IWA Bulletin September 2015

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Crowds Gather at Celebrity Opening of IWA's Northampton Festival of Water

Photo:  Celebrated actors and waterway ambassadors, Timothy West and Prunella Scales open IWA’s Northampton Festival of Water

Historic canal boats, narrowboats and river craft all gathered in Northampton over the Bank Holiday Weekend, where the bank of the river Nene was packed for a celebrity opening of IWA’s Festival of Water in Becket’s Park.  Celebrated actors and waterway ambassadors Timothy West and Prunella Scales opened the event and enjoyed a special river cruise with a whole host of waterways enthusiasts and volunteers.  The party atmosphere was maintained throughout the weekend with highlights including youngsters trying their skills at bricklaying and digger driving with Waterway Recovery Group volunteers, demonstrations of boat handling skills in a huge variety of craft on the water by the Northampton Sea Cadets and a series of excellent and informative talks from renowned waterway personalities such as Tim Coghlan, David Blagrove and Liz Payne.  The marquee in the park was packed to the seams all weekend as visitors to the show enjoyed local ales and fabulous musical entertainment.

IWA and WRG volunteers ensured everything ran smoothly and festival supporters, Northampton Borough Council, The Environment Agency and Canal & River Trust, as well as commercial sponsors, contributed to the organisation of the Festival and helped make the weekend a great success.

During the Festival Councillor Penny Flavell, Mayor of Northampton, handed over a ceremonial Tiller Pin to her counterpart Councillor Angela Underhill, Mayor of Walsall, on board the Crusader Community Boat which was offering public boat trips on the Nene.  The Tiller Pin is the trophy awarded to the next town or city hosting the IWA’s annual water based Festival. The Festival is set to be held in Pelsall on the Wyrley and Essington Canal, near Walsall, in 2016 over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.  
Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the opening of the Northampton Arm in 1815, which links the Grand Union Canal to Northampton and the River Nene, IWA’s Festival of Water 2015 showcased Northampton’s waterside at its very best.

The event received excellent coverage from BBC Radio Northampton and BBC Three Counties (Beds, Herts & Bucks) Radio, ITV and the local press.

IWA News

Lock Gate Paddle Pawl Stop Update

IWA is pleased that Canal & River Trust has reversed the introduction of paddle pawl stops on lock gear.  IWA objected to the proposals to add stops to the winding mechanism on lock gates, principally on the basis of the danger to safety where a crew needs to drop paddles quickly.  CRT has stopped rolling out changes to pawls, taking into account the views of IWA, along with those from it around 100 boaters and CRT’s Navigation Advisory Group.  The Trust will work together with IWA and NAG on any future proposals to gain valuable insight from experienced boaters.

In June, Canal & River Trust requested boater feedback on the issue of the risk of injury to boaters from uncontrolled windlasses caused by paddles dropping quickly.  The Trust had accepted proposals to add stops to prevent this happening.

IWA presented concerns that the new stops may interfere with the ability to drop paddles quickly if a boat becomes hung-up in a lock.  In addition, the Association commented that the design, which requires the pawl stop to be held up by one hand, could create difficulties where paddles are stiff and require both hands to operate.  
CRT will conduct trials and information gathering across the network towards the end of 2015 to evaluate the forces required to operate paddles.  
In the meantime, the Trust will continue to replace worn or faulty spindles.

IWA Contributes to High Speed Train (HS2) Consultation and Petition Submission

Despite the Government setting a tight timescale, IWA members have studied the huge quantity of information provided in the latest  HS2 Supplementary Environmental Statement on Additional Provision 2 and the Association is to submit views on issues of waterway interest. The main comments relate to the realignment of a road alongside the canal at Fradley, which whilst better than the three canal crossings successfully removed by IWA’s original ‘Alternative Route’, will still unnecessarily blight the canal there. Moreover, IWA maintains that noise nuisance has not been reduced at all in these additional provisions, specifically, at the proposed new Heathrow Express Maintenance Depot close to the Slough Arm of the Grand Union Canal.   We object that it affects public recreational users of this tranquil area of canal, as well as leisure and residential boaters around the Boatyard at Mansion Lane in Iver, Bucks. IWA’s consultation response is being developed to describe the impacts of the new proposals and sets out what we would like to see altered to improve them.
Full documents are available so if you have any comments, corrections or additions please email us at hs2@waterways.org.uk so we can include them to make our response more effective.

