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WINTER 2011 | ISSUE 234



In Action

Waterway Trails




Full report from Burton

Tom Franklin

Focus on youth

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Winter 2011


IWA AT WORK What’s been happening around the branches

10. BRIDGING THE FUNDING GAP IWA campaigns for adequate finance for the new charity

14. MEET THE TRANSITION TRUSTEES We talk to Tom Franklin from the Ramblers Association

16. WRG IN ACTION We report on a productive year for the Waterway Recovery Group


22. NATIONAL FESTIVAL REPORT All the news from the 2011 show at Burton

24. AGENDA The column of the National Chairman

25. NEWS A round up of the main stories from IWA and beyond

30. RESTORATION UPDATE From the Chesterfield and Thames & Severn canals



Walk Talk

Commercial carrying developments around the network

34. ON THE TRAIL Ten of the best long-distance waterway walks

40. THE NEXT GENERATION Attracting young people to the world of the waterways

42. CUTTINGS What the media has been saying about waterway issues


45. INBOX Readers’ letters

COVER PICTURE Boating on the Old West River in the heart of Fenland.



WATERWAYS EDITOR: Keith Goss Tel: 01283 742951 E-mail: ART EDITOR: Kerry Hogston ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER: Ian Sharpe Tel: 01283 742977 E-mail: ADVERTISING DESIGN: Jill Brown, Clare Salisbury ADVERTISING PRODUCTION: Samantha Lloyd E-mail: EDITORIAL BOARD: Neil Edwards, Jo Gilbertson, Keith Goss, Clive Henderson, Peter Johns, Jim Shead REPROGRAPHICS: Waterways World Ltd, 151 Station Street, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 1BG. Printed in England by Warners (Midlands) PLC, Bourne, Lincs Articles may be reproduced provided permission is obtained and acknowledgement made. ISSN 0969-0654 G

SHORTLY BEFORE THIS ISSUE OF WATERWAYS WENT TO PRESS, the name of the New Waterway Charity was revealed: the Canal & River Trust. A brand new logo for the Trust was unveiled at the same time. The announcement followed months of speculation and discussion, as detailed in our leading news item on page 25. Choosing a name is the easy bit, however. Now the hard work really begins to ensure that the C&RT is up and running in time to take control of over 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in April next year. There are still many areas of concern, not least the eventual integration into the C&RT of the Environment Agency-administered rivers such as the Thames and the Great Ouse. But finance remains the major issue. IWA has been at the forefront of the concerted campaign to persuade Government of the need to provide adequate funding if the new Charity is to succeed - see ‘Bridging the Funding Gap’ on pages 10-11.

As autumn slips inexorably into winter, and many boats withdraw into the marina for a few months, it’s time to get the walking boots out and explore the waterway network on foot. To whet your appetite for a spot of hiking, we suggest ten of the best longdistance waterway walks in Britain - see ‘On the Trail’ on pages 34-38. Walking being a major theme of this issue, we thought it timely to talk to Tom Franklin, chief executive of the Ramblers Association and transition trustee with responsibility for towpaths and waterside rights of way within the new Charity. Read Tom’s views on pages 14-15. Other features include a review of the activities of Waterway Recovery Group in 2011, a report on the successful National Waterways Festival at Burton and all our regulars such as IWA at Work, The Next Generation, Restoration Update etc. We hope you enjoy them all!

Keith Goss EDITOR

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Founded: 1946, Incorporated 1958 Registered Office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA Tel: 01494 783453 E-mail: Web site: Chief Executive – Neil Edwards Company Secretary – Helen Elliott-Adams Operations & Information Systems Manager – David Forrester Campaign & Communications Manager – Jo Gilbertson G

Nothing printed in Waterways may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless stated, otherwise IWA accepts no liability for any matter in the magazine. Although every care is taken with advertising matters no responsibility whatsoever can be accepted for any matter advertised.

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Your support helps IWA to: • Campaign for properly funded waterways • Provide a voice for you • Help improve your local waterways • Defend the waterways from unwelcome development • Give practical financial and political support for waterways restoration • Provide expert advice for waterway managers and restoration groups • Organise restoration holidays for young people • Provide over 5,000 days of volunteer labour each year • Arrange affordable insurance for waterway organisations • Enable greater appreciation of the waterways through education and experience

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E-mail your news and photos to

IWA at Work News from around the branches compiled by Jim Shead



Warwickshire Branch has been busy painting all three Calcutt Locks over several sessions in June. They were also given permission by British Waterways to hold a Lock Ransom over an August weekend and raised £357 for branch funds. As part of the National Heritage Weekend, they were at the Saltisford Arm, which belongs to the Saltisford Canal Trust and is one of the National Heritage Weekend venues for Warwick District Council’s area. The branch stand there promoted the waterways in general, IWA and the local branch.

Recently, local recruitment of members has increased led by four branches: Birmingham, Lichfield, Leicester and Chiltern. At various locations and by different methods they have found that they can get people to join IWA if they invite them to do so. If you would like some pointers on how to do this see “Selling IWA” in our Annual Review. Many branches have fund raising events but not all take the opportunity to use these to recruit. For each new IWA member recruited by the branch (whether or not they become a member of that branch), a £20 contribution to branch funds is made. This money is automatically transferred to branch funds each year in December.

Painting the locks at Calcutt.


NORTHAMPTON CONTRIBUTES TO INGLESHAM LOCK APPEAL Northampton Branch Chaiman Bernard Morton went on a summer cruise that included a trip up the Thames to Lechlade where he presented Liz Payne, Chairman of the Cotswold Canals Trust, with a £2,000 cheque for IWA’s Inglesham Lock Appeal. This sum represents the bulk of the surplus funds raised at the National Campaign Festival at Becket’s Park over May Day Bank Holiday weekend – a fine achievement by all concerned. The local Sea Cadets, St John Ambulance and Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance are also beneficiaries of money raised at the Festival. Bernard was also able to meet Liz’s husband, former Northampton Branch Chairman Peter Payne, who is now lockkeeper at St John’s Lock, Lechlade. Supporting IWA’s Inglesham Lock Appeal.


On 29th June IWA South West Branch members, Fred Blampied, John and Rosemary Gornall and Alan Aldous, attended the Mayor’s formal opening ceremony of Bristol’s Harbour Festival. Here credit was given to Fred for his A well-deserved honour for vision in thinking up the Fred Blampied. idea for the first Bristol Water Festival in 1971, to demonstrate the leisure and amenity potential of the harbour. It is now thought that this annual event raises about £9m for the city. By way of appreciation, the City presented Fred with an engraved piece of Bristol Blue glass, saying “Bristol thanks you.” Fred accepted it, as the last remaining person of the original 1971 committee, on behalf of all those involved. The first ‘alert’ about the harbour’s future occurred in 1969 when it was noticed that the 1967 Development Plan included a road over the harbour at Jacob Wells that would have severed the dock. The Feeder Canal was to be filled in to widen Feeder Road, and the whole area around Hill’s dockyard that now houses the SS Great Britain and Bristol Marina was also to be filled in. IWA South West Branch and the Cabot Cruising Club fought the City Docks Bill and raised funds locally for the campaign. The fact that there is still an East – West waterway link from Bristol to the Thames for wide-beam craft is down to local vision - it could so easily have been lost.

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Celebrating a job well done on the Trent & Mersey Canal. Bridge painting in Burton.

Staff from Molson Coors, the Burton-on-Trent brewing company, joined forces with IWA Lichfield Branch and British Waterways as part of water stewardship month to work on tasks such as bridge painting, vegetation clearance and litter picking along the Trent & Mersey Canal in the Burton area. Burton has been associated for centuries with brewing beer due to the high proportion of dissolved salts in the water, predominantly caused by the gypsum in the surrounding hills. The resulting sulphate brings out the hops. Around the world, water is ‘Burtonised’ to make better beer. Due to the importance of water in the brewing process, Molson Coors held a water stewardship month during September, to make their employees more aware of the importance of water in our lives. To this end, discussions were held between Molson Coors, BW and IWA to organise a series of work parties to be carried out by Molson Coors employees. These work parties were based on the Trent & Mersey Canal in the Burton area. Walks in the area, taking in Alrewas, Wychnor, the Trent & Mersey Canal and the River Trent were also organised, as well as bridge-hole clearance. It is hoped that this may be the start of a continuing partnership between Molson Coors, BW and IWA to improve the canal in the Burton area for the benefit of all.

