The Kennet & Avon Canal’s own award winning magazine the
No.179 Summer 2007 £2.50
Walk an historic water meadow Bristol Harbour Festival history Painting with the Padwicks
The K&A’s lost wharves . . . Dolemeads, Bath Working to protect, to enhance and to promote The Kennet & Avon Canal
Newbury Boat Company Moorings Permanent non-residential and temporary cruising moorings with good security at three sites in Newbury all within walking distance of the town. Resident staff at all sites. Tel: 01635 42884 email: firstname.lastname@example.org The river at Lock Cottage moorings
All-Aboard Marine Services Dry Dock/Repairs and Maintenance for hull blacking, welding, anode replacement, surveys and hull maintenance. Also available for DIY
All types of boat repairs and maintenance including Boat Safety Examinations
Tel: Paul Hutley â€” 01635 37606 email: email@example.com Ham Manor Basin from the river
Greenham Canal Services At Greenham Island Between Greenham Lock and Newbury Lock
Boat Services/Chandlery, Diesel, Pumpout, Calor Gas, Coal etc. Souvenirs and ice cream
Tel: Val or Peter Taylor â€” 01635 31672 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Greenham Island
Newbury Boat Company Greenham Lock Cottage, Ampere Road, Newbury, RG14 5SN 2
Butty The magazine for the Kennet & Avon Canal
Cover photograph: A Bruce Trust hire boat near Horton Bridge, Devizes (see note below)
No.179 Summer 2007
9 pages of K&A news
Lost wharves — Dolmeads, Bath
Painting with the Padwicks
Bristol Harbour Festival
Picture by Bob Naylor The Trust and its aims The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust has three separate but complementary objectives: • To protect the newly restored Canal from neglect, abuse and inappropriate developments. • To enhance the Canal, either by the direct application of Trust funds or, more likely, to unlock larger amounts through matched funding. • To promote the Canal as a magnificent national amenity that is freely available for the enjoyment of all. It was The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust (through its predecessor organisations) that fought successfully to save the Canal from formal abandonment in the mid1950s. Through physical effort, innovative fund-raising and persistent political pressure, the Trust led the campaign that resulted in the Canal’s re-opening for through navigation in 1990 and the subsequent £30 million restoration project from 1996 to 2003. The Canal’s infrastructure is now in a condition that will support sustained operations for many decades ahead. The Trust’s membership reflects the wide range of leisure activities –boating, walking, cycling, fishing, pursuit of wildlife and heritage interests – that the public can enjoy along the length of the 87 miles of Canal. Together, we are “The Friends of the Kennet and Avon”. The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Devizes Wharf Couch Lane Devizes Wiltshire SN10 1EB. 01380 721279 01380 727870 (fax) www.katrust.org.uk President Sir Anthony Durant Vice Presidents Sir William Benyon Peter Collins Donald Collinson Michael Corfield Michael Goodenough David Lamb Admiral Sir William O'Brien Philip Ogden Brian Oram Sir Frank Price Prunella Scales Timothy West Chairman Brian Poulton Company Secretary Fleur de Rhé-Philipe Administrator Mo Crossley e-mail: email@example.com
Retail Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Devizes Shop email@example.com
Hon Treasurer David Lindop Hon Civil Engineer Michael Lee Museum Curator Warren Berry
Trust Council David Copley Michael Davis Fleur de Rhé-Philipe Graeme Dewhirst Peter Dunn Bill Fisher John Forbes Terry Kemp John Kirby Michael Lee John Maciver Brian Poulton Adrian Softley The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust (Enterprise) Ltd Directors Michael Davis Brian Poulton John Shaw Observers Jane Clements Company Secretary Fleur de Rhé-Philipe Butty Editor Di Harris Pear Tree Studio High Street, Urchfont Devizes SN10 4QH 01380 840584 07711 367124 firstname.lastname@example.org Butty Editorial, Design & Layout Bob Naylor 07788 134901 email@example.com For Advertising Contact Di Harris or Bob Naylor Disclaimer Views expressed in The Butty are not necessarily those of the Editor nor of the Trust.
Printers BAS Printers Premier Way Abbey Park Industrial Estate Romsey Hampshire SO51 9AQ 01794 834605 Contributions Articles and photographs are welcome. Please contact the Editor to discuss your ideas before submitting them. Whilst every care is taken with all material submitted, neither the Editor nor the publisher can take responsibility for loss or damage. Registered Charity The Trust is a registered charity (No CC209206) and a company limited by guarantee registered in England (No 726331) at the above address. The Butty is published by The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust of the same address. Data Protection Act The Trust is registered under the Data Protection Act 1984, reference SO46307X. Subject access requests should be directed to the Trust office in Devizes. Copy deadline for The Butty No 180, Autumn 2007 6 July 2007
26 The Trust’s cafés Plus regular features and branch news 4 Chairman’s report, 14 BW Briefing, 15 Represntation, 16 Walk & Wildlife, 18 Cotswold Canals, 19 Wilts & Berks news, 26 Page for younger readers, 27 Reviews, 28 Comings & Goings, 29 Branch reports, 35 Letters to the Editor, 36 Obituaries, 38 What’s on and Unclassified ads, 39 Crossword
Cover picture The Bruce Trust is a charity that hires out wide-beam canal boats on the Kennet & Avon Canal for self catering holidays for disabled, disadvantaged or elderly people and their carers. They operate four purpose-built boats from Great Bedwyn and Lower Foxhangers. For information phone: 01672 515498 or go to: www.brucetrust.org.uk
No.179 Summer 2007
Chairman’s Report Brian Poulton y thanks to those who attended our Annual General Meeting at Devizes on 5th May. I hope those who were there will forgive me if I major on the same theme as that of my Chairman’s Report.
‘Annus Horribilus’ Looking back at the year 2006, I have to conclude that it was truly our ‘annus horribilus’. It started with the need to replace the bottom plates on two of our trip-boats, both ‘Barbara McLellan’ and ‘Jubilee’. Those bills ensured that our trading company, Enterprise, would be unable to pay a donation to Trust funds in 2006.
Closures lead to reduced income We then suffered a series of changes amongst the paid and volunteer staff within Enterprise, as a result of which some of our outlets had to be closed whilst we recruited successors. Meanwhile, we were having to spend Trust funds not only on essential repairs and maintenance of our properties and leased buildings but also on equipment required by fire regulations, health and safety legislation and new rules for museum accreditation.
By early autumn, it was becoming clear that the Trust’s income in 2006 from a variety of sources would be significantly lower than that of 2005. Although subscription and Gift Aid income held up well, income from donations, legacies, admission and rent was down.
Crofton Appeal The ‘last straw’ came in late 2006 when we realised that we needed to completely re-wire the Crofton Pumping Station before it could open again. We faced a bill for over £15,000 but, by then, the Trust’s cash reserves were becoming critical. Hence the appeal letter that accompanied the Spring edition of The Butty and from which we have had a marvellous response. Through the generosity of hundreds of Trust members, our appeal has raised almost £8,000 towards the cost of Crofton’s re-wiring. A further £5,000 had been granted by the Manifold Trust,
Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Vacancies Volunteers are needed to take on the following roles
Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Enterprise Managing Director & Finance Director
Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Director of Marketing and Membership
Crofton Pumping Station Chief Engineer For further information contact Trust Administrator Mo Crosseley on 01380 721279
Picture by Bob Naylor
Trust Chairman, Brian Poulton explains to members at the AGM the way the Trust’s money was spent in 2006.
for which we are enormously grateful to the late Sir John Smith, a Trust Vice President and Crofton’s greatest benefactor, who sadly died in [February] [See Page 37]. On behalf of the Trust, I sincerely thank all those who responded to our Crofton Appeal and thereby helped us to begin the financial recovery that is so necessary.
Enterprise expands And financial recovery will continue to be our priority throughout 2007. We are looking at various ways of reducing overheads and running costs whilst increasing our income, either directly or through an improved performance by Enterprise.
William O’Brien formally opened The Café on The Wharf upstairs in the Devizes Canal Centre (see Page 5).
Crofton café refurbished Furthermore, the shop and café area at Crofton has been totally refurbished and extended and is already achieving record levels in terms of visitors and income. So, my message to our membership is simple. If you can, come and visit the Kennet & Avon Canal this summer, take advantage of our shops and cafés, visit the Museum or take a trip on our boats. Bring as many friends as you can: the Canal is there for everyone to enjoy! Have a wonderful Summer.
Devizes Café opened Indeed, these are exciting times for Enterprise! After the AGM, former Trust Chairman, Sir
Brian Poulton, Chairman
Crofton Pumping Station Chief Engineer Our present Chief Engineer wants to retire and we need to recruit a replacement. The job is responsible for managing and overseeing the maintenance, care and running of the these wonderful old engines, their boiler and the ancillary plant. It is a voluntary post, requiring regular attendance at Crofton Pumping Station on Tuesdays throughout the year, some winter working Saturdays, and on Steaming weekends. It would suit a retired person
with appropriate qualifications in engineering, ideally (but not necessarily) involving steam driven plant, looking for a challenging, satisfying and sociable pastime working with an enthusiastic and motivated team of like-minded volunteer staff. If you are interested in the post, then why not visit us on one Tuesday to find out more? Before you visit, please telephone Nigel Hawkins our Warden, on 01672 870300.
N0.179 Summer 2007
Trust HQ burgled
BW refute waterways sell-off claim by Bob Naylor newspaper report that the Government plans to privatise the waterways has been refuted by British Waterways Chief Executive, Robin Evans who said that it is not BW’s or the Government’s policy to sell off the waterways.
Thieves broke in to the Trust offices in Devizes and emptied the safe of cash on the night of 4th May, the night before the Trust AGM. Trust Chairman, Brian Poulton said, “This is the second burglary in 2 years and we are taking steps to improve the security of the building.”
He said, “Government has asked BW to consider and investigate whether BW’s current institutional form and financial structure are optimal for the long-term security and success of BW’s inland waterways, or whether alternative options might better achieve this. “To do this we are seeking expert advice and so we have put a brief out to a wide range of business consultants.” He continued, ”It is very important to emphasise that it is not the policy of the Board or of Government to privatise British Waterways.” Consultants will be appointed by the end of the year and their brief will be to review the way
BW operates and how the waterways are funded. Mr Evans concluded, “If the Review recommends any changes to BW’s current structure it will be for the Board and Government to consider whether any such changes are desirable and feasible. “In doing so, it would, I am sure, conduct public consultation.” Boating organisations are concerned that privatisation is being discussed again and John Fletcher, Chairman of the Inland Waterways Association said, “Over the years there have been a number of political proposals and press speculation about a full or partial privatisation of British
The Times Thursday May 24,2007
Waterways. “Unfortunately, most of these schemes rely on only the commercial value of British Waterways’ property, whilst completely failing to recognise British Waterway’s corefunction of running the central part of the nation’s waterways network for the benefit of the nation”. He went on to say, ” Whilst we are supportive of attempts to resolve the long-term funding of the waterways, we are deeply conscious about how damaging privatisation of British Waterways could be, or of any scheme that involves the further fragmentation of the management of the system”.
Devizes Wharf Café opened
The new Trust café on Devizes Wharf was opened by Admiral Sir William O’Brien after the Trust AGM in May.
BW pump-out charge re-think
Biking firefighters target boats in fire safety campaign
distributed along the canal. Boaters who are on their boat can leave the flyer in a boat window if they want the firefighters to call as they pass. Alternatively, boaters can make an appointment by phoning freephone on 0800 389 7849. This number is not free of charge to mobile phone users who should dial the number without the first zero.
Picture by Bob Naylor
s part of a national boat safety campaign, Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service will be out and about on their bikes along the K&A this summer, helping boaters to keep safe. Firefighters will be travelling the length of the canal in Wiltshire offering a free boat fire safety check, which will include the installation of smoke detectors where necessary. Flyers have been widely
The price of a BW pump out is being reduced from £12.10 to £10 from Monday 18th June. This move follows strong representations from boaters over a price increase that came into affect last November and almost doubled the charge overnight from from £6.30 to £12.10. Pump-out cards can now, once again, be bought at K&A Canal Trust shops along the length of the canal.
Advice for boaters on the Avon here are now signs at Hanham Lock advising boaters intending to make the trip downriver to contact the Netham Lock Keeper to find out the state of the river and if Netham Lock will be open. This move follows discussions between Bristol Dock users,the IWA, the Harbourmaster's Office, the Kennet & Avon Canal Users
Forum and British Waterways. Steve Hedges, the Bristol Harbour Senior Duty Officer, said, “There are no official moorings on the river outside Netham Lock and it can be daunting to arrive at the lock and find it closed when there is a full flowing river. “The lock can be closed for operational reasons — such as dredging as well as for high
tides — so boaters should check before travelling”.
Call ahead Ring the Netham Lock Keeper on 0117 9776590 or Bristol Harbourmaster’s Office on 01179031484 Bristol Harbour operates on VHF Channel 73 (call signs: Netham Lock or Bristol Floating Harbour)
Starting off from Bradford on Avon for the annual litter-pick are, from left, K&A Trust Bath & Bristol Branch Chairman, Michael Davis, Trust Chairman, Brian Poulton, BW Chief Executive Robin Evans, BW South West Regional Manager, Ian Jarvis and Trust Council member, John Kirby.
N0.179 Summer 2007
Hirers left high and dry ustomers who booked boat charters for wedding parties and charity fund raising cruises have been left high and dry by a Bath boat operator. Avon Leisure (Bath) Ltd who run the 100 seater, Pride of Bath, and the 35 seater, Antoinette, on the River Avon from below Pultney Weir shut down their business without notice. They closed their office, pulled the plug on the web site and blocked phone
calls. The owner, Kevin Gate who has owned the business for 25 years said, "I ran the boats myself for 15 years — that was long enough and we were going to sell the business then — but the staff wanted to carry on. "They ran the business for another 10 years, but 220 trips a year, from coach and cruise trips to full wedding breakfasts is a huge commitment and they had just had enough. "When they walked out I had no choice but to shut up shop. There are people interested in the business and if they get their skates on they can pick up the bookings that exist." Kevin has got the business up for sale for £150,000 through: www.business-partnership.com
Picture by Sidath Senanayake
N0.179 Summer 2007
Westminster to Devizes charity bike ride Veteran of first canoe race repeats the journey by bike for charity rian Walters who was in the team of four Devizes Scouts who made the first historic canoe trip from Devizes to Westminster in 1948 decided to make the trip again — this year on a bike — to raise money for Cancer Research.
