IWA Bulletin November 2013

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Top Story

WRG Volunteers' Contribution to Canal Improvement Works Celebrated
Lady Capel's Celebration
Waterway Recovery Group volunteers were invited to join Canal & River Trust, Dorothy Thornhill (Mayor of Watford), Herts County councillors and Three Rivers councillors in celebrating  the reopening of Lady Capel’s Bridge and three miles of new towpath along the Grand Union Canal from Cassiobury Park, Watford to Hunton Bridge.

Over the summer WRG volunteers spent a total of 287.5 hours bringing the Grade II listed Lady Capel’s bridge back to its former glory. Before WRG’s big volunteer effort could start, a team from the Canal & River Trust removed the old paintwork. WRG volunteers then removed the damaged brickwork, cleared out the joints and carefully repointed the brickwork. The volunteers then repainted the entire bridge using a specialist white paint – which required three coats!

Jenny Black, from Waterway Recovery Group, said: “We had a great time helping restore this iconic bridge during IWA’s National Waterways Festival in Watford. Thanks must go to all the volunteers involved in the project who spent hours carefully repainting the bridge and carrying out repairs. We hope to continue to build on our good relationship with Canal & River Trust and it’s great that they have acknowledged the skill and enthusiasm of our volunteers on this project!"

See photos from the bridge restoration project.


IWA News

HS2- The Long Term View?
We are very much in the throes of the possible birth of HS2 at the moment, and it is already difficult from a waterways point of view. However, assuming it does go ahead and get built, what of the long term view?

Les Etheridge, National Chairman, and Gren Messham, IWA’s HS2 Campaign and Communications Group Chair, met with Canal & River Trust’s Architectural Team of Marcus Chaloner and Peter Chowns late in October at Little Venice. They outlined their approach of establishing a ‘design envelope’ for HS2 on CRT property and affected waterways settings. This is intended to provide a clear framework to ensure HS2 and their contractors design and implement structures and landscapes which, within the context of functional high speed railway and canal networks, represent high quality design and avoid many of the pitfalls waterway users see and experience every day.

The design framework will be in the form of written guidelines with detail design examples and approaches, which when complete will be available and required for use by HS2 when doing detailed design on their structures to be built on , alongside or over CRT waterways. The guidelines are based on Marcus Chaloner and Peter Chown’s experiences of the waterway network and of good and bad examples of crossings and major infrastructure design. IWA supports this approach, as HS2 represents a ‘once in a lifetime’ chance to get things right and add to, rather than detract from, the waterway environment. 

There is a lot of hard bargaining to be done with HS2 Ltd before Marcus and Peter’s work is agreed and established. However, IWA wishes them every success. ‘We very much support this work, and look forward to seeing their principles included in CRT’s undertaking with HS2’ said Les Etheridge at the conclusion of the meeting.


IWA Calendar Competition Launched

Following the success of previous competitions, IWA is pleased to announce the launch of its 2015 Calendar photography competition.

IWA is looking for photographs of UK waterways and is offering three free calendars to the photographers whose photos are used in the final calendar.

Entrants may submit up to 20 photos. Please include a brief description of the waterway location when uploading your photos.

Photos can be submitted by:
•    Emailing them to Gemma Bolton
•    Adding them to the Flickr group
•    Uploading them via the photo upload form

All submitted photos will be added to the calendar competition group on Flickr.

As summer is busiest time for boating, the competition receives more sunny summer photos than for any other season. Entrants can increase their chances of being shortlisted by submitting spring, autumnal or winter photos.

IWA is also looking for a top winter shot to be used as a 2014 Christmas card. A photograph will be selected from the competition submissions prior to shortlisting. The photographer will receive three calendars plus ten packs of their Christmas Card (100 cards).

Photos for the competition need to be submitted by 31st January 2014. The photos will then be shortlisted and then the public will be able to vote for the shortlisted photos.

