IWA Bulletin Mid-October 2013

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IWA to Celebrate Stratford Anniversaries – Festival Plans Announced

IWA has offered support to Stratforward and other local organisations in Stratford-upon-Avon to ensure appropriate celebrations for the significant waterways anniversaries in 2014. Stratforward Business Improvement District, an organisation of local businesses, has been responsible for organising the annual Stratford River Festival for the past five years, and is organising an even bigger and better event in 2014, at which IWA plans to have a significant presence. 

The Association had looked at holding a 2014 National Festival in the town, and had held discussions with Stratford District Council to review the options for the holding such an event in place of the usual Riverside Festival.  However, in the light of the poor attendance and financial outturn of the 2013 National Festival at Watford (where the event loss was just over £40,000) the Association has decided against planning festivals of this type for the foreseeable future, as the financial risks for the Association are too great.  IWA will, instead, put its efforts into rallies with clear campaign objectives, and proven annual gatherings such as Canalway Cavalcade, as well as supporting other major events such as Stratford River Festival and Crick Boat Show, where IWA hopes to have an enhanced presence.  IWA’s commitment to such events will produce more benefit for the Association, and for the waterways in general, at less risk.

IWA has announced plans to hold a number of significant events in 2014, starting with the annual Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice in London, over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.  This is followed by IWA’s annual National Trail Boat Rally over the late May Bank Holiday weekend on the Grand Western Canal, and is to be hosted and organised by Devon County Council, and will include celebrations for re-opening the canal following the major embankment reconstruction currently in progress.  IWA's 2014 National Campaign Rally takes place at Chester in early June and will promote improved waterway connections through the city and to make better use of the river Dee and all parts of the Shropshire Union Canal in the area.  IWA Festivals also plans to hold a significant event, in the style of a traditional boat rally, over the August Bank Holiday weekend, the details of which are planned to be available at the beginning of the year.  Furthermore, IWA branches plan to hold a range of rallies up and down the country. 

2014 is the 50th anniversary of the re-opening of the southern Stratford-upon-Avon Canal and the 40th anniversary of the re-opening of the upper Avon Navigation.  2014 also sees the centenary of the birth of IWA founder Robert Aickman, who had a particular affection for the waterways around Stratford-upon-Avon.  IWA hopes that these anniversaries will spur further support for the proposals to extend the Avon Navigation to Warwick, for which a feasibility study is due for release in 2014.


IWA News

HS2 - Fradley Feasibility Study Hiccup
In mid-August IWA trustees agreed to retain rail consulting engineers to undertake a feasibility study of the Association's proposals for an alternative route for HS2 at Fradley, aiming to avoid three of the four proposed crossings of the Trent & Mersey Canal over a 1000m stretch from above Shade House Lock to beyond Wood End Lock. Despite careful preparation of a tender invitation and specification for the work which was issued to three consultants in late August, IWA received no bids for the work by the closing date of late September.

This was both frustrating and concerning, damaging the Association's ability to collect factual evidence to support IWA's case. However, subsequent discussions with Canal & River Trust’s Head of Engineering George Ballinger, chair of CRT’s HS2 Steering Group, resulted in an offer to forward the specification to their consultants Hyder to price the work.  After further detailed discussions with Peter Walker, Engineering Manager South and CRT’s technical lead on HS2 issues, IWA has agreed a joint specification based on the Association's original and is now awaiting Hyder’s response and proposals.

Subject to receiving a satisfactory proposal from Hyder, which has significant experience in rail engineering work as company in the top ten in the UK, IWA and CRT will then be able to progress the Feasibility Study and jointly consider the outcome. As before, if the report confirms IWA’s position, this evidence would then be used to discuss with Canal & River Trust's HS2 team and other stakeholders how we can use the information to defend the waterways at Fradley from HS2’s current extremely damaging proposals to the 200-year-old setting of the canal as legislation moves into Parliament.


IWA Oxfordshire Branch Takes over 800 People on Narrow Boat Trips

IWA Oxfordshire Branch had a busy and successful Banbury Canal Day (6th October), which  proved a popular day out.  The branch ran trips from Sovereign Wharf to the old arm of the canal and back, as well as taxi rides between the basin and Sovereign Wharf. The branch operated four boats allowing  over 800 people to experience a narrow boat trip – a great way to promote the use of the waterways. This was all made possible thanks to the hard work of the volunteer skippers, crew, waterside helpers and lift bridge operators.