Picture by Bob Naylor
B Brian Walters, centre with Mark Cox, left and Barry Snooks on Devizes Wharf after their ride from Westminster to Devizes
Walking for Arthritis Research
egan Elliott, eight, and her Grampy Julian Hutchison walked the towpath raising money for the arthritis Research Campaign. They started from Calne and walked to Devizes and then along the towpath to Reading and then back again. They arrived back at Devizes wharf nine days later. On the way, they camped on the towpath. This is the fifth time Julian has walked along the canal —
He made the trip with with his sailing partner Barry Snooks and Barry’s son-in-law, Mark Cox. They took 6 days to complete the journey from Westminster to Devizes — arriving back on Devizes Wharf on Good Friday as canoeists were leaving to make the trip to
London. Brian said, “ The tow-path was very bumpy in places — but it was still easier than when I made the trip by canoe.” They raised £700 in sponsorship and this will be matched by Mark’s employers, Virgin Mobile, to bring the total to £1,400.
Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race
he sees it as his great escape — but it’s the first time he’s raised money by sponsorship. Along with their camping equipment, Julian pulled along a solar panel which charged a battery to run his oxygen supply during the night. This was the first time Megan had joined her grampy on his trek and she proudly showed off her blisters. She said she would like to make the trip by canoe next time.
his year 220 canoeists took part in the Devizes to Westminster marathon canoe race over the Easter Weekend. This crew was pictured making good progress at Wilcot by Elaine Kirby.
Summer 2007 2007 N0.179 Summer N0.179
Consultation starts on Devizes Wharf development plans
Mystery sculptor revealed
ennet District Council and the freehold owners, Wiltshire County Council, are appointing consultants to prepare a brief for developing Devizes Wharf.
The consultants will seek the K&A Canal Trust’s views, amongst others, on any redevelopment. KDC is keen to ensure that the development brief incorporates local community aspirations. KDC’s Director of Community Services, Brad Fleet, believes the Council will want the Trust to remain on the Wharf. The Trust welcomes the opportunity to express its views on the development of this historic site. The Canal Centre building
was built in 1810 as a Corn Store and what is now the Wharf Theatre was an original canal-side warehouse. Trust Chairman Brian Poulton said, “I look forward to engaging with the consultants over this site. There are many examples across the country where a canal has been the catalyst for tasteful and successful re-generation. “The K&A brings enormous benefits to Devizes. We must remember that wharves are for boats, not high-density housing”.
Plans for Fobney Island Wetland Nature Reserve lans for the development of Fobney Island, which lies south-west of Reading near Lock 105 — Fobney Lock, as a wetland nature reserve and angling centre are nearing completion.
The Fobney Island scheme is supported by a partnership of Environment Agency, Reading Borough Council, Thames Water and The Thames Rivers Restoration Trust. It will provide a wetland area that would encourage biodiversity, a publicly accessible nature reserve, and a stillwater angling facility that would be used to train young people in angling. Furthermore, the River
Kennet has been straightened and dredged in that area and the restoration of a more natural meandering shape would improve the fishery. The EA has carried out a topographical study and Reading Borough Council has obtained £5000 for a feasibility study. The next stage will be the production of a concept plan for wider consultation and marketing.
n unusual sculpture made from some old bikes and a dead tree trunk appeared near the canal in Bathampton last year
It got a mixed reaction from passers by — but the artist’s identity remained a mystery. He has now been tracked down and he has been invited to this year’s Glastonbury Festival to produce a giant bike sculpture that will be lit by a hub dynamo using wind power. The artist, Peter John Wells, a boater who has a studio in
Bathampton, said, “I have always been interested in environmental issues and cycling is of course part of my lifestyle. “My bike sculpture started as a protest against the dominant road building culture.” Visit Peter’s website www.peterjohnwells.co.uk to see more examples of his work.
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N0.179 Summer 2007
BW to auction moorings
Volunteers to work on paddle gear
BW plan to auction their moorings to the highest bidder will have boaters bidding against each other for mooring spaces. A BW spokesman said, “This will be a more open, transparent and efficient way of establishing long-term mooring prices.” BW will set a guide price (which will be the prevailing BW price for the mooring), but it will be up to the market to decide if this price is too low or too high. The highest bidder will get a long term mooring for 3 years at that price. The tender process will only apply to BW long-term moorings that become vacant — so boaters already on a BW mooring will not have to tender for their existing mooring when it comes up for renewal. During the period of the trial BW will not be adding boats to their waiting list and the current waiting list is on hold.
ritish Waterways have agreed in principle to allow the Trust to work on the paddle gearing, modified with the unpopular high reduction boxes two years ago. The Trust has a small team from the eastern end of the canal, including Burfield Island Boat Club, who have offered to undergo BW H&S training and
undertake this work with BW guidance. Trust Council members Bill Fisher and Mike Lee are continuing to discuss the safety issues and training that will need to be undertaken before BW approves Trust volunteers to start. It is hoped that the training will begin soon.
Parallel to this, BW are using some of their Gloucester & Sharpness staff to carry out a complete survey of all paddle gearing through out the K&A — including the hydraulic gearing. This survey will include the number of turns required and will measure the torque of every set of gearing throughout the waterway.
Busy winter for BW
BW busy working on improvements to moorings at the popular Black Horse pub in the Devizes flight
ork on the breach at Sheffield Mill Weir has engaged BW this winter and they were able to open the canal again in time for Easter although work still continues to complete the repairs.
New lock gates have been fitted at Benham, Greenham, Burghfield and Crofton Locks 56 and 57 and paddle gear on lock 47, at Prison Bridge, Devizes has been brought up to ‘Bull’s Lock Standard’.
The water point at Wootton Rivers that has been gushing water for over 6 months despite repeated reports has now been repaired.
Modern narrowboat hire fleet all built by Foxhangers, 10 boats 2 new semitrads for 2006 Full engineering/maintenance base BETA and ISUZU engine sales/fitting WEBASTO central heating dealers Covered narrowboat painting dock Bespoke boat building undertaken Based at the bottom of Caen Hill Locks
Tel: 01380 828795 www.foxhangers.co.uk 9
N0.179 Summer 2007
Bradford on Avon Wharf Lifeboat day
A sea dog at the Wharf event
Life boat crew
An RNLI crew demonstrate how to right a capsized boat
The Wharf Bradford on Avon
DAY BOATING on the beautiful
The Bradford Wharf Co Ltd — now open Dry Dock • Blacking • Steamcleaning Sterngear and Anode Inspection Mechanical and Welding Work Hardstanding for DIY/Storage Steel, Wood or GRP repairs undertaken Slip for small boats
Call Ben on 07794 601735
Kennet & Avon Canal self-drive and skippered boats canadian canoes & cycle hire The Bath & Dundas Canal Co. Brass Knocker Basin Monkton Combe, Bath, BA2 7JD Telephone: 01225 722292 Web: www.bathcanal.com
Hope to see you soon, pop in for a cuppa!
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N0.179 Summer 2007
Newbury residents keen to have their say on Wharf development
Unity surprise for Bargeman’s son
ewbury residents have voted in favaour of the developments for Newbury Wharf proposed in the recent consultation.
been resident in Newbury less than 5 years). The action taken as a result of this exercise is to set up immediately a steering group for the development from West Berks Council and Newbury Town Council. Newbury Town Council is preparing a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for improvements to Victoria Park and, with such strong public support, the Pavillion in the Park scheme will be included. This bid will be submitted in September. Next the support of a private sponsor for the Pavillion will be confirmed. Unofficial agreement has been given but with this result, positive support will be obtained and this will help the funding bid. The plan is to start work on the Pavillion in 2008.
HAMS TRANSPORT HOPTON INDUSTRIAL ESTATE, DEVIZES, WILTS
Picture by Bob Naylor
4000 random questionnaires were sent out and over 2000 were returned, an exceptional high return. Out of these, 81% were in favour of the development. The public could also make their own submissions and there were 178 made. Interestingly one would expect these people to be those strongly opposed to the scheme but no, 55% were in favour. Another result from the exercise was that people aged 65+ were against any change (this reflects general opinion among the older residents who want old Newbury to return); aged up to 25 you are not bothered, but the age range 2545 are most strongly in favour (as also are those who have
eter Ham’s wife was taken aback when she passed the Wharf on the way to research their family graves in Devizes Cemetry during the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend. For moored by cemetry gates was a replica of the Kennet Barge Unity that his father Tom Hams worked on up until it was taken out of use. Following a conversation with Unity owners, Adrian and Nikki Softley visited the boat to
share information about the original boat. Peter and his family returned the following day with pictures and documents about his father and grandfather’s time working the boat. Adrian and Nikki have invited Peter and his family to join them on a trip to Honeystreet. Peter said, “It will be a real thrill for me to take the tiller of a boat like the one my father worked on all those years ago.”
All-AboArd MArine ServiceS & newbury dry dock
All boat maintenance services Boat Safety Examinations Anywhere on the K&A and Thames With flatbeds up to 60’ we can safely transport your narrowboats and wide beams throughout the UK
01380 726837 www.hams-transport.co.uk
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Tel: 01635 37606 Mobile: 07940 583361 & 07703 235779 GREENHAM LOCK COTTAGE, AMPERE ROAD, NEWBURY RG14 5SN
arine Ser MThe n v Old Wharf sto Frome Road, Bradford on Avon ices Nigel Aston, 30 years Marine Engineering experience covering all aspects of boat repairs, maintenance and improvements Engine services • welding • winterisation • Corgi Gas trained
Vintage Engine Specialist
Call Nigel Aston on 07906 480608 Pump out — £10 • gas & coal on sale • Boat Surveys and Safety Certificates arranged • • Canal Artist on site for traditional decoration and canal ware • • Hull blacking • Batteries and spares to order •
Butty NEWS Every click makes money for the Trust
N0.179 Summer 2007
Seven on a Barge fundraiser for K&A Canal & Bruce Trusts
Picture by Bob Naylor
A new Search Engine that rewards users by donating to their favourite charity is raising money for the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust. With only three people signed up — £20 was raised for the Trust in only a month. We now have seven people and one corporate subscriber — so we expect next month’s total to be even higher. And if more of our thousands of members sign up a great deal of money will be raised to help the Trust protect, enhance and promote the K&A. So — make the Trust your chosen charity when you sign up at www.everyclick.co.uk
Crofton 200 appeal As we go to press, almost £8,000 had been raised in the Crofton 200 Appeal and money is still coming. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. Each contribution is helping to fund essential repairs and improvements we have to make at Crofton in 2007. Anyone who is still thinking of donating to the appeal can send a cheque to the office or make a deposit direct to the Trust’s bank account — details at www.katrust.org.uk
Gift Aid Are you making your contribution to the Trust as effective as it could be? If you are a tax payer the Trust could be claiming tax back on your donation, at no cost to you. Contact the office for more information.
The Barber Shop singing group Seven in a Bar sang to a capacity audience at the Café On The Wharf’s first evening event that raised £360 that was shared between the two charities. The group travelled from Great Bedwyn to Devizes on the Bruce Trust Boat, Diana, performing in pubs along the way. They raised over £1000 for the Bruce Trust’s work providing canal holidays for people with disabilities. ®
Beware — there's a Lycra Lout about ome cyclists, dubbed 'Lycra Louts', are spoiling the enjoyment of the canal for other towpath users in the Bath Valley with their inconsiderate, and sometimes reckless, riding. Following complaints from local councils and other towpath users, Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity who run the National Cycle Routes Network, have put up new signs along the canal. Jon Usher, Sustrans Area Manager, said, "Our local volunteer Rangers have put up new signs along National Cycle Network Route 4 near Bathampton advising cyclists to slow down and give way. "Canal towpaths, like the Kennet and Avon Cycle Route, are great places to cycle and walk as they are often flat, away from traffic and a haven for wildlife. "Sustrans encourages cyclists to behave considerately and safely when using towpaths and to respect other users of
the path and the canal. "We hope that the few cyclists who do travel too fast on this path will take note of the new signs and allow walkers, cyclists and wheelchair users to enjoy this fantastic shared-use route." Lucy Poulton of British Waterways led to a total ban said, "British that meant I had Waterways to find another encourage the safe route to work. and responsible use “I know that of the towpath some of the worst by all of our visitors. offenders are “The canal is a cycling great place for commuters going everyone to enjoy Historically, bikes have to Bath — but if and cycle in safety, not always been allowed their haste to get away from traffic." to use the towpath to and from work Charles Miller, quickly was to lead to a cycle who uses the towpath in the ban on the towpath — then we Bath area to get to work said, "I would all lose out. love cycling and I travel to work "The canal is for everyone to on this beautiful stretch of canal enjoy and we cyclists must — it sets me up for my working show consideration to other day — I would be devastated if users." the dangerous and inconsiderate cycling of a few
Approved Independent Boat Safety Examiner
N0.179 Summer 2007
Bone Mill sluice repair planned lans are underway to repair Bone Mill Sluice in Newbury which has fallen into disrepair and is in a dangerous state. Representatives from British Waterways, The Environment Agency, The K&A Canal Trust, the sluice owners and West Berkshire Council who make up the Newbury Flood Group, heard that the EA have made a preliminary study of the sluice and the design work is underway to reinstate it. Until funding is found to
he campaign to re-instate BW’s funding cut continues at both local and national level. A third adjournment debate was held in parliament on 25th April and attended by several local MPs. Newbury MP Richard Benyon reminded fellow politicians of the public money that has been spent on the canals in recent years — including more than £20 million of lottery money on the K&A. He also highlighted the the hours and hours of volunteer time that went into the work to restore the canal. “That will all go to waste if the canal has to close”, he concluded. Westbury MP Dr Andrew Murrison spoke of one of his constituents who had been told his mooring fees were about to increase by about 40%. “Many people using the canals are not people of massive means, very often they are pensioners.” he pointed out — and added the
T Bone Mill sluice, Newbury
complete the project, temporary work will be done to maintain the level of water. K&A Canal Trust Engineer, Mike Lee said, “This sluice is vital to the canal and collective funding is needed — this could include a contribution from the Trust.”
Prize for best kingisher snap in BW wildlife survey ritish Waterways want the public to focus on the kingfisher in this year’s canal network wildlife survey. A cash prize of £100 is on offer for the best photograph of a kingfisher submitted to www.waterscape.com/wildlife during this year’s survey, which closes on 30th September.
