IWA Bulletin Mid-November 2014

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WRG Volunteer Wins Award from Prime Minister

George Rogers on WRG Chesterfield Canal CampPhoto: George Rogers on WRG Canal Camp

On Thursday 6th November 2014, it was announced that George Rogers, a volunteer from IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group (WRG), is the latest recipient of a Points of Light Award. The award recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.

Over the past five years, George has volunteered on over forty week-long WRG Canal Camps, as a volunteer, assistant, cook and leader, restoring the waterways of England and Wales. He has also helped plan major canal restoration work on several projects from the Cromford Canal in Derbyshire to the Swansea Canal in South Wales.

Prime Minister, David Cameron said “Through his work, George is helping to safeguard the heritage and culture of Britain’s canals for future generations, which is of great importance. He truly deserves this Points of Light award.”

As well as helping run WRG’s summer Canal Camps, George also gives up much of his spare time at the weekends volunteering for WRG. Over the weekend (8th-9th November) George organised WRG’s Big Reunion Weekend, where over 100 volunteers descended on the Chesterfield Canal to carry out major vegetation clearance along the line of the Canal at Norbriggs, Renishaw and Spinkhill.

George said “Restoring the canals has long been my passion, and it is somewhat humbling to be recognised for something that I enjoy so much. The short and long term benefits to the other volunteers and the wider community make it a truly rewarding experience. This award also represents my firm belief that all volunteering is equally important - whether it be restoring the canals, building a school in Africa or mowing an elderly neighbour's lawn, volunteering is the bedrock of society and I only wish I could do more.”

Read more about George and his volunteer work with WRG in the IWA Volunteer of the Month blog.

IWA News

David Edwards-May to Run the 2015 London Marathon for IWA

David Edwards-May has been selected to represent IWA in the 2015 London Marathon.

David was chosen from a selection of strong applications that were received after IWA invited volunteers interested in taking on the challenge of running the marathon. IWA’s place in the 2015 London Marathon was won in a charity ballot held earlier this year.

Having successfully completed the Canalathon, a 33-mile endurance challenge along the Monmouthshire, Brecon & Abergavenny Canals, earlier this year, David wishes to test himself further and is eager to run his first full-length marathon. He has loved running from an early age and has always wanted the opportunity to compete in the London Marathon, as it is one of the largest, and most prestigious running events in the UK.

David aims to raise £5,000 for IWA through sponsorship and is already hard at work training for the event, having undertaken several 11-mile runs over the past few weeks.

About David Edwards-May
David Edwards-May is a vice president of Inland Waterways International (IWI), an organisation that brings together people and waterways organisations to support and campaign for the conservation, use, and proper development of inland waterways worldwide. IWI was founded by IWA’s former International Committee in the 1990s.

David developed a fascination with inland waterways at a young age. At 16 he attended the London Boat Show and bought Stanford’s Canoeing Map of England and Wales; this showed David that the waterways were full of intrigue and excitement. David first joined IWA as a member in 1968, also joining the ‘Navvies’ as a volunteer with Graham Palmer, founder of WRG, and participating in Operation Ashton to help restore the derelict Ashton and Lower Peak Forest Canals. In 1973 David was appointed by IWA’s Freight Group as a researcher of continental waterways.

David went on to develop a love for the French waterways and moved to France in 1976 where, after several years in public relations and technical translation, he became a waterways consultant and was able to aid in the conservation and improvement of the waterways. In particular, David played a part in the restoration of the Rivers Lot and Baïse, and the reopening of the Canal de Roubaix, acting as a consultant and responsible for several feasibility and socio-economic studies for the projects. He was also responsible for producing the submission to UNESCO resulting in the Canal du Midi being the first canal to be placed on the list of World Heritage sites in 1996.  David has continued to be heavily involved in the waterways over the years, producing maps of many European waterways and remaining committed to his role within IWI.

Support David
If you would like to support David in his efforts to raise funds for IWA’s campaign and restoration work, you can sponsor him:

  • Online - Visit David Edwards-May’s Virgin Money Giving fundraising page
  • By Phone – Call 01494 783453 ext. 611
  • By Post – Send a cheque payable to ‘The Inland Waterways Association’ to Toby Gomm, IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA

IWA Launches Winding Hole Specification

Winding Hole
As part of its current Winding Hole Campaign, IWA has made available on its website a recommended specification for winding holes.

