RGT NEWS ISSUE 6 JULY 2011 EDITORIAL Writing this Editorial is a little like writing a noncommittal School Report—steady but not spectacular progress As work at Baylham Lock nears its completion (wouldn‘t it be good to see a pair of gates fitted there!), your Committee devoted a special meeting to planning for the future and their deliberations, led by our energetic Restoration Manager, Martin Bird, are reproduced in full in this Newsletter, together with the latest of his regular Restoration Up-Dates In September, we are holding an Open Day at Baylham for the Suffolk Local History Council and the following day will be taking part in the National Open Heritage Weekend—details on Page 2 Spencer Greystrong has spent an enormous amount of time co-ordinating the new Walk Maps along a section of the River Gipping and details are on Page 10 Page 16 shows the recent and forthcoming Talk Presentations—inevitably the more of these we do, the less there are—however we feel that they still have a very beneficial effect by spreading the word and at the same time bringing in useful revenue—if you know of any organisation we can talk to, please let us know On Page 5 we reproduce the latest information with regard to the situation of water resources in various parts of the country—the recent wet weather has hopefully eased the situation but there are still some restrictions—check the web-site for latest situation Lewis Tyler 1
A NOTE FOR YOUR DIARY! Our Heritage Open Day 2011 will be 11 September 2011 Heritage Open Days celebrates Englandâ€˜s architecture and culture by allowing visitors free access to interesting properties that are either not usually open, or would normally charge an entrance fee. Heritage Open Days also includes tours, events and activities that focus on local architecture and culture. Organised by volunteers - usually property owners or managers - for local people, Heritage Open Days is Englandâ€˜s biggest and most popular voluntary cultural event. Last year the event attracted around 1 million visitors. English Heritage gives central co-ordination and a national voice to the event. Heritage Open Days provides visitors with a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy these sometimes hidden, often curious and always interesting places in English cities, towns and villages - and completely free of charge. The River Gipping Trust will be taking part for the first time by holding an Open Day at Baylham Lock on Sunday, 11th September 2011 from 10.00 - 16.00 hours Galloways No 87 Bus Service passes the end of the road leading to the Rare Breeds Farm and Baylham Lock
COME & SEE US ! 2
REPORT OF THE RIVER GIPPING TRUST ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING The Trust held its third Annual General Meeting on 13 th May 2011 when the meeting room at Needham Market‘s Community Centre was filled with members attending to hear the business of the meeting, and to be addressed by Mr Ben Gummer, Member of Parliament for Ipswich. The Town Mayor of Needham Market was also a guest and welcomed the members. After the reelection of retiring trustees Gerry Crease and Lewis Tyler, Brian Annis was elected to become a Trustee and subsequently the Trust‘s Chairman. He spoke warmly of the previous two chairmen and their contribution the on-going success of the Trust. Members then heard about the progress of the restoration, finance, and future plans which included an Open Day at Baylham Lock for the Heritage Weekend in September. After the conclusion of the AGM business, Mr Gummer spoke enthusiastically about his involvement in the regeneration of Ipswich‘s waterfront and his hopes for the future of the area. He commented that in the 1980‘s, Ipswich had turned its back on the River Orwell after the closure of the major manufacturers in the town. He felt that the restoration of a water course from Stowmarket to Ipswich in the way of the River Gipping, would bring some commerce back. The public needed to be made aware of the gems in Ipswich, and a voice to attract visitors to the area. There was a need to restore the river walk and make it more attractive. The proposed Tesco site was one in which he had some input, and he took on board the Trust‘s concern regarding the new flood walls. He thanked the Trust for everything that it was doing and encouraged the members to continue with the good work.