Photos for the Calendar need to be digital with a resolution of at least 300 DPI and at least 2100 pixels x 1500 pixels (can be landscape or portrait). You can usually adjust the settings on your digital camera to take high resolution photos.

Photos uploaded may be used by IWA for publicity purposes, on the web site, in marketing material, our Annual review or as part of our IWA Calendar. Any photos selected for use will be credited where possible.

Please see full photography terms and conditions.

The 2014 IWA Calendar featuring photographs from last years' competition is available to buy for £3.60 from IWA Shop.


Storm hits Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation
Storm Damage on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, 2013, Roy Chandler
The storm that affected parts of the country between Sunday 27th and Monday 28th October has brought down a number of trees on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation. Several large trees are lying across the navigation, which will be cleared as soon as possible, and Essex Waterways Ltd staff have already dealt with others that were close to roads or affecting overhead cables; this included a large tree above Wave Bridge, Heybridge, which was lying on a gas main that crosses the Navigation and had brought down telephone and electricity cables. Some damage was caused at Freshwater Crescent, Heybridge, where uprooted willow trees damaged nearby drives and the waterside path. There may still be further fallen trees in more isolated areas of the Navigation that have not yet been reported but staff are working quickly to check the area and solve any issues arising from the weather conditions earlier in the week.

See more photos (by Roy Chandler) in the Essex Waterways image gallery.


Lapal Canal Update
Lapal Canal

On 17th October, Birmingham City Council’s Planning Committee approved an outline planning application made by the Harvest Partnership (key constituent members being J Sainsbury and Land Securities) to redevelop the old Battery Park site at Selly Oak. The site includes the route of the former Dudley No 2 Canal, now generally known as the Lapal Canal, and the area around its former junction with the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.

The approval has ended a two-month discussion between the Council and Harvest after plans to redevelop the Lapal Canal were removed from the original application. Blaming the recession and other commitments, Harvest felt they could no longer afford to reinstate the canal as initially planned. Birmingham City Council was not happy with the amended plans and deferred a decision on the application. This, along with pressure from other interested parties such as Lapal Canal Trust, caused Harvest to rethink and they proposed an additional £767,000 expenditure on the development.

IWA and local waterway groups had lobbied the Council to provide a better outcome more favoured to restoration of the canal, and had held a boat rally and cultivated media attention and political support to draw attention to the risk of a major blight on the restoration proposals.  Subsequent to this pressure, Harvest amended its planning application to include:

  • Protection of a realigned route for a re-built Lapal Canal
  • Construction of a concrete channel through the undercroft of the new Sainsbury store
  • Piling of the remainder of the channel to the recently constructed bridge under Birmingham’s outer ring road
  • A winding hole on the opposite side of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal to a new junction to be created adjacent to the Bristol Road Bridge.

These plans for the canal are an improvement on the first amendment but are still a compromise as they do not include much of the work that Harvest originally planned to undertake. The construction of the junction and the lining of the bed of the piled section would still need to be funded if the Lapal Canal is to be fully restored. Towards this, Harvest has offered a further £500,000 to a "canal based organisation" by means of a, yet to be signed, S106 agreement between Harvest and the Council. If a further £1million could then be found to complete the funding of this part of the restoration, Harvest has indicated that it would include the work in its contract programmed for completion in 2017.  However, there appears to be no likely prospect of these funds materialising and with the application approved there is little leverage to obtain any further support from the developers.


Boat Booking for IWA's National Campaign Festival 2014 Now Open
Booking is now open for boaters who wish to attend the National Campaign Festival 2014. The festival will take place over the weekend of the 6th to 8th June in the Tower Wharf area of Chester.

The Festival is set to be a popular event with music, entertainment, children’s activities and trade stands. The aim of the Festival will be to promote the use of the neglected Dee Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal and the idea of installing a lock in the old mill race at the end of the weir, which would give visiting boats access to the River Dee up to Farndon. Space is limited so book soon to avoid disappointment.  Boat booking forms are available to download from IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch's web pages.