See photo gallery on Flickr.


£160,000 Awarded for Further Restoration of the Montgomery Canal
On 7th October the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a £160,000 development grant towards a bid to fund further restoration of the 200-year old Montgomery Canalin Shropshire. IWA Shrewsbury District and North Wales Branch is involved in the project as a part of The Montgomery Canal Partnership. The branch has, alongside other organisations, offered match funding as part of CRT's bid for £3.7 million.  At a national level, IWA, along with Shropshire Union Canal Society, has provided a substantial portion of the funding for the CRT officer, over three years, to work up the initial bid.

The Montgomery Canal Partnership aims to fully restore the canal and works will include the reopening of 2km of canal, re-instatement of a winding hole at Crickheath and towpath improvements from Welshpool to Llanymynech. This initial funding will also allow the undertaking of studies needed to secure the full funding for the project.


WRG Bonfire Bash

Over the weekend of 9th and 10th November IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group will be holding its annual get-together for 100+ volunteers. This year the event will be hosted by the Cotswold Canals Trust with volunteers working along the line of the canal carrying out tasks such as scrub-bashing at Gough's Orchard Lock to lock clearance and scaffolding work at Ham Mill and Bowbridge Locks. Volunteers may even carry out some concrete work at Griffin Mill Lock.

The weekend costs £13 (includes food and accommodation). For more details visit the Waterway Recovery Group Website


IWA National Officers
At the October meeting of IWA's trustees, Les Etheridge was re-elected as national chairman, Paul Roper and Alan Platt re-elected as deputy national chairmen and Gordon Harrower re-elected as national treasurer.  All these positions come up for re-election at the first meeting of trustees each year following the Annual General Meeting.


IWA Newsletter Preferences
Subscribers to this Bulletin can unsubscribe or change their preferences at any time by following the link at the bottom of the bulletin email. There is the option to unsubscribe as well as the chance to subscribe to additional publications including IWA Press Releases and IWA shop newsletters.


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:

West Riding Branch - Mile Post - September 2013
Peterborough Branch - Hereward - Autumn 2013
South London Branch and North & East London Brach - Meridian Cuttings - Autumn 2013
Great Ouse Branch - Ouse News - Autumn 2013
Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch - Worcester Bar - Autumn 2013

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

East Yorkshire Branch - Wolds Waters - September 2013
Manchester Branch - Manchester Packet - September 2013


IWA Work Party Reports

Manchester Monthly Work Parties
The monthly work parties organised jointly by IWA Manchester Branch and Canal & River Trust have continued to carry out a variety of tasks around the canals of Greater Manchester.  In August and September the work was based around Hanover Street Bridge on the Ashton Canal where a range of tasks were carried out including excavating inspection holes, unblocking drains, temporary repairs to water catchment channels, concreting for new water catchment channels and removing vegetation from access steps. 


IWA Oxfordshire Branch Paint Lock in Preparation for Banbury Canal Day

Volunteers at Banbury

IWA Oxfordshire Branch held its second September work party at the lock in Banbury on 24th September. The branch planned to tidy up the area around the Oxford Canal in Banbury Town Centre so a good impression could be made to all visitors at Banbury Canal Day on the 6th October. With a good size group the lock gates were repainted, as were the 100 or so mooring bollards, and the towpath was tidied with vegetation cut back and litter cleared away.

Many of the boaters passing through the lock were grateful for the work that was being carried out by the volunteers and the help offered with the lock gates, which were not easy to open without getting paint on your clothes. The day ended with all feeling that a good job had been done.


Great Volunteer Turnout at Southcote Lock for IWA Guildford & Reading Branch

Volunteers at Southcote Lock

IWA Guildford & Reading Branch held its first work party on the 25th of September, hoping to complete the task of painting Southcote Lock on the Kennet & Avon Canal. The branch had hoped for a good turnout to allow overgrown vegetation to be cut in addition to the painting but was pleasantly surprised by the twenty-eight volunteers who came along. This is one of the largest number of volunteers at an IWA branch work party this year so a big thank you to all branch members, EE employees, members of the public and CRT employees who turned out to help - some of whom came from as far afield as Bristol.