FROM THE TREASURERS COMPUTER The last 6 months have been comparatively quiet on the financial front. We haven‘t been spending too much – in fact we‘ve got £8100 in our various bank accounts which is £700 more than we had at the beginning of the year. We‘ve had several donations this year, the largest of which was from Frances Hart, one of our staunchest supporters. She does illustrated talks about the canal systems both in this country and the rest of the world. All the income from those talks she donates to the Trust, a total of £675 this year. Scrap metal prices continue to rise – the current price is £170 a tonne and we‘ve made over £500 from that source. Membership income continues at a steady rate; we have received £450 this year. We are also benefitting from one of our members who donates a percentage of his eBay sales to the Trust. If you would to help in this way, when you create your listing, just below the price you‘ll see a box that allows you choose a charity. Find us in the list and chose the percentage you would like to donate. Our expenditure this year has been quite low although the sum of £1470 on restoration does sound quite a lot! The single largest part of that was the £520 we spent on sand, ballast, lime and cement, the ‗bread and butter‘ of all our restoration work. The next largest item was the £440 we spent repairing the bridge at Bosmere. However we had a donation of £220 from Mid Suffolk DC towards that expenditure. We are also feeling the effects of the ever-rising costs of diesel and petrol and that has cost us over £200 this year. The other interesting item was the £240 we have spent to rent a container. We have had a very generous offer by Gipping Homes at Baylham to site a container in a secure part of their property. As we get closer to completing the restoration work on Baylham lock we will need to move our equipment out of the shed belonging to the Onians Trust so we have taken the opportunity to prepare for that eventuality. That‘s my report over for another few months, but if you would like to know more, please get in touch. Spencer Greystrong 4
WATER RESOURCES UPDATE FROM BRITISH WATERWAYS 6th May 2011 March and April this year have been the second driest in 100 years and British Waterways has experienced exceptionally high numbers of boaters taking to the nation‘s canals to enjoy the warm weather and additional holidays. Despite this, water resources are holding up well across most of the country. Adam Comerford, group hydrology manager at British Waterways, said: ―Once again we are experiencing unusually hot and dry weather conditions for this time of year. This, coupled with the long Bank Holidays weekends has meant our waterways have experienced huge numbers of boaters moving around the network. While this is extremely positive and great news for the nations‘ canals there are a small number of areas we are watching with some caution with regard to water supply. ―Firstly, the Rochdale Canal at Sowerby Bridge which is supplied by a pumped abstraction from the River Calder, and is currently subject to an Environment Agency (EA) restriction. The EA issued a stoppage notice on 5th May which has meant that for the foreseeable future we have had to restrict the numbers of boaters passing through Tuel lock at Sowerby Bridge. Bookings can be made by calling the Red Bull office on 01782 779912. Subject to rainfall further restrictions may be necessary. Asking boaters for help ―In addition, we are also looking at the summit section of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. We have been able to modify our modelling given the exceptional drought conditions which continued all the way through last year‘s main boating season. As a result we will be putting some passage restrictions in place on Monday 9th May. Full details are available on www.waterscape.com/ waterwatch. We are asking our boating customers to help us by doubling up at locks, waiting for others boaters before setting locks and ensuring paddles are closed. ―The rivers which support the Monmouth & Brecon and Gloucester & Sharpness Canals are also experiencing low flows and we have been restricted in terms of how much water we can use from these rivers. ―We have already had a number of instances of vandalism across the network which needlessly wastes millions of litres of water and we would ask boaters to report any suspicious behaviour to the local police. ―On the whole the picture is positive, with most reservoir holdings within normal range, if slightly below long term average for the time of year, and we remain optimistic about water supplies across the country. The situation on the Rochdale, Leeds & Liverpool, Monmouth & Brecon and Gloucester & Sharpness Canals is being reviewed daily and www.waterscape.com/waterwatch has full details. For more information on booking passage, current restrictions and water resources updates visit www.waterscape.com.