The document in its draft form has already been useful to one waterway restoration scheme, and the intention is that the paper will provide a source of technical information and advice for all those involved in restoring and managing waterways.
The specification is now available on the IWA website. Download winding holes specification (1.3MB PDF).

IWA Welcomes Appointment of Welfare Officer

IWA welcomes the recent appointment by Canal & River Trust (CRT) of a Welfare Officer and hopes that the new post will go some way to resolving the conflicts that can arise when balancing the rights of individuals, particularly those in vulnerable situations, with enforcement of mooring rules.

IWA understands that the role of the Welfare Officer will be to develop policy about boater welfare and work with a network of external organisations and CRT staff to support vulnerable boaters. IWA hopes that this will enable CRT to be in a better position to enforce rules concerning overstaying on moorings and start to alleviate the problems which are occurring, particularly in London and on the western end of the Kennet & Avon Canal. IWA considers that it is important for CRT to address these issues before they become a major problem in other parts of the country, and believes that the way to do this is through enforcement. 

IWA National Chairman, Les Etheridge, and IWA Navigation Committee Chairman, Gren Messham, had the opportunity to meet the new Welfare Officer, Sean Williams, at a recent meeting with CRT.

Les Etheridge, said
 “We hope that Sean’s appointment will be a step in the right direction towards resolving some of the problems and we look forward to working with him. IWA’s policy has always been to support the concept of residential boating, and we recently published an article on our website containing advice about the pros and cons of living afloat. This highlights some of the issues that people need to think about before finding themselves living on a boat with perhaps little or no knowledge of the rules or practicalities involved."

IWA supports the rights of boaters to cruise the system without being required to have a home mooring but recognises the difficulties created when large numbers of boaters wish, for whatever reason, to stay within a small area. IWA supports the provision of more residential moorings in these areas, for people who wish to stay in one place, whilst encouraging those who wish to continuously cruise the waterways system to do so in a way which complies with the rules. 

More information can be found on IWA’s website:

IWA’s Policy on Continuous Cruising

IWA’s Briefing Note on Visitor Moorings

Advice and Information about Living Afloat

CRT Announced Boat Licence Fees for 2015

IWA is pleased to note the announcement by CRT that the rise in private boat licence fees due in April 2015 has been limited to 1.6%, in line with inflation, and in 2016 will be increased by no more than inflation. This follows the commitment made by CRT two years ago when they committed to pegging the licence fees to inflation for three years. That decision followed campaigning by IWA and other organisations and recognises the contribution that boaters make to the waterways as well as the financial pressures of boat ownership. 

Waterways Restoration Raffle Exceeds £9,000

Waterways Restoration Raffle project nomination pie chart, November 2014Image: Waterways Restoration Raffle project nomination pie chart, November 2014

IWA’s Waterways Restoration Raffle has raised over £9,000 towards its £10,000 target since its launch on Monday 1st August. Over 4,000 tickets have been sold, with two months left to go before the raffle is drawn.

The raffle aims to benefit waterways restoration projects across England and Wales with 100% of the profit donated towards projects run by IWA corporate members and an IWA volunteer-led moorings improvement project on the Cheshire Ring.

Friends of the Cromford Canal, Cotswold Canals Trust, Ashby Canal Association and Wey & Arun Canal Trust are receiving strong support, with their combined totals amounting to just under 25% of the total nominations.

Waterways societies eligible to be nominated can request free books of tickets from Head Office to sell and increase nominations for their cause.

Tickets are £2 each and come in books of five.

The raffle will be drawn on 16th January 2015 at IWA’s Head Office in Chesham.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit IWA's website or contact the raffle organiser Toby Gomm at toby.gomm@waterways.org.uk or on 01494 783453 ext.611.

IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch Donate £1000 for Chester Old Port Interpretation Board

CCHT presented with cheques for £1000 from IWA Chester & Merseyside BranchPhoto: CCHT presented with cheques for £1000 from IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch

Following the successful IWA National Campaign Festival in Chester Basin in June 2014, IWA Chester & Merseyside Branchhas donated £1000 to the Chester Canal Heritage Trust (CCHT) to use for a local waterway project.