IWA has also submitted a petition on unresolved issues within the latest iteration of the High Speed Rail (London to West Midlands) Bill. The Petition includes amendments for some of the points above as well as replacement mooring and maintenance facilities for the Lichfield Cruising Club at Cappers Lane.

Read our full Petition here.

Annual Members Meeting 26th September 2015

This year the Association’s official AGM will be incorporated into a new Annual Members Meeting.  This will be organised to include a range of interesting sessions to give members a programme for the entire day. The theme of the morning sessions will provide an opportunity to discover more about IWA’s activities on non CRT waterways. Following the AGM, a two course lunch will be available provided by IWA volunteers.  Although there will be no charge for lunch, attendees will be asked to give generously to the WRG Van Appeal.

The afternoon will provide members with time to discuss waterways topics with Trustees. See detailed programme information here.

In addition, throughout the day the Droitwich Waterways (Pamela May) Trust has generously made available their trip boat for short cruises.  The cruise from the centre of Droitwich Town to Salwarpe takes around 50mins and the railway station and meeting venue are both a few minutes walk from the embarkation points. The first trip will leave Droitwich at 09.30 to arrive before the start of the meeting and further trips will be arranged throughout the day to enjoy the Droitwich Barge Canal and the Town.  This first trip must be pre-booked.

Exciting Opportunities to Host a WRG Camp in 2016!

Waterway Recovery Group is now looking for waterway restoration projects that would benefit from  Canal Camps in 2016.

They are looking for the best way to deploy their resources and want to receive bids for their award winning activity.

The first stage of the process invites canal societies, trusts and waterways groups to express their interest in hosting a Canal Camp via the Host a Canal Camp Application Form.

WRG is keen to discuss restoration opportunities interested hosts should contact Jenny Black directly (01494 783 453 ext 604 or email Jenny Black) as soon as possible so that WRG can consider a site visit.

Final submissions for Canal Camps need to be made by 18th September for discussion at WRG's Board meeting on 20th September.

To help WRG get a better picture of the proposed work applicants should:
•    A description of the work
•    Any plans, details of permissions and funding
•    Any photos of the site
•    Details of potential accommodation for the WRG volunteers

The WRG Board will plan the Canal Camps Schedule for 2016 on 7th November.

There is more information at So you want to host a Canal Camp.

Volunteers Needed to Help out IWA’s Waterways Triathlon

IWA’s Waterways Triathlon is set for Sunday 20th September in Essex and will raise money for vital funds for Essex Waterways as well as The Susan Trust.  These are great causes and volunteers are still needed to help make the day a success.

With a busy hub area, three routes (for cycling, running and canoeing) and two lengths of course (30km and 50km), marshals will be needed to help with a variety of tasks which may include registration, directing parking, monitoring along the route and even announcing over the Public address system, helping participants enter/exit canoes and kayaks and manning the barbecue. Your help will be vital, so please tell us if you would like a particular task and we will try to allocate you that role. You will always be in pairs throughout the day and may have the opportunity to switch to other jobs.

We’re specifically looking for marshals for the event.  Those appointed will receive a free item of food from the barbecue as well as free drinks.

If you are interested in marshalling at the triathlon, please contact IWA’s Fundraising Officer Toby Gomm at toby.gomm@waterways.org.uk or 01494 783453 ext. 611.

Waterways Restoration Raffle Exceeds £3,000!

IWA’s Waterways Restoration Raffle has raised over £3,000 already since it launched at the beginning of August.
The raffle aims to benefit waterways restoration projects across England and Wales by donating all profits towards projects run by IWA corporate members or the WRG Van Appeal.
This year, projects must receive at least 25 nominations to benefit from the raffle and so far Bude Canal & Harbour Society, Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust, Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal Society, Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust, Stover Canal Trust as well as the WRG Van Appeal have achieved this. Please nominate your preferred project to make sure it’s included to benefit from the raffle profits.

See www.waterways.org.uk/raffle for more information or to buy tickets. For inclusion in the raffle, send an article and a photo to toby.gomm@waterways.org.uk.

