The restoration of Horseways Channel and Welches Dam lock in the Anglian waterways system is and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, the Peterborough Branch’s main concern. To enable a broader spectrum of support to be achieved the Branch has formed a joint enterprise with members of the East Anglia Waterways Association, the Great Ouse branch of IWA, and the Middle Level Watermans Club.
To provide a strong identity to this enterprise the branding of Project Hereward has been adopted. The members of the enterprise meet on a monthly basis and more information is posted on the website. This can be accessed by following this link www.project-hereward.org .
A recent site visit by members of Project Hereward team to Horseways proved particularly useful, and those involved were struck by the fact that information from various previous sources appeared inconsistent with observations made on the day. An inspection was made of the barrier of sheet steel piles erected by EA at the lock top entrance from the Old Bedford River in 2006. This effectively closed the lock to operation and to navigation. Several practical options are available to circumvent this obstruction and these are being assessed.
It was noted that the sheet steel piles are not in fact holding back the water of the Old Bedford River. This is because they do not extend to the Southern bank of the entrance, but leave a gap of around 1.5 m. The 2m head of water is being held entirely by the lock top gates with only a small leakage at the mitre. Measurements of the downstream channel were made, which will be used to assess the amount of sealing membrane required to line the channel.
There have been ongoing communications with the Wendover Arm Trust as there seem to be similarities between the two projects. A visit was made to the Wendover Arm on 7 February 2015 to view the work of the Trust in reopening this waterway, a 6.5 mile lock-free branch of the Grand Union Canal. Of particular interest is the fact that a two mile stretch suffers from leakage, just as the Horseways channel does, and they are lining it with a Bentomat membrane to provide a seal. Much useful information was obtained from this visit and the thanks of the Project Hereward team go to the Wendover Arm Trust for their help and hospitality.
For the latest information please visit the Project Hereward website by following this link www.project-hereward.org .