Although badged as the IWA National Campaign Festival, CCHT members were very involved in the organisation of the event and their local contacts enabled them to raise significant funds, supporting the entertainment and other activities.

On receiving the cheque, John Herson, Chairman of CCHT, said “CCHT members were pleased to be involved with the Festival. It really helped to raise the profile of Chester’s waterways with the Chester public, with influential people in the area and also in the national context.

The Trustees have decided to use the grant to provide an information board on the Dee Branch to partner those we have already erected along the main canal in Chester. This will emphasise the fascinating history of this part of the waterway system and also its role as the vital link in our joint vision for Chester’s waterways. IWA’s contribution will be acknowledged on the structure.”

IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch Chairman, Peter Bolt, said “We were delighted to work with the CCHT members during the build up to the Festival and their contribution ensured the success of the event. It is only right, therefore, that we make this donation and an interpretation board, reminding visitors of the role that the old port played in Chester’s waterways history, will be a permanent legacy for the community.”

Work has already started on the design of the board and it is hoped that it will be in place in the New Year.

Volunteers Needed for Northampton Festival of Water 2015

After the success of Saul Waterways Pageant in 2014, a similar event, the Festival of Water, is to be held in August 2015 by IWA Northampton Branch on the River Nene. The event will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal to the River Nene and the planned redevelopment of the waterfront area.

The Branch has chosen Becket’s Park as the site for the Festival of Water and planning is well underway. The Branch has already enlisted the help of Northampton Borough Council, which has agreed to supply a large screen, generators, toilets and much more; the Environment Agency, which is helping with boat licence costs by offering a two-for-one Anglian Waterways registration offer; and CRT, which plans to repair and improve the Northampton Arm before the event with the help of local volunteers.

IWA Events Committee in now appealing for volunteers to help at the Festival. Anyone interested is invited to attend a get together for potential volunteers at 7.30pm, on 21st November. This event is to be held at the Nene Whitewater Centre (Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7AA) but attendees are also welcome to join the Festival team beforehand at either 6pm in the nearby Chef & Brewer, or at Northampton Lock between 4pm and 5pm for a short tour of the Festival site.

If you are interested in joining the team for any part of the evening or to find out more about volunteering at the Festival of Water, please email events@waterways.org.uk.

Sea Lock Usage on Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

Heybridge Sea Lock, Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation (photo by Roy Chandler)Photo: Heybridge Sealock, Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation (photo by Roy Chandler)

Essex Waterways Ltd has reported its figures for the number of boats that have used the sealock on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation for last four years, including 2014 to date.

The figures are as follows:

  • 2011 - 550 visitors & 178 long-term moorers locking into sealock. Total 1456 boats through the lock.
  • 2012 - 390 visitors & 159 long-term moorers locking into sealock. Total 1098 boats through the lock.
  • 2013 - 423 visitors & 142 long-term moorers locking into sealock. Total 1130 boats through the lock.
  • 2014 - 459 visitors & 154 long-term moorers locking into sealock. Total 1223 boats through the lock.

Numbers through the lock were particularly high in 2011, this is thought to be due to a very hot summer, the warmest on record since 1910 with a heat wave in October. Correspondingly, 2012 had the second highest mean rainfall since 1910, which was thought to contribute to the decline in numbers through the lock. Since then numbers have steadily increased.

Support IWA Whilst Doing Your Christmas Shopping Online

Are you likely to buy presents and decorations or do your big grocery shop online this Christmas? If so, you could raise additional funds for IWA at the same time by signing up to the easyfundraising.org.uk scheme, and all for minimal effort and no extra cost.

Many online purchases you make could raise extra funds for IWA through the easyfundraising.org.uk scheme. The scheme is free to sign up to and has 2700 participating online retailers who will give a percentage of your spend at their online store as a donation to IWA if you purchase goods via easyfundraising.org.uk. For example, if you bought a book on Amazon, but via easyfundraising.org.uk, for £10, IWA would receive a 1.5% donation of 15p. In total, IWA has received over £800 through the scheme so far.