Over the next few weeks, we plan to feature some of the restoration groups that may benefit from the raffle. This Bulletin features Sleaford Navigation Trust and Cotswold Canals Trust (See below).

Sleaford Navigation Trust

Photo: Refurbishment of Bottom Lock on the Sleaford Navigation

Originally, the Sleaford Navigation ran from Chapel Hill, on the River Witham, between Lincoln and Boston, into Sleaford. Opened in 1794 and engineered by William Jessop, it brought prosperity to Sleaford by bringing coal into the town for developing industries and exporting corn to the new market of the coalfields of Yorkshire.

Restoration plans started in 1977 when the original Sleaford Navigation Society was formed. Currently eight miles from Chapel Hill are fully navigable and the Sleaford Navigation Trust has been successful in securing funds to refurbish and improve earlier lock restoration. A new Head of Navigation has been created in Sleaford with a lifting bridge and slipway so that the top pound, not currently connected to the navigable section, can be used by small craft. Sleaford is home to Navigation House, the former company offices and now a visitor centre giving an insight into the history of the waterway.

Plans are currently in place for improving facilities by creating a mooring area and winding hole in South Kyme in order to encourage more visitors to this attractive and boat-friendly village. The annual boat gathering and local walks are promoted on the website at www.sleafordnavigation.co.uk and the Trust is looking into promoting cycle paths in the area.  The winding hole is being part funded by an IWA grant.

Four miles and five locks are left to restore until the goal of bringing boats through to Sleaford from the Witham can be achieved. The navigation would provide a diversion from the River Witham and allow visitors access to the centre of a historic market town.

Restoring the Cotswold Canals

The aim of the Cotswold Canals Trust is to restore the historic Stroudwater Navigation and Thames & Severn Canal (collectively known as the Cotswold Canals) which provided a 36 mile west to east link between the rivers Severn & Thames.  

Volunteers started work in 1973 and over the years bridges and locks have been restored and stretches of the canals returned to water.   The most recent major project has been the largely Heritage Lottery funded £20 million Phase 1A, led by Stroud District Council and supported by Gloucester County Council and the Trust, which will be completed within the next few months.   This restores to navigation 7 miles of canal between The Ocean, Stonehouse and Brimsombe.

Plans to restore the 4 mile Phase 1B, from the Ocean to Saul Junction (on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal), are now well advanced.  This involves major engineering works including the restoration of the Ocean Railway Bridge and channelling the canal under the M5 motorway and A38 trunk road.

Phase 1B is being led by Cotswold Canals Trust with support from on Interim Project Board, which includes IWA, CRT, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Gloucestershir County Council, Stroud District Council, Stroud Valley Canal Company and Stroudwater Navigation Archive Charity.  A bid of £15 milllion will be submitted to HLF in November 2015.  The total cost of the Project is £20 million so £5 million in matched funding will be required.  It is intended to raise this by:-

  • Value of volunteer input - £1.5 million                                                                            
  • Appeals to Private Sector firms and public sector agencies - £2.0 million              
  • Appeals to our Members, Charitable Trusts and the Community - £1.5 million

For further information visit:  www.cotswoldcanals.com

IWA’s Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch Raise £500 for WRG at Annual Lock Wind

Photo: Volunteers at Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch’s recent Lock Wind

IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch held its second annual Lock Wind at Derwent Mouth Lock on the Trent & Mersey canal on 8th August.  Eleven volunteers devoted their whole day to what proved to be a busy and successful fund raising event, with forty boats being locked through.  In addition, a sizeable contribution from the branch’s 'on-site catering', meant that a fantastic £250 was raised over the day, which will be given to the WRG Van Appeal.  This was all possible thanks to the volunteers involved, as well as the boaters and their families who donated so generously.

The branch is grateful to Derby and Sandiacre Canal Society who agreed to match fund the donations received at the Lock Wind.  This means the Canal Society will now also contribute £250 towards the WRG Van Appeal.  The combined efforts for the day will see a £500 donation winging its way to WRG.  

The event could not have taken place without permission from and the assistance of CRT, who loaned safety equipment and lent a hand on the day.