GUILDFORD & READING DONATION IWA’s Guildford & Reading Branch has donated £600 to the Wey & Arun Canal Trust. The money will be going towards the Bramley Link, a key project to create a ‘green corridor’ near the canal’s junction with the River Wey.

Donating funds to the Wey & Arun Canal Trust.

OVER £600 RAISED AT LOCK RANSOM The Milton Keynes Branch held another successful Lock Ransom weekend at Three Locks, Soulbury, on 3rd-5th June. David King, who co-ordinated the event, said: “Pete Bickers is deserving of special mention in dispatches. As usual, he made his way from Bletchley to Three Locks on the Friday and Saturday, and did an amazing job extracting money from passers-by, including those frequenting the pub. No-one shakes the bucket with the same enthusiasm as Pete! A total of £609.47 was raised for branch funds, plus one farthing and one dime!

Vegetation clearance on the Trent & Mersey.

Is your branch doing something that demonstrates the great work that our members do? If so let us know - send your story and pictures to

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Bridging the Funding Gap IWA campaigns to fill the £40m ‘black hole’ in the Government’s response to the NWC consultation


he Government has published its response to the consultation on the proposals to move British Waterways in England and Wales from being a public corporation to a New Waterways Charity (NWC). More than 350 responses were received on the consultation from individuals and organisations, including a detailed submission from IWA. On funding, much has been said by IWA leading up to and during the consultation, and the All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group has also supported IWA concerns over insufficient funding. There are several references in the response by Defra to the government funding contract being negotiated with the trustees in the autumn of 2011. This can only be regarded as implicit acceptance by Government that IWA’s assertions over inadequate funding have been fully or partly justified. On efficiencies, the most common suggestions in the consultation were to review remuneration of senior staff, make more effective use of volunteers, prioritise preventative maintenance, and minimise rebranding costs. Defra indicates that over the coming months the Transition Trustees will be preparing NWC’s first threeyear business plan, which will include any proposals to develop new income streams and further efficiencies.

realised. It also adopts an even more pessimistic 50% achievement in its sensitivity analysis. The key conclusion in the Impact Assessment is that, in social cost-benefit terms, the charity will always bring a better outcome, other things being equal, than retention of the network in the public sector. Defra maintains that the valuation of greater use of volunteers in the Impact Assessment is not intended to imply direct substitution of paid staff. Volunteers will enable the charity to do more and it is this ‘added value’ which has been captured here. On the final agreement for funding, however, Defra indicates that ‘A revised and final version of the Impact Assessment will be published later in the autumn, following the negotiations between Government and the Transition Trustees on the government funding contract’. IWA is continuing to lobby NWC’s Transition Trustees and all the political parties to support the argument for more funding and is suggesting ways that this could be achieved. To this end it has published a Political Briefing note for use at the forthcoming party conferences and has arranged meetings with various key senior politicians including the Waterways Minister. IWA will also ensure that the Transition Trustees are properly briefed on other issues of concern that they are charged with pursuing in the run up to launch of the NWC.

Charitable income projections

Safeguarding the towpaths

On charitable income, Defra admits that BW’s original charitable income projections, although based on market research conducted during the recession, remain hypothetical and the Impact Assessment recognises this by assuming, in its central case, that only 75% of these projections are

Other issues within the consultation response were the familiar demands by many waterways users, including a guarantee that canal towpaths would continue to be open to the public – not quite that they would become rights of way (currently the majority of BW-owned towpaths are only available


TOP LEFT: Safeguarding the towpaths is an important issue – this is the Rochdale Canal at Hebden Bridge. Robin Smithett ABOVE: The merger of Environment Agency waterways into the new charity has been accepted as the correct course of action. This is the River Nene at Upper Barnwell. BELOW: Volunteer labour – such as members of the Waterway Recovery Group depicted here – will have a major role to play in the new charity.

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Bridging the Funding Gap

The Brecon & Abergavenny Canal is to be administered by Glandwr Cymru – the Welsh name for the new waterway charity. Robin Smithett

“There is implicit acceptance by Government that IWA’s assertions over inadequate funding have been fully or partly justified.”

for public use at BW’s discretion as permissive footpaths.) A major and overriding concern of IWA’s that the scope of the charity was not firmly grounded in maintaining ‘connected navigation’ has had effect. Defra in its response recognised the concern and stated that more prominence to the use of the network for navigation was needed, and has revised the draft charitable purposes accordingly. These have been referred back to the NWC transition trustees to consider. IWA has already brought this matter up with the NWC transition trustees and will be monitoring this matter closely.

IWA’s EA merger proposals accepted by Defra A clear majority of replies favoured the IWA’s proposal of a merger of Environment Agency navigations into the new charity, and Defra has reaffirmed its intention for this to happen, in 2015, although again caveated heavily with the statement “subject to affordability and the agreement of the NWC Trustees at that time”. A review of NWC performance in 2014 will advise government on the prospects. IWA will keep a close watch on progress having made and won the argument for this union. The original consultation proposed a series of region-sized ‘Local Partnerships’, and while the proposal is likely to go ahead, IWA had been critical that their name belied their large size and that there should be more ‘localism’ in the partnerships. Defra has agreed, and is renaming them ‘Waterways Partnerships’, with an instruction that they should develop ‘localism strategies’ that allow a greater involvement from local communities. The current plan is for 13 partnerships. Eleven would be based on waterway management boundaries, one for museums and one ‘All-Wales Partnership’ (as requested by IWA). But the proposal

should not prevent the partnerships from evolving into the future. The NWC Council organisation and structure was also confirmed. Initially this is envisaged to consist of 35 members. Five of these will be boaters, and others taken from various other interests – including two from boating businesses and one from employees of the charity. All of these positions will be directly elected (except one boater nomination) - again meeting an IWA request for direct representation rather than nominations. NWC trustees and Government now accept IWA’s position of the need to move to fuller direct elections of Council and indicate that they will progress to 50% of the Council being directly elected over time, particularly those representing identifiable waterway user groups.

The name of the game After a lengthy period of consultation and much speculation among professionals and enthusiasts alike, the name of the new charity was finally announced in early October: the Canal & River Trust. It is felt that the incorporation of the words ‘canal’ and ‘river’ will have the widest possible appeal among the general public. The Welsh name for the charity will be Glandwr Cymru. This translates literally as ‘Waterside Wales’ and it is believed that this will have a distinctly Welsh character which will appeal to the people of the Principality. Defra also launched another six-week consultation about the proposed ‘Transfer Order’. This was to run until 24th October, and sets out the legal framework for transfer of the waterways and associated powers and responsibilities from BW to the new charity. IWA will be closely studying this consultation and will be responding in due course. Visit waterways-1109/.

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In the first of a new series in which we find out about the New Waterways Charity’s Transition Trustees, we talk to Tom Franklin from the Ramblers Association

Keith Goss: Can you tell us something about yourself? Tom Franklin: I started life on a modern housing estate in Kent. Then ‘The Good Life’ was broadcast on TV and my parents decided to give it a go. Before long, we’d moved into a derelict old cottage in a small Suffolk village, with almost every conceivable farm animal crammed into our back garden – so it was an unusual upbringing. However, since university (and maybe as a reaction to my very rural childhood) I’ve lived in Brixton, South London – but escape to the countryside either at weekends or as part of my job.

KG: What is your position within the Ramblers Association? TF: I’m Chief Executive – but not for much longer! I’ve recently announced that, after four and a bit years, I’ll be leaving at Christmas to become Chief Executive at Think Global. Think Global promotes education about global issues, such as poverty, climate change, and conflicts, in order to empower people to take action to create a more just and sustainable world. At a time when there are real crises in the world, a natural reaction can be to raise barriers – whereas what we need to do is to step over barriers and to understand problems from a global perspective. I’m really looking forward to this new challenge. It has been an honour to work for the Ramblers, which is a great British institution. I think it shares many things in common with the Inland waterways Association. It was created by committed activists, and the vast majority of its work is still carried out by an army of volunteers who give their time and skills for a cause they love. Without the Ramblers, it would be so much harder to go walking in Britain today – footpaths would be closed, there wouldn’t be the national trails like the Pennine Way, we wouldn’t have the freedom to wander across wild places like the Peak District or the Yorkshire Moors. And the many thousands of people who go walking with the Ramblers each year would suddenly find a big hole in the lives. Like many membership organisations, we’ve been working to renew ourselves and to make us relevant for the changing times. This is never easy – but we’ve made good progress.


