22 September 2010


The Inland Waterways Association is delighted to announce that Northampton will host their National Campaign Rally in 2011, over the May Day weekend, 30 April to 2 May 2011.
The aims of the Rally will be to celebrate 250 years of the river Nene becoming navigable to Northampton, to encourage greater use of this lovely river, supported by better facilities, and to contribute to the process of reconnecting Northampton with its waterfront.  The new marina currently being constructed by the Environment Agency will be complete, representing the first step in revitalisation of the riverside.

Organised by IWA’s Northampton branch, the event is also supported by Northampton Borough Council, the Environment Agency, British Waterways and the Association of Nene River Clubs and will be one of a series of events being held throughout 2011 to highlight the Nene and its importance to the local area. 

Rally organisers hope to have traders, entertainment and activities for children during the weekend.  There are extensive moorings on the river, adjacent to the Rally site, and it is also hoped to run a temporary campsite in conjunction with the Caravan Club’s Northampton Region, which will enable more visitors to join in the celebrations. There will be free admission for the general public to the waterfront boat moorings and the rally site in Beckett’s Park.

The 91 mile River Nene has played a vital role in the area since the Bronze Age with significant finds being made, particularly at Flag Fen in 1982, where a visitor centre and museum record the discovery of 3000 year old timbers which had been perfectly preserved in the moist soil.  However, the navigable section up to Northampton from The Wash was only finished in 1761.  The first navigable link to the main canal system via the Grand Junction Canal (now the Grand Union), at Gayton Junction, was completed in 1815.

Now with 38 locks, many with electrically operated guillotine style gates, and (usually) a gentle current, the Nene is a relatively easy waterway to navigate.  It also passes through large towns and attractive small villages and is regarded by many as a perfect representation of an English river.

Organisers would welcome enquiries from anyone wishing to join the celebrations during the weekend – whether traders, entertainers, boaters or campers.  For further information

Email: john.pomfret@waterways.org.uk

Or visit the website: www.waterways.org.uk

About IWA

The Inland Waterways Association is a registered charity, founded in 1946, which advocates the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways for public benefit.

IWA works closely with navigation authorities, national and local authorities, voluntary, private and public sector organisations. We campaign and lobby for support and encourage public participation in the inland waterways. IWA also manages the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation for the public benefit, through its subsidiary Essex Waterways, (www.essexwaterways.com) having stepped in to prevent its closure in 2005.
More than 500 miles of canals and navigable rivers have been re-opened to public use since the Association was founded in 1946.  The Association is working to restore a further 500 miles of derelict inland waterways.

IWA is organised into 35 local branches covering geographical areas of the country, through which volunteers coordinate activities as diverse as policing planning applications through the waterway corridor, organising festivals and events to raise public awareness, providing engineering expertise, raising money for restoration schemes, and providing education on the value and benefits of their local waterways.

There is much more information at www.waterways.org.uk