Signing up to easyfundraising is very simple and it takes no more than a couple of minutes to create an account. After this you can visit the 2,700 participating online stores through easyfundraising.org.uk, you must make purchases via the easyfundraising.org.uk website in order for IWA to receive a donation, and start shopping, whether it is for your Christmas presents or for any other purchase you might make throughout the year. To make things even easier once you have created an account you can install a toolbar in your browser via the easyfundraising website, so that you do not need to visit the site every time you make a purchase.

Grant Funding

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 and are open to applications:

Other News

CRT Launches Opportunities to See Waterways From a Different Perspective

This November CRT has planned a programme of sixteen public open days, as part of a five-month, £45 million maintenance programme on canals and rivers across England and Wales.
The open days range from providing access into drained lock chambers and a drained section of the busiest stretch of the Regent’s Canal, to a behind the scenes tour at the National Waterway Museum and a spectacular walk to see Marple Aqueduct. The works will provide thousands of visitors the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes providing the opportunity to see up close some of the finest examples of working industrial heritage in the world.
CRT carries out maintenance and repair work across its waterway system throughout the year but plans for the biggest projects to be carried out during the winter months to minimise the impact on waterway users. This year, essential maintenance will include the replacement of worn-out lock gates and repairs to aqueducts, reservoirs and tunnels.

To find out more about the Restoration & Repairs programme and the open days happening across the country visit CRT’s website.

CRT Has Established New Teams to Deliver Increased Customer Service and Improved Asset Management 

CRT has announced that its new Operations & Asset Management directorate went live at the start of November.

CRT has said that the new directorate, which follows a restructure of the CRT’s operations and technical teams, has been established to help the Trust improve its customer service; deliver more benefits to the public and local communities; improve integration between staff, volunteers and contractors; manage resources more efficiently and increase productivity.
As part of the restructure CRT has streamlined its key technical specialists with the establishment of two new teams:

  • The Asset Management & Performance Team, under George Ballinger, provides a pool of specialists with oversight of the physical condition and risks of the waterways’ built and natural infrastructure. 
  • The Asset Delivery Team, under Simon Bamford, focuses on delivering the Trust’s core maintenance and repair programmes.

The process continues and CRT is currently recruiting a Head of Customer Services. It is hoped the appointment will be made early next year, in the meantime Dean Davies will continue to cover the role before moving to the position of Direct Services Manager in the new Asset Delivery Team.

Moves Taken to Tackle Illegal Mooring on the Non-tidal Thames

The Environment Agency (EA) is to extend its mooring enforcement programme to all of its twenty-two mooring sites on the non-tidal Thames after a pilot scheme was concluded a success.

EA’s pilot scheme was carried out at sites in Walton and Weybridge and Oxford. During the pilot, EA worked with private firm, District Enforcement, to implement enforcement action on its moorings based on civil law drawn up originally for car parking.

The scheme rules allow boaters to moor for up to 24 hours free of charge, followed by a £5 daily charge for up to 72 hours. Action is then possible against over-stayers. A new contract  covering  enforcement on twenty-two sites is currently out to tender; it outlines that EA intends to introduce the scheme to twelve priority sites in the remainder of 2014/15, and then to all twenty-two sites from 1st April 2015.

Elsewhere along the Thames, Government approval of a new byelaw to make mooring on land owned by Richmond upon Thames council a criminal offence is also expected shortly and has already received a provisional go-ahead from the Department for Communities and Local Government. Action has also been taken by Kingston Council to impound two boats.

Montgomery Canal Consultation to Develop Plans for Community Activities

CRT is to host a series of public meetings in Welshpool to give canal enthusiasts and local residents a say on the type of community activities they would like to see along the Montgomery Canal.

The community activities are part of plans to restore the 200 year old Montgomery Canal, which have been boosted by a £160,200 development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). This will help CRT progress plans to apply for a full grant for the project at a later date.

The Trust will be working with the fourteen partner organisations, including IWA, that make up the Montgomery Canal Partnership. The Partnership aims to fully restore the canal as a haven for people and nature and bring canal boats back for the first time in 80 years.

The funding includes the opportunity to stage community activities and CRT now seeks the views of local people and other interested parties to see what type of activities they might like to take part in.

The community activities should be:

  • Related to the canal heritage, its future or its wildlife.
  • Of a recreational nature or to develop skills.
  • Delivered through taster sessions, community events or family-fun days.

