The Legacy of Severn Navigation Restoration Trust - by David Struckett

The Severn Navigation Restoration Trust (SNRT) had it’s origins in the early 1980s with the specific intention of building navigation works on that part of the River Severn above Stourport, to Bridgnorth in the first instance, and thence to the Ironbridge gorge.  The possibility of extending up-river to Shrewsbury and beyond was of course in mind, but few studies dealt with the upper reaches.  Canoes and other small craft regularly use the entire length of the river however, keeping open the public right of navigation from the Welsh border to the navigation works below Stourport, but larger craft are currently at the mercy of highly variable water levels and no controlling authority above Stourport.

With the completion of the Upper Avon Project in 1974 which enabled boats to reach Stratford upon Avon for the first time in many years, it was naturally it’s engineer David Hutchings to whom SNRT initially turned. 

The difficulties encountered however, were somewhat different and of a different scale to what had been encountered on other river navigation improvement schemes.  Although the actual objectives have changed in some ways, much progress had been made with local authorities and others, but various problems, unfortunate decisions and the ‘modernisation’ of the relationship with other bodies have all conspired to make the challenge as at first envisaged, more difficult.  The SNRT, as a charitable company with these aims, decided to close down it’s campaign and disband, in favour of The Inland Waterways Association, at it’s AGM on the 29th of October, 2011.   The closure is now complete. 

The reason for this article is to look back at some of the ‘high’s, and to consider what we collectively have learned from our efforts. 

  Things we have learned (1) - Hydrology 
  Things we have learned (2) - Safety on the Severn 
  Things we have learned (3) - Design of Weirs 
  Things we have learned (4) - Design of Hydopower Generators 
  Things we have learned (5) - Relationships 
  Things we have learned (6) - Terminology 
  Things we would like to do 
  Officers of Severn Navigation Restoration Trust