterside Walk - Llanthony Lock & Over Basin (IWA Gloucestershire & Herefordshire Branch)
5th April Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal, King's Cross to Hitchcock's Hackney (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
7th April Waterside Walk - River Foss (River Foss Society)
19th April Waterside Walk - Thames & Severn Towpath (IWA Gloucestershire & Herefordshire Branch)
19th April London Towpath Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal, King's Cross to Granary Square (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
26th April Waterside Walk - The Olympics to the Bow Back Rivers (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
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