The consultation meetings are to be held in the Corn Exchange, Welshpool Town Hall between 11.00and and 3.00pm on Friday 21st November and between 5.00pm and 7.30pm on Tuesday 25th November.

Also on show at the consultation meetings will be a large scale map showing the proposed improvements to the Montgomery Canal.

The improvements include the reopening of 2km of canal, reinstatement of a winding hole at Crickheath and towpath improvements between Welshpool and Llanymynech.

The project also aims to complete the enlargement of Aston Locks nature reserve, extending the conservation of important aquatic plants, restoring historic bridges and carrying out further studies to secure the full funding needed for the project.

The current HLF funding is another step towards the canal’s full restoration and will allow CRT to complete its application to the HLF for a grant towards the £6million project.

Swansea Canal Society Creates Petition to Support Purchase of Stretch of Canal

Swansea Canal Society has started a petition to support Glandwr Cymru (CRT in Wales) in purchasing and regenerating a 100 yard section of the Swansea Canal and surrounding land between Clydach Aqueduct and Coed Gwilymn Park, Clydach.

This stretch of the Swansea Canal is culverted underground for 100 yards, under what used to be the Council's Highways Depot in Pontardawe Road. One of the Canal's historic locks is also buried there. Glandwr Cymru, who owns the canal in water from Clydach to Ynysmeudwy, wishes to restore this section (including the lock) in conjunction with the Council who is redeveloping the site.

The development plans include a small number of new homes, a public open space and improved pedestrian and cycle access to the area. This will completely reinvigorate the lower end of Pontardawe Road, enhance the environment and bring significant benefits to the community.

On the 2nd December, the CRT Development Manager, has been allocated a ten minute slot to present Glandwr Cymru’s proposed plans for this stretch of Swansea Canal to the Swansea Councillors.

Swansea Canal Society has said that it fully supports this restoration and development plan and hopes to demonstrate this with a petition of support for the project, which the Society would like to deliver to the Leader of the Swansea Council on 2nd December.

If you would like to add your name to the petition, you can do so online.

Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Reaches Final of The People’s Millions

Studley GrangePhoto: Studley Grange

Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is one of six groups in the ITV South West (East) region that have qualified for the chance of winning £50,000 in the TV competition, The People’s Millions, run by ITV and Big Lottery Fund.

The winner of the £50,000 is chosen by public vote. The projects that have been put forward for funding will be shown on Wednesday 26th November on ITV South West (East) with telephone voting taking place the same day. If Wilts & Berks Canal Trust wins, the money will fund the ‘Studley Wildlife Trail’, a kilometre long wildlife trail next to the closed landfill site at Studley Grange, Royal Wootton Bassett.  

The Trust has said that the Studley Wildlife Trail project aims to provide a wonderful amenity for the community with local schools and other youth groups being involved.  

To support Wilts & Berks Canal Trust visit The People’s Millions website.

CRT Announces Results of Tender for New Trade Moorings at Paddington

Little Venice, Regent's Canal  (photo by Aileen Butler)Photo: Little Venice, Regent's Canal  (photo by Aileen Butler)

On 14th November, CRT announced the results of its tender for new permanent trade moorings in Paddington Basin and in Little Venice Pool.  
CRT said that it received more applications than anticipated and this impacted the time it took to come to a decision. After deliberation the Trust awarded the moorings at Paddington to British Land, whose bid was to use the two moorings for an independent coffee boat and floating welcome centre for visitors to the area.
The Trust has created a shortlist of bids for the moorings at Little Venice and plans to work with these applicants to better understand their plans.

Local Artists Plan to Develop Floating Art Space

Two Welsh artists, Amber Mottram and Ellie Young, hope to  provide Wales with a new floating art space – The Boat Studio.

The pair plan to renovate a narrowboat to create a floating adaptable art space that could host residencies, exhibitions, gigs and performances in a unique and inspiring setting. This is an integral part of their aim is to set up a not-for-profit arts residency scheme that would provide opportunities for new, emerging artists and bring more established artists into Wales. In doing this they hope, not only, to establish a platform for contemporary art, but to showcase all that is great about canal life.

In order to develop the The Boat Studio project, the team need to raise £20,000 to purchase and renovate a narrowboat. To support the project and find out more visit The Boat Studio website, where you can donate via the project’s crowd-funding scheme.