IWA Supports Winsford Festival

Photo: Mike Carter on the left, presenting the cheque for £500 to John Tackley

IWA’s Chester & Merseyside Branch recently presented £500 to the River Weaver Navigation Society, to support the work being done by them in promoting the River Weaver Salt Fair Regatta at Winsford.

The first Regatta was held in 2014 and proved to be a huge success, due to the Society working in close partnership with Winsford Town Council who ensured that access into Winsford Bottom Flash was improved whilst also creating better moorings for visiting boaters.  Since last year, recognising the value of their riverside location as a great potential boating destination, the Council has spent a further £40,000 on improvements to the moorings and the installation of a water point.

Mike Carter, Vice Chairman of IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch said “We are delighted to support the Winsford initiative by the RWNS and Winsford Town Council.  Working in partnership with local authorities is a key part of IWA’s strategy for promoting waterway projects and is undoubtedly the way forward in the future.  We wish the Winsford Salt Fair Regatta every success for this year and in the future”.

Get your Boots on for WRG!

On Saturday 19th September, IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group is organising a sponsored walk along the Droitwich Canals and Ring to help raise funds for its Van Appeal.  Members, WRGies, friends and family and members  of the public are invited to join in one of the two walks. The cost is £5 per person and under 12s go free (tea and cakes provided at finish).  Under 18s need to be accompanied by an adult. After you have paid the entry fee it is over to you to raise as much sponsorship as possible to support  the appeal.

You can take part in either a 22-mile walk around the Ring or a family friendly 5-mile wander along the Droitwich Canals.  This is a great opportunity to help raise money for the WRG Van Appeal and to see the Droitwich Canals fully restored, particularly for those of you who were involved in the restoration of the Hanbury Flight and the Droitwich Barge Lock. Fancy dress is encouraged and the theme is the colour red!

For those who don't fancy walking, volunteers are also needed to act as marshals along the route and anyone who moors their boat along the route might like to serve refreshment to the walkers to keep them going.

If you are interested in helping please get in touch with Jenny or Amber at IWA Head Office on 01494 783 ext 604 or email enquiries@wrg.org.uk.  
For more details and to book visit-  www.wrg.org.uk/droitwich_sponsored_walk
More details about the WRG Van Appeal can be found here

Brain of Monty Quiz 2016

The Brain of Monty Quiz is a bi-annual quiz organised by IWA’s Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch in support of the Maesbury Festival which is jointly organised by the Branch and the Friends of the Montgomery Canal.

Over the years the quiz has attracted a number of followers… Brain of Monty fanatics!  There have even been Monty discussions on quiz web-sites on the Internet and money sent for the next edition with last year's entry.  

Apart from the prestige of being crowned 'Brain of Monty 2016' and joining the hallowed halls of the other winners since 2008, there is a £25 prize.   In keeping with its name, all profits will go to supporting the Maesbury Festival, previous profits having paid for picnic benches and canoe launching pads on the Montgomery Canal.

To get your copy of the latest quiz please send a SAE and £1 to:  Brain of Monty Quiz 2016, Pen-y-Garreg Lane, Pant, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 8JS. 

Other News

Merging Two Centuries of Technology at Crofton Pumping Station

The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust recently celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the re-opening of the Kennet & Avon Canal on 7th August this year.  The Trust, which has also saved and restored many historic structures along the canal had further cause for celebration following completion of a project in which Crofton Pumping Station, linked up with University of Bath students to investigate how modern technology can improve our knowledge of two hundred year old technology.  

Crofton Pumping Station near Marlborough in Wiltshire, which houses the oldest fully working beam engine in the world, still capable of pumping water to the summit of the canal, linked up with Bath University Mechanical Engineering students to investigate how a ‘mechatronics’ system, using modern remote sensing devices, could help improve our understanding of the working of such important early industrial machines.

This ground breaking monitoring instrumentation and data collection system has great potential to preserve the future of this and other machines by improving understanding of how and why they deteriorate under usage, and how this can be remedied.

The first phase of the project has now been completed with the Bath University students providing detailed information on the range of measurements that could be taken and the selection of appropriate sensors, bearing in mind the local conditions and the application to a Grade I structure and engines; proposals for the data acquisition, transmission, storage and display of the information; proposals for interactive and self powered models to demonstrate the forces and mechanisms used in a water pumping plant; a prototype installation using a micro computer, demonstrating the use of a remote temperature sensing device and an interactive display.