About People
Mino Wyatt
Mino Wyatt
Another link with the pioneering days of the canal holiday industry, the early days of the waterway campaign and the history of the Association has been broken with the death of Mino Wyatt of the Canal Cruising Company.  Mino died in Stone on Friday 1st November at the age of 94.

The Canal Cruising Company is the oldest continuously family-owned firm on the canals, currently celebrating its 65th year in business. Founder Rendel Wyatt obtained a lease on its base - the original Trent & Mersey Canal Company’s docks in Stone - just before the nationalisation of the waterways.

His son David, who died seven years ago, and David’s wife Mino took over the running of the company in 1955.  They were friends with early waterways campaigners such as IWA founder Tom Rolt.  Rolt’s famous boat Cressy was left and subsequently broken up on the company’s wharf.  The company was also one of the trade exhibitors at the first IWA National Festival, the Market Harborough Festival of Boats & Arts in 1950.

At the recent IWA AGM, in a slight departure from original practice, the Association’s prestigious Richard Bird Medal was awarded to Mino, Karen and Peter Wyatt and The Canal Cruising Company, Stone for their long-term (65 years) commitment to and promotion of the inland waterways and support for The Inland Waterways Association.

Mino’s involvement, skills and determination are no better illustrated than by the fact that she was still doing the company accounts up to a month before her death.

Our sympathy and best wishes go out to Karen and Peter and all the Wyatt family.

Photo courtesy of the Wyatt Family.


New Members of Staff
Toby Gomm

Toby Gomm has joined the Association's staff at IWA Head Office as Fundraising Officer, a newly created role to support branches in fundraising activities and applying for grants. Toby can be contacted at toby.gomm@waterways.org.uk or on 01494 783 453 extension 611.

Stephanie Pay
Stephanie Pay has also joined the Association's staff at IWA Head Office as Design & Web Content Assistant, a newly created role supporting Gemma Bolton, Website & Design Officer. Stephanie can be contacted at stephanie.pay@waterways.org.uk or on 01494 783 453 extension 616.


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:

Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch - Shroppie Fly Paper - Autumn 2013
Chelmsford Branch - Branch Newsletter - October 2013
South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch - Keels & Cuckoos - November 2013

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

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


IWA Work Party Reports

Operation Starburst – Cleaning up the Canals of Manchester

Over the weekend of 19th and 20th October, over 100 volunteers took part in a large multi-site canal clean up on the canals of Greater Manchester.
The event was organised jointly by IWA Manchester Branch and Canal & River Trust Manchester & Pennines volunteering team. Waterway Recovery Group supported the event by supplying a minibus and driver and in arranging accommodation for those people travelling from further afield for the weekend.  

The event followed on from last year’s successful 'Ashtac Reunion' event, when exactly 100 people turned out over two days.  The name for this year’s event, Operation Starburst, was chosen to reflect the concept of working on different canals around a central meeting point, as well as continuing the theme from the even larger scale events that took place over forty years ago.   Operation Ashton took place in 1968, and this was followed by Ashton Attack ('Ashtac') in 1972, which saw 1000 people working on the canals in this area.  Those events contributed to the reopening of the Cheshire Ring waterways in 1974.

The 'Starburst' effect was created through volunteers working in five different locations based on a central meeting point of Portland Basin, at Dukinfield Junction, the junction of the Lower Peak Forest and the Ashton canals.  Volunteers were ferried out from there to the five locations nearby.  Local volunteers were able to join in direct at the site they wished to work at.
The five locations were Hyde (on the Lower Peak Forest Canal), Stalybridge (on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal), Clayton on the Ashton Canal, and Newton Heath and Failsworth on the Rochdale Canal.  As well as pulling rubbish out of the canal, other tasks were carried out at the various locations, including towpath repairs, vegetation clearance, painting and removing invasive plants. 