Basingstoke Canal Water Management System Gets Upgrade

(Left to right) Laurie Reynolds, Managing Director, Aquamatix; James Taylor, Strategic Manager, Basingstoke Canal; John How, Volunteer, Basingstoke Canal Society)Photo: (Left to right) Laurie Reynolds, Managing Director, Aquamatix; James Taylor, Strategic Manager, Basingstoke Canal; John How, Volunteer, Basingstoke Canal Society

The Basingstoke Canal Authority has contracted with Aquamatix, pioneer of the Internet of Things in water, to provide real-time monitoring and control of water resources, to allow the public to access information about the canal, and to reduce energy consumed by canal operations.

In order to use a limited water supply as efficiently as possible, while reducing the energy consumed in managing the Canal operations, leading-edge technologies from the Internet of Things will be supplied by Aquamatix.  

The system will provide a variety of tools for canal rangers to monitor water levels and flows and pumping station activity. Information from the system will also be available to the public via a website, allowing canal users to better enjoy and understand the Canal and its environment.

The project has been jointly developed by public agencies including Surrey and Hampshire County Councils, Basingstoke Canal Society and Aquamatix.

The system will be deployed over the winter, ready for the start of the season in April 2015.

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.

Shardlow Crane Restoration

Volunteers by Shardlow CranePhoto: Volunteers by Shardlow Crane

The wharf crane by Steven’s warehouse in Shardlow on the Trent & Mersey Canal was donated to the village when the company closed in the late 1970s. By 2007 the wooden jib was in poor condition due to rot and was removed by Trent & Mersey Canal Society work party; with the intention of making a new jib. Nothing had happened by 2011 and whilst having some ex-British Waterways stop planks cut into smaller planks with a large band saw by Charles Gregory Ltd. in Tansley, John Baylis asked if they could also cut a new jib to the original pattern.

Charles Gregory Ltd. could do the job at a reasonable cost and it was agreed that WRG East Midlands would take over the project. The new 21ft jib was cut from a piece of larch and tapered to octagonal shape before seasoning and sanding, prior to being finally Tanalised. The jib was delivered to Shardlow where the original cast iron ends were fitted and the whole given several coats of white paint. Meanwhile the base had been cleaned down and several large new bolts made to the original dimensions.

On 24th October, the jib was delivered to the site on working narrowboat Bath and erected into position by the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association work party, which is  based at Langley Mill. With other IWA and Shardlow Heritage Group members a total of fourteen volunteers assisted with the work. The total cost of the work at nearly £600 was funded by a donation from Trent & Mersey Canal Society and other local donors. 

IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch Out Twice in November

IWA Chester & Merseyside work party, Cow Lane Bridge, Shropshire Union Canal, 8th November 2014Photo: IWA Chester & Merseyside work party, Cow Lane Bridge, Shropshire Union Canal, 8th November 2014

On Saturday 1st November, volunteers with IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch were at Tower Wharf on the Shropshire Union Canal for the Branch’s regular work party. The group was busy and cleared weeds and vegetation from the Turnover Bridge and around the Graving Lock, as well as taking time to plant spring bulbs at Northgate Locks. Work parties have proved a huge success for the Branch and it again squeezed in an extra date this month and on Saturday 8th November, completed a much needed litter pick at Cow Lane Bridge.

Over 80 Volunteers at Canal Clean-up in Warwick

Rubbish collected from the Grand Union Canal on the IWA Warwickshire Branch clean-upPhoto: Rubbish collected from the Grand Union Canal on the IWA Warwickshire Branch clean-up

Despite the damp conditions on 2nd Novvember over 80 volunteers turned out to clean the stretch of the Grand Union Canal between Emscote Road and Wedgenock Lane, Warwick.

Organised by IWA Warwickshire Branch, with the active support of CRT, the event saw many tons of abandoned ironmongery dragged from the canal using grappling hooks. The predominant items retrieved from the canal were bicycles and shopping trolleys, but also retrieved were three motorcycles, lengths of carpet, electronic equipment and a safe.