“I’m a huge fan of the network of waterways – their historical place in Britain and the world.” Even after I leave, through my work on the Independent Forestry Panel, set up after the government abandoned its proposals to sell off the Forestry Commission, I shall be keeping close links with the Ramblers.

KG: Was it a surprise to be appointed as a Transition Trustee for the New Waterways Charity?

TF: Yes. When I heard about the new trustee posts, I was attracted to the challenge. Why? Firstly, because I’m a great believer in the voluntary sector. I’ve been involved in voluntary organisations for as long as I can remember, and I’ve seen how they can add more, through involving people with passion and skills. I’m intrigued by the scale of what is being undertaken – transferring an entire agency of government into a charity - which I think is fairly unique. Secondly, I’m a huge fan of the network of waterways – their historical place in Britain and the world, as one of the catalysts for the industrial revolution, and the way they have re-invented themselves. We so very nearly lost them – it is a

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The Interview

“I would like to see access eventually to the side of every significant inland waterway.” wonder that they are there at all, and that is down to a small number of determined individuals. I had to fill in an application form for the role, and then attend an interview. I then didn’t hear anything for ages – apparently because the final decision was to be taken by ministers – so I thought that it was a ‘no’. So it was quite a surprise when I got a letter saying yes. The new transition trustee board has been incredibly busy since. Things are moving forward at a pace – much faster than I’d thought.

KG: What is your remit? TF: All trustees share joint responsibility for the overall health of the charity, but I hope what I bring is experience of the third sector, the political environment, local authorities (I was a councillor for twelve years), volunteering, public engagement, and the natural environment. I’m one of the two trustees on the Transition Appointments Committee, which is helping (alongside two Defra-nominated people) to appoint the Waterways Partnerships Chairs, and the first Council.

KG: Did you know much about inland waterways prior to your appointment? TF: From a towpath user’s perspective, yes. One of my first experiences of canals was going on a walk through the East End of London by canal. I remember dropping down from street level into this ‘other world’ – from then on, I’ve been an addict. My job involves travelling the country, joining Ramblers groups on walks – and I’m always delighted when it involves canal or riverside walking. I’m struck by the similarities between the rights of way network and the canal network. Both were earlier essential forms of transport – for moving people and goods from A to B. Both were superceded by other transport modes, and gradually fell into decline. And both were saved by determined activists who wouldn’t take no for an answer – in both cases, their doggedness was met with obstruction, until eventually people in power started to listen. Both the rights of way network, and the inland waterways network, have reinvented themselves primarily for leisure, and have become more popular than ever. KG: Where have you been around the waterway network? TF: I’ve been on walks in both town and country. In town, I like seeing the old industrial heritage at the side of the water – like the old Matchbox cars factory in East London, and the old Birds custard factory in Birmingham. In the country, my favourite walk is along the Kennet & Avon Canal – last year,

Exploring the Limehouse Cut in East London. as part of the Ramblers’ 75th anniversary celebrations, local Ramblers groups walked the entire length, and I joined them for a section.

KG: What would you like to see the New Waterways Charity achieve, particularly as regards access to towpaths and walking beside the waterways? TF: I am very pleased that the new charity will have a stronger duty to maintain access to towpaths. I would like to see access eventually to the side of every significant inland waterway – canal or river – and I hope over time the new charity can play its part in achieving this. People love to walk beside water. But waterways are more interesting when they are used for different purposes. A walk along the canal wouldn’t be so interesting if it wasn’t for the boaters, the anglers, and (as long as they are not boy-racers, and respect the other users) the cyclists. It’s a symbiotic relationship between the different users. I know less about boating issues, and am keen to learn about these over the coming months.

KG: When you’re not working for the Ramblers Association, or the New Waterways Charity, how do you like to spend your time? TF: My hobbies include walking (of course), gadgets, reading, swimming, cycling, running, film, art galleries etc.

KG: And if you weren’t busy at work and charting the future for the New Waterways Charity, where in the world would you most like to be? TF: Well I love Britain of course, but I also love Spain – not least the Tapas bars! And I have an unrealised ambition to drive the entire length of the Pan-American Superhighway, from Alaska down to Tierra del Fuego at the bottom tip of Argentina, in a VW camper van. But I’m guessing that may have to wait awhile. Long-distance walking beside the waterways is the subject of this issue’s major feature – see pages 34-38.

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WRG in Action

Jenny Black reports on a productive year for the Waterway Recovery Group


WA subscriptions directly support Waterway Recovery Group’s operations. Every year WRG runs over 20 week-long residential volunteering opportunities called ‘Canal Camps’ and WRG’s Regional Groups ensure that almost every weekend sees volunteers hard at work somewhere on the waterways. 2011 has proved to be an especially busy year for WRG – we have visited sites from the Lancaster Canal in the north, to Nynehead Historic Lift on the Grand Western Canal in Devon, from the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation in Essex to the Welsh Waterways Festival on the Neath Canal. Volunteers have helped start work constructing the New Staveley Town Lock on the Chesterfield Canal, improving their block and bricklaying skills in the process; they’ve completed the restoration of Eisey Lock on the Cotswold Canals; volunteers have also repaired a stone wall on the Cromford Canal in Derbyshire; assisted in the setting up of the National Waterways Festival at Burton upon Trent; and repointed lock walls and cleared vegetation on the Monmouthshire Canal in Wales. WRG is also gearing up for their annual Reunion Weekend, where over 100 WRG volunteers get together on a weekend in October or November to help a specific restoration project. This year, instead of the normal Reunion Weekend, WRG will be holding a memorial dig on the Basingstoke Canal, in memory of Pete Redway, who died earlier this year. The Reunion Weekend allows WRG volunteers to achieve a significant amount of work in a short time, whilst catching up with old and news friends.

How do canal camps work? In groups of up to 20 volunteers, you can help with essential restoration work on the waterways of England and Wales. Volunteers will be able to take part in various tasks from vegetation clearance to learning how to build a lock wall. Whether you are a


complete beginner or have tried your hand at restoration before, you will be guided through every task by the canal camp leader and their assistant.

Cotswold Canals – Inglesham Lock One of the major projects of the year has been at Inglesham Lock. Martin Thompson, WRG’s site coordinator, reports on progress:

BELOW: At work on Inglesham’s upper wing walls. BOTTOM: Exposing the brickwork.

Winter 2010/11: With snow on the ground, work started slightly before 2011 with the arrival of WRG Forestry and assorted camp followers between Christmas and the New Year. A number of trees that were growing in the footprint of the proposed landing stage and were adversely affecting the lock structure were reduced and the arisings cleared. London WRG followed up on the last weekend in February with stump removal, scrub bashing, and clearance of the coping stones on the lock garden side. Work to clear the forebay area was also started using WRG’s own excavator ‘Blue’. Easter 2011: A ten-day Easter WRG camp at the nearby Eisey Lock allowed a splinter group of volunteers, in unseasonably hot weather, to start the construction of a new entrance track and ‘hammerhead’ turning area, again using WRG’s excavator and recycling brick rubble from Eisey. The site was also brush cut and an initial line of fencing erected on the lock garden boundary. May 2011: Hard on the heels of the Easter effort came the four-day Royal Wedding/ May Bank Holiday weekend. This time the volunteer guests were Essex and North West WRG. Volunteers spent the first part of the weekend repairing potholes. Once the pothole repairs were completed, the new site access had additional rubble added, compacted and a ballast surface finish laid. ‘Blue’ was also utilised to further clear the forebay up to the remains of the upper stop plank seal and expose the lower faces of the upper wing walls.

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ABOVE: The Inglesham team pose proudly for the camera during a break in the hard work.