At Hyde, one of the main tasks for the weekend had been identified just a week earlier, when it was realised that the weed clogging up the channel was in fact Floating Pennywort.  Two large patches of this invasive weed were removed from the canal south of Bridge 6 although further work will be required to contain the spread of this weed.  Rubbish removed at this site included numerous bicycles, tyres, mangled shopping trolleys, a crutch, fence panels and road signs.  

The roving bridge which takes the towpath from one side of the canal to the other was cleared of vegetation, weeds and much litter, and towpath repairs were also carried out south of Bridge 6.  

At Failsworth the activity was centred on Lock 65, where vegetation was cleared, litter picked, rubbish pulled out of the canal and balance beams and lock furniture was painted.  

Meanwhile just further down the Rochdale Canal at Newton Heath, a small team gathered on the Saturday morning and before long had cleared all the lock-side litter, vegetation and litter from the steps, and had pulled out one complete trolley and several bits of trolley from the canal at Lock 69.

Stalybridge town centre was a hive of activity, with 30 volunteers taking part over the weekend.  At Lock 6W the balance beams, lock furniture and lock tail bridge were painted and the tunnel taking the towpath under the road had a new coat of white paint (which covered up the graffiti).  Meanwhile at Lock 7W, the base of the historic crane was given a coat of black paint, a bench completely buried in the undergrowth was revealed, balance beams were painted, and vegetation was cut back on the towpath and access paths.  On the Sunday grappling was carried out and in excess of 30 shopping trolleys were removed from the channel, along with 6 bicycles, numerous road cones and fencing panels, scaffold poles and a motorbike (it had been reported as stolen and police came to take it away).  

At Clayton on the Ashton flight of 18 locks, the work was centred on Yew Tree Swing Bridge, where vegetation was cleared and litter picked, as well as a substantial amount of towpath repairs being carried out in both directions from the swing bridge.  

Whilst many of the volunteers were local (including several who were new to volunteering on the canals), others came from all over the country, with the farthest journeys being from Brighton and Bognor Regis on the south coast.  

The total number of black bags filled with rubbish from the five sites was 69, which along with two work boats full of rubbish demonstrate the amazing amount of activity which had taken place over the weekend.


Autumn Clean-up of the Grand Union Canal Through Milton Keynes Gathers an Incredible Assortment of Rubbish
Volunteers grapple rubbish in Milton Keynes - David King
Milton Keynes Branch of The Inland Waterways Association (IWA MK), working in partnership with Canal & River Trust (CRT) and sponsored by Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd.  completed their autumn canal clean-up covering 10 miles of the Grand Union Canal through Milton Keynes over the weekend 18th to 20th October. Approximately 10 tons of rubbish was hauled out of the canal, including a telephone answering machine, a wheel clamp, golf bag, an epee, a fridge freezer, two baby buggies and chocolate bars, not to mention car parts, road furniture, assorted metal objects, plastic and 24 bicycles (mainly dumped in the Wolverton area). Many black bags were filled with litter collected along the towpath. This year only five supermarket trolleys were recovered which is the lowest number that anyone can remember.

Due to these clean-ups, Milton Keynes has one of the cleanest canals of any place in England. The city is very fortunate to have the Grand Union Canal making a beautiful green corridor, which is much appreciated by residents and visitors alike.

The clean-up was organised by IWA MK committee member David Stuart-King. As is customary on these bi-annual canal clean-ups, IWA members’ boats towed a 70-foot hopper and a 40-foot pan. The work boats for the rubbish were supplied by CRT. The dredged rubbish was obtained by operating eight strong grapple hooks from the hopper; the pan was worked along the offside bank. Other members in their boats disembarked to dredge from the bank and litter pick along the whole length of the towpath. A total of 35 IWA volunteers were involved over the weekend contributing 298 volunteer hours. Six CRT staff were additional valuable support.

Photo courtesy of Vernon Draper.


IWA Warwickshire Branch  - Canal clean-up Warwick

IWA Warwickshire Branch was delighted by the support from the local community at its latest canal clean-up on the Grand Union Canal in Warwick on Sunday 20th October.  IWA members were joined by thirty members of the community including twelve young people, their youth leaders and parents, who used grappling hooks to remove rubbish from the canal.