Continuing support for waterways from local MPs
The winning entry, along with a selection of runners-up entries, will be published at www.waterscape.com. Canal visitors are being asked to look out for other wildlife too, such as herons, swans, otters, water voles, bumblebees, dragonflies, frogs and even grass snakes.
direct question, “Is not the problem attributable directly to Defra’s incompetence?” After raising the potential risk to plans to link the K&A with the Wilts & Berks Canal, North Wiltshire MP James Gray went on to challenge the Minister to answer just one question, “Did Defra ask the Treasury for special funding to cover the shortfall?” Having heard the answer, Mr Gray thanked Defra Minister Barry Gardiner for his clarification and summarised his reply as, “The cuts in BW’s funding do not result from action taken by Her Majesty’s Government, the Prime Minister or the Chancellor; they result from a particular personal decision taken by the Secretary of State.” James Gray ended his contribution to the debate by saying, “I look forward to hearing him try to defend his position”.
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No.179 Summer 2007
British Waterways briefing by Ian Jarvis, BW South West Region Manager would like to begin by thanking all of you who so enthusiastically joined in with the Towpath Tidy before Easter. We had a very successful week and cleared 180 black sacks (11⁄2 tonnes) of litter and rubbish from a number of key locations across our region. I spent an enjoyable day at Bradford on Avon with some K&A Canal Trust members and BW Chief Executive Robin Evans joined us that day too. However, amongst a number of successes, the work around Bathampton achieved the most — I judge this by the fact that this was the only one that I received a complimentary letter from a local resident about !
“Functional Teams” Grass cutting, or more accurately the lack of it, has been a real issue on the K&A in the past two years. We have now taken action to improve the work by dividing our operational staff into what we term “Functional Teams”.
Vegetation management There is now a dedicated Vegetation Management team headed up by Alistair Ogden. This team can devise a grass cutting programme and deliver it without the distraction of other arising work — we are already seeing the benefits. I received numerous complaints about grass cutting last year, but this year I am pleased to say there haven’t been any. Well, I tell a slight lie here. I have in fact had two complaints from people who feel that we have cut the grass too much! Given the focus that I have put on this aspect of our work, I was frankly delighted to receive these complaints. I have tasked Alistair with devising a grass cutting schedule so that the arrival of the grass-cutting team at any
individual mooring site should be as predictable as the arrival of my bin man at home! I never have a problem with waking up on a Friday morning! This is an achievable target and one that we will reach. For now the progress is notable and much appreciated. I do hope that you have noticed the improvement and will continue to do so.
£150,000 of tree work needed Vegetation work also includes tree management. A full survey of the canal and its trees was completed last year. The results have set our agenda for this year’s work programme and we will spend some £150,000 on tree works. This is three times the budget allocation that we have been given for this work and so funds have had to be diverted from other areas — principally shrub and hedgerow management — to address this area of significant need. The work is driven by the professional study and is directed by our ecologists to ensure that this is done properly, responsibly, legally and, above all, safely.
Caen Hill Café lease sold In the last Butty I advised that the Caen Hill Café was to be sold as a going concern. In fact this had just about happened by the publication date. The new operators Paul and Sheila Millard have been in charge since the week before Easter. They are committed to delivering the same (or better) standards that have been delivered in the past and have already made some small changes to enhance this facility. I wish them well with their new business venture and hope that K&A Canal Trust members continue to support the café.
Waste recycling for canal users I have received a number of comments about the recycling facilities along the canal. Recycling is something that we all seem to do now, which of course is a significant and positive change on where we were only a few years ago. It is therefore only right that we address this and give boaters the opportunity to recycle their waste. Our national refuse removal contract with BIFFA does not currently provide for recycling but we plan to vary the contract to include recycling. I am clear in my own mind though that we do not wish to see the large skip units that are commonly seen in supermarket car parks. These would spoil the environment around the canal. We will though seek to provide recycling facilities at a number of locations and sign these appropriately. I am also grateful to Wootton Rivers Parish Council who have generously made their recycling facilities at the village hall — around 150m from the canal — available to boaters. Signs at the current disposal point will encourage boaters to make use of the village recycling bins. We will seek similar relationships with other providers as well as providing our own facilities.
Pewsey Wharf story language “unfortunate” I would like to respond to one item in the last edition of The Butty — BW say Pewsey Wharf is “safe”. I find the language used in the piece unfortunate for Nick Worthington and BW have most definitely not “dismissed” the issue. The “lengthsman’s report” provided by Roger Hollands was a very useful document and both John Ward and I met Roger for several hours in December 2006 to discuss this.
The pictures clearly look dramatic but the professional advice that I have is that this is not the issue that it is being made out to be. In a fully funded world, then clearly this would be addressed as much as a matter of aesthetics as engineering. But we don’t operate in that world and we have to prioritise our work programmes.
Business Benefit Prioritisation John Ward explained in detail at a previous User Forum what we call the Business Benefit Prioritisation Index. This is used across BW to determine which works should be completed and in what order. Unfortunately, Pewsey Wharf does not rank high enough on this index at the present time. Quite simply, this is because the engineering assessment — which has been made and continues to be reviewed — does not score this issue as highly as would be required to move it up the priority list. This is a dynamic list and is ever changing. Our continued monitoring of this structure will trigger a revision of priorities should this prove to be necessary.
2010 celebrations I mentioned in the last edition that I would like to form a small group to take forward the thinking about how we will mark the bi-centenary of the K&A. I have had three volunteers so far and would welcome the input from perhaps another three people. I intend to mark this important milestone with a celebration of the canal and all it stands for and to leave a very definite legacy from the second century as we move into the third. Your contribution to the size and shape of this celebration and legacy would be most appreciated.
No.179 Summer 2007
Canal Users Forum BW are making changes to the forum — Ian Jarvis explains why British Waterways is committed to effective local consultation. The User Forum allows BW to share its plans and thoughts on future developments and to gain some immediate feedback. It does not replace formal consultation processes, but can be useful in shaping ideas. Through the Forum we seek input from a wide cross-section of canal users — boat owners, walkers, cyclists, anglers, waterway-related businesses, parish, town, district or county councillors, local residents, voluntary groups, emergency services and many others who interact with the K&A and wish to share their perspective with BW and the various other groups who are represented. The Forum helps to promote
understanding, break down barriers and diffuse conflict between different user groups. We at BW receive a great deal of valuable feedback through these meetings and our fair share of criticism too! This is fair enough and I have no problem with people criticising us when we get things wrong. We do also get a lot of things right and every now and again praise is received. Strictly speaking the attendees at these meetings should represent a particular group or body. However, I take a relaxed view on this and do not seek to deny anyone the opportunity to attend these meetings. Everybody with an interest is welcome to attend. Details are
advertised on the BW corporate website. Contact us at least the week before to add something to the agenda. Personal issues should not be brought to the Forum but dealt with by direct contact or the complaints system. The K&A Canal User Forum Meetings have been held in Devizes for some time. There is also a separate meeting for the River Avon users in Saltford. I believe that interaction with users from the Eastern end of the canal is limited and it is divisive to separate out users of the River Avon. The Forum also tends to be dominated by boating interests and I believe this discourages other users’ attendance. I have revised the format this
year. There will be three meetings a year in different locations along the canal — Reading/ Newbury, Bath/ Bristol and the Devizes area. We will run with this format for 2 years and judge whether this enhances interaction with a wider cross-section of users. I accept this decision has not met with general agreement but I genuinely believe that it is the right thing to do. Sometimes you just have to go with your instinct and I believe that this is one of those occasions. I look forward to meeting a broad cross-section of users at the forthcoming meetings and I hope that the level of interaction, contribution and product of these meetings will be all the better for it.
The Kennet & Avon Canal Partnership ew Partnership Chairman Terry Kemp takes a look at challenges that the Partnership Steering Group faces post restoration.
Enterprises. At that time it was facing the task of successful, but piecemeal, restoration with negotiations afterwards to cover maintenance costs. After the Royal re-opening in 1990 there was the ongoing maintenance to finance. The Water Appeal for £1.8 million was the next big task and then of course the Heritage Lottery Grant. This Grant was awarded to the Partnership not British Waterways or The K&A Canal Trust. And the Partnership oversaw the project. Post HLF and Royal reopening, however, the question has to be asked, ‘is there a need for the Partnership Steering Group anymore?’ The view of the group is that there certainly is a need and they have agreed new terms of reference to ensure the purpose is clear: • The Funding Maintenance Agreements. The local authorities at the outset of the Lottery Project undertook a funding commitment for
Picture by Di Harris
The canal and its development over the years would never have happened without the robust and active partnerships that were formed to meet the objective of reopening our canal. There have been marketing partnerships producing leaflets and events; there have been employment and training partnerships that, for example, set up the Manpower Services Commission Project through the Limpley Stoke Valley. Indeed, the list is long and shows the importance of liaison and co-operation. The K&A Canal Partnership Steering Group has been around for many years and has been the key influence during the restoration period. In the 1980s it was known as the Advisory Group and had as chairman the Leisure and Amenity Director of BW. This group, as the Partnership Steering Group today, had representatives of riparian local government, BW, The K&A Canal Trust and the Association of Canal
Members of the Kennet & Avon Canal Partnership at the May meeting are, back, from left, Bill Fisher (K&A Trade Association), Alex Heath (British Waterways), Ted Howles (Kennet District Council), Ian Jarvis (BW), Mike
Lee (K&A Canal Trust), Fleur de Rhé Philippe (Wiltshire County Council), Gail Wilkes (BW), Andrew Rowles (West Berkshire Council) and Michael Davis (K&A Canal Trust). Front are Terry Kemp (K&A Canal Trust) left and Garry King (Wiltshire County Council). maintenance of the waterway. This at the time of signing was for 21 years. The spend will be reviewed regularly. • The Conservation Plan. This provides the policy framework to guide the conservation and sustainable management of the waterway. All parties signed up to it. • Funding issues. The present budgetary and organisational changes within the Environment Agency and British Waterways will change many projections of development and finance. At the moment it is too early to judge those changes but a
future role for the Partnership is to consider appropriate actions and responsibilities. • Cruiseway reclassification. This issue has risen and fallen over the years. It is proposed that reclassification should be discussed and progressed. The group sits twice a year, more times if necessary and I think all would agree it has a real purpose. The most recent meeting was in May this year when outgoing Chairman, K&A Canal Trust Honorary Engineer Mike Lee, was thanked by all for his hard work over recent years.
No.179 Summer 2007
Walk in a lost world The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust canalside nature reserve at Jones’s Mill near Pewsey was once a managed water meadow. It is now home to rare flora and fauna — as well as a herd of Belted Galloways By Susan Litherland, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Pictures by Bob Naylor
wings take on a new mysterious charm. It’s enough to make you feel like an intrepid explorer.
ones’s Mill is a fenland reserve. It is a wetland with peaty soils fed by natural springs on the outskirts of Pewsey.
The River Avon runs through the reserve
The River Avon runs through the valley on its way to Salisbury and numerous springs, dotted along the northern valley slopes, nourish the surrounding water meadows and wet woodland, also known as carr. It is this particular habitat that gives the reserve its unique ‘lost world’ feel. On entering Jones’s Mill, the Vera Jeans Nature Reserve, from the Dursden Lane kissing gate, a seemingly typical West Country view unfolds before one’s eyes; a wide expanse of grassland dotted with flowers dips softly into a tree-lined valley, and the fields beyond, framed by hedgerows and trees, are spotted with grazing cattle. The scenery is unarguably beautiful, but one has to venture into the heart of the
Belted Galloway cattle live in the reserve
Walkways take you above the boggy ground through the reserve
reserve to discover its true and remarkable nature, in places more akin to that of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Lost World’ than to that of a Thomas Hardy classic.
fact they have been commonly known as ‘scouring rushes’ or ‘pot-scrubbing ferns’.
The alder-carr leads on to another unique habitat: the The horsetail, which stands tall tussock sedge fen. and firm with a body of spikes, Resembling small haystacks, looks more like a bottle brush the tussock sedge is now a than its namesake. very rare species in It’s one of the world’s Wiltshire. oldest plant species having As it grows, the been around for an dying leaves build up estimated 350 million around the plant years. making a little hill or They have a high silica ‘tussock’. content, which is believed But not all of the to have protected them reserve is sheathed in from hungry dinosaurs. such primordial This abrasive property also Horsetails — mystery, and the fen made them popular for use seen all over will burst into colour as scrubbing brushes; in the reserve
Step back in time Walking through the alder-carr is like taking a step back in time. The tall alders blot out the brightest sun and immediately shroud you in a surreal shade; the dark peaty ground satisfyingly squelches with every step taken as the trees creek in the light breeze and water trickles from the nearby river; the bristly horsetail fern lines the soggy trail, and bird calls and sudden flapping of
Tussock sedge — very rare in Willtshire — can be found in the reserve
Looking into the reserve from Dursden Lane
meadows are transformed from come late spring and summer a field of green into a sea of with the golden hues of the gold when a yellow flag iris, the white of succession of yellow the rare bog bean and the flowers come into maroon of the delicate bloom; first to appear water avens. are the marsh Butterflies and marigolds followed by dragonflies will dance irises and then the around adding specks of Yellow iris or yellow trefoil. colour as they fly by, and flag This is broken in robins, blue tits and places by the white and pink chaffinch will fill the air with hues of the cuckoo flower and song as they perch themselves the southern marsh and high on the trees above. common spotted orchids. Here you are likely to see
The land at Jones’s Mill was the site of seven working mills (one of which is believed to be Jones’s Mill) as recorded in the Domesday book. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was used as traditional water meadows and in the first half of the 20th century part of it was used for growing watercress for the London markets. Clues to its past as a working water meadow are still evident; the raised panes and hollows, old sluices and leats that still channel water today, testify to its heritage. Water meadows were a popular method of encouraging an early crop of grass for grazing through controlled flooding, but were labour intensive and fell into disuse in the late 19th century.
the green-veined and orange-tip butterflies which both feed on the cuckoo flower, one preferring its flower, the other its leaves.
Rare species The marshes are home to some very rare species — the marsh arrow grass and the bog pimpernel, which is only found in three other places in
anal on C v A & net Ken
Map by Mike Roberts
Towpath to Pewsey
The southern part of the reserve is
To find out more or to volunteer on the reserve — contact the warden Beverley Heath on 01672 513691.