Then it was onto the summer camps: Canal Camp 13th-20th August: Invasive Canadian Balsham was pulled up and the site strimmed and brush cut; the boundary line was cleared and steel mesh fencing installed along the boundaries open to public access; careful hand excavation also started on the exit to the by-wash culvert. Canal Camp 20th-27th August: This continued the excavation of the by-wash lagoon; removed the over burden to the by-wash culvert allowing dismantling of the unsafe culvert structure; the significantly disrupted walls in the offside gate recess were also carefully cleared, bricks cleaned, the paddle gear holes were cleaned out and the upper gate sill invert cleared; robust timber arch formers were made up for use in the re-construction of the paddle holes and bywash culvert; the excavated material from the by-wash and the forebay invert was constructed into a temporary access causeway from the offside to the towpath side. Canal Camp 27th August-3rd September: The first bricks of the re-construction were laid on the offside paddle hole and culvert; further excavations took place and substantial amounts of domestic debris, cast glass and stoneware bottles, and a whole range of later vintage glassware were uncovered; having recorded the extent and condition of the spillway, the top part was covered over with fabric and soil placed back over in a protective layer as this is the only works access into the forebay; investigative work took place exposing the roots of an errant ash that has wrapped itself around the base of the south-east corner of the bridge parapet wall and has squeezed the stonework horizontally over by approximately 30mm.

Two major life changes have happened to me in the last year. I was widowed suddenly in November and this summer I retired from a lifetime of teaching. It was important that I found some interests and hobbies, something I had not managed to fit in during the last 35 years. Two things that I was sure of was that I wanted to be out in the fresh air and get some exercise after a lifetime of being in a classroom and I wanted to meet some interesting people. If I could also contribute to something worthwhile, so much the better. A colleague suggested volunteering holidays and I have always been interested in canals so when I saw that volunteers were needed to help run the IWA National Festival at Burton-on-Trent it looked like an ideal opportunity to kick start my new life. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. I was part of the WRG group and enjoyed every aspect of it, from putting up and taking down fencing and picnic tables, to showing traders to their pitches and off again, helping children with bricklaying and helping cook breakfast for 100 people. I met lots of interesting people aged 18 to 80. Many of them told me that the National was not a typical WRG camp and that I ought to give a canal camp a try. Jenny Black managed to get me on the final week of this summer’s Montgomery Canal restoration and I quickly saw what they meant. A week of digging trenches, wackering and watering soil and laying concrete blocks saw the prototype for the rest of the restoration almost complete and me with better arm muscles than I have had in thirty years! I had wondered if I would be able to keep up with the pace of the work but it wasn’t a problem. I managed to work as hard as everyone else but while many partied until well after midnight, I was in bed and fast asleep by ten o’clock. I have now signed up for a week on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation in October and part of the Christmas event at the Montgomery. Joining WRG has ticked so many boxes for me – fresh air, exercise, friendship, community involvement and a holiday, and I would recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in a similar position. I hope to be involved with IWA and WRG for at least another twenty years. Lynda Beresford

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The three summer camps were accommodated, for the first time, at Kempsford village hall. WRG volunteers were also warmly welcomed at the George, the local hostelry. Furthermore, Cotswold Canal Trust volunteers at the Saul Junction centre provided an enjoyable boat trip for all three camps and included an insightful briefing by Clive Field. Other work: Administratively much is also going on behind the scenes with work on designs, permissions and CDM documentation. Several visits have also been made by one of IWA’s honorary consultant engineers’ Roy Sutton, who has provided invaluable advice on the proposed restoration works in addition to the design of the new landing stage.

Montgomery Canal The other major WRG project this summer involved trialling restoration techniques on the Montgomery Canal, as Alan Jervis explains: This year’s four camps on the Montgomery Canal in Shropshire have begun the construction of 100 metres of new channel south of Pryces Bridge. Together with the length being worked on by Shropshire Union Canal Society (Redwith Bridge to Pryces Bridge), this aims to add some 600 metres of canal to the existing navigable six miles of the Montgomery from its junction with the Llangollen Canal at Frankton to Redwith Bridge. The aim was to find new approaches to restoring rural waterways: something that will be applicable not just to the Montgomery but also to many other canals which are currently being restored. We set out to find a construction technique which is: fully watertight and durable; physically flexible (to allow for ground movement); as cheap as possible consistent with quality; easy for volunteers to construct; more environmentally friendly than current approaches.


ABOVE: The overgrown length of canal at Crickheath prior to WRG’s arrival.

ABOVE: The machinery moves in. None of this proved easy … we profiled the canal to its original cross-section dimensions, using excavators and our volunteers’ digging skills! Volunteers then installed a complex liner system, which consisted of a layer of cushioning geotextiles (otherwise known as ‘fuzzy felt’ by the volunteers); a three-layer bentonite clay-based liner; a layer of soil; and finally a layer of thick concrete blocks. It sounds technical doesn’t it … don’t forget the majority of our canal camp volunteers are new to canal restoration so it was a great learning experience for everyone involved … even our old hands! By using about one third of the concrete of other methods and recycling the excavated soil (so there’s no need to transport it away to landfill), we think we met the requirement of improved environmental friendliness. Our volunteers worked very hard and coped with some challenging problems. Rain could have reduced all this to a quagmire, but fortunately, there was virtually none during the month. After four weeks of work our volunteers completed 18 metres of lined channel and some 60 metres of profiled bed is also ready for liner to be laid. This will now be left for almost a year to see how the liner system copes with winter and rising groundwater, but we’re confident that it will prove durable and effective.

CENTRE: The liner system is in place. ABOVE: Laying the fuzzy felt.

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WRG in Action

LEFT: Adding the soil. BELOW: And setting lots of blocks.

We learned a great deal during August and we’ll now reflect on this and discuss possible modifications to our design with British Waterways. We like the end result, but we think that we now need to consider ways of speeding up the construction and perhaps further reducing the amounts of concrete (ideally to none!) ready for next year’s camps which will aim to complete the target 100 metres and, if funding can be found, extend the new channel towards the vital winding hole 500 metres south of our work site.

Future plans In October (21st-29th October) the WRG Forestry Team was scheduled to visit

Nynehead Lift on the Grand Western Canal; the Christmas Camp (26th December-1st January 2012) will be on the Montgomery Canal; and the February Camp (11th-18th February 2012) will see us return to the Chelmer & Blackwater, staying on the lovely Haybay barge.

Come and join us For more details on the above canal camps please go to or call 01494 783 453 ext 604. To request a Canal Camps Working Holidays Brochure 2012 (available November) please contact Jenny Black at IWA Head Office on either 01494 783 453 ext 604, or email

SUPPORT THE INGLESHAM APPEAL IWA & WRG want to restore and re-commission Inglesham Lock at the junction of the Thames and Severn Canal with the River Thames, which is a crucial part of the Cotswold Canals scheme. Inglesham is the gateway to the Cotswold Canals restoration, and an iconic structure. So far over £52,000 has been raised through IWA’s Appeal, but we still need an additional £73,000 to ensure the lock can be fully restored by WRG volunteers.

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SUCCESSFUL NATIONAL AT BURTON The 2011 event went without a hitch – even the weather played its part this year


he 2011 National Waterways Festival at Burton upon Trent was blessed with fine weather, with not even a shower falling to mar the pristine condition of Shobnall Fields. With no rain, wet ground or mud, the Festival volunteers put together the show in the easiest conditions for many years. The location of the Burton site – near the heart of the town – has always been a great advantage but the huge swell of support from boaters, volunteers, exhibitors and visitors generated the most successful National Festival since 2007. Statistics from the Festival organisers revealed: around 25,000 visitors attended the event over the three day period; 360 boats moored along the Trent & Mersey Canal – stretching 1.5 miles in both directions from the festival site; a record breaking 28 historic boats were on show; 350 camping units stayed on site; over 300 volunteers were involved in staging the festival; 250+ organisations exhibited - ranging from boat builders to local crafts people. During the weeks leading up to the Festival,


volunteers gave out leaflets at Morrisons and the Octagon Shopping Centre to help promote the event. WOW activities were held at the National Brewery Centre Museum – and over 290 children were catered for during the weekend itself. It must be remembered that all the volunteers working at the Festival paid full price to be there. Local bands played in the sunshine, and arena events included Viking re-enactments. The catering was first class and the visitors showed their appreciation by spending generously with the exhibitors. Burton’s VIPs were pleased too and the Mayor has sent a letter to Festival Committee Chairman, Ian West, thanking him for such a superb event. Beating off several strong contenders, Nantwich Canal Centre won the Lionel Munk Award for the second consecutive time for the best commercial boat. (For a full list of award winners see right.) Festival Chairman Harry Arnold said: “It’s been a very proud few days for me. I have spent most of my adult life campaigning for the restoration of the waterways and I am

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National Festival Report NATIONAL FESTIVAL AWARD WINNERS 2011 BEST COMMERCIAL BOAT The Lionel Munk Trophy Navigation Narrow Boat Company – for narrowboat Oakmere BEST AMATEUR FIT OUT The Waterways World Trophy Richard Alderman – for narrowboat Magic BEST RESIDENTIAL BOAT The Cressy Award Pat and Sheila Campbell – for narrowboat Fair-Fa BEST UNCONVERTED WORKING BOAT The Alfred Ritchie Award Michael Pinnock – for narrowboat Emu BELOW: Navigation Narrowboat Co’s Oakmere was named the best commercial boat. BOTTOM: Friends of the Cromford Canal won the trophy for the best waterway related stand.