The event was supported by Canal & River Trust with a tug and hopper.  The Branch planned to drag the canal from Emscote Road, Bridge 46, to the footbridge near Europa Way.  However, despite having worked in Emscote in the spring, the number of shopping trolleys and bicycles retrieved was so great that most of the volunteers only reached the aqueduct over the River Avon.   A small group did break away to work under the Myton Road bridge and their haul filled a CRT trailer, the boat being too full to take more on board.

In addition to the trolleys and bikes, including one lost by a postman, the haul included a motorbike, road work signs, and a substantial part of a wooden boat. It is hoped even more members of the community will join the branch on future events. The local young people, in particular, thoroughly enjoyed the grappling. The towpath was filled with joyous cries of "I've got something , it's really big" and proud announcements like "I pulled out that bike".

If you would like to get involved in Warwickshire work parties/clean-ups please email the Branch.


IWA Northampton Branch Work Party
On Sunday 27th October, IWA Northampton Branch’s work party of nine volunteers, including two new members to the Branch, carried out litter picking between Lock 17 and the Towcester Road bridge. In addition the group carried out extensive vegetation clearance to improve both the appearance of access around the area of Lock 17. The work party was led by Geoff Wood.


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

Rochdale Canal Collapse
A culvert that runs beneath the Rochdale Canal, between locks 6 and 7 in Mytholmroyd, failed on 28th October leading to a collapse of part of the canal bed in this section of the canal. The canal is closed to navigation, and the towpath is also closed until Canal & River Trust has been able to assess the situation.

CRT is unsure how long the canal will be closed due to the complex nature of the repairs needed. The culvert has a strong flow of water from the stream that it carries, and the site is surrounded by housing making access difficult.  A detailed plan with more definitive information should be available in a couple of weeks.

Passages across the Pennines on the Rochdale Canal will not be possible whilst this stoppage is in place. The canal either side of the stoppage is due to remain open until after Christmas, after which maintenance stoppages are planned.

Full stoppage information on the Rochdale Canal is available at CRT's Waterscape website.


Test Your Smoke Alarms
Test it. Change it. Replace it.
This is a safety reminder from the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) who is backing the Fire Kills Campaign.

Due to the nature of cabin spaces, when a fire starts on a boat toxic fumes and smoke spread rapidly, closely followed by flames. A working smoke alarm is therefore essential in ensuring your safety. Make sure you have smoke alarms fitted in your boat and that you check them regularly. Smoke alarms should be tested after having spent a long period away from the boat or weekly if you live aboard.

More information regarding boat safety is available on the IWA and BSS websites.


Port of London Authority Safety Bulletin – Keep a Proper Lookout

The Port of London Authority (PLA) has appealed to all boaters to keep a proper look out whilst on the Tidal Thames, following a number of incidents where damage or injury was caused due to failure to keep a proper look out.  The PLA says this safety message is relevant to all river users as past incidents include rowers colliding with objects and capsizing, a vessel colliding with a narrow boat causing damage to the narrow boat’s stern and a vessel colliding with a mooring buoy.  These incidents all happened because the crew did not see the object or other vessel in the river.

To avoid such incidents PLA recommends that boaters:

  • Keep a proper lookout – if visibility is obscured use other members of the crew to help keep a proper lookout; if travelling at night use appropriate lighting.  Avoid distraction to maintain a constant look out.
  • Maintain situational awareness – be mindful of the known fixed objects in and geography of the area you are navigating.
  • Understand the tidal conditions – the tidal Thames is a fast flowing river with strong tidal sets and currents, be aware of these to avoid being swept into objects.

The Tidal Thames is one of the country's busiest rivers, with strong currents, a susbstantial tide range, numerous obstructions for boaters, and with large and fast moving boats involved in commercial operations often oblivious to transiting recreational boaters.  Visitors to the Tidal Thames therefore need to take extra care and carefully adhere to the rules and guidelines set out by the PLA.