The Bath University students have provided an excellent start to the concept of marrying two hundred years of technology. The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust will now consider the reports and investigate how the ideas can be progressed and the possibility of industry sponsorship to take the project to the next level of development.

IWA is pleased to see the success of this work, and the potential it offers to the K&A, other waterways and heritage worldwide.

NB.  When the pumps are not working, CRT still pumps water from Wilton Water into the summit pound using an electric pump located on the site.

Wey & Arun Canal Trust Construction Begins on Compass Bridge and Gennets Bridge Lock

Photo: Gennets Bridge Lock by Julian Morgan

Wey & Arun Canal Trust reports that construction has started on both Compasses Bridge, near Alfold, and Gennets Bridge Lock, near Loxwood and Ifold.  The work at Compasses is to construct a new canal bridge and at Gennets Bridge Lock, the Trust’s contractors are installing the concrete shell of a new lock.  At both sites there will be plenty of work for volunteers once the professionals have finished.

While the work at Gennets Bridge is in progress, a Trust work party has made good use of the mainly dry weather to carry out towpath repairs and upgrading on the sections south of Gennets and south of Brewhurst Bridge in Loxwood. Both sections have been notorious quagmires during the winter period.

Firepool Lock Re-Opens After Successful Emergency Repairs

Photo: Emergency repairs at Firepool Lock on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal

On Wednesday 29th July and Thursday 30th July, a team from CRT and Hewden Crane Hire arrived at Firepool Lock on the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal to make emergency repairs, following its recent damage by vandals.

One balance beam had sheared off completely and after an engineering examination it was found that two more beams were in a very poor state and might as well be changed whilst the heavy lifting gear was in place.  The same crane also made itself useful by changing the rotted side sluice at the top of the lock (that controls the feed of water from the River Tone into the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal).

Whilst waiting for the lock beams to arrive, the sluice was changed over and the remnants of the broken balance beam removed, along with the other life-expired top gate beam – the top gates then presenting a rather strange sight.

By the end of the day both top gates had smart new beams.  The Thursday was spent swapping out the beam that was to be changed on one of the lower gates.

On the following Saturday, a substantial team of volunteers from IWA’s West Country Branch applied more paint to the new lock beams and carried out other activities to smarten up the lock area.  The lock has now re-opened.  (Further news from the Branch can be seen in our IWA Work Parties Section)

Canal & River Trust Appoints Head of Boating

Photo:  Mike Grimes, CRT’s new Head of Boating

The Canal & River Trust has appointed Mike Grimes to the position of Head of Boating, bringing his current responsibilities for business boating together with the Trust’s licensing and enforcement departments.
The newly combined team will work on plans that will meet the needs of the entire boating community, thus ensuring consistency in processes, such as boat licensing and in communications to all boaters.

Operator Sought for New Moorings in Hackney Wick

CRT has created a stretch of new moorings in East London to help meet the demand from boaters for permanent moorings and is inviting third parties to tender to manage the site.
The moorings are next to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on the River Lee Navigation in Hackney Wick.  The 280-metre site will create twelve leisure and two trade towpath moorings, and will include a public pump-out facility which will be looked after by the Trust.
The tender will run from 17th August to 28th September.  More information can be found on the Canal & River Trust website.

ECS to Build 8 Radial Weir Gates for EA Refurbishment of Thames Structure

ECS Engineering Services is to supply eight radial weir gates to the Environment Agency as part of a project to improve the Old Windsor Weir on the River Thames. Using the latest 3D survey equipment, ECS has been able to develop precision drawings for the fabrication team in record time.

In this case, as soon as the go-ahead was given, ECS was able to survey the site in detail using its advanced surveying equipment, which enabled the design teams to start work almost immediately. Although the site appears to use eight identical radial weir gates, the survey equipment can soon determine any differences, which should ensure that every new gate fits perfectly.