Parking Reserve boundary
To Pewsey — Milton Road
River A von
heath Acid grassland
former arable land currently being converted back into flower-rich grassland. A broad hedgerow divides this field and provides good nesting sites for birds and cover for roe deer and foxes, and maybe one day dormice will return. Badgers have made this field their home and a number of sets, old and new, can be seen on this grassland as well as along the southern bank of the river. Jones’s Mill is wet all year round — so it’s a good idea to wear a pair of wellies even on a summer’s day and to stick to the suggested routes marked in places by a railway sleeper boardwalk, which raises you above the ground. Following the trail will take you through the mosaic of habitats that makes up this reserve.
September. This time of year also sees the devil’s bit scabious in full bloom, the favourite food of the rare marsh fritillary butterfly. The woodland, with its oaks, alders and willows, is carpeted in spring with delicate bluebells and primroses.
Wiltshire. The rare and minuscule Desmoulin’s whorl-snail is also found here, climbing up the stems of the wet grasses in
A pond in the heart of the reserve
Transformed In the summer, the water
Access is possible throughout the reserve because of the raised walkways
Hedges with trees
The fen is not a stable environment and it needs to be managed to prevent it from turning into woodland. The vegetation is kept in check by a herd of belted Galloways, which thrive on the rough coarse vegetation that grows on the fen, helping maintain a rich diversity of plants.
Miss Vera Jeans The central and most important part of the land on Jones’s Mill, was donated to the Trust in 1980 by Miss Vera Jeans, a local lady who loved the water meadows. She gave the land, which had been in her family since 1905, on condition that it was kept as a marshy area. The herd of belties together with dedicated volunteers are ensuring her wish remains a reality.
No.179 Summer 2007
Cotswold Canals news round-up by Jack Telling Saul Festival
Volunteer ‘self-supervising’ status for Cotswold Canals
The 2007 Festival takes place over the weekend of 29th/30th June & 1st July. All profits go to the restoration of the Cotswold Canals. For more information visit:
he Cotswold Canals Trust has become the first organisation in the country to achieve British Waterways’ Self Supervising Volunteer status after much hard work, particularly by the Trust Health & Safety Director Keith Lloyd.
Capel’s Mill The public consultation exercise to determine a route through Capel’s Mill has been completed. In total, 322 responses were received and Option B, the River route, was the preferred option.
Swing Bridges Discussions have taken place with adjacent landowners at the Ocean, Upper Mills, Lodgemoor and Gasworks bridges to determine load and width requirements. The type and size of each bridge will then determine whether it should be handoperated or mechanised. For more information visit: www.cotswoldcanals.com
Or contact Jack Telling on: 01453 825709 or 07852 540249
It was necessary to provide BW with a great deal of information and in particular to show that the Trust has a comprehensive Management Structure in place. This status is a very significant step forward as it enables the Trust’s work parties to resume canal maintenance
work on BW property. Any works beyond maintenance need additional risk assessment, discussion and agreement with BW but it is anticipated, for example, that chainsaw and chipper training will allow Trust volunteers to do significant tree management work that is vital to the
restoration. The BW Regeneration Team is also offering volunteers the chance to undertake some surveys on their behalf. They will identify and record the various pipes that have been placed in the canal bed, or alongside the canal since abandonment.
Volunteers clear the canal at Dudbridge Pictures by British Waterways
Learning & Skills Council funding was the catalyst for the recent creation of the exemplar Cotswold Heritage Academy, which is a network of heritage training providers and colleges acting in partnership. The aim is to rebuild the skilled workforce essential to the survival of our listed buildings and landscapes. Skills taught include stonemasonry, lime mortaring and plastering, carpentry and joinery, lead work and roof tiling. The partners include Stroud College, Cirencester College, and The Royal Agricultural College. For more information see:
Before and after — this section of canal at Dudbridge (1 mile west of Stroud) was narrowed in the 1960s. Volunteers cleared the area in February in preparation for it to be widened and dredged.
Land issue negotiations slow restoration progress estoration of the Stroudwater and Thames & Severn Canals between Stonehouse and Brimscombe Port (Phase 1A) is behind schedule because land issues are proving slow to resolve.
Protracted negotiations are taking place to gain access to the Oil Mills Bridge site so that the bridge can be rebuilt. It appears that a solution is now in sight and it is expected that work on this project will shortly begin. Ground investigations at the Capel Mill site are also being hampered because of access difficulties. The land is currently in the hands of, but not managed by, the Treasury Solicitor, but fortunately Stroud District Council have powers to resolve this impasse and are requisitioning access under the Contaminated Land Regulations. Despite these problems, the Restoration Partnership still
expects to deliver the project on time. Despite slow progress on the ground, the Restoration Partnership is extremely busy delivering other aspects of the project. It is sometimes forgotten that significant funders such as The Lottery and Regional Development Agencies provide cash on condition that their criteria are met. These include community involvement, education, volunteer participation and skills training, job creation, heritage conservation and conservation of wildlife habitats. To date, the Partnership delivery team has spent nearly £1 million on Phase 1A and achieved:
92 volunteer training days • delivered volunteer work days • 304 recorded Management • Conservation Plan published
• Lawns pond cleared Heritage Academy • Cotswold established Heritage • Industrial Conservation Area Statement, Design Guidance and Area Action Plan all underway. Flood Risk • Strategic Assessment undertaken. other Studies and • Numerous Surveys have been undertaken.
No.179 Summer 2007
Wilts & Berks Canal Trust news Sponsored walk for W&B arm weather helped to set a new record for the number of people taking part in the annual Wilts & Berks Canal Trust sponsored walk with over a hundred people of all ages taking part in the trek to support the charity’s campaign to restore the waterway.
Walkers set off from Chippenham Market Place on Sunday April 22 and enjoyed a walk along the remains of the canal. Part of the route took walkers along restored towpaths and rewatered stretches of the canal, as well as to sites where work parties are currently rebuilding bridges, culverts and other structures. At The Bell at Lacock, which was once a waterside wharf,
some finished their walk and others made the return trip to Chippenham. Organiser Peter Williams said, “We were delighted to see so many people coming together to enjoy such a great day out — the warm weather certainly helped to boost the numbers.” “This year we added a volunteer in period dress to talk about the history of the canal around Pewsham Locks.
Scrapboat challenge fundraiser
Alex Booth starts the annual scrapheap boat challenge at Devizes Wharf during the May Bank Holiday weekend.
Chippenham Mayor, Maureen Lloyd, left, leads the sponsored walk from Chippenham to Lacock
“The children certainly enjoyed this, and it really helped to bring the event to life.” Peter said: “Many people seemed genuinely surprised to see so much progress has been made in so many places. “It’s an important way of
demonstrating just how close we are to realising our vision of a fully restored Wilts & Berks. “We’re doing this not only because of its historical value but also because of the potentially huge boost to tourism, recreation, employment and the environment. “This is why the sponsored walk is such a great event. It raises money, but it also raises awareness of what we are trying to achieve – an attraction and an amenity for the whole community.” The Melksham branch of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust meets at the Rachel Fowler Centre on the second Tuesday of every month, from 8pm. New supporters are always welcome. Call Colin Fletcher on 01380 828254.
Melksham Branch at Chippenham Folk Festival
Melksham Branch had a display at Chippnham Folk Festival over Whit Weekend and ran trips on two boats on the River Avon. Despite variable weather the boats were kept busy.
Swindon canal route feasibility report
The Wilts & Berks benefitted from the annual scrapboat challenge held by Devizes Boat Club on Devizes Wharf on the May Bank Holiday weekend Sunday and won by Kim Manwell with her entry, ‘Aquaduc’. The entrance fees (£55) were handed over by last year’s winner, John Arthurs who nominated the Wilts & Berks to get the proceeeds this year. Receiveing the donation are Julia and Dave Newby, right.
The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust are working with Wroughton based Engineering Company, Halcrow to assess the feasibility of a new canal route through Swindon and find solutions to problems with the proposed route. The route being backed by the Trust would see the canal forming a major part of the town’s regeneration with a canal basin in the town centre. The route to the town centre
would be across Kingshill Road, from where the canal has already been restored, along Faringdon Road, running in front of Faringdon Road Park and the Railway Village and finally along the pedestrianised area of Faringdon Road. Trust Chief Executive, Ken Oliver said, "There is a clear political will to deliver the canal and we hope the engineers will find solutions to make it happen."
No.179 Summer 2007
River transport for Bath stone Warren Berry returns to Bath to look at the history of Dolemeads Wharf, which was important for the transport of stone from quarries around Bath both for export and for the expansion and refurbishment of the city of Bath The friendship, business acumen and shared vision of 18th century entrepreneurs John Wood and Ralph Allen formed the basis for the creation of many of Bathâ€™s structural features. he strong bond between the two men derived from their mutual regard for stone as a building material, and equally from their mistrust of the local jobbing masons and the stone supply arrangements that existed in the Bath area. As a direct consequence of these joint concerns, John Wood imported masons from outside the locality to fulfil his building plans for the city, and Ralph Allen started to buy up the extensive stone quarries on Combe Down and obtained rights to work the Bath free stone for 100-years.
Demand for stone During this period, stone was in great demand, not only for the construction of private and public buildings in the expanding city of Bath but also
Picture by Bob Naylor
The entrance to the Kennet & Avon Canal from the River Avon â€” once the site of Dolemeads Wharf.
for use in major building undertakings in Bristol and elsewhere. Moving large quantities of stone was a difficult undertakin;, however, Allen saw the stone building needs of the time as a major business
opportunity and aimed to fully meet the demand.
River transport Due to his involvement with the development and management of the Avon navigation, Allen
also saw that the river provided a convenient means for moving large quantities of stone and set about building a private wharf on the south side of the river Avon, at Dolemead. Secure in his monopoly position, Allen planned to encourage even greater demand for his stone by reducing the price. To do this, however, he needed a more cost effective way of moving stone from the quarries some 500-feet above the river down to the wharf at Dolemead.
Dolemeads Wharf â€” derelict and disused
His solution to the problem was to construct a tramway that had iron-faced wooden tracks, which supported trucks that were of an advanced design being similar to 20th century low-sided railway wagons. The tramway was completed by about 1730 and was operated in such a way that loaded trucks descended by gravity and were hauled back up when empty by two horses attached to a windlass. On the way down, each loaded truck was controlled by a brakeman who precariously stood on a platform at the back
The 1888 OS map above shows the point where the Kennet & Avon Canal enters the River Avon —at the site of Dolemeads Wharf.
of the truck and braked the wheels as necessary to slow the descent.
John Padmore The Bristol engineer John Padmore, who designed and constructed the tramway for Allen, also built a pair of cranes that were considered quite
Allen to recover his original investment in just over 2 years, enabling the cost of a ton of stone to be reduced by 25%.
Bath expansion Activity at the wharf was often intense, with the demand for stone for the expansion and rebuilding of Bath alone requiring
Laura Place under construction — stone was delivered to the centre of the city from Dolemeads wharf by barge.
advanced at the time. One of these was for quarry use whilst the other was installed at Dolemeads Wharf, revolving around a central timber post that was sunk into the wharf surface and utilising a ratchet and pawl arrangement to restrain the load and protect the operators. The tramway and cranes together were said to have cost £10,000 but, as a result of their use, Allen was able to save around £4,500 per year in handling and transport costs. This level of return allowed
two barges loaded with Combe Down stone to each make four trips a day from Dolemeads Wharf to building sites in and around the centre of Bath.
Export In about 1739 a profitable export market for stone also developed, particularly to places such as Dublin and Belfast, and stone was taken by barge to Bristol where it was loaded onto small sailing ships for transport to Ireland.
Decline and disuse In 1764 Ralph Allen died and, for a time, trade in Bath stone appears to have diminished, only to increase again when the Kennet & Avon Canal was opened. By this time, however, the tramway had fallen into disuse and the quarries sold to new owners. Information from this latter period on how the wharf was used is lacking; but the canal brought its final demise as the juncture where canal and river now meet was precisely where Dolmeads Wharf once stood.
No.179 Summer 2007
Sarah Padwick arah paints in watercolour and pastel — mainly landscapes, local scenes, churches and canal scenes. Her paintings of the K&A Canal and the local area are produced as cards and prints and she has written and
illustrated articles on churches that can be visited from the inland waterways. She was introduced to miniature painting by Heather Holley and she paints portraits in watercolour on ivorine — a man-made ivory substitute.
Left, “Rebecca” — a miniature (3.25" x 2.5") painted in watercolour on ivorine — and below, the pastel “Caen Hill in the Snow”
Sarah’s pastel — “December Mist over the Vale of Pewsey”
Painting with the Padwicks arah and Alan have enjoyed painting for many years — but it was in 1989 when Sarah went with Alan to classes held by Bridget Woods in Chichester that Sarah started to take paintng more seriously. They both belong to the Lawrence Society of Art in Devizes, the Armed Forces Art
"Morning Crossword", Alan’s portrait in oil of his father and, below, a watercolour of Foxton Locks
Society in London and the Hilliard Society of Miniaturists in Wells. They have exhibited widely with shows in London, Edinburgh, Hampshire and Wiltshire. They run a small pictureframing business from home, where they have an informal gallery of their paintings. Contact Alan & Sarah on 01380 721595, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org Thier website is: www.shebaenterprises.com and other examples of their work can be found at www.afas.org.uk and www.art-in-miniature.org
Alan Padwick lan works in pastels, oil, watercolour and pen & ink and he enjoys painting portraits of people and animals. Alan’s art education began at the age of 12 when he had a season of lessons with a very talented Ukrainian refugee, Alexei Nikolsky. He considered a career in art but chose the Royal Navy, continuing to take art classes whenever possible.
"Tosca Purdon" a pastel portrait of a friend's dog.
After 35 years’ service, he retired and now teaches art at Wiltshire College and old people’s homes — and gives private lessons to children. He has illustrated children’s books and his pen & ink drawings covering the inland waterways sell as notelets. He currently illustrates the covers of the church magazine for Bishops Cannings, All Cannings and Etchilhampton.
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Corporate membership – please phone 01380 721279 for information Branch Membership – please tick one box
q q Newbury Devizes Bath & Bristol q I/we would be interested in helping with branch activities q Central
q q q
q q q
West Wilts Claverton
Your details – please complete all sections I/we wish to join the Trust and enclose: A completed Standing Order form A completed Gift Aid Declaration form A cheque (payable to The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust) I would like a FREE leather card wallet
q q q q
(standing order applicants only after receipt of first payment)
Name(s) of applicant(s) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
FREE entry to: Claverton Pumping Station Devizes Canal Museum Crofton Beam Engines
............................................. ............................................. Address. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ............................................. ............................................. Email. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Standing Order Name of Member’s Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Address of Member’s Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .............................................