With so many volunteers, Southcote Lock was rubbed down and repainted within the day – a great improvement. Additionally, a team tackled overgrown vegetation on the towpath with a second group litter picking. These volunteers worked quite some distance in both directions of the lock and successfully made the towpath far more pleasant for all users. The day was a great success and a prime example of what IWA volunteers can achieve and how they can help in maintaining our waterways.

Everyone had a productive and enjoyable day thanks to the Puddephatts who helped with parking and provision of tea and coffee, CRT who provided a huge amount of equipment and IWA Guildford & Reading Branch who hosted the event. The branch now plan to hold a second work party on the 20th November at Fobney Lock, if you feel inspired to get involved contact Verna Smith, Guildford & Reading Branch Secretary, at verna.smith@waterways.org.uk or on 01252 517522.


October Chester Work Party

Volunteers at Chester

At long last, after a lengthy campaign, the Dee branch was dredged the week before IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch’s  work party. Four IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch members turned out on 5th October in brilliant sunshine and painted the Graving Lock gates. In addition, five Towpath Task force volunteers completed vegetation clearance on the main line towpath. Interest here is building with Chester University volunteers completing a litter pick the previous week.

The next work party in Chester will be on November 2nd (meet at Telfords Warehouse at 10:00).


Warwickshire Branch – Vegetation Clearance at Hatton
Volunteers at Hatton Locks

Sunday 6th October saw nineteen people volunteering to help IWA Warwickshire Branch. With many boats transiting the locks they were able to explain IWA's commitment to clearing the offside of the Hatton Flight. Over the summer the vegetation had grown so it was again encroaching on the offside path. Using hedge trimmers and strimmers supplied by Canal & River Trust the volunteers restored the vegetation line to that obtained earlier in the year. On subsequent work parties, (the next one will be on 21st October), we expect to extend the clearance further down the flight. A bollard found in the vegetation, will be used to replace one which has been 'enclosed' by a tree on the lower lock landing of lock 31.


IWA Lichfield Branch Begins to Rebuild Canal Wall
IWA Lichfield Branch had two main priorities for the Friday 18th work party – to make progress re-laying the path at the bottom of the ‘Bloody Steps’ and to begin work rebuilding the canal wall by the Heritage Tramway.

Both of these were accomplished and the path should be completed with another days work. The canal wall proved a little harder to deal with but progress was made and new skills learnt.

The group welcomed two new volunteers and succeeded in working on the path, canal wall and carrying out some vegetation management. A good day was had by all and thanks is due to all involved. A full report and photos can be viewed on IWA Lichfield Branch web pages.



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.


Other News

Waterways Minister Change
As a part of the Government Reshuffle on October 7th, it was announced that Richard Benyon MP, the Defra minister responsible for inland waterways, would be stepping down from his Ministerial role. Richard Benyon had been the minister responsible for waterways since May 2010 and has been replaced by Dan Rogerson MP.

Dan Rogerson, the new Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Water, Forestry, Rural Affairs and Resource Management, is also the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for North Cornwall. He has been an MP since 2005, serving on the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee and has also served as a shadow minister for the Environment, Housing, Arts and Heritage, and Local Government. Until becoming a minister, he was chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on cheese.

More information regarding the responsabilities of the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Water, Forestry, Rural Affairs and Resource Management can be found on the Government website.


River Closure Notice at Whitchurch
The Environment Agency has issued a river closure notice at Whitchurch, closing the Thames to navigation to allow for essential works to be carried out on Whitchuch toll bridge. The works, lasting several months, are planned to be carried out over winter with the navigation being fully reopened before the Easter weekend. 

Limited navigation of Whitchurch Lock should still be possible during the closure period, but will be dependent on natural breaks in the works. Boaters can request passage through the lock during the closure by emailing the Environment Agency or by calling 03708 506 506 and asking to speak to their local waterways office. Boaters who have expressed an interest to use the lock will then be contacted when a transit window becomes available. If passage becomes available for a longer period, the dates when the lock are open will be put on the Environment Agency’s website and information hotline 08459 881 188.


Applications Invited for Chair of the Board at Scottish Canals
Applications are being invited for the position of chairman of British Waterways Board (now known as 'Scottish Canals'), the stand alone public body responsible for the statutory maintenance and future development of Scotland's canals.