ABOVE: Bill and Sheila Saner of Navigation Narrowboat Co receiving the Lionel Munk Trophy from Michael Shefras. RIGHT: Cllr Graham Pask of West Berkshire Council passing the Tiller Pin Trophy to Cllr David Leese, Mayor of East Staffordshire Borough Council.

ABOVE: Spot the celebrity – a line up of dignitaries and supporters at the opening ceremony. delighted to have been Festival Chairman this year. The IWA volunteers have staged a fantastic festival – they really are the life and soul of our organisation. This year’s festival has been one of our best ever and we are looking forward to staging many more in the future.” One thing is without doubt: in 2011 the Festival made a significant profit, during one of the worst recessions and economic downturns in recent history. This, in itself, is a great achievement by the team. When members also consider the amount of publicity generated for IWA – which would cost thousands if it was paid for – the Festival clearly justifies its place in the IWA’s national calendar. There will be no IWA National Waterways Festival in 2012 but there are many opportunities for IWA members to get involved. In a year that is busy with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and of course the Olympics, IWA festival activity will continue at Canalway Cavalcade in London, the IWA Trailboat Festival in Stroud in June, and the IWA Campaign Festival at Preston in August. Additionally, IWA Festivals Waterspace Team has been contracted by BW to administer their London moorings during the Olympic period, giving a chance to sample the special atmosphere, particularly if you were not lucky enough to get any tickets. Anyone interested in getting involved should contact Head Office. Additionally, the Festivals Committee is taking the opportunity for a period of selfanalysis to ensure that IWA festival activity in 2013 and beyond properly reflects and promotes the aims and aspirations of the Association. Again anyone with a point of view is welcome to contact Ian West, the Festivals Chairman, who is charged with presenting a report for acceptance by Trustees by the end of the year.

BEST DESIGNED PRIVATE GALLEY The Calor Rose Bowl Sheila and Bruce Napier - for narrowboat Sanity Again BEST PRIVATE ENTRY BOAT The Marion Munk Trophy Rodney Wardlaw - for narrowboat Hazel Nut CRUISING CLUB AWARD The Offley Slack Propeller Trophy Stafford Boat Club LONGEST JOURNEY IN QUALIFYING PERIOD The A P Herbert Trophy Tim Cadle in his narrowboat Life The Universe etc MOST ENTERPRISING JOURNEY The Robert Aickman Trophy David and Sylvia Jarvis in their narrowboat Orchid 11 MOST ENTERPRISING NON-CONTINUOUS JOURNEY The Nationwide Anglia Trophy Jim MacDonald in historic narrowboat Elizabeth BEST COMMERCIAL STAND The Beta Marine Trophy Dallow Lock Craft BEST WATERWAY RELATED STAND The Canal Boat Trophy Friends of the Cromford Canal BEST ILLUMINATED BOAT The Ray Dunford Trophy John Gwalter for narrowboat Ernest NEW – BEST FLORAL DECORATED BOAT The ESBC Floral Challenge Shield Aud Hardy for narrowboat Sam Hardy of Derby NEW – BEST DECORATED CAMPSITE UNIT The Springfields Trophy Carol and Dave Hannigan BEST FESTIVAL CAKE MADE ON SITE The Rank Hovis McDougall Trophy Jill Best BEST JUNIOR DRAWING OR PAINTING The Penny Briscoe Trophy Ellen Sayles

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The Column of the National Chairman Continuing Progress towards the New Era By the time you read this it will be less than six months to the launch of the new charity that will run nearly half the waterways in England and Wales. The Transition Trustees will be busy negotiating the financial settlement with Defra to ensure a viable launch and a sustainable future. This could be the most important event affecting not just the next ten years but the long term future of our waterways. An inadequate settlement will not be evident on day one but in three or five years when the general condition of the waterways needs to show an improvement, not deterioration. How will that condition be measured? Do we users have objective, commonly agreed measures of condition or will it be a subjective assessment for each of us based upon our personal experience of our locality? I hope that the Waterway Partnerships will develop local strategies with objective measures to deliver improvements even if they concentrate on the easy wins to begin with, and that our members will be fully engaged in protecting the waterways within this process. Last month Defra published Government’s response to the key elements of the consultation exercise and it was pleasing to note the widespread input from stakeholders and the evidence that so many points raised by IWA had been listened to – see article on pages 10-11. Funding was of course the unanswered issue. Whilst few would expect Defra to be able to double the proposed settlement to cover our estimated shortfall to get the waterways into steady state condition, it must be adequate to cover the statutory responsibilities of Government under the legislation, created during nearly 250 years, that they seek to pass on to the new charity. The settlement should also recognise and fund the wider public benefits arising from towpath access and amenity, drainage and flood control, and the enhanced property values bestowed by waterway corridors.

What can IWA do to help? Early this year I mentioned in this column the role we envisaged as the new charity took shape and began to operate the waterways was to act as a ‘critical friend’, a term widely used in management theory since the 1990s. A well known online encyclopaedia defines it as follows: ‘A critical friend can be defined as a trusted person who asks provocative questions, provides data to be examined through another lens, and offers critiques of a person’s work as a friend. A critical friend takes the time to fully understand the context of the work presented and the outcomes that the person or group is working toward. The friend is an advocate for the success of that work.’ However, we became aware that some might perceive the term as too focussed on criticism but we are a campaigning organisation and we try to speak on behalf of the waterways and the users. We hope to develop our preferred way of working with the new charity before it goes live and we will be seeking to work with the Transition Trustees on some of the more pressing and immediate priorities in a collaborative manner to get the best outcome for the waterways, and we will continue to offer our advice and support as we form the building blocks to our emerging relationship.


What can I do to help? The Waterway Partnerships will be vital to the long term success of the new charity. Over the next decade it will inevitably evolve from a top down organisation to a bottom up enterprise, grass roots driven by local stakeholders. There will be a need for minimum standards set at the top but local priorities will take over from there. Now is the time for IWA members to put themselves forward to apply for positions as chairs or members of the partnerships. The second round have been advertised and the balance will be recruited in the New Year. If that sounds like too much of a commitment then why not get your branch involved in some hands on work to improve your local waterways, especially for those members living outside of the current BW network. The position on the EA navigations revealed in the Defra response is that 2015 seems to have become their preferred target date to move them to the new charity, and work towards that objective is taking place between the relevant parties. It follows that you should explore ways of working with EA navigations wherever possible.

A final thought Whilst reading the annual report for BW I was concerned to note that despite committing extra resources, licence evasion was still estimated to be around 4.9% which means that approximately £860,000 of income is being lost each year when it is needed to maintain the waterways. There is an online boat licence checking system to report sightings of apparently unlicensed boats but you can only use it if a number is shown on a boat. There seems to be a trend for such boats to have no name or number shown, despite the bye laws and licence conditions requiring these, as well as a valid licence of course! If we all report problems maybe the charity’s income can be increased.