Aylesbury Arm Lock Repairs Due to Finish in November
The repair work being carried out on Buckland Lock on the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal, which collapsed in March, is now due to be completed by the end of November. The completion of the work is three months behind schedule and over budget due to lengthy investigations and the complexity of accessing the site. In order to reach the lock Canal & River Trust had to build a road through the adjacent Arla dairy construction site.

CRT believes that the collapse of the lock wall was due to a rare type of clay, which is particularly susceptible to moisture and underlies the lock. The large volume of rain that fell during the year leading up to the collapse caused the clay to swell and push the wall over. Engineers working on the project do not think that the work Arla is carrying out contributed to the collapse.


Access Between the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal and the River Tone to be Regained
Between 11th and 15th November Somerset Waterways Development Trust plans to oversee the removal of silt from Firepool Channel at Taunton by contractors. Having been long in the planning this work will allow uninterrupted access onto the River Tone from the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal once again. The work has been funded by local businesses and will be greatly welcomed by boaters who wish to use both the canal and river.

The clearing of the channel will be marked with a SWDT and Somerset Navigators Boat Club flotilla, that will pass through Firepool Lock on 17th November. Following this, on the weekend of the 23rd November, SWDT will begin its regular weekend boat trips as their Electric River Launch, Future Perfect, will again be able to travel between the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal and the River Tone. More information about these trips can be found on SWDT's website or visit IWA West Country Branch web pages to find out what else is going on in the area.


Swansea Canal Society Awarded £20,000 Grant
The Swansea Canal Society have been awarded a £20,000 grant by the Water Recreational Challenge Fund for Wales, SPLASH. The grant will be used to encourage greater access to the canal where it runs through Coed Gwilym Park in Clydach, a stretch that was once popular with canoeists, but had become overgrown after a canoe hire centre closed down in the 1990s.

Swansea Canal Society plans to use the grant to start a canoe hire business on the canal in 2014, with all profits going towards the restoration of the canal. Volunteers from the society are currently meeting weekly to prepare the canal north of Coed Gwilym Park, more information about these weekly meetings can be found on the Society’s website.


Lichfield Heritage Towpath Trail Launched

Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust has taken the first steps in providing  a new outdoor amenity for Lichfield. The Trust has launched the Heritage Towpath Trail, which follows the route of the on-going restoration of the Lichfield Canal from Huddlesford to Ogley Junction.

Over the coming months signs are to be put in place to mark sections of the Lichfield Canal towpath that will be opened to the public as part of the Heritage Trail.  A brochure and interactive map will also be issued illustrating the route of the canal, walks, cycle routes and heritage information.  Doug Hamilton Cox, Help for Heroes champion, recently opened the first six kilometres of the trail. Doug Hamilton Cox is walking the canals of the UK collecting for the troops along the way, and raising the profile of the work being done to restore our industrial heritage.

For more information on the canal restoration, visit the Trust's website.


Archaeological Excavations Find Gosden Aqueduct
Excavations in Gosden Meadow in Bramley, Surrey, have revealed the area’s 200 year old industrial heritage by uncovering details of the Gosden aqueduct on the Wey & Arun Canal.
Inland waterway archaeology expert Martin Cook and a team of volunteers undertook the dig to find out more about the aqueduct, which was built in 1815, as part of the canal restoration being undertaken by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust (WACT).

The volunteers from WACT and the Kent & East Sussex Canal Restoration Group successfully located the level of the puddled clay which once formed a water-tight seal for the canal channel. The excavations also helped Cook’s team determine the width and position of the former tow path as well as structural features of the aqueduct that carried the canal across Cranleigh Waters.

The excavations were left open to allow people who took part in a guided walk between Stonebridge, Shalford and Bramley as part of the Heritage Open Days the opportunity to view the original canal details.

WACT hopes to use the information uncovered about the aqueduct to plan the future restoration work on the Bramley section of the Wey & Arun Canal. 