For those wanting a less strenuous task, litter pickers and black bags were supplied. The recent strimming of the vegetation adjoining the towpath had exposed numerous plastic bottles and cans. These were gathered up and loaded onto the hopper boat driven by Steve Lambert, CRT Volunteer Leader.

IWA Warwickshire Branch would like to thank the students from Warwick University, the Army cadets who had travelled from Stourport, plus the local residents and families that gave their assistance to IWA branch members. The next IWA organised canal clean-up with be in Leamington Old Town on 1st March 2015. If you would like to help or would like details of other similar events please email info.warwickshire@waterways.org.uk.

100 Volunteers in the Chesterfield Canal

Students from local college join WRG reunionPhoto: Students from local college join WRG reunion

On the 8th-9th November, IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) held its Annual Reunion Weekend on the Chesterfield Canal. Despite the inclement weather, over ninety WRG volunteers from across the country, joined by volunteers from the Chesterfield Canal Trust and students from Chesterfield college, carried out major vegetation clearance along the line of the Canal at Renishaw, Spinkhill and on the Norbriggs Cutting.

Using chainsaws, brush cutters, bow saws, tirfors, along with some brute force and determination, volunteers removed trees, stumps and brambles from the canalbed and tow path. A small group of volunteers also worked at Staveley Town Lock, back filling a block wall with concrete. 

It is hoped that this work will play an important part in helping the Trust show how much support there is on the ground for the restoration project as plans for the continued restoration are under threat  from HS2 High Speed Railway – Phase 2.

The current route shows the track running on or close to the line of the Canal for much of the way from Staveley to Killamarsh. This would make it far more difficult and expensive to restore the Canal. The uncertainty behind the HS2 route and its effect on the restoration project has already resulted in the loss of Heritage Lottery Funding.

Trust spokesman Rod Auton said “This camp is a clear message that the Chesterfield Canal Trust will carry on regardless of threatened setbacks. The full restoration of the canal is a long-term project that has already overcome many obstacles at first thought to be insurmountable. We know that we have massive public support and we are not going away.”

Amber Jenkins, Assistant Leader for the weekend said ‘The Reunion was a great success thanks to all the hard work by all the WRG volunteers and the Chesterfield Canal Trust. It was great to catch up with so many volunteers from the summer, as well as meeting new faces. One volunteer said to me how ‘nice it was to come back after ten years and feel like you’ve never been away’. It was a really rewarding weekend and it is really worthwhile project to support.’

IWA Lichfield Branch's Week of Work Parties

Volunteers spread gravel during IWA Lichfield Branch's path relaying work party week on the Trent & Mersey Canal, 10th-15th November 2014 (Margaret Beardsmore)Photo: Volunteers spread gravel during IWA Lichfield Branch's path relaying work party week on the Trent & Mersey Canal (photo by Margaret Beardsmore)

Local Volunteers helped IWA Lichfield Branch to lay a complete new towpath in Rugeley during the week 10th to 14th November. CRT kindly provided the equipment and materials.

The new towpath runs between Brindley Bank Aqueduct on the Trent and Mersey Canal, as far as the Rugeley Bypass Bridge on the Canal – some 200 metres. This is part of a popular circular walk for Rugeley residents, but previously became very muddy during the winter months.

A total of twenty-seven volunteers put in 340 hours labour, sometimes in appalling wet weather. Some came for the week, some for a day or two, some fitted in hours between paid work or babysitting, but everyone worked extremely hard to get the task finished.

The new towpath has now been lined, and one layer of aggregate has been laid and compacted. The final layer will be installed in early Spring, when hopefully the weather is better.

Rain Does Not Hinder Wolverley Work Party

Five intrepid members turned up for IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch’s regular monthly work party on 12th November, in spite of forecasts of rain that put painting lock gates off the agenda. Volunteers still managed to spend a couple of hours litter picking, the group collected five full bags with plans for the cans to be recycled, and tool time to inspect the next lock to be worked on.  
The delightful stretch of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal between the two Wolverley locks is almost pristine in condition, with only the odd bits of litter found alongside several groups of cans in places, which were inevitable being so near to urban areas. The proximity of the River Stour is also of interest, although clearing the two sites of accumulated rubbish seen in mid-stream was not attempted!  
The condition of the interesting Wolverley Court lock is mechanically fine but the paintwork is almost non-existent. Its rather isolated position has probably been the reason behind both its near original state and the neglect of surface protection that it so badly needs! Definitely a project for next year! 

IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch Work Party Moves to Leek Tunnel

Caldon work party, Leek Tunnel (photo by Alison Smedley)Photo:Work party at Leek Tunnel on the Caldon Canal (photo by Alison Smedley)

The joint IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust work party on Thursday 13th November took place at a new location, Leek Tunnel on the Leek Arm of the Caldon Canal. Despite it being a rainy week, the day stayed dry with some rain later on. The group was also fortunate that although it was very windy on top of the tunnel the paths down to the Canal on either side were nicely sheltered from the worst of the winds. By the end of the day the volunteers had cleared all overhanging vegetation from the route which takes the towpath over the tunnel, as well as having cleared grass and weeds from a section of cobbled towpath by the west portal of the tunnel. Some litter picking was also carried out.

A Summer of Work Parties on the Cheshire Locks

IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire work party on the Cheshire LocksPhoto: IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire work party on the Cheshire Locks

Progress has been made on the Cheshire Locks on the Trent & Mersey Canal over the summer months thanks to the volunteers that helped at a number of IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch work parties. Whatever the weather, volunteers have turned up to carry on the work enhancing and improving the appearance of the Cheshire Lock flight.

Challenges have been faced due to a combination of weather related problems, navigation issues in the Malkins Bank area during August and work party leader availability. Whilst little can be done about the weather or indeed unforeseen canal navigation issues, the Branch is pleased to announce that Andrew Hellyar-Brook has offered to take on the role of Cheshire Locks Work Party Leader.

Over the past two years, the work party volunteers on the Cheshire Locks have made a significant impact to the appearance of the looks in Rode Heath, Church Lawton and latterly Malkins Bank, as well as improving the canal area around Wheelock Wharf and Wardle Lock.

A small amount of work remains at Malkins Bank and then the Branch plans to start work in the new year on a new part of the Cheshire Lock flight. Andy will send out more information in due course.

IWA Volunteering Opportunities

IWA Branch Volunteer Vacancies:

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 - November 2014

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

Chiltern Branch - Grapevine - October 2014
Lee & Stort Branch - Lee & Stort Recorder - October 2014
Ipswich Branch - Anglian Cuttings - Autumn 2014
Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch - Shroppie Fly Paper - Autumn/Winter 2014

Waterway Events

Major IWA events in 2015

2nd - 4th May 2015 - IWA Canalway Cavalcade, London
30th - 31st May 2015 - IWA Trailboat Festival, Cumbria
29th - 31st August 2015 - Festival of Water, Northampton

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 November Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
20th November Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
22nd November Canal Clean-up - London (IWA London Region)
22nd-23rd November Canal Clean-up - Birmingham (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
25th November Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
26th November Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
28th November Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)

1st December Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
3rd December Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
3rd December Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
6th December Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
6th December Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
6th-7th December Work Party Weekend - Chelmer & Blackwater (IWA Chelmsford Branch & Essex WRG)
7th December Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
10th December Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
10th December Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
11th December Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
16th December Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
17th December Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
18th December Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
20th December Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
20th December Work Party - Hyde, Lower Peak Forest Canal (IWA Manchester Branch)

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

Upcoming Towpath Walks

27th November Waterside Walk - Northwich (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)

7th December Waterside Walk - The Olympics, Three Mills and Bow Back Rivers (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 - up to 67% off magazine subscription until January 2015
  • CanalCruising.co.uk - 10% discount
  • Channel Glaze - 10% discount on double glazing for boats
  • Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
  • Europcar - Special hire rates to IWA members
  • Frangipani SUP Ltd - 10% discount
  • Forge Studio - 10% discount
  • Grand Union Diesel Services - 5% discount
  • IceGripper - 20% discount
  • King's Lock Chandlery - 5% 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


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Mystery Photo Challenge

Which canal is in this October 2014 photo? Take part in the mystery photo challenge and submit your answer here.

See the answer and those that guessed correctly for the previous mystery challenge!

IWA News

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IWA Work Parties

Other Information

Recent Blog Posts

A Guide to Boating in Winter

Gren Messham - Volunteer of the Month November 2014

Desktop Calendar

Download the IWA November Desktop Calendar