A GEOprojects canal map of the Kennet & Avon Canal (and including the River Avon and Bristol Docks)
Please pay to Lloyds Bank plc, Devizes Wilts SN10 1JD (sort code 30-92-63) credit A/C No. 0441822 The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust the sum of £. . . . . . . On (date). . . . . . . . . .and the same sum on the same date each YEAR until further notice. Signed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Account No. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Join at any of the Trust shops or the attractions listed — or phone: 01380 721279
Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ............................................. To Bank: When making payments please quote: . . . . . . . . . . . Gift Aid Declaration Name of Charity: The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Details of Donor Title: . . . . . . . . .Full Name: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Address: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ............................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Postcode: . . . . . . . . . . .
If you pay by standing order you will also get a leather K&A wallet to keep your membership card in
I want the charity to treat all subscriptions/donations I make from the date of this declaration until I notify you otherwise as Gift Aid Donations. Signature: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Date: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . You must pay an amount of Tax at least equal to the tax that the charity reclaims on Please post or fax this form to: The Membership Secretary, The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust, FREEPOST, Canal Centre, Couch Lane, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 1BR. Fax: 01380 727870
No.179 Summer 2007
Bristol Harbour Festival
Fred Blampied — IWA Southwest Branch Chairman from 1960-1972 — looks back at the festival’s origins his will be the 36th anniversary of this major event on and around Bristol’s Harbour, first held in 1971 to demonstrate the potential of the Harbour for recreation and leisure.
In July 1969, Bristol Corporation announced that it was to promote a Parliamentary Bill to enable the City to withdraw navigation rights, fill in parts of the dock system, create lagoons and to construct bridges. Truncation and closure of the Feeder Canal was envisaged so severing the link into the River Avon and the route up to Bath. This would have prejudiced the ‘Western Gateway’ to the Kennet & Avon Canal. The destruction of the historic central waterway system raised the ire of its citizens. A public meeting was called for by four amenity groups, the Bristol Civic Society, the Cabot Cruising Club, the Clifton and Hotwell Improvement Society and the Inland Waterways Association. Then followed a packed and
stormy meeting in the Colston Hall where the protest motion calling for the Bill to be abandoned was overwhelmingly carried. A petition was presented jointly by the four organisations and amendments were won in both Houses of Parliament. Lord Methuen (then President of the K&A Canal Trust) campaigned in the Lords to prevent reduction of the water area and for the preservation of navigation rights for small boats. The Bill became the Bristol Corporation Act 1971, but it was time limited and it was subsequently abandoned — and the system of over 80 acres, including the Feeder Canal, remains intact. Commercial shipping has ceased, but Bristol’s waterway system is well used and appreciated by its citizens and by visitors both on the water
Bristol City Council, Harbour Office, Underfall Yard, Cumberland Road, Bristol BS1 6XG, 0117 903 1484 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org The harbour office can supply a Bristol Harbour information booklet.
This year’s festival is on the 28th-29th July and although sea and river craft predominate, visiting boats from the canal are very welcome. Moorings are now on pontoons so crews no longer have to bring ladders to scale the dockside walls.
and around the waterfront. The first three water festivals were organised by the Cabot Cruising Club and the IWA’s South Western Branch and between 95 and 125 craft attended. Twenty-nine water organisations demonstrated their activities in a loaned dockside transit shed. Five live bands played a variety of music on the quayside. In following years, the events were expanded with more boat
clubs and other organisations taking part. The name changed to Regatta and then to Rally of Boats until 1977. All seven events were organised and funded by volunteers because there was no sponsorship. In 1978, the local authority, now Bristol City Council, recognised the event in the City’s civic calendar and took over the organisation. This has ensured its continued growth and last year over 200,000 visitors enjoyed ‘something for everyone’.
No.179 Summer 2007
The Trust’s canalside cafés
Devizes Manager: Beth Gleave
he new ‘Café on the Wharf’ at Devizes and the completely refurbished and enlarged ‘Engineman’s Rest’ at Crofton opened this Easter to complement the three other Trust cafés — at Bradford on Avon, Newbury and Aldermaston.
Crofton Pumping Station
Bradford on Avon
All five cafés are managed by the Trust’s trading arm and staffed by volunteers to raise funds to support the Trust’s activities. Crofton Café Manager Maxine Hawkins provides exceptional homemade cakes, snacks, light meals and drinks at the ‘Engineman's Rest'. She also sells locally produced pottery and hopes that the café will be as popular for local people as it is for visitors to the canal. The 'Café on the Wharf' in Devizes is long-overdue and visitors to our shop or museum, or those who just want to watch the boats go by on the Wharf, will find a warm welcome awaits them at the café where Manager Beth Gleave offers first class homemade food and drink. At Bradford on Avon, Paul Skelton and his volunteers are looking forward to a very busy summer with numerous events and attractions taking place on their doorstep. Morris and clog dancers will be there during the summer as well as a folk dance group from Aix en Provence, Bath’s twinned town in southern France. Tracy Perrimen welcomes a summer without a builder’s compound outside her front door —- and Wendy Pike has a delightful garden to offer visitors to Aldermaston as they enjoy a cake or icecream in the summer sun. But all the Trust cafés need more volunteers to join their existing teams. If you live close to one of the cafés and have a few hours to spare a week, want to meet people and have a thoroughly good time, then pop in and introduce yourself. You will be warmly welcomed.
Crofton Manager: Maxine Hawkins
Newbury Manager: Tracy Perrymen
Bradford on Avon
Manager: Paul Skelton
Manager: Wendy Pike
No. 179 Summer 2007
with Terry Kemp
Canals for kids Kenny
The Mousehole Boat Company ‘How can you tell which end of the worm is which?’ ‘Tickle the middle and see which end laughs’
Make a canalstyle pencil pot
Cut some paper big enough to go round a clean empty baked bean tin Add shadows to the black and orange with brown paint — also add some brown centres to the leaves
Paint the undercolours of black and orange and green leaves
The Mallard Duck There are more of these ducks in the world than any other. They are the ancestor of the domestic duck. The male duck has the green head and female is only brown . In the summer, though, the male will moult his bright feathers and look just like the brown female.
The names of 8 water birds are hidden in the grid — find them to win a special prize. Send your entry to Prize Wordsearch, Kennet & Avon Canal Trust, Canal Centre, Couch Lane, Devizes SN10 1EB before 1st August 2007. Photocopies will be accepted.
The Butty Wordsearch No 179 Name (age) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..................................... ..................................... .....................................
Paint in white stamens and the leaf veins in yellow
Add petals — red on black and yellow on orange
V L L S O D Z L O O O K
Z D C X W G V H H R J C
Remember to let the paint dry between stages
K U E P O A K L B R J C
G C Z O L T N S O E W X
T K S J W C F B V U I L
I E K I N G F I S H E R
P Y M G M O O R H E N I
B R B H W G S C B X P E
A G R E B E R R R G J I
V V M R D R Z E F H O H
S C O O T S O W O H B P
P D G N D A R F G H G P
No. 179 Summer 2007
Reviews Bloodhounds By Peter Lovesey First published in 1997 by Warner Books ISBN 0 7515 1851 4 346 pages. £5.99 soft cover. ver Christmas I revisited this book, one of my favourite ‘local’ crime novels. The Bloodhounds of Bath is a society that meets to discuss just such books in the crypt of the church just up Walcot Street from us, St Michael with St Paul. Our hero is Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond, head of the murder squad in Bath. The world’s oldest stamp (worried philatelists will find that explained) is stolen from the Postal Museum (now relocated under the new Post Office next to St Michael’s and well worth a visit), but the theft is overtaken by murder when the corpse of one of the Bloodhounds is discovered in a locked narrowboat (you were wondering when we’d get there) moored at the Dundas boatyard across the road from the Viaduct pub (now sadly all boarded up), with the only key in the possession of a man with a perfect alibi. I’m always fascinated by novels with real settings, and the murderer’s knowledge of Bath (ie the author’s) is important to the story — but don’t worry, not to the non-Bath reader. I much enjoyed revisiting this book and think you’ll enjoy discovering it. Now I’m determined to read the rest in this series, and if the K&A has a role I’ll let you know.
Tim Wheeldon Technical book reviews Cotswold Canals DVD, produced by Waterway Routes Running time 59 minutes £12.95 know from experience how difficult it is to produce a professional-looking video — having tried it twice — so I can’t be too unkind to this attempt by Waterway Routes. The Cotswold Canals are certainly a deserving subject to be recorded in this way but it is not easy to film a subject which, to a large extent, doesn’t (yet) exist. However there is plenty to see along the route and views of empty fields are, thankfully, kept to a minimum. For someone who has followed the re-awakening of these mouthwateringly attractive waterways, this DVD will fill the gaps in their knowledge and provide an up-beat view of their future. A useful little booklet and map are included. But — and it’s a big but — a film mustn’t risk turning off the viewer to the point of turning off, as this one does. Apart from, in my view, an unnecessarily protracted sequence of the Saul Festival the un-named narrator’s voice had the same effect on me as my own voice-over on “Ribbon Across England” (for those with long memories) – it sent me to sleep! Oh! Timothy West, where were you?
Leonard Pearcey Non-technical book reviews VENICE – A Collection of the Poetry of Place Edited by Hetty Meyric Hughes First published in 2006 by Eland Publishing ISBN 0 907871 68 2 143 pages. £5.00 soft cover his little gem of a book fits easily into your pocket, but its contents belie its size: 48 poems are represented, by writers such as Byron, Pushkin, Shelley, Wilde, Goethe, Browning, Pound and Cocteau; plus some intriguing and fascinating background to the poems or poets or both (with St Petersburg cropping up several times). Canals of course feature strongly: the Cornish poet Jack Clemo (1916-94) calls Venice a ‘canal-veined city’; Liverpool’s Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-61) writes in ‘In a Gondola’: ‘This level floor of liquid glass/ begins beneath us swift to pass’; and from the doom-laden forecast of the end as Venice sinks through flooding unless something is done, ‘Lines’ by the Venetian poet Diego Valeri (18871976), the opening words: The canal fills and swells, overwhelming one by one the steps of the landing, spreading, sparkling and even, over the stone shore, rising and rising.
Disasters of the Severn By Chris Witts First Published in 2002 by Tempus Publishing ISBN 0 7524 2383 5 160 pages. £12.99 soft cover his is a somewhat esoteric book, which will find a limited audience but it is none the worse for that. Some Butty readers (I would say the fortunate ones) have done the trip up or down the Severn between Avonmouth and Sharpness and will be well aware of the deep antagonism of the river to anything it considers alien. Chris Witts, himself a life-long navigator of the Severn, writes with the confidence of personal experience of some of the disasters he relates. He was a 16-year-old deckhand present at the scene of the incredible accident in 1960 when two tankers collided with and destroyed the railway bridge above Sharpness. But Mr Witts doesn’t confine his narrative to the river itself, although there have been an amazing number of disasters on this short stretch of highly tidal estuary. He includes floods, aircraft crashes, murders, vanishing people – and there is a fascinating chapter on the Battle of Tewkesbury of 1471. (This was certainly a disaster for the loser, Margaret of Anjou, if not for her opponent, Edward IV). If you are not already exhausted by this catalogue of misery, the final chapter is headed Yet More Accidents! Well illustrated, this book is a riveting — albeit somewhat morbid — read.
Books reviewed in The Butty are normally available from the Trust shop on Devizes Wharf or through other Trust shops. If it is not convenient to visit in person you can use our mail order service by telephoning 01380 729489.
No.179 Summer 2007
Changes at the Trust Goings Roger Hollands Roger has stepped down as Chairman of Devizes Branch after a busy and highly successful 3-year stint in the post. He deserves a break, having been on the Committee (and more than once as Chairman) for around 30 years! In all that time, he has been a hard-working and reliable team player and he deserves our enormous thanks and congratulations. During his recent spell as Chairman, he made every effort to have a Branch event for every month of the year and the Devizes Branch has enjoyed a wide variety of social and fundraising activities ranging from walks and talks to Silent Auctions, Recruitment Days and the now-famous ‘I’ve Survived Christmas’ parties. A regular feature of the Devizes Branch calendar over the past 3 years has been the annual Skittles Challenge against the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust (Melksham, Calne & Chippenham Branch) in which Devizes Branch has been triumphant and has retained the trophy. Roger’s most recent successful initiative has been the detailed Lengthsman’s Report in which he recorded in text and in photographs the state of the Canal that makes up the Devizes ‘patch’. The report was welcomed wholeheartedly by BW, and
Regional General Manager Ian Jarvis met with Roger to discuss the Report’s findings and BW’s remedial action plans. We are most grateful to Roger for all the time and effort that he has put into the Trust, and Devizes Branch in particular, and we wish him happy cruising as he takes his boat ‘Marshfield’ on its extended summer cruise. Thank you, Roger; we look forward to seeing you again in autumn. BP Ray Knowles Ray is stepping down as chairman of Crofton Branceh. He began his association with Crofton in 1990, at first as Branch Secretary, and, latterly, for over 7 years, as Branch Chairman. He is going to be a hard act to follow. He is very knowledgeable about the canal and Crofton’s history. He is good with the visiting public, and truly a gentleman in every respect — and Ray is well liked by everyone that knows him. I’m pleased to report that although stepping down as Chairman, he is not giving up his association with Crofton, and intends to continue working with us on a regular basis. He will continue as Crofton correspondent for The Butty. On behalf of the Crofton Branch I want to say, “Thank You Ray!” HW
John Kirby The Trust owes an enormous debt of gratitude to John Kirby, who has recently stepped down as the Trust’s Director of Marketing and Membership. Three years ago, the Trust’s membership numbers were declining fast as people thought “the job’s done”. We needed prompt action to bring the Trust’s new objectives to the membership and to launch campaigns to attract new members. John had recently retired from a long career in marketing with an international company and he soon brought his skills to bear by harmonising the design and printing of the Trust’s leaflets, by introducing the now-familiar cream-andgreen corporate colour scheme and by taking the Trust’s bright new gazebo to fairs and festivals along the length of the canal to drum up support and new members. He introduced more efficient and reliable ways of distributing the Trust’s leaflets whilst making financial savings in the overall marketing budget. And the net result of all his hard work and new initiatives has been a steady growth in the Trust membership; the decline has been halted and subscription income is again on the rise. Supporting John on many of his excursions with the Trust gazebo has been his wife, Elaine, to whom we also owe a
great vote of thanks. He has given the Trust 3 years of hard work and a series of successful initiatives, as a result of which we have a leaner, more cost-effective mechanism for getting the Trust’s messages out to the public. Our sincere thanks go to John and Elaine for a job well done! BP
Comings Harry Willis Harry has taken over from Ray Knowles as Chairman of Crofton Branch. He has been a member of the branch for nearly 20 years and a regular member of the “Tuesday Gang” since his retirement in 2001. He has tried to avoid the Chairman’s role since Ray announced his intention to retire — but he has finally bowed to the inevitable. His wife Sheila has been the Branch Treasurer since 2004 they will both continue the essential work at Crofton. Adrian Softley Adrian has taken over as Devizes Branch Chairman from Roger Hollands. Adrian and his wife Nikki together organised the hugely successful local ‘Save Our Waterways’ rallies. Their fundraising abilities are the stuff of legends.