Montgomery Canal Reopens after Valuable Habitats are Protected During Emergency Repairs

The Montgomery canal re-opened on 17th August after emergency repairs were carried out to a leak in the embankment near Queen’s Head in Shropshire.
The leak was adjacent to Aston Nature Reserve in the middle of a Site of Special Scientific Interest and repairs had to be carried out sympathetically to minimise disturbance to habitats, plants and wildlife.
The work, carried out by CRT, included the protection and where necessary, relocation of reed warbler nests, under special licence from Natural England, a fish rescue of over 600lbs in weight of fish and ensuring that the work had minimal impact on the protected reeds beds – all carried out under the watchful eye of ecologists.
The canal was closed on the 9th June and since then 120 metres of steel piles have been driven down five metres into the bank to strengthen it and stop the leaks.

Archaeological Dig on the Chesterfield Canal

Photo:  Volunteers at work on the recent archaeological dig on the Chesterfield Canal

In early August, volunteers digging out the channel to restore the Chesterfield Canal in Staveley discovered some stone remains.

Dr Geraint Coles, archaeologist and former Chesterfield Canal Development Manager, made the decision that the site deserved to be properly investigated. Following an email appeal for helpers by the Chesterfield Canal Trust, the dig was arranged for 15th and 16th August.

The remains were of the walls and invert (floor) of the original Eckington Road Bridge over the canal, built in about 1776. It is quite incredible that it has remained intact, because three other bridges and a railway line were built within a few yards during the following 240 years.

As more of the site was revealed, the story of how the construction was done began to emerge. It became obvious that the bridge had been constructed first and the towpath put in afterwards.
As was expected, there were lots of objects found in the mud, such as old bottles, miners’ lamp and candle holders, a gentleman's sword stick and a clay pipe. Of particular interest were three coins, including a George III half penny, dated 1772 or 1773.

Eventually the whole site will be removed because the new, restored canal has to be lower in order to get under a nearby railway, however there is now a desire to do more such digs. A Cuckoo boat, thought to be unique to the Chesterfield Canal, is believed to be buried not far away. It is hoped that this will be next on the list.


Remember a Charity in your Will Week

Remember a Charity in your Will Week is an annual awareness week designed to encourage more people to consider leaving a gift to charity when writing a will.

Three quarters of Britons regularly give to charity in their lifetimes, yet only 7% currently include a charity when writing a will. Nevertheless gifts in wills are still the foundation of many of Britain’s charities, creating almost £2 billion each year, the equivalent of 19 Comic Reliefs. Without this income, many charities would simply not exist and others would have to cut crucial services.

This year’s Remember a Charity in your Will Week will take place from 7th-13th September.
If you are interested in supporting IWA in this way, please visit our Leave a Legacy page on our website for further details.

IWA & WRG Work Party Reports

IWA’s Himalayan Balsam Campaign for 2015 is now over, with the seeds of this invasive non-native plant now being too developed for further work parties to be practical this year.  During June, July and early August a total of 12 IWA branches organised and held 25 work parties on 14 different waterways.  235 volunteers took part, clearing about 10 acres of land in total, along approximately 18 miles of canal or river bank. 

Balsam Bash at Haslam Park

At a recent Balsam Bash held at Haslam Park in Preston on Saturday 11th July, IWA Volunteers from Lancashire & Cumbria Branch were joined by others from Friends of Haslam Park and the Green Party.  Also involved were volunteers from the local community and two Park Rangers.

The 14 volunteers and two park staff worked together to clear Himalayan Balsam from an area at Savick Brook in order to help prevent its spread down to the river Ribble, part of the Ribble Link which connects the Lancaster Canal to the rest of the canal network.

The volunteers hard work resulted in 12 dumpy bags being filled with the pulled Balsam which the park staff took to be recycled.

IWA’s Warwickshire Branch Tackle Himalayan Balsam

Photo: Members of IWA Warwickshire Branch and local residents with the bags containing uprooted Himalayan Balsam

Eighteen volunteers from IWA’s Warwickshire Branch and local residents have been tackling the Himalayan Balsam which was beginning to infest Myton Fields in Warwick. Myton Fields which includes fishing facilities for young people,stretches along the south bank of the River Avon and hosts a variety of fauna and flora. The plant was growing among the large beds of nettles and brambles which form an essential part of the ecology of the park.

The first event in July enabled the extent of the infestation to be established so that the volunteers in August could be directed to the worst affected areas.