Clive Henderson

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Charity to be known as Canal & River Trust


he transition trustees of the new charity being established to tend 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in England and Wales from April 2012 have announced that it will be called the Canal & River Trust (or Glandwr Cymru in Wales) and have unveiled its new symbol. The decision was taken following extensive public and internal consultation and market research into the replacement for the name and symbol of “British Waterways.” They reflect the important step the Government is taking in creating a new successor organisation to hold the waterways in trust for the nation in perpetuity. The change also offers an opportunity to attract the attention of, and to appeal to, the wider public. Design agency Pentagram provided free design consultancy to develop the new national charity’s name, symbol and imagery. The agency has

a long history with the waterways, creating the British Waterways’ symbol over 20 years ago.To make maximum impact at minimum cost, the Canal & River Trust will be working with waterway organisations to plan a phased change to signage on the waterways perhaps by providing a ‘signing kit’ for local groups. Tony Hales, chairman of the transition trustees, said: “Our canals and rivers have been part of the fabric of the country’s landscape for 250 years and putting them in trust for the nation is the start of a new chapter in the renaissance of the waterways. People have told us that the waterways are important to them as a local haven, for themselves and for nature. Stepping onto a towpath is like entering a different world, where the stress of daily life can be escaped. The Canal & River Trrust and our new symbol represent what our waterways mean to so many people.”

The Welsh name for the new charity, Glandwr Cymru, translates literally as “Waterside Wales” and reflects a determination by transition trustees that the trust has a distinctly Welsh character and focus for its waterways in Wales. The Canal & River Trust is expected to launch in April 2012 and will hold 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in England and Wales, including the third largest estate of listed structures, in trust for the nation. Britain’s waterways also provide a unique haven for wildlife, and offer tranquillity and recreation to some 13 million visitors every year. The “British Waterways” brand will stay alive in Scotland, where the waterways currently managed by British Waterways Scotland will be kept in the public sector and will not form part of the Canal & River Trust.

Some 2,000 miles of canals and rivers will be under the control of the new Canal & River Trust. This is the Kennet & Avon Canal at Little Bedwyn.

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WA was busy campaigning at the Labour and Conservative conferences. The Association had organised its own private meetings with shadow and serving ministers, MPs and councilors about the waterways, and our agenda for the Canal & River Trust (formerly the New Waterways Charity). IWA is keen on seeing the C&RT progress, and has publically supported this move, but still retains a concern that it should not come at the detriment of the sustainability of the waterways especially for navigation matters. IWA met the waterways minister Richard Benyon for over half an hour without his officials (the real benefit of a conference meeting) and had a very detailed discussion about C&RT finance, considering the true cost of maintenance and what was needed. We fully aired our concerns about trying to do it ‘on the cheap ‘ ie without indexing, or sufficient start up money. We also drew the Minister’s attention to concerns we have over ongoing pension liabilities and made suggestions that these could in part at least be retained by government in respect of those who had left service. We also looked in detail at dredging as a funding and practical issue. As a keen fly fisherman and riparian owner of a substantial part of the Kennet & Avon, the Minister was fully aware of the problems

of siltation and how boat movements can churn up sediment and contaminate pristine stretches of the river, but fully understands this isn’t due to the boats per se, but to the lack of dredging being undertaken. IWA discussed the true costs involved and how BW was seriously falling behind on this important task. We also considered how it seemed incongruous that the new charity should be responsible for motor vehicle damage incurred to their bridges, and that this may be an issue to pass on to another government department. We also discussed the proposals to integrate the Environment Agency into the C&RT. We had previously spoken to him about our ideas, following our extensive lobbying. We were pleased to learn that IWA had won the argument. He indicated that he fully endorsed and supported our arguments (which at the time went against all other organisations’ views and advice). Now however, most accept IWA’s position that the EA is right for integration as part of one national body, the C&RT. We offered our continuing help and support for this process. What the IWA campaigns team will ensure is that BW does not get Charity status at any cost – by playing down to Government the actual cost of what it needs, in return for more autonomy and freedom.

Dredging remains a key issue.

IWA has begun meeting the transition trustees individually. We are targeting funding as our number one priority, and will be following up our meetings with the Minister and Shadow Minister by ‘manmarking’ key C&RT trustees as they start the funding settlement negotiations proper.

How Can Members and Branches Help? We have prepared a simple and effective briefing note for local MPs to your area informing them of the key issues and requesting that they support this issue when it comes up for debate in the House. Visit briefing_2011. We would ask you to write to your riparian MPs and explain how much the waterways mean to you, and that this important issue is progressing in the House, and ask that they write to the Minister in support of the suggestions we make in the briefing regarding, in particular, indexation of the funding and the retention of pension liabilities as these are the most impactful and least likely to be resisted by Treasury.

What else will IWA be doing? IWA acts as secretary to the All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group, and as such we will be working with the chair to recall the group and invite the Minister to an inquisitorial discussion on the C&RT and his views and proposals following the release of the NWC consultation response. We will also be working closely with the Shadow Minister for waterways and friendly MPs to ask a suite of questions intended to mark out the key issues of concern in the House and gently keep the funding issue firmly in the Minister’s and officials’ view.

Volunteer for the Cavalcade


pplications are invited for the following vacancies on the organising committee of IWA’s Canalway Cavalcade taking place at Little Venice from 5th—7th May next year: entertainments manager and assistant; public address manager; waterspace manager and assistant. All roles are committee posts and require attendance at monthly meetings at a venue near Kings Cross, London. Applications for full job specifications should be made to: Jerry Sanders - telephone: 07788 204442 or 07970 835523, e-mail:


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WANTED - Waterway

News from the AGM

Photos for IWA


o you have any interesting or great looking photographs that you think IWA could use for publicity purposes, on the website, in marketing material, our Annual review or as part of our IWA Calendar? Or have you any old or new photos of the waterways just to add to our archive? If so please send them to gemma.; or on disc to IWA Photos, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP51WA. Photos for the Calendar need to be digital with a resolution of at least 300 DPI. Any photos selected for use will be credited where possible, and anyone submitting a photo which gets used in the IWA calendar will receive three free calendars in return. So how do you go about taking the perfect waterway photograph? We asked eminent photographer Robin Smithett for his Top Ten Tips:

1. Point of View Don’t just snap form the place you are - think about other viewpoints and move around - go higher, or lower.

2. Quality of Light If the light isn’t good, then neither will the picture be. Early morning or late evening is best - avoid harsh mid-day sunlight as it washes out detail and colour.

5. Stability Most cameras don’t have a viewfinder, so you have to hold the camera at arm’s length - resulting in a very unstable platform. Try to brace your elbows against your body or use something like a fence to rest the camera on to keep it stable.

6. Subject If you can’t say what the main subject of the picture is, it’s probably not worth taking.

7. Detail Look hard around the picture before you take it - is there any rubbish floating, or washing draped over the boat?

8. People Put people in your picture to give it scale and bring it alive, but make sure they’ve got shirts on!

9. Reflections Canal water is brown. To make it look blue, you have to have blue sky reflected in it. Reflected trees don’t work.

10. Camera Don’t worry about having the latest camera - it’s the photographer that makes the pictures, not the camera. The camera should not be what you are thinking about when you take pictures.

3. Composition This is crucial - look at the picture to see if there is a better way of framing the subject. Try turning the camera on its side to get more sky in the picture. Try to place the main subject one third of the way into the picture.

4. Research Work out beforehand what and where you want to photograph for example what time the sun will shine down a cutting). The sun rises somewhere toward the east and moves at 15 degrees per hour clockwise.

To get blue water, you need a blue sky.

Max Sinclair.


WA’s National AGM was held on 24th September, and included a review of IWA’s activites in the last twelve months by national chairman Clive Henderson. The appointment of trustees was also confirmed. In the nationally elected trustees, there were two candidates for two places: Ray Carter was reelected and Gordon Harrower elected. Doug Beard retired and did not stand again. Paul Strudwick was the sole candidate for London Region chairman and took office at the close of nominations in July as the position was vacant. Paul Roper and Alastair Chambers, the sole nominess for positions of chairmen of South East and Eastern regions respectively, were re-elected. The following national awards were handed out at the AGM where the recipients were present: John Baylis - Cyril Styring Trophy (the Association’s most prestigious trophy); Colin and Sylvia Greenall - John Heap Salver (for fundraising); John Nuttall Christopher Power Prize (there is a cash award with this prize, which will go to Chesterfield Canal Trust); Roger Hasdell, Ron and Mary Heritage, John Moss, Max Sinclair, Brian and Brenda Ward, Ray Carnell – all Richard Bird Medal. The Milton Keynes Branch won the Branch Achievement Award.