South West’s premier We have moved boat builders on the to new and bigger premises near Sells Green Kennet & Avon If its not on the shelf we can probably get it Offering a wide and comprehensive range of boats Unit 10, Broad Lane Farm, Seend, Nr Melksham, SN12 6RJ All workmanship guaranteed
From 30ft narrowboats through to our range of larger wide beam vessels
Visit our chandlery trade counter For all your boat safety, repair, upgrade and fit-out needs Tel: 01380 828448 Fax: 01380 828855
Butty BRANCH REPORTS Reading Mike Wyatt 0118 9427708 y report starts out on a sad note. Approximately 30 Branch members gathered at Reading Crematorium in March to say farewell to John Rolls, one of the earliest Branch members and a Life Member of the Trust. His obituary is on page 36. I must also play tribute to Sir John Smith, who has also died. Sir John was a founder member of the Trust and the Branch and Branch President until about 1980.
Defra demo In early March we took part in a second Defra funding cuts Protest Rally, this time supporting Newbury Branch’s event. We had to attend on foot as the failure of ‘Kate Bush’s Weir’ prevented Reading boats attending. The weir, however, did provide the excuse for ITV to attend, and we had another 2 minutes 15 seconds of footage at Sheffield Lock and Newbury.
Floods prevent canal Rescue One casualty this year was RESCUE, which had to be cancelled due to the floods. Those of you who are disappointed not to have recovered any shopping trolleys need not be too down-hearted as we will be having a trolleydrag on 17th June — the Sunday before Water Fest.
Terry Farrel joins committee The Branch AGM has come and gone with the same committee as before plus a welcome new addition, Terry Farrel from Southcote Mill. After the AGM we had a talk on ‘Curiosities in the Chilterns’, then last week Adrian Lawson kept us enthralled as he described the Kennet Valley Flood Plain, its wildlife and the effect of further building in the
No. 179 Summer 2007
flood plain. Did you know we now have a breeding colony of White Egrets near Reading?
Pompey trip planned We are planning a trip to Portsmouth on Sunday 8th October to have Sunday lunch on the Spithead Fort in the Solent. Some members have already booked but there are spare places. Please contact me or the secretary if you are interested.
Newbury Julie Dean 01962 883939 he past few months have been busy for Newbury. The Protest on 3rd March was well supported – thanks to all who came. We had a good crowd and it was particularly pleasing to have so many different groups represented — all waving red heart placards to show our love for the Kennet & Avon Canal. It was reported widely in the press and I must say a particular thank you to Mike Wyatt of Reading Branch who was thrust into the limelight at the last minute to give an interview to Thames Valley television news. It was great to have Reading Branch members alongside us. Fighting the cuts is not over yet and we are continuing to do what we can to keep the issue in the spotlight.
Strong, focussed committee Our AGM was held at the end of April and all committee members standing again were re-elected without dissent, so we start the new season with a strong and focussed committee. A pity we did not gain any ‘new blood’, but it is not too late; if you would like to join us you would be warmly welcomed. We were delighted that Brian Poulton came along to update us on various issues and to take questions from the floor.
This stimulated some lively debate.
Branch award for Graham Dewhirst We were sorry that Wyn Gould was unable to attend this year, but pleased she had decided to award the John Gould Trophy to Graeme Dewhirst who, although a Hungerford Branch member, has been assisting Newbury in the background over a long period. The Branch sent flowers to Wyn to wish her well. AGM over and we relaxed while our last speaker of the season, Jim Philips, gave us an interesting update on the Wey & Arun Canal Restoration. Looking back over the past months we have enjoyed a wide range of excellent speakers.
Derrick Pratt’s pictures It is not easy to pick out a favourite speaker or subject as they are all fascinating but, for me, the most expensive was Derrick Pratt. After looking at his aweinspiring slides, I just had to buy his beautiful book! And it was worth every penny.
Winter events Thanks to Geoff Patterson for putting together such a good programme for us again. Our programme runs between September and April on the last Wednesday of the month, 7.45pm at the Stone Building. If you haven’t been before, look out for the new season. You will be sure of an enjoyable evening.
We have also roped in Chris, the well known ‘lock keeper’ of Thatcham’s Monkey Marsh lock. You may recognise him, having had the pleasure of his help.
Water Festival We are gearing up for our big event of the year, the Newbury Waterways Festival 2007. If you haven’t already, put Sunday 29th July in your diary as we promise you an enjoyable and fun day. Things kick off at around 11am at Victoria Gardens, Newbury and outside the Stone Building at The Wharf. We have lots of activities planned, some that you will recognise from previous years — how could we have a Festival without the duck race?
John Arthurs fender-making Once again, John Arthurs will be running his fender-making course so you could come and learn a new skill. And we also have some new things for you to enjoy. It is a lovely summer family day out for all ages; we predict sunshine! Why not bring your boat? Boaters always have lots of fun! Email John at: email@example.com
to book in. If you can assist with the Festival in any way, please contact a committee member; we will be very pleased to hear from you. Otherwise, see you there!
Newbury Water Festival
Rose trip We tagged on an extra ‘meeting’ in June to take a Branch social trip on ‘The Rose of Hungerford’. As I write, we have that to look forward to; it promises to be an enjoyable evening with Branch committee members taking the role of ‘crew’ — Captain Tracy, John Arthurs on the helm, Val in the bar and various others doing the donkey work of locks and bridges!
Sunday 29th July Victoria Gardens, Newbury starts 11am 29
Butty BRANCH REPORTS Hungerford Richard Snook 01635 253446 hat a remarkable spring it has turned out to be with the first few weekends of the season in the 70s and 80s in old money. Consequently our public trip numbers got off to a flying start with numerous passengers out and about, determined to enjoy the sunshine on the K&A. This must be the plus side of global warming — I distinctly remember snow flurries and 3 sweaters whilst crewing early season in the past.
No. 179 Summer 2007
winding hole within an hour’s cruise west of Hungerford Wharf, and it will of course be useful to have all the usual marina facilities so close by. It’s a shame that it will be just a little too far for the Santa Cruises — I think that they would be quite enchanting, cruising over the Marsh and past St Lawrence’s Church. Such a beautiful scene on a clear winter’s day.
Fallen trees I hope that, by the time you read this, British Waterways will have cleared the fallen trees and overhanging branches along ‘our’ stretch of the canal so giving us safe passage for our summer cruising.
Charters Charters this year have got off to a very steady start with both repeat and new business. By the beginning of May we had already chartered the ‘Rose’ for hen parties, stag parties, family parties, wedding anniversaries and several clubs and societies.
Froxfield marina It is with eager anticipation that we are looking forward to the new marina being built at Froxfield, on the site of the redundant piggery. It has been reported in the local press that work has at long last commenced and phase one is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. When completed, we anticipate that we will have a choice of direction for our public trips as there will be a
Crofton Ray Knowles 01672 851639 have to start with the very sad news that our great benefactor, Sir John Smith of the Manifold Trust, died on 28th February 2007 at the age of 83. In his very last letter to the Trust, he noted that the Manifold Trust had contributed £834,900 to the Trust over the 43 years since 1964. A significant part of this was for the restoration of the chimney at Crofton and the last paragraph of his letter read as follows: “I think that the restoration of the chimney is the most worthwhile project, and the best executed piece of work, that we have ever supported. It
gives me pleasure every time I see it”.
the new menu including the hot lunches.
We are having a cast iron plaque to commemorate Sir John made in the same style as the one he asked for when he formally inaugurated the rebuilt chimney in 1997. The new plaque, which will include this quotation, will be unveiled during our Bi-centenary Celebrations on Sunday 8th July at 2pm. An obituary by Brian Oram appears on page 37
Winter work The winter work was finished on schedule on 31st March although we were only able to reline one launder with stainless steel as the strong wind kept blowing the flame off the welding rod and we had to keep bringing K2 in to thaw him out. The second launder is at the top of the list for next winter.
Refurbished café The refurbished café/kitchen opened for business on 2nd April with a successful trial runup to our normal reopening on Good Friday. The café furniture came flatpacked from Ikea and the previous week saw an assembly line of 9 tables and 40 chairs — all of which then had to be varnished. We have had many compliments from those who remembered the old café, which was really showing its age, and from those who like
We have found that the double table nearest the till can seat at least 8 and is ideal for meetings, which have to be short and sweet as Maxine throws us out at 10.30am when the café opens. On steaming days the early boiler crew really appreciate the hot bacon rolls she produces at 8am (for boiler crew only!).
Skylight repair The boiler house skylight has had a temporary repair which appears to have been successful but can only be tested by some heavy rain.
Celebrating 200 years Planning for the bi-centenary celebrations is well advanced and there is an advert on page 37. The bi-centenary plaque will be unveiled by Phil Harding, the celebrated archaeologist from Channel 4’s Time Team, on the Saturday.
And finally I would like to finish on a personal note as I have retired from being Branch Chairman as from 1st May and Harry Willis has taken over. This means that at last the Branch has a chairman, secretary and treasurer all at the same time. They are Harry Willis, Pam Weeks and Sheila Willis, respectively, and we have
The Tutti Pole by the South side of Hungerford Bridge Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of our Tea Room/Restaurant and Patio Area seating up to 50
Morning Coffee • Luncheon • Afternoon Tea Roast Sunday Lunch • Home made fare a speciality Monday – Friday 9am – 5.30pm • Saturday & Sunday 9am – 6pm The Tutti Pole, 3 High Street, Hungerford RG17 0DN Telephone: 01488 682515 30
Butty BRANCH REPORTS management meetings at 1.30pm on alternate Tuesdays. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are working days throughout the year with Saturday working groups twice a month in the winter. I will continue to be The Butty correspondent and be at Crofton on most Tuesdays and steaming days — as always, COME AND JOIN US.
No. 179 Summer 2007
never fear if you don’t have email we will still use other means to keep you up to date and of course our website can be accessed from libraries and internet cafés.
We need your email address We want to keep you informed of Branch and other Trust activities so please email your Name and Branch to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adrian Softley 07899 844929
ello all! — as Roger said in his last report — I’m the one who’s put his head above the parapet to follow on the good works. After a very good AGM we are straight in to a very lively year. One area we really need your help in is communication. We wish to be able to keep you informed on a more regular basis, preferably by email, but
The second ‘Save Our Waterways’ Protest Rally which the branch supported was organised by Devizes Boat Club on the wharf. It was very well supported by all users of the canal and I believe we are (albeit slowly) making progress. Please keep up with the pressure on your MPs. Our local Devizes MP, Michael Ancram, is a strong supporter
of the campaign.
Towpath tidy In March, British Waterways organised the annual ‘Tow Path Tidy’. With a great emphases on health and safety, Peter Jordan was tasked with risk assessment and briefing for this event along with British Waterways volunteer coordinator, Paul Duggan. We had a good turnout of volunteers who made a real difference to the towpath areas between Top Lock and Coate Bridge.
Somerset & Dorset Canal visit We went to Mells in Somerset for a very informative walk and talk with Derek Hunt on the Somerset and Dorset Canal.
Membership awareness From 10am till 4pm on 2nd June, we will be at the Black
Horse, Bath Road, Devizes for our second annual membership awareness day. We hope to see you there.
Newbury Water Festival July 28th and 29th sees the Branch travelling to Newbury Waterways Festival, preparing supper on the Saturday and burgers on the Sunday. Please come and eat as much as you can to raise much-needed funds.
Events There is a lot more to come throughout the year including visits to the Lacock Street Fair, a tour of the Purton Boat Graveyard and a new event of carols on the Wharf with a sponsored tree of lights. Please watch our website and get in touch with your email addresses. As usual, offers of help in our shops, cafes and at our events are always much appreciated.
Butty BRANCH REPORTS
West Wilts John Maciver 01225 812225
Recruitment cruise ‘Barbara McLellan’ had a successful return trip to Devizes Wharf. We thank the Wiltshire Times, Bath Chronicle and BBC Radio Wiltshire for the coverage they gave us for the 3-day promotional and recruitment trips.
Throughout the passage, a great deal of interest was shown in our Public, Special and Charter trips and we’re confident that many of those who came on board ‘B Mac’ will book future trips with us. We were also pleased to welcome a number of potential volunteers who came along for the experience; they were very impressed and a number joined up straightaway! Welcome aboard.
speaks for itself as bookings for Charter trips are well up on last year and most of the Special trips are virtually sold out already. Thank you everyone for all your hard work and dedication.
Tea Room volunteer boost Paul Skelton, Tea Room manager, has also had a number of new volunteers and that’s given a welcome boost to the stalwarts who have worked so incredibly hard recently. Boat passengers and visitors to the Cottage have remarked on the super service received and how they have thoroughly enjoyed the experience; it makes it all so worthwhile when we receive such laudatory feedback. So, I think our success
Alan Titmarsh took a break from filming a nature programme at Bradford on Avon Wharf to sign the tea room visitors’ book. Pictured with Alan are Lin Skelton and Harry Edmonds.
New boat manager Colin Daws, our new volunteer Boat Manager, has really got to grips with his new
Picture by Paul Skelton
oth the Tea Room and ‘Barbara McLellan’ have been very busy throughout April, with Easter being particularly so. Harry Fox has also been taking advantage of the unseasonably good weather and has already managed to get a lot of colour into the garden; it will be even better later in the year.