THE RIVER GIPPING TRUST STRATEGY DOCUMENT 2011 ONWARDS Introduction This document sets out the areas of activity that the Trust will need to follow to achieve its dual aims as included in its rules and articles of association. The aims of the trust can be simply stated as follows: 1 to secure the River Gipping for navigation along its length from Ipswich to Stowmarket 2 To Improve the quality of and access to the natural environment along the valley of the River Gipping. These objectives can be mutually supportable, but to date the Trust has concentrated on the first objective, with the environmental issues as a secondary objective. This has flowed naturally from the Trusts origins as body formed by the local branch of the IWA. It is likely that this sense of priorities will remain throughout the life of the trust. It should be noted that all of the work listed will require the approval of the Environment Agency, relevant landowners, and in some cases planning permission. Rights of Navigation have been lost and may require an Act of Parliament to re-instate The Environment Agency commented on the Trust proposals in January 2004,concluding that the proposal to provide a navigable route from Ipswich to Stowmarket may have conflicts with drainage control resulting from impounding the river, conflicts with environmental issues, and recommended a professional feasibility study be commissioned Strategy This document sets out some specific requirements necessary to achieve the Trusts objectives. In reaching a conclusion, it will be necessary first to consider the physical restrictions to be overcome in achieving a navigable route. These can be listed as follows: 6
1 Channel Depth Since the closure of the waterway to navigation , little has been done to maintain the channel depth and the river has reverted in many areas to a semi-natural state. The channel depth varies tremendously along the length of the river, in some areas becoming almost dry. In order to restore the river to navigation a consistent channel depth of 3â€˜ 4â€–, the original design depth, will need to be achieved by dredging or bank work. This is a considerable undertaking along most of the length of the river 2 Clearance height The IWA recommend a headroom for cruising purposes of 2.3m. This is generally achievable along the river with the exception of the railway and flood defence works at Norwich Road, Ipswich, where headroom is limited to only 1.9m. This however will still allow for cruising . Elsewhere along the length of the river trees have overgrown in some reaches to a considerable degree. 3 Lock repair and replacement All but one of the locks are still in place to some extent, though many require additional work to make them navigable and all require gate replacement. The following is a summary of the work required to each lock. This summary is not exhaustive as not all the locks have been technically surveyed. Stowupland lock Not currently navigable and incorporates flood defence gates. Would require complete rebuild. Badley lock Historic construction turf sided lock with alterations. Could technically be re-built on historic lines, but privately owned by uncooperative owner Hawks Mill Occupied by flood defence works. Structure is substantially present and could be converted to use by guillotine gates etc, but expensive and requires agreement of EA. Bosmere Rebuilt by the trust and navigable, subject to requiring Gates and minor maintenance works 7
Creeting..As Bosmere Pipps Ford As Bosmere Baylham Under re-construction, and will be in same condition as Bosmere by summer 2012 Sharmford Re-built by the Rivers Authority .Will require some amendment to gate recesses to return to original condition Great Blakenham Located in private garden but appears to be sound, just needing gate replacement Claydon The original lock was lost under the A14 and the river re-directed.It would be necessary to construct an entirely new lock. Bramford Thought to be sound but has flood control gates Sproughton Overgrown with trees and shrubs but chamber thought to be ok. A flood control gate is also fitted Chantry Lock a shallow lock, now flood control in place Handford Sea Lock The original entrance from the tidal river is now occupied by substantial flood control works Available Resources The Trust carries out its work through a small group of volunteers and is funded by donations, annual fees, and the sale of scrap metal. No grants are currently received Conclusion From the above it will be seen that the scope of works required to return the full length of the river to navigation is very considerable and beyond the current means of the Trust to achieve in the short term. Returning the river to navigation may therefore only be achieved by approaching restricted lengths at a time and by seeking additional funding through any available grants, local authority support etc..
Proposal: The overall strategy of the trust should be To seek the return of the River Gipping to navigation between Stowmarket and Ipswich by: Seeking to maintain a channel depth of 1m Seeking to maintain a clearance height of no less than 1.9m Concentrating repair projects on structures on the Bosmere-Baylham stretch, whilst remaining open to unforeseen opportunities elsewhere on the river Obtaining quotes for a feasibility study for providing a tourist boat service between Bosmere lock and Baylham lock, then commissioning a study if affordable Seeking to maximise resources and recruit new members by publicity, working in partnership with other similar bodies. Short term strategy: To complete the repair works at Baylham lock. To survey the structures at Pipps ford and determine requirement for repair To consider footpath clearance and repair at Pipps ford , and repair alongside railway line at Baylham
Two walks along the GippinG To celebrate our publication of leaflets describing walks along and near the river we are organising two guided walks in conjunction with the Mid-Anglia Rail Passengers Association (MARPA) and the Ramblers Association.