In all, the volunteers hard work filled approximately 100 bags with Himalayan Balsam which were collected and destroyed by Warwick District Council.  Clearing Himalayan Balsam is a long term project and so IWA Warwickshire Branch will be monitoring the site and organising further clearances in succeeding years.

North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch focus on Himalayan Balsam

Photo: Crumpwood flood lock after Himalayan Balsam was removed by North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branches work party

On Saturday 20th June, IWA’s North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch held its first Saturday work party on the Uttoxeter Canal. The branch was delighted to be joined by two new volunteers and focused on tackling the Himalayan Balsam on site for the first time this year. Working from the old pump-house adjacent to Crumpwood Weir towards the line of the canal, volunteers cleared a large expanse by hand-pulling, putting the plants into two large piles to compost down.

Five days later, on Thursday 25 June, the work party was back on the Uttoxeter Canal to continue with its assault on the Himalayan Balsam. Volunteers continued working along the line of the canal.  This was a deviation from the branches usual work party pattern as the second Thursday in the month coincided with the week-long work party dedicated to painting Hazelhurst Bridge on the Caldon Canal; which many of its volunteers helped on.

On Thursday 9th July, a work party focussed its efforts on tackling the Himalayan Balsam in the vicinity of the Crumpwood flood lock, where the situation has been monitored since May. By far the tallest plants were those growing in the entrance to the lock, most were already over two metres tall and some were in flower.  It is important that balsam is eradicated from this area as there are future plans for the branch to excavate the flood lock and associated weir sluice.  

Elsewhere in the North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch area, the programme of Himalayan Balsam work parties on the Caldon Canal was rounded off on 22nd July with a Family Volunteering Day, where families joined other volunteers during the first week of the school holidays to clear Himalayan Balsam from the river section of the Caldon Canal upstream from Consall Forge.  CRT provided their aluminium work boat and the plant was cleared from the offside of the river as well as on the towpath side.  

Amount of Litter Reduced by IWA’s Regular Congleton Work Party

Photo: Some of the hard working regular volunteers at the Congleton Work Party

Eight volunteers from IWA’s North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch supported the regular monthly IWA work party at Congleton, on Friday 24th July.  The volunteers carried out their regular litter pick and although litter around the station area and along the towpath remain an issue, it is good to note that the amount of litter has reduced considerably from the start of the work party’s regular litter picking from some dozen bags to now one or two per month.

The volunteers also spent a good deal of time working on the area of land between the canal and the station where there is a plan to landscape with low maintenance plants during the autumn season. The accompanying photo show some of the hard working regular volunteers as well as the cleared area.

Over the coming months, the group will continue to litter pick as well as working to maintain vegetation growth along the towpath as well as working with CRT staff on the ramp leading to the former lengthsman’s cottage.

IWA’s Northampton Branch Volunteers Discover Hidden Hoard!

Photo: Detritus removed from the River Nene by IWA’s Northampton Branch task party

A task party from IWA’s Northampton Branch returned to the town lock island on 20th August to continue preparation work for the Festival of Water.  Overhanging trees were trimmed to allow boats to moor easily and bushes were tidied so there will be as much room on the island as possible for visitors.
At the last task party, a trolley was left in the River Nene as a boat was moored right on top of it, so on this occasion a decision was made to return to the waterfront and remove it.  Whilst there the task party was told by a fisherman that he kept catching his hook on something on the riverbed.  Grappling hooks were thrown back in only to find another shopping trolley!
The volunteers kept going and ended up pulling out a total of 9 trolleys, 7 pushbikes and other various detritus!

Cheshire Locks Work Party Makes Excellent Progress

IWA’s North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branches August Cheshire Locks volunteer work party, continued to uplift Lock 46 on the Red Bull Flight. Nine volunteers put in a very productive days work and made excellent progress towards completing Lock 46.
It was a very busy day for boaters and the team had much praise and thanks for their efforts. Lock 46 handrails and metal work were in a poor state requiring much work to rub down and paint, but it now looks very smart.
The volunteers also uncovered some attractive granite cobbles on the offside landing area and thoroughly cleaned weeds off the brick setts between the pairs of bottom gates.

Volunteers plan to complete the uplift of Lock 46 at the next work party in September and that will conclude the whole of the Red Bull Flight.