No. 179 Summer 2007
responsibilities: I have never seen so many lists of ‘to do jobs’! Some are mandatory, must do, can do, will do, forget it, etc. During the Devizes trip, the boat suffered a collapsed fuel pipe, which stopped the fuel to the engine. Colin was called at his home in Bath; he got in his car and dashed to the scene and, within a matter of hours, he had fixed the problem and the boat was back in operation without cancelling any trips — well done Colin. We also would like to express our gratitude to the engineer at Foxhangers who provided a great deal of help and just happened to have a new pipe in stock.
Volunteer engineers needed We are currently looking for volunteer engineers to support Colin and Roger ‘Steamboat’ Davies: we need an electrical and mechanical engineer(s) and
Butty BRANCH REPORTS also someone with Health and Safety and Environmental experience. Please contact Colin on 01225 837432.
RNLI & Trust joint event will replace Wharf Day
manager, Shelia Scott. Who knows, one day we may achieve the goal of 7-day opening.
We are being assisted there by a local fencing contractor Chris Wheeler Construction. Chris, who will be supplying crainage for the dismantling, has lived in Burbage all his life. Another firm that is lending support in the form of secure storage of the new timbers until they are needed at Claverton is FW Hawker Joinery at Batheaston.
Pete Dunn 01761 432811 ur curved sluice rebuild was finished in good time. We then had the task of removing the temporary dam installed across the mill pond twelve months earlier. Thanks to a good team effort the dam was completely taken out over a weekend. There was even time for a successful test run of the pump late on Sunday afternoon.
Looking forward a couple of months, we will be starting the reconstruction of the timber crane at Burbage Wharf. The project kicks off in early June with the careful dismantling and detailed recording of the rotten crane on the wharf.
Public to view crane work Once construction of the crane is under way, visitors to the Pump House at Claverton will be able to view the work in progress and eventually see the completed crane there before it is shipped back to Burbage Wharf.
New openings The Easter opening was very successful with plenty of visitors and some good income. This year we have been able to extend our opening days to include every Saturday from Easter until late October. This is largely thanks to our new shop
Picture by Bob Naylor
We will not be holding a Wharf Day this year, but we are running a joint RNLI and K&A Open Day at Bradford on Avon Wharf on 19th May. This should be a very interesting and fun day where we hope to raise money for both charities. Sally Boats have kindly allowed us to use the Wharf hard-standing, and Mo, Ben and Nigel are also supporting the event. We welcome new volunteers to help with the boat and/or the tea-room; you will find that they are worthwhile, interesting and enjoyable pursuits. I look forward to welcoming you.
No. 179 Summer 2007
Burbage crane awaiting the attentions of the Claverton team
Come and join us As usual the Claverton Group is very active and of course we are still looking for anyone who fancies joining our friendly team — you will be made very welcome.
Tel: Tel: 01380 01380 725300 725300 Quality narrowboat maintenance Repair & refurbishment Engine servicing — Hull blacking Shot blasting — Painting — Sign writing Hull extensions & welding DIY covered wet dock Pump-out — Diesel —Gas — Coal Day & weekend boat hire Chandlery — Boat Sales
Boat Sales 60ft trad stern Mike Heywood 1984 £28,995 60ft trad stern Heritage 1990 £38,995 70ft trad stern Les Allen 1986 £39,995 46ft cruiser stern Liverpool 2005 £45,000 Please contact us for details of other boats that we have on brokerage.
Butty BRANCH REPORTS Bath & Bristol Mike Davis 01225 448576 on Clark has taken over as Boat Manager of our local Trip Boat ‘Jubilee‘ following John Shaw’s appointment to the Enterprise Board as Director of Boats. We welcome him to our Branch Committee and we are pleased that John is also remaining on it.
Flying start The ‘Jubilee’ is off to a flying start this season. Bookings are up 30% on last year at this stage, thanks to excellent marketing by John Scott; 30% of bookings are also coming from the Boat’s web site now, which is an attractive and simple site linked to the Trust’s main site. The weather has been marvellous and a number of very good trips have taken place already.
No. 179 Summer 2007
Skippers & crew
Skipper and crew recruitment has been successful recently and we should have enough to cope with the increased demand. Further skipper training will be taking place next winter and the selected recruits will be gaining experience as crew during this season.
On the canal wildlife front, the new development is the arrival of an unpleasant species of large and vicious American crayfish. It is another chapter of the old story; they were being bred in captivity for food production and escaped, and are now multiplying rapidly through the inland waterways system.
200 trips The boat will be out at least a couple of hundred times, split roughly equally between Public Trips and Charters. Thanks to all these volunteers who give their time in such an excellent cause, and have a lot of fun in doing so.
Boat in excellent shape The boat is in excellent shape following major winter work, with new hull, engine and superstructure; a new boat really, in the image of the old and with the same ambience that everybody loves.
Agressive swans There have also been problems with aggressive swans. The males are obviously protective during the breeding season but, in some cases, this extends well beyond. People also feed them, and they get angry when they stop or other people don’t. Swans have powerful wings, with strong muscles and large bones, which are needed for their primary function; they punch with their wings and they can break men’s bones and seriously damage children or smaller animals such as dogs. A swan at Bathampton last
year was attacking canoeists and tipping them out. They complained — it went through the official British Waterways complaints procedure and inevitably the verdict was in favour of the swan! If on the water, the best way to deal with a swan is to throw out handfuls of chaff, in the form of Rice Crispies, which they will stop to eat and you can make your escape. People give them bread, which is the worst possible thing for them as a processed food. Rice Crispies are much better, actually good for them, and they float which means that the bird can take them from off the water. Otherwise, keep a constant speed, at his maximum paddling speed, while the swan escorts you off his territory. If you go too fast, and leave him behind, he will take off and bomb you. If you go too slow, he will be all over your rear. This can be dangerous if you have an outboard engine as he can be injured by the propeller.
Butty Letters to the Editor
No. 179 Summer 2007
Letters on any subject related to the canal are welcome. We want to encourage debate about canal issues. This is your forum to voice your views. Requests for anonymity will be honoured, but no letter will be published unless it arrives with contact details. Letters should be not more than 300 words and may Editor, Di Harris be edited for reasons of space or clarity. Send letters to the Editor: contact details on page 3.
SHOULD BW SELL THE K&A? am not sure that our best interests are being looked after when a grant fully agreed to keep the national canal system working is severely compromised by, of all things, late payments by Defra to farmers. Quite frankly, our political masters have not done us much justice over the last years — least of all to rural communities. We on the K&A are now suffering because of inept handling of our tax money. British Waterways have tried their best to provide a workable canal, but now is the time surely to ask the question —
can those who live, work and play around the canal provide a better and more vibrant forward-looking canal management? I possibly have a vested interest as I am the present custodian of Lock Cottage, Seend. I was also a volunteer in those early days of the 1970s, when we could be seen working in deep mud until employment rules forced unpaid workers out of the working area. Possibly as share-holders we could become more involved again.
he towpaths are disappearing along the Kennet & Avon Canal, especially at Pewsey, Foxhangers, Sells Green and Bradford on Avon to name but a few. My picture (above) was taken at Bradford on Avon ten years ago — when you could sit on the bank — and have a BBQ. You can’t now — it is difficult to find somewhere to put a mooring pin.
Julia Newby West Lavington
David Hawkins Littleton Panell
Picture by Bob Naylor
Boat builders and repairers Bespoke built narrow and wide beam boats The towpath today — a boaters bangs his mooring pin into the edge of the towpath.
Holiday hire 2-12 berth Full weeks and short breaks 2 fully equipped and built for disabled use
Full mechanical and electrical services Break down service Agents for Shire and Beta engines Mastervolt energy shop 3M thinsulate insulation Webasto heaters
Quality work by quality craftsman Reading Marine Company Ltd Aldermaston Wharf, Padworth, Reading RG7 4JS 0118 9713666
QUIET CANALS would like to support your correspondents in the Winter 2006 edition of The Butty who called for ‘quiet canals’. Here in Avoncliff we have considerable disturbance from moored boats running their engines or generators. This applies to both private and hired boats. As the canal is almost literally on our doorstep, the noise can be heard throughout the house as well as in the garden. The boaters claim they need to charge their batteries or run
the central heating, but with 100 miles of canal there is no need to do it outside our house. There are so many boats these days that even if each one only does it for an hour it adds up to a lot of annoyance. We are regular boaters ourselves, so we are not ‘antiboat’ just anti- anti-social boaters. A little consideration goes a long way. Janet Gascoigne Avoncliff
No. 179 Summer 2007
Obituaries Earl Jellico
had first known Lord Jellicoe when, as First Lord of the Admiralty, he appointed me as his Naval Secretary, a very personal relationship in those days (it is no longer so) and, wherever the Minister went, his Naval Secretary went too. I marvelled at the mix of schoolboy-who-had-never-grownup, mature ex-soldier, with so exciting and gallant a war record, and experienced, but
unconventional, politician. His Civil Servant Secretary was in a state of constant concern at the direction in which his master’s unpredictable enthusiasms might lead him. George was at ease with whoever he met at whatever level in the Service, just as he was at ease with all of us in the Canal Trust and he was a listener, ready to give weight to whatever he heard. George became President of the Trust in 1987, the year of its Silver Jubilee and, at the AGM, to the accompaniment of battering rain and a gale that threatened to blow the marquee into Crofton Bottom Lock, he said: “I saw to my amazement that I have been a Vice President since 1962. If so, I must be the longest non-playing Vice President on record, but so be it! Redemption is, I hope, at
hand. I try to make one good resolution a year and your virgin President’s good resolution for 1987 is to make up for lost time.” That resolution was handsomely sustained and fulfilled. Notwithstanding the wide variety of his interests commercial, political and charitable, in none of which was he a ‘non-player’ - he devoted much time and effort to the Trust. Early evidence of this was a lunch party given by Lord Howard de Walden for some wealthy acquaintances, at which we were invited to give a presentation and from which we walked away sumptiously wined and dined and with the promise of some £40,000 towards the canal’s restoration. George Jellicoe had a boyish charm, enthusiasm and sincerity that not only made people like him — and he was
a very likeable man — but also want to reach for that cheque book and, perhaps, add more noughts to the sum than first intended. I remarked at my final AGM as Chairman that George had led us up well-paved paths that would otherwise have not been open to us. This was true and a vital element in the three critical, nail-biting years preceding the re-opening of the canal by Her Majesty the Queen when British Waterways had doubts that the restoration could actually be completed in time and the Trust even greater doubts that it could raise the cash to pay for it. While we worried, the President exuded cheerful confidence and his ‘well-paved path’ led us triumphantly to the Caen Hill Flight and Queen Elizabeth Lock. Admiral Sir William O’Brien
Branch of the K&A Canal Trust and was a very active volunteer. I first met John in 1969 at a Branch working party at Bear Wharf dismantling the steam dredger which had been sold to the Basingstoke Canal Society. John was then the work party organiser for the Reading Branch and keeper of the branch store of slashers, saws, shovels and so on. The towpath was in a very poor state between Reading and Newbury, and we spent much time clearing back trees and cutting the hedges. John was the bonfire man with the paper and old oil to start the fire and we had some monumental blazes. He worked at Burghfield, Garston and Towney Locks where he helped build a new landing stage. He painted the wooden foot bridge by the Cunning Man, went with a work party to the derelict Crofton locks, and helped at the Big Dig on the Basingstoke. Back on the K&A again in
1975 and 1976 he helped in the rebuild of Bulls Lock, the only one on the canal entirely restored by volunteers who together contributed 5,357 hours of voluntary manual labour. When volunteer work was eventually stopped, John took over the collection, storage and sale of waste newspapers – this was years before ‘recycling’ became a council activity and by his efforts tons of paper were collected and hundreds of pounds raised towards restoration. When Kennet Cruises acquired the working narrow boat ‘Lancing’, John became a volunteer crew member, then obtained his Boatmaster’s certificate and became a steerer. Many hundreds of Reading citizens and children have been safely steered along the Kennet or through the Water Fest Site in John’s competent hands. In 1985 John took part in the first ‘Trolley Drag’ when we pulled 149 shopping trolleys
from the Kennet between County Lock & Kennet-mouth. This has since become an annual event sponsored by Reading Council as part of ‘RESCUE’. Reading Water Fest started in 1990, and John never missed one, even after he lost his leg. At about the same time he ‘adopted’ Sheffield Lock, and made himself responsible for trimming the grass and keeping the lock area tidy. Many boaters will recall John opening gates for them as they arrived. In the mid 90s, tree cutting was again required and John helped clear the trees which were a hazard on the turf-sided banks of Towney Old Lock. John was a valued member of the Reading Branch Committee for many years — he was always the person who would do the jobs nobody else wanted to. He was one of nature’s true gentlemen. We shall all miss him. Mike Wyatt
ohn Rolls, Big John as he was known to many, was born in Reading and lived there all his life apart from his national service in the Royal Berkshire Regiment when, as a Corporal, he took part in the invasion of Suez. John’s life long love of boats and water started in childhood when he and his brothers and sisters paddled, swam and boated on the Thames in anything that floated. John’s connection with the K&A started in 1955 when he signed the original Petition to the Queen about the imminent closure of the K&A. He was one of the earliest members of the Reading
No. 179 Summer 2007
Sir John Smith
he death of Sir John Smith brought to an end his personal association with the K&A Canal Trust, reaching back to 1964, with his first donation for the restoration of the canal from his family charity, the Manifold Trust. Over the period from 1964 to his last donation to Crofton in December, 2006, the Manifold Trust donated £834,000 to support the restoration programme. Whilst history will record this facet of his many lifetime activities, those of us who had the good fortune to know him will remember him as a friend of the Trust, of the K&A Canal and of the members working with him. Examples of his early support include funding the Ufton, Towney and Padworth locks, the installing of pumps at Claverton, the Limpley Stoke Dry Section project and the Water appeal. My personal association did
not start until 1991, when I was asked to chair an entirely new committee set up to recover the Crofton Pumping Station from the less than benign neglect from which it had previously suffered. We had enthusiasm and technical competence but no money for materials and Sir John’s first help, through the Manifold Trust, was for this purpose. He wanted to see things done; we, at Crofton, wanted to get things done and we combined together in a long and happy relationship. We soon enjoyed our first visit from him and he established a rapport with all the volunteers, which endured to the last. At an early stage he expressed his wish to see Crofton restored to its original appearance. The start was the removal of all the overhead wires at the pumping station, progressing from that to the purchase of the Engineer’s Cottage and its reintegration with the Engine House. We then confronted the big one – the restoration of the Crofton chimney. Previous committees at Crofton had looked longingly at restoring the chimney to its original height. It had been reduced from 82 feet high to around 40 feet in 1958, when its increasing ‘banana bend’ had made it
Stop at the one-stop service
HONEYSTREET Visit our Wharf on the Long Pound by Honeystreet Bridge
structurally unsafe. The earlier investigations had produced a detailed elevation of the original chimney plan and Sir John enthusiastically embraced the prospect of its restoration. At Crofton, we started a ‘buy a brick’ appeal and, in the background, the application for an enormous amount of money from the newly created Lottery Fund provided a possible, but by no means certain, source of final funding. As with his funding of the restoration of HMS Warrior, Sir John underwrote the total cost of the Crofton chimney, with the proviso that, if we were successful with the Lottery, his contribution would reduce to the 25% match funding they required. With the building work in hand, over a cold winter, followed by tremendous rain and wind storms, Sir John’s visits became more frequent and he and I climbed the multiple ladders up the scaffolding as it grew to match the progress of the chimney. Finally, just after Easter, on the 10th April 1997, Sir John and
all of us climbed to the top for the last time, when he laid the final brick, producing his own 50p piece as the ‘silver’ coin to be placed under it for luck. Since then, Crofton has continued to benefit from the Manifold Trust, which enabled the purchase of the second cottage at Crofton and recently, more internal maintenance dictated by age and new regulations. With his last donation to Crofton, as recently as December, 2006, Sir John wrote that the restoration of the chimney was one of the best jobs with which he had been associated and which gave him the most satisfaction any time he saw it. As the active ‘director’ of that work, that is a feeling that I share. A commemorative plaque using his own words is to be placed on the chimney this July, during the Crofton bicentenary celebration. Our association with Sir John Smith was one of mutual pleasure and enduring friendship. We shall all feel his loss. Brian Oram
Crofton Beam Engines Bicentenary Celebrations
200 years of steam Special steamings on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th July 10.30am — 5.00pm with something for all the family TV archaeologist Phil Harding will unveil the Bicentenary Plaque on Saturday
Blessing of the engines on Sunday morning
for diesel, Calor Gas & coal water & 240 volt electrics overnight moorings pump-out & ‘Porta Potti’ disposal
Gibson’s Boat Services Telephone 01672 851232
Beer tent, hot food, music, Morris Dancers and much more all weekend Admission £5.00 (Children under 10 free) For more information, phone 01672 870300
No. 179 Summer 2007
What’s On Diary June Saturday 23rd Reading Water Fest on the Forbury Backwater.
July Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th Crofton Branch. 200th anniversary of the building of the Pumping Station. Full details will be available on our website,
Friday 27th — Sunday 29th Bristol Harbour Festival. Friday 27th — Sunday 29th Les Amis du Canal du Nivernais Rally at Chatillon en Bazois on the Loire side of the canal. Contact The Butty at 01380 840584 for more information. Or see their website fluvial-migennes.com/assoc/index.htm
Sunday 28th & 29th Newbury Wateways Festival at Victoria Park and the Stone Building, Newbury Wharf. Boats assemble on Saturday 28th. Festival in the park on Sunday from 11am - 4pm.
27th August Devizes branch have a stall at Lacock Street Fayre. All welcome.
September Sunday 16th Devizes branch. Guided tour around the Purton Hulks on the banks of the River Severn. Depending on numbers we will arrange car share or hire a coach. Contact Adrian Softley for details, 07899 844929
Fancy a weekend’s hard graft? The NWPG arranges monthly restoration trips to southern canals. Learn new skills – for free! Contact Graham Hawkes on 0118 941 0586 or email@example.com Sundial Marine Services For gas, oil, solid fuel heating servicing and installation, plumbing and electrical work. Eddie Belston 01225 873243 or mobile: 07795 550839 Mike Price Boat Safety Examiner Tel: 01225 703747 Mobile: 07736 837968 Bob Naylor Boat Safety Examiner Tel: 01380 840584, Mobile 07788134901 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Boat surveys Professional surveys of any type of boat undertaken for sale, insurance or damage. Over 40 years of boating experience. Prompt, efficient and sympathetic surveys with realistic recommendations. Now incorporating Richard Birchell. Gibson’s Boat Surveys Ltd. 01672 851232 Boat for sale Dejon 17 GRP, 8 HP Honda O/B, unbrella hood, sleeps 2 and 2 youngsters, winter tarpaulin,
tonneau, Rollercoaster 4-wheel braked trailer + new spare wheel, current BSS certificate, good condition. £2850. 01380 870384, 07971 963118. Wilderness Boats For repairs, refits and new and used craft ring 01666 577773 Collectable Plates ‘Romance of the waterways’, complete set of eight Royal Worcester plates, still in original boxes. £150. ‘Waterways by moonlight’, complete set of eight Wedgwood plates, still in original boxes. £125. 01225 755214. Boat haulage Move your boat? Land locked? Wish to cruise elsewhere? Let me tow it for you. Up to 30ft 1.5 tons. www.anchorhaulage.co.uk 01963 34863 Howard Smith Holiday Cottage to let Port Isaac North Cornwall. Creel Cottage is a beautiful, warm cottage in this ancient fishing village. Available throughout the year. For information contact Derek Bullen 01380 828413 Peaceful Canal Breaks — Devon. Traditional 55ft, 4 berth, luxury narrowboat, 11 miles of lock free, Grand Western Canal Country Park & Local Nature Reserve. Cruising or static use with own mooring, lawn,
cATleyS cAlor GAS cenTre Appliance sales & installations
Bring your boat up to Boat Safety Scheme standards Repairs, servicing and installation
Boat Painting Fenders and Ropes Hull Blacking 07970 729116 or 01225 710017
Now at Beechfield Road Hopton Trading Estate, Devizes Telephone 01380 727266
The barge inn Honeystreet
Historic Canalside Inn
From the Cunning Man, Burghfield Bridge
serving home cooked food from noon — 2.30pm and 7 — 9pm
Real Ales Campsite Marquee for parties
Tel: 01672 851705 www.the-barge-inn.com
Crop circle venue with notice boards 38
Public trips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .May to September Private party hire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .A range of cruises Day boat hire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Self-drive for up to 12 people Holiday hire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 & 6 Berth Narrowboats Flexible weekly or short break periods Moorings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Permanent or temporary Enquiries: 14 Beech Lane, Earley, Reading, RG6 5PT Tel: 0118 987 1115 Fax: 0118 921 0604
No. 179 Summer 2007
PRIZE CROSSWORD The prize for the winner of this crossword will be a video from the Trust’s Shop. Two runners-up will get £10 voucher to be used in the shop. Send your entries with your name and address to: Prize Crossword, Kennet & Avon Canal Trust, Canal Centre, Couch Lane, Devizes SN10 1EB before 1st August 2007. Photocopies will be accepted.
The Butty Prize Crossword No 179 Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..................................... ..................................... .....................................
Across 1. Struggle for doctor to get into outer garment. (6) 4. Upright article collapsed after velocity. (8) 10. Pacifier may drive around oriental rodent. (9) 11. Cloth has nothing returned by small measure. (5) 12. Location of page three girl or her holiday destination? (1,5,2,3,3) 14. Correct inhabitant of Brighton. (5) 16. Endlessly ill-tempered after horsy sport, wearing this? (4,5) 18. Trapped strange percussion instrument. (5,4) 20. House of uncontrolled boozing without measure. (5) 21. Climbing high hill confused engineer loses direction. (14) 25. Rhodium bomb losing early boron produces diamond perhaps. (5) 26. Central time between youth and old age (6-3) 27. Defers sentence possibly, but hangs. (8) 28. Refer to brief public notice. (6)
Butty Crossword 178 Solution
Winner: Mrs J Gascoigne, Avoncliff Runners-up: Mrs DM Caldicott Shaw, Gt Missenden and LA Groves, Trowbridge
Down 1. Find accidentally one may make an impression. (4, 6) 2. Mannequin seldom collapses without seconds! (5) 3. Short month with change of temperature initially may produce fruit. (7) 5. Regrets concealment of heron. (5) 6. Vote counters may be bank employees. (7) 7. Roman soldier in counter movement. (9) 8. Feline connections by the sound of it. (4) 9. Maybe Jack supports saint – one who takes off. (8) 13. Monster stag, confused and losing direction, could be something arousing fear. (6,4) 15. Bewitching and noisy when cocaine is replaced by gravity. (9) 17. Troubled nomad stays in shelter for refreshing drink. (8) 19. Elevate the Spanish/French maid on the way up. (7) 20. Daughter with bug above scurried away. (7) 22. Dream disintegrated when a weapon was provided. (5) 23. Cross Irish republicans on tight edge initially. (5) 24. Wiles used by crazy star? (4)
IUNCLASSIFIED ADS car park. Near golf course, tennis, cycling, fishing, walks, attractions. 01884 252178 or www.middevonhireboats.co.uk Narrowboat windows 2 top-hopper windows approx 22.5 ins x 23.5ins — £100 contact Jacky Underwood on 07830 122734 (Hungerford) A collector’s model of your boat or cottage — or both — in a bottle. John Burden, 01672 563193. Guild Waterways Artists. Waterways Craft Guild – Master Dorset & Somerset Canal “The Canal that never was”. A talk on the D&SC “Friends, foes, families, feuds, finance & failure”. Derrick Hunt 01225 863066 Holiday home in Bath Sleeps 4. Mews house near Sydney Gardens and canal.
Unclassified ads are free for members of The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust for up to 30 words — subject to available space
Available all year. Washer/dryer, dishwasher, music centres etc. Car parking. Owner continuously cruising. £515/week. 07905 905333 Roses & Castles Painting courses at Devizes Wharf Canal Centre. 1-day course (£35). 2-day course (£75). All materials & refreshments included. For more details and dates, contact: 01793 615898 (evenings) or email email@example.com Caravan for sale. Bailey Pageant Imperial 1998 2berth lux caravan. End bathroom, shower, blown air heating, fridge, oven, Isabella awning, porch awning, spare wheel, complete with all extras. Ready to use. £4995 ono. 01380 840528
Done-to-a-Turn. Hog and lamb roast for all occasions. For the finer things in life call Simon on 07890 647515 ‘Thomas’ — 44’ trad narrowboat. 1996, fitout 2001, BSC to 2009. Available August. £33,000. Can deliver to K&A. See advert on narrowboats.apolloduck.co.uk Phone 07753 963719 Moorings available We have available a limited number of fully serviced moorings at Sydney Wharf in the centre of Bath (Strictly non-residential) Bath Narrowboats Tel: 01225 447 276 White week timeshare 45ft narrowboat. £1995. Sawley Marina, Nottingham. Oct/March. Originally £4495. Ownership terminates 2076. 01761 419224
‘Rose of Hungerford’ A wide-beam boat seating 50 operating from just off Hungerford High Street. Public trips: • Every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday from Easter until October – 2.30pm: 2.5 hours • Every Wednesday from June until September – 2.30pm: 2.5 hours • Every Wednesday during July and August – 11.30am: 1.5 hours • Every Sunday during August – 11.30am: 1.5 hours • Special Santa Trips at Christmas Charter trips available for all your special occasions Wheelchair/disabled access Booking Manager: 01488 683389
Visit the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust’s attractions Claverton
Cafes & shops
Bradford on Avon Wharf shop & café
Pumping Station Claverton Pumping Station is a waterwheel powered beam engine built in 1813 to raise water from the river Avon to the Kennet and Avon Canal. It has been restored by volunteers and is now open to the public.
Claverton is five miles south of Bath off the A36 Warminster Road, 400 yards down Ferry Lane across the uncontrolled level crossing. The pump is approximately 25 minutes walk from Dundas Aqueduct. Free admission for children under 16 (must be accompanied by an adult)
Devizes Wharf museum, shop & café
Open days 2007 Every Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday until the 21st October.
‘Barbara McLellan’ 65ft wide-beam boat seating 51 operating from Bradford on Avon Wharf Cottage Public trips: • From May to September 11.30am: I hour trip to Meadows Bridge, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays • From June to mid-September 4.30pm: I hour trip to Widbrook, Saturday and Sunday • Special trips, including cream teas, Bath, Autumn Tints, Christmas Santa Trips Charter trips: for 1 to 5 hours or a whole day. Wheelchair/disabled access
Booking Manager: 01225 775326
‘Jubilee’ A 30 seat converted traditional narrowboat operating from Brassknocker Basin, opposite Viaduct Inn, Limpley Stoke on the A36 East of Bath Public trips: • From Easter until October Sundays and Bank Holidays 12.00 – 2.00pm Cruise to Claverton and return 2.30pm – 5.45pm Cruise to Avoncliff stopping for 30 minutes and return • From June to September Tuesdays: 2.30pm – 5.45pm Avoncliff and return Thursdays: 2.30pm – 5.45pm Bathampton and return Charter trips Booking Manager: 01749 812199
All boats have a licensed bar and refreshments are available. There is a public address system or you can use your own sound system.
June 10th & 24th July 8th & 22nd August 12th, 26th & 27th
September 9th & 23rd October 21st
Phone: 01225 483001 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Crofton Pumping Station shop & café
Beam Engines 200th anniversary extra steaming on July 7th & 8th 1812 Boulton & Watt and 1846 Harvey beam engines regularly steamed from hand stoked, coal fired Lancashire Boiler. Amazing industrial archaeology in a rural setting From Marlborough, either take the A346 to Burbage and then follow the brown 'Beam Engines' sign, or take the A4 towards Hungerford, turn right, 'Beam Engines' sign before Froxfield, and continue to follow the brown signs, through Great Bedwyn, to the pumping station. From Hungerford, take the A338 towards Salisbury, turn right at Shalbourne following the signs to Great Bedwyn, then follow the brown signs. From Salisbury, follow the signs to Hungerford on the A338, then turn left at East Grafton and follow the brown signs.
Newbury Wharf shop & café
Open days 2007 Open daily 10.30am to 5pm until 30th September
Steaming days July 28th & 29th August 25th, 26th & 27th September 29th & 30th
Phone: 01672 870300
Devizes Wharf The museum is housed in the historic bonded wharehouse on Devizes Wharf. Its exhibits chronicle the rise and fall of the canal as a commercial waterway and its subsequent restoration by volunteers.
Opening times: 10am — 5pm, 7days a week
General enquiries: 01380 721279
Aldermaston visitor centre, shop & café
l a e r a y o Enj t! a e r t y l i fam