Information about the role can be found on the Scottish Canals website.


Travellers Rest pub Purchased for Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust

Travellers Rest

The Wharf House Co Ltd (the trading subsidiary company of Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust) has acquired The Travellers Rest pub and restaurant at auction. At present, it would be the only waterside pub on the restored canal and the Trust's ownership is intended to ensure this key site is used to promote the canal for the long term. The immediate plans are for the premises to be let to a tenant to run the business, providing income to support the Canal's restoration.  IWA assisted the Trust with specialist insurance arrangements at the short notice the auction situation demanded.


Successful Season for Lancaster Canal Trust narrow boat Waterwitch
The Lancaster Canal Trust’s narrow boat Waterwitch had a busy 2013 season, hosting various groups including the Worshipful Mayor of Lancaster with the Mayor of Kendal and 55 children from Heron Hill School, who learnt about the heritage and wildlife of the canal. Also taking advantage of Lancaster Canal’s wildlife corridor were walkers who called at the Stables landing stage in increasing numbers to ask questions and find out more about the Trust.

Waterwitch sailed to passenger capacity most days, depending on the weather and the volunteer skippers had to extend their normal running time, often well into the evening. Passenger numbers increased by 50% over the last year and donations have topped a surprising level.


The Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust is Shortlisted for the Lloyds Community Fund 2013

The H&G CanalThe Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust is one of the final four to be placed on the Tewkesbury area shortlist for the Lloyds Community Fund 2013. Voting is now open to the public, who can vote for the community charity they feel most deserves the prize of £3,000, donated by Lloyds Bank.
The public vote runs until Friday 1 November 2013 – more information about the Trust and how to vote can be found on Lloyds Bank’s website. 


IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

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

  • Airedale Cruising - 10% Discount off skippered day cruises
  • Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
  • Calcutt Boats - 5% Discount
  • Channel Glaze - 10% discount on double glazing for boats
  • Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
  • Europcar - Special hire rates to IWA members
  • Guildford Boat House- 20% discount
  • Grand Union Diesel Services - 5% discount
  • Lee Sanitation Ltd. - 10% on orders over £100
  • Midland Chandlers - 5% discount 
  • Narrowboat Services - 10% discount
  • River Canal Rescue - up to 15% discount
  • RoadPro - 5% discount
  • ABC Boat Hire - 15% 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


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

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

26th October Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch supporting CRT)
27th October Bugsworth Basin Work Party (The Inland Waterways Protection Society)
27th October Work Party at St Augustine's, Rugeley (IWA Lichfield Branch)
27th October Work Party - Tinsley (IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch)

2nd November
Bulb Planting Work Party - Dee Branch (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
9th November Work Party - Tarddebigge Lime Kilns (Worcester, Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
10th November Bugsworth Basin Work Party (The Inland Waterways Protection Society)
14th November Hedge Laying - Leek Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
16th November Cheshire Locks Project Work Party (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
16th November Work Party - Lapworth (IWA Warwickshire Branch supporting CRT Towpath Taskforce)
20th November Work Party - Fobney Lock, Kennet & Avon (IWA Guildford & Reading Branch)
21st November Work Party - Lapworth (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
23rd November Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch supporting CRT)
24th November Bugsworth Basin Work Party (The Inland Waterways Protection Society)

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

Upcoming Towpath Walks

24th October 
Waterway Walk (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)

3rd November London Towpath Walk (IWA London Region)
5th November Walk at Kingsbury Water Park (IWA Lichfield Branch)
17th November River Avon Walk (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
17th November London Towpath Walk (IWA London Region)
28th November Waterway Walk (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)

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


Contact Us

IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA

01494 783 453


Bulletin is edited by Stefanie Preston

The Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust Makes the Tewkesbury Area Shortlist for the Lloyds Community Fund 2013


The Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust is one of the final four to be placed on the Tewkesbury area shortlist for the Lloyds Community Fund 2013. Voting is now open to the public, who can vote for community charity they feel most deserves the prize of £3,000, donated by Lloyds Bank.


The public vote runs until Friday 1 November 2013 – more information about the Trust and how to vote can be found on Lloyds Bank’s website.