If you’ve got a few hours spare and fancy helping out on a Thursday, please come and join the team, you will be made most welcome.

IWA West Country Branch Give Newly Repaired Firepool Lock a Summer Tidy-Up

Photo: Work Party Clean-Up and Tidy, Before the Rain Arrives

On August 1st, 17 volunteers attended an IWA West Country Branch Work Party at  Firepool Lock on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal.

The volunteers were divided into groups, some being tasked with painting the newly replaced lock balance beams and other lock machinery items, whilst others litter picked and tidied the area adjacent to the lock.

In addition, volunteers cut and trimmed back some of the vegetation and brambles which were encroaching across the towpath towards Taunton Town Centre in one direction and Firepool towards Bathpool in the opposite direction.

Altogether volunteers worked a grand total of 65.75 hours!

Mark Betson, local CRT Team Leader was present and helped organise the work carried out.  He also gave a comprehensive safe working briefing to our teams, helping to make the day a success!

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:

Lichfield Branch - Lichfield Lines - Summer 2015
Milton Keynes Branch - Towpath Telegraph
North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch – Knobsticks
South London & North East London Branch – Meridian Cuttings
South East Region – Cargoes
Northampton Branch – Endeavour
Warwickshire Branch – Bear Essentials
South West Region – Sou’Wester
Chiltern Branch – Chiltern Grapevine

Waterways Magazine

The Autumn Waterways magazine is now available online.

Waterway Events

Major IWA events in 2015

20th September 2015 - Waterways Triathlon, Essex
26th September 2015 - Annual Members' Meeting, Droitwich

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/Cleanup Events

2nd September Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
5th September Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
5th September Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
5th September Work Party - Bridgwater Docks (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
8th September Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
9th September Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
9th September Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country &Worcestershire Branch)
10th September Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
13th September Work Party - Sleaford Navigation (supported by IWA Lincolnshire Branch)
16th September Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
17th September Work Party - Trent & Mersey, Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
19th September Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
22nd September Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
23rd September Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
25th September Work Party - Congleton (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
26th September Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
26th September Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
27th September Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
30th September Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)

3rd October Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
3rd October Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (Supported by IWA N. Staffs & S. Cheshire Branch)
7th October Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)   
8th October Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (Supported by IWA N. Staffs & S. Cheshire Branch)  
11th October Work Party - Hatton (Supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
11th October Work Party - Sleaford Navigation (Supported by IWA Lincolnshire Branch)
13th October Work Party - Northampton (Supported by IWA Northampton Branch)
14th October Work Party - River Gipping  (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
14th October Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (Supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcs.Branch)
15th October Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (Supported by IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
17th October Work Party - Greater Manchester (Supported by IWA Manchester Branch)
21st October Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
23rd October Work Party - Congleton  (Supported by IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
24th October Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (Supported by IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
25th October Work Party - Northampton (Supported by IWA Northampton Branch)
27th October Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (Supported by IWA N. Staffs & S. Cheshire Branch)
28th October Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)

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

Upcoming Towpath Walks

6th September Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
8th September Waterside Walk - Cross Green, Shareshill and Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Lichfield Branch)
20th September Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)

4th October Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)    
11th October Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
18th October Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (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
  • Boat Windows Ltd - 5% discount
  • Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
  • Calcutt Boats - 5% Discount
  • Canal Boat Magazine - Annual subscription for just £15
  • 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
  • IceGripper - 20% discount
  • I Love Meet and Greet Ltd - 15% discount
  • King's Lock Chandlery - 5% discount
  • Lee Sanitation Ltd. - 10% on orders over £100
  • Marine Megastore Ltd. - 15% discount
  • Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
  • Middlewich Narrowboats - 25% discount on hire of classic boat Willow
  • Paper Wizard - 15% discount
  • River Canal Rescue - Up to 15% discount
  • RoadPro - 5% discount
  • The Three Locks Pub, Grand Union Canal nr. Milton Keynes - 10% discount on food
  • UltimateBerths.com - Free Listing
  • Wavetrain Marine - 5% discount on 1 day VHF SCR training courses
  • Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard 
  • 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 Katie Thomas


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IWA News

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Sam Line - Volunteer of the Month August 2015

July 2015 Work Parties 

Desktop Calendar

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