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BEAR ESSENTIALS The Newsletter of : -

IWA Warwickshire Branch Issue No. 33 – April 2012.

Our Summer Programme - 2012  April 15

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Sunday Walk Stroud to Brimscombe Port Meet 10:30 am Cotswold Canals Trust Visitor Centre, Stroud, Gloucestershire. Grid Ref: SO848052

 May 9

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Wednesday Evening Meeting* ‘The Recovery of Raymond’ by Steve Miles Raymond, the last wooden working boat (butty) built in Britain, has over the last few years been lovingly restored by ‘Friends of Raymond’. Steve is not only one of Raymond’s leading ‘friends’ but also has a surprising other hidden talent. Come along to his fascinating talk*, the last of our season, and be prepared to be surprised. [*Sports ConneXion 7:30pm]

 May 19

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Saturday Walk, Around Foxton Locks & Inclined Plane Meet 10:30 am Visitor Centre Car Park Grid Ref: SP693897

 June 13

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Wednesday Evening Walk around Lapworth Meet 7:30 pm Brome Hall Lane Car Park Grid Ref: SP186710

 July 11

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Wednesday Evening Picnic and optional walk at Newbold Comyn, Leamington Spa Meet 7:30 pm - Bring your own food and drink. If weather is inclement, we may adjourn to the Newbold Comyn Arms. Park near the Swimming Baths. Grid Ref: SP330659

 August 19 Sunday Walk Around Brinklow – more Oxford loops Meet 10:30 am Stretton Wharf GR: SP440810 th

The Rhodes Thomas Collections. To contribute to the costs of archiving storage containers for storing the 22,000 or more slides in this collection; we are now starting to sell some of the hundreds of waterway, railway and industrial archaeology books also bequeathed to the Branch. For the public, this exercise will begin at the rd th Braunston Historic Boat Gathering on June 23 /24 , However, Branch members will be able to see and th purchase these in advance - at our May 9 meeting.

Editorial 1: This year’s Branch activities started with a New Year’s Day walk around Hawkesbury Junction – which concluded with good lunchtime food and drink at The Greyhound. Two weeks later we held the Branch’s Annual Dinner at The White Lion at Radford Semele, the food and service was excellent. The whole evening was thoroughly enjoyed by some 40 members. Unfortunately, our February 5th walk around Boddington reservoir had to be postponed at the last minute due to a heavy snowfall. It was rearranged for the following week, when a hardy group of us returned to the frozen reservoir to see its low level, and begin to appreciate the problems to be faced by boaters crossing the Oxford canal summit this summer. Further details and photos can be seen on the Warwickshire page of the IWA web-site – take a look, its scary ! On this mixed note of pleasure and concern I now hand the editors ‘baton’ back to Ian Fletcher.

Sue Roy Editorial 2: Thank you Sue, not just for all your work editing Bear Essentials, and for ‘keeping the seat warm’ for me over the last nine years, but may I also echo the words of Ian Jackson our Chairman (over the page) and thank you for a remarkable 15 years of service on the Branch committee in a number of roles. As both Sue above, and Ian overleaf have said, one – if not our major - concern this summer will be water supply. Fortunately, although they cannot guarantee us water, BW/CRT appear to be more pro-active in dealing with the problem this year, and at least their lock-restrictions have been issued well in advance, and unlike last year will not catch boaters ‘on the hop’. Our Branch area straddles three of the new Local Partnership areas, and we are perhaps not as badly affected as colleagues to the south and east of us. Much of the watery ‘lifeblood’ of our local waterways comes from the Birmingham plateau, where fortunately, probably due to the unfortunate decline of the manufacturing industry in the West Midlands’ the aquifers appear to remain in a healthy state. One easy way to dispel much of the gloom that seems to be around at the moment, is not to think too much about water shortages but to look on the left here and see the programme of events and activities that Richard Sanders and Peter Webb have planned for us. Finally, following on from our highly successful ‘lock-ransom’ at Calcutt last year; we are planning to repeat the exercise again this summer. However, due to drought restrictions, Calcutt opening hours will be severely curtailed, and in any case the locks will now be manned by CRT volunteers; we are therefore looking at alternative locations. Having recently held a successful work-party on the Hatton Flight, we are considering manning the top four locks there. No final decisions have yet been made – stay close for further information.

Ian Fletcher.