WALK 1 IPSWICH TO NEEDHAM MARKET SATURDAY 24th SEPTEMBER This walk will start from Ipswich Railway Station forecourt at 9.15am on the arrival of the 8.49 from Needham Market. The walk is 11½ miles and should take about 6 hours.
WALK 2 NEEDHAM MARKET TO STOWMARKET SATURDAY 1st OCTOBER This walk will start from Needham Market Railway Station forecourt at 9.50am on the arrival of the 9.44 from Stowmarket. The walk is 4½ miles and should take about 2½ hours. Both these walks are designed to tell you about the history of the river and the Stowmarket Navigation so expect a leisurely stroll rather than a route march. The walks will only start after the train has arrived, even if it’s late! Make your own arrangements to get to the start of the walk but do try and use public transport for at least one stage of your journey. Wear stout, comfortable footwear and have waterproofs available. Bring refreshments and plenty of drink. Well behaved dogs are fine but they must be kept on a short lead at all times as parts of the walk will be through fields containing livestock. There is no need to book for this walk but we may have to make changes or even cancel the walk at short notice so please phone Spencer Greystrong on 07957 862793 the day before to check that it’s still on. You need to be aware that you come at your own risk and no liability will be accepted by either the walk guides or the River Gipping Trust. 10
Saturday 17th September 2011 A meal in the Maybush, Waldringfield followed by a cruise on the River Deben Our respective Trust’s decided it was time we found out a bit more about each other so we have arranged an outing to Waldringfield and a boat trip up the Deben to Woodbridge and back. You’ll have plenty of time to chat! The boat is the MV Jahan. It has 54 seats and is fully weather protected. We need to be on board and ready to depart by 1.40pm and tea and cakes will be served during the trip. The Maybush is a very pleasant family pub on the edge of the river, right next to the boatyard so we are suggesting that you have a meal there before joining the boat. The boat trip will cost £12.50 per person. We are not arranging a coach so you will need your own transport to the pub and you will also have pay for your own meal. There is ample car parking space at the pub. If you would like to come on the trip, please complete the slip below and return it by the 1st August. Cheques should be made payable to the ‘River Gipping Trust’ and sent with the booking slip to Spencer Greystrong, 25 Ambrose Avenue, COLCHESTER, CO3 4JY
I would like ______ tickets for the boat trip on Saturday 17th September. I enclose £______ (£12.50 per person) Name ___________________________________ Telephone number________________________ 11
RESTORATION REPORT 18 June 2011 The work at Bosmere was completed in April with the removal of willow stumps from above the lock chamber, and the re â€“timbering of the footbridge over the lock. The continued dry weather has then helped with progress to repairs below the bridge at Baylham. The repair work under the bridge itself was completed in April and the curved dwarf wall between the tunnel and the water edge re-built, the area behind the wall filled and surfaced with concrete. Further work in the lock chamber itself was then delayed through April and early May as a grey wagtail decided to nest in the battery box of the main pump. This coincided with a period when many regular work party members were away on cruises. As the number of people available was limited, we concentrated on clearance work on the brick surface area, identifying the original edge of the brickwork and the remains of the original line of wooden piles. The edge of the brickwork is being eroded and bricks are slowly falling off the edge into the stream. After consulting with Environment agency we have concluded that the best way of dealing with this is to re-in-force the bank above and behind the original piles with sandbags , and lay a wooden beam along the front edge . Work has started on this in the worst affected area. The wagtails left the battery box in mid May, and at the first work party in June we were able to pump out the lock chamber and re-set the upper stop planks. The lower lock walls have now been pressure washed and are ready for repointing. We will then place scaffolding against the west wall and begin the required patching. Martin Bird Restoration Manager
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TALKS DIARY 2011/12 Date/Time
Castle Hill URC
Dryden Rd, Ipswich Battisford
History Club Needham Market
Village Hall Needham
Town Council Felixstowe Probus 95
East Suffolk Dalebridge
Community Centre Dale Hall School
Editor: Lewis J. Tyler. Church Cottage, Capel St. Mary, Ipswich, IP9 2EL (01473) 310381 firstname.lastname@example.org Views that may be expressed in this Newsletter are not necessarily the views of the River Gipping Trust or its Trustees 16
The River Gipping Trust Newsletter No. 6 July 2011