Cromford Canal Boat Official Launch
The Friends of the Cromford Canal (FCC) are proud to announce that after years of fundraising and hard work, the 1938 ex-working narrow boat Birdswood is now operating between Cromford and High Peak Junction on the Cromford Canal.

Birdswood’s passenger trials have gained an enthusiastic reception from local people and visitors to the Derbyshire Dales. However, the boat cannot currently run a full service due to dredging complications. Derbyshire County Council (DCC), the canal’s owner, funded dredging carried out earlier in 2013. The dredging was intended to restore narrow boat navigation on the stretch of canal from Cromford to Leawood Pump House. The decision to purchase Birdswood was based upon the understanding that the stretch would once again be navigable. Surveys carried out concluded that the channel would need to be 4 metres wide and 1.2 metres deep in order to be navigated without disturbing wildlife habitats or silt.

The dredging removed significantly more silt than specified in the original contract between DCC and contractor Ebsford Environmental but the resulting channel did not meet the dimensions specified in the survey. Instead an average channel width of 3 metres by 850mm depth was created. As a result a combination of insufficient depth and heavy weed beyond the High Peak Junction swing bridge means Birdswood is unable to reach its winding point.

Therefore, the boat cannot be operated beyond High Peak Junction, so Birdswood has to travel down the canal forwards and then reverse back with only thirty passengers and crew – not its licensed passenger load of fifty-one plus crew.

Further experimental works that may improve matters are planned for 12th November, with DCC giving its full assistance.

For further information on Birdswood’s winter services please see FCC's website.


First Mate Guides
First Mate Guides were created by Carole Sampson as an aid for boaters, providing information on various facilities (from telephone boxes to vets) along boating routes. The guides have been handmade since 1999 but their production has had to come to an end. However, Carole Sampson has made the final editions available online for anyone who is interested to download. The guides can be downloaded to computers and tablets for free, although donations are welcomed, from the First Mate Guides' website


Canal & River Trust Annual Partnership Meetings 2013 Schedule Updated
Canal & River Trust has updated its Annual Partnership Meetings 2013 Schedule. Information has been added, and some dates/times changed. The updated schedule can be viewed at CRT'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

8th November Work Party at Brindley Bank, Rugeley (IWA Lichfield 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)
24th November
Work Party - Lapworth (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
26th November Work Party - Bridgwater & Taunton (IWA West Country Branch)

7th December
Work Party - Dee Branch, Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
7th - 8th December
Weekend Work Party - Chelmer & Blackwater (IWA Chelmsford Branch)
8th December Bugsworth Basin Work Party (The Inland Waterways Protection Society)
8th December Hedge Planting Work Party - Cheddleton (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
15th December Bugsworth Basin Work Party (The Inland Waterways Protection Society)
17th December Cheshire Locks Project Work Party (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
19th December Work Party - Lapworth (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
21st December Work Party - Lapworth (IWA Warwickshire Branch)

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


Upcoming Towpath Walks

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

1st December London Towpath Walk (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
8th December London Towpath Walk (IWA Towpath Walks Society)

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

Lichfield Heritage Towpath Trail Launched

The Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust has taken the first steps in providing  a new outdoor amenity for Lichfield. The Trust has launched the Heritage Towpath Trail, which will follow the route of the on-going restoration of the Lichfield Canal from Huddlesford to Ogley Junction.

Over the coming months signs will be put in place to mark sections of the Lichfield Canal towpath that will be opened to the public as part of the Heritage Trail. A brochure and interactive map will also be issued illustrating the route of the canal, walks, cycle routes and heritage information.

Help for Heroes champion, Doug Hamilton Cox, recently opened the first six kilometres of the trail.  Doug Hamilton Cox is walking the canals of the UK collecting for the troops along the way, and raising the profile of the work being done to restore our industrial heritage.

For more information on the canal restoration visit the Trust website at www.lhcrt.org.uk.

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