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Boating on the Environment Agency’s River Nene.



WA attended a special meeting of the Environment Agency’s National Navigation User Forum in London on 23rd August. This was advertised as a harmonisation forum but it soon became clear that the meeting was a ‘softening up’ of stakeholders in preparation for large increases in cruising licences for EA waters. As part of the introductions, EA navigation manager Stuart Taylor introduced Andrew Gullog, who from September will be working for Stuart in charge of the ‘Navigation Project’. This was the first users had heard of the project. It is apparently to look at how EA manages its navigations up until 2015 when there may be a transfer to the newly created Canal & River Trust. Issues such as detailed ownership of assets etc are a part of this project. EA current thinking only seems to go as far as 2015 but any decisions on how navigations are to be funded might well endure beyond this date if the government backs down on its wish to transfer to the Charity. There are also separate debates going on within EA on what constitutes a navigation asset. This is critical for the Thames, where changes in the way flood risk management is funded means that the weirs on the Thames may not get flood defence funding. IWA was not informed as to the situation on East Anglian waterways, but understands that weirs on the Medway are already funded by navigation. The position on EA funding is essentially that a 50% cut in Grant in Aid has been imposed. EA is therefore looking at the principles of how boaters are to be charged and the intimation is that registration fees should cover running costs for the particular navigation, whilst Grantin-Aid and other income could cover capital investment. EA stated that its priorities to 2015 are to: keep waterways in their current state; and deliver as good a service as it can. EA ambitions were presented as: to use more volunteers; restructure focussing on front line staff; realise commercial income opportunities; secure contributions from other beneficiaries; move to customer based charges.


To users’ general surprise, the EA is likely to put on hold consideration of harmonisation of registration charges. This caused concern from users, IWA and the Great Ouse Boating Assiciation. The rationale apparently is that large increases in registration fees are necessary and some would be even more severely affected if harmonisation were attempted in parallel. Furthermore, if merger into C&RT is to take place in 2015 then this would necessitate further harmonisation. More worrying was the strong hint that each of the three waterway areas were expected to be treated in isolation with each expected to raise its running costs. In IWA’s opinion, this will be fine for the Thames with its very large customer base but this would be bad news for East Anglia and potentially disastrous for the Medway. Figures were presented to show what proportion of running costs is currently raised by registration fees for each of the three areas. Shortfalls in East Anglia and particularly the Medway were proportionately considerable. IWA is aware that EA may seek to impose registration costs of 8 and 10% over each of the next three years. EA waterway under threat elches Dam Lock on the Forty Foot Level on the Middle Level is notorious for being the smallest lock on the system (47ft) and is connected to the system’s leakiest cut . The lock has been closed by stealth by the EA for several years by a ‘temporary’ coffer dam, ostensibly to prevent water seepage, but in fact severing passage, of which there is a statutory right enshrined in law. Unfortunately, EA deny they have a statutory responsibility to fix the lock, and even if they did it is too costly for the limited use in the current circumstances regarding funding. The issue might eventually be sorted by the provision of the final stage of the proposed Fenlands Link, should this ever reach fruition. But in the meantime an important principle is at stake:


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what to do about a navigation authority not acting to carry out its legal responsibilities. It is a matter that is currently taxing IWA’s Peterborough Branch and IWA’s campaigns team. IWA has taken preliminary legal soundings and received an answer citing the option to pursue a court case incurring a possible legal bill of over £100,000. IWA national chairman Clive Henderson and navigation chairman Paul Roper are to meet representatives from the Peterborough Branch to consider possible campaign options. In addition to legal action, an alternative course may be to investigate acquiring a temporary lease for the waterway and use volunteers to restore the waterway, possibly with a larger lock, as IWA historically undertook for the Stratford Canal.

Day’s Lock on the River Thames.

Thames winter lock closures he EA has announced its programme of lock maintenance on the Thames for the winter 2011-12. Nine locks are earmarked for closure that will affect navigation. Three will stop the navigation before Christmas - Shifford, Days, and Marlow - while three more will close for varying periods in the New Year, these being St John’s, Iffley and Sunbury. Three further locks will be stopped from 1st November through to beyond the New Year - Hambleden, Chertsey and Benson. Hambleden will reopen by 12th January; however, Chertsey and Benson will remain closed for the whole winter, from 1st November through to 16th March 2012. Full details can be downloaded from www.visitthames.


Crayfish licence charges opposed lans for licence fees of up to £50 a year for crayfish extraction have been criticised by members of the River Thames Society. The Environment Agency is said to be making the licence chargeable, on the grounds that many people are fishing for crayfish commercially. However, members of the Upper Thames Branch of the society have protested, saying that most crayfish now caught are an invasive species. They feel that making the charge would discourage local river residents from removing or reporting the crayfish when they discover them.


BELOW: Osney Dry Dock in Oxford.

Dry Dock at Osney goes public he Environment Agency is looking for an outside contractor to operate the dry dock at its Osney depot in Oxford as a private going concern, to make it available for boaters to carry out repairs and servicing. The Osney dry dock was built in 1967 by the EA’s predecessor, the Thames Conservancy, exclusively to service its dedicated fleet of tugs and barges. In recent years the agency’s need for the dock has dwindled and it wants to ensure the facility is made better use of. Jed Ramsay, Waterways Team Leader at the EA’s Wallingford office, says the Osney dry dock is suitable for use by a huge variety of boats, and believes it is one of the most luxurious and wellequipped on the waterways. Interested parties can contact Jed Ramsay on 07766 776080 or by e-mail


Great Ouse Hydroelectric Plan Approved for Bedford controversial hydro project has been given approval despite several objections, including one from the Environment Agency. At a cost of more than half a million pounds, the ancient Greek-inspired scheme at the Boat Slide Weir on the River Great Ouse in Bedford will take 16 years for the council to reclaim the sum in saved electricity. Around 19 letters of objection were received by the council about matters including potential noise nuisance and detrimental impact on trees in the vicinity.


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waterways MIKE HADDON


Chesterfield Progress

Stroud Brewery Bridge on the Thames & Severn Canal.


he isolated western section of the Chesterfield Canal saw a modest eastward extension in August, when the removal of an intermediate bund at Staveley extended the navigation some 200 metres closer to the Town Basin complex, currently under construction on the far side of Hall Lane. Our photo (above, taken in late August and looking north-east from Mill Green Bridge, shows the new stretch of navigable waterway, which commences forward from the end of the bushes lining the right hand bank. Meanwhile, the Chesterfield Canal Trust finally acquired an official home on 13th August when its new Hollingwood Hub HQ was officially declared open, commencing a two-day festival attended by some 2,000 local residents (below). The new HQ on Works Road, Chesterfield, includes the formerly derelict Hollingwood Lock House. It will be a focal point for the local community and features a large meeting hall for the use of residents.




he channel of the Thames & Severn Canal through Stroud town centre is in water again – for the first time in many decades. The new Stroud Brewery Bridge, which carries the A446 over the canal in the town centre, is virtually complete and in July the feeder pipe which carried Slad Brook through the construction works was removed, allowing water to fill the channel. This is the first section of the Thames & Severn Canal to be restored to navigable status. Whilst it will be some time before boats are able to pass through, it overcomes one of the key barriers to full restoration to Brinscombe Port, the eventual goal of the six-mile restoration project.

Monty marina setback


lans to develop a marina on the Montgomery Canal near Oswestry received a setback when developers Morris Leisure failed to secure a grant from the newly formed local enterprise partnership. The site at Queens Head had long been identified as a suitable place for a marina and has the support of British Waterways and the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust. It is thought that Morris Leisure will continue to progress the scheme and will seek other possible sources of funding.


Buckingham Arm backing


outh Northants Council has given its backing to plans for the restoration and reopening of the Buckingham Arm of the Grand Union Canal. The move follows similar support pledged by Aylesbury Vale District Council in February. At the meeting of South Northants Council’s policy review and development committee, members gave their backing to the restoration plans and approved a partnership agreement with the Buckingham Canal Society. As part of the partnership, the council will provide the society with equipment and materials and help establish contact with other groups able to advance the restoration project.