Bear In Mind:

(Notes from the Chairman)

For some time now I have been indicating a need for new blood on your Committee, and so it gives me great pleasure, following our AGM, to announce the following new committee members: Graham (Nick) Nicholson, Phil Arnold and Bill Gill. Nick was co-opted as our Planning Officer, last summer - followed by Phil Arnold as our Webadministrator; both these appointments were confirmed at our recent AGM. To meet our increasing volunteering and work party activities, we have - subsequent to our AGM - co-opted Bill Gill onto your committee to help Peter Webb in this growing area. Having been Branch Secretary for many years Sue Roy decided not to stand for reelection. Our thanks go to her for all her hard work in this role; and also, more recently, as Editor of this Newsletter. My wife Tina takes over as Branch Secretary whilst Ian Fletcher becomes our new Editor. Full committee details are included below. Looking forward to this summer there are a number of important landmarks to celebrate here in the Midlands – notably: The fiftieth anniversary celebrations of both the re-opening of the Lower Avon Navigation, and the Stourbridge Canal protest rally. Stratford River Festival will again take place at the beginning of July - with the main celebration of the Lower Avon re-opening a week later centred on the annual Evesham River Festival, where for the first time an IWA stand is planned in conjunction with the Birmingham, Black Country and Worcester

Branch. Although not in our area, our National Trailboat Rally this year takes place over the Jubilee weekend at Stroud - along the, now partially restored, Stroudwater Navigation – the subject of currently on-going Heritage Lottery funded restoration to which we have a walk visit planned th this month on 15 April. After some delay, an appeal for the proposed memorial to David Hutchings is to go ahead. Whilst his leadership of the restoration of the southern Stratford Canal and Upper Avon are legendary, his leadership of the Midlands Branch of IWA is less well known. Further details of the launch of this fund will be given in the next edition of Navigation. As previously predicted, water shortages are a serious concern, particularly relating to the southern Oxford, the southern GU, and the GU Leicester section. However, Boddington and Wormleighton Reservoirs are thankfully now close to full - due to back pumping and the recent rain. Along with others, we are also particularly concerned about the closure of the Northampton Arm, and therefore access to the River Nene and the Fens. Despite the potential problems caused by some of these restrictions may I wish you a good summer – wherever on the waterways you find yourselves.

Ian Jackson.

Thank You

Your Contacts – Your ‘New’ Committee. Chairman: Treasurer:

Ian Jackson Anthony Davies

Barby Stockton

01788 – 891 545 01926 – 814 980

Secretary: Membership Sec:

Tina Jackson Greta Russell

Barby Coventry

01788 – 891 545 02476 – 442 701

Minutes Secretary:

Muriel Richardson Balsall Common 01676 – 534 569

Newsletter Editor: Web Administrator:

Ian Fletcher Phil Arnold

Talks Organiser: Richard Sanders Walks & Work Parties: Peter Webb Planning Officer: Co-opted Member:

‘Nick’ Nicholson Bill Gill

Long Itchington Brinklow

01926 – 815 413 01788 – 832 933

Leamington Leamington

01926 – 403 179 01926 – 422 764

Kenilworth Coventry

01926 – 855 228 02476 – 415 814

Richard and Peter thank members for their support (at meetings and on walks respectively) over the last year – it makes their work all feel very worthwhile. Although next seasons programme is already taking shape they are both always on the lookout for new ideas for future talktopics and speakers, and for walk locations. If you have any ideas for the future, please contact them. (see left for details).

The IWA may not agree with opinions expressed here in this newsletter, but encourages its publication as a matter of interest. Nothing herein may be construed as a matter of policy, or an official announcement - unless otherwise stated. The Association accepts no liability for any material contained herein.

The IWA is a registered charity ( No. 212342 ), founded in 1946. Supported by donations & members’ subscriptions, it campaigns for conservation, use, maintenance, restoration, & development of the inland waterways of Great Britain - for the benefit of all. Registered & General Office: - Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, Herts. HP5 1WA. Phone: 01494 - 783 453.

Website :- www.waterways.org.uk.

Editor : Ian Fletcher, 4 Village Hall Cottages, CV47 9QH . Phone: 01926 – 815 413. . E-mail: ian.fletcher@waterways.org.uk. If you have not already done so - but are able to - please ‘sign up’ (via the above address) to receive ‘BE’ by e-mail. Also, if your address changes please let us know. E-mail saves paper and postage - and hence Branch funds. It therefore allows us to support yet more waterway causes.


Bear Essentials Issue 33