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ver some decades Britain’s trade with near-Continental neighbours increased rapidly and the west coast ports were seemingly at a considerable locational disadvantage. After wide consultation with local and regional planning bodies, transport providers, port users, employees and local people, Peel Ports has now outlined its vision for growth. Further consultation on this draft drew to a close early in September. It is estimated that trade will increase by 70 per cent by 2030 and the way that this is to be accommodated is outlined in terms of shore-side strategies, socioeconomic and environmental factors and transport. It is noteworthy that barge and short-sea shipping get special mention and Peel Ports is to be commended on its

proactive approach to barge transport. The Tesco containerised wine operation clearly pointed the way forward. Where ports do not receive direct calls from the larger container ships the coastwise movement of containers offers considerable scope for reducing road hauls. Liverpool’s X-Press link with Southampton is a case in point and in May a Liverpool-Ireland feeder service was initiated. Where suitable seagoing ships are employed there is obviously scope for penetration inland to MSC terminals and also the possibility of barge links. In the summer AB World Foods modified its supply chains to make Liverpool a main port of entry for foodstuffs and raw materials from India and the Far East again with scope for onward movement by barge.



erkhamsted’s Castle Wharf was for over two centuries a concentration of freight handling (coal, chemicals, timber, animal feed) and boat building and repairing activities, and from 1973 to 2002 the Bridgewater Boats narrowboat hire company reflected this heritage. A planning application of 2005 would have completely eliminated any link with this aspect of the town’s past and prompted considerable local opposition spearheaded by the then councillor Lindy Foster Weinreb and reflected in the Save Our Wharf website. After various changes in 2010 a planning application which included a residual boat servicing facility received approval but with a Section 106 condition that water transport should be maximised during construction. And this has happened. Over the summer of 2011 narrowboats provided by the Winkwell Dock company have been very active removing excavated and demolition waste and delivering a range of construction materials. It has been heartening to see a gantry and mobile cranes operating on the wharf and this has certainly attracted the interest of many passers by: a real, live working wharf in the middle of the town. While the boats have not been used for long-distance movements they have provided a valuable service in keeping large numbers of heavy lorries off the roads and in particular off the very narrow residential access road to the site itself. This must be an example which many local authorities could follow with advantage and must be encouraged to do just this.

The increased use of biomass fuels, with Ince and Runcorn mentioned as possible sites, and associated with recycling of wood and other materials could likewise add to direct inward movement by ship or regional movements by barge. We will watch developments with interest.

Unloading aggregates in Mancheter.



t would appear that the Olympic Park Legacy Company in association with BW has been working on a post-games strategic plan for the use of the waterways. There has been mention of a wharf for handling construction materials but it is not clear whether or not this will be a permanent feature and it has to be hoped the longer-term scope for freight movement will not be jettisoned. If it is, the investment in Three Mills Lock will have been such a waste of money. It would be tragic if the legacy were to be seen purely in terms of the Olympic park itself – by their nature waterways are linear corridors of movement and the legacy should be concerned with the whole Lee Navigation. The Freight by Water promotion group, now absorbed into the Freight Transport Association, at an autumn seminar in Scotland on the potential for water freight managed to ignore, it would seem, the Caledonian Canal. If this was so, it was particularly surprising given several initiatives and trials on the canal’s use in recent years and it must be hoped that this does not indicate that inland waterways use is being short changed by FbW in favour of concern for short-sea shipping. The loss of two lives in August incidents on the Thames, one when the tug Chiefton sank and one when a crew member of a Woolwich ferry was involved in an accident, serve as reminders that no transport mode is free of accident and possible injury or death. It is a big advantage of water transport that such accidents seldom occur and only rarely are The Caledonian Canal’s freight potential is in third parties involved. danger of being ignored.

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Do you have a week, fortnight or month to spare? Then why not get fit and take a hike…


f all the ways of exploring the waterway network, walking is the simplest, cheapest and some would say the most rewarding. And it is available to all. A pair of walking boots or a good pair of trainers is all you need. You don’t even require a map – after all you can’t get lost on a towpath, can you? But there’s walking and there’s walking. Increased leisure time and greater levels of fitness, especially among the over 50s, have contributed to the soaring popularity of the long-distance trek. Who doesn’t know someone who has completed or is training for, the Coast to Coast, Pennine Way or Offa’s Dyke Path? The sense of achievement is immeasurable. Waterway enthusiasts are fortunate in that there are numerous long-distance trails alongside Britain’s canals and rivers both navigable and un-navigable. Here, in no particular order, is our top ten.

Thames Path This is probably the best known waterway trail in Britain. In terms of waymarking, quality of surface and accommodation available en route, it is also one of the easiest to complete, given sufficient time of course. You can follow England’s longest river from its source in the Cotswolds almost to the sea. This is a truly unforgettable journey, through peaceful watermeadows in the upper reaches, past famous towns such as Oxford,


Hertford on the Lee Valley Walk.

Henley, Marlow and Windsor, and on through the heart of London to finish at the Thames Barrier in Greenwich. There are numerous distractions along the way – the River & Rowing Museum at Henley, Windsor Castle, Richmond Park, Hampton Court Palace, Kew Gardens etc etc – so the more time you have at your disposal the better. We know of people who have devoted the whole summer to walking ‘The Path’ – it is the experience of a lifetime.

Start: Thames Head, Gloucestershire Finish: Greenwich Distance: 184 miles Duration: 3-4 weeks More information: Thamespath/

Shakespeare’s Avon Way One of England’s newer long distance trails, this path takes you from the source of the Avon in Naseby, Northamptonshire to the river’s confluence with the Severn at Tewkesbury. Fully waymarked, it follows as closely as possible the course of the river using existing public footpaths, bridleways and a handful of minor roads. The highlight of the route is of course Stratford, and few walkers can resist a day or two’s relaxation in the worldfamous town before proceeding downstream.

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On the Trail

Bidford Bridge on the Shakespeare’s Avon Way.

Then there is the navigable section to enjoy and the pleasures of Bidford, Evesham and Pershore, as well as miles of unspoilt countryside, before journey’s end at the lovely old market town of Tewkesbury.

Tottenham Lock lower down the Lee Valley.

Start: Naseby Finish: Tewkesbury Distance: 88 miles Duration: 7-10 days More information:

Lee Valley Walk This route offers a rich variety of scenery, both urban and rural, on its way from the outskirts of Luton, along country and town paths to Hertford, and then southwards along the Lee Navigation into the heart of London’s Docklands. South of Ware the waterway is contained within the Lee Valley Regional Park. There are various attractions within the park, including historic sites, nature reserves, fishing pools and sailing lakes. You pass close to the Olympic White Water Slalom Course at Waltham Cross and the navigation is overlooked by the vast Olympic Park at Bow. Everywhere the towpath is busy with anglers, walkers, cyclists and walkers, emphasising the waterway’s importance to the people of north and east London.

Start: Leagrave, near Luton Finish: East India Dock, London Distance: 50 miles Duration: 5-10 days More information:

Great Glen Way Opened in 2002, this is one of Scotland’s most spectacular long distance paths, on a par with the world-renowned West Highland Way. Starting at the Old Fort in Fort William, the Great Glen Way skirts the shore of Loch Linhe to Corpach, before following the Caledonian Canal, Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness, concluding with another canal section into Inverness. Breath-taking mountain scenery aside, there are numerous highlights along Telford’s magnificent waterway, including the impressive lock flights at Banavie (Neptune’s Staircase) and Fort Augustus. Although the route is not too arduous, there are a number of fairly stiff ascents. Remember too that it sometimes rains in the Highlands and good rainwear is a must!

Start: Fort William Finish: Inverness Distance: 73 miles Duration: 10-14 days More information:

Wey-South Path Starting in the heart of Guildford at Millmead Lock on the River Wey, this splendid little walk offers a wide range of scenery through the Surrey hills and woodlands, before traversing remoter areas of the Weald. It then follows the lush water meadows of the upper Arun before concluding near Amberley on the edge of the South Downs. As well as following the Wey, the path also runs alongside the Wey & Arun Canal, utilising

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Y-SA Shelia Allen at CC-B

On the Trail the towpath wherever possible. Diversions to avoid sections on private land make use of footpaths, bridleways and country lanes. Thanks to the work of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, several sections of the canal have been restored already, adding additional interest to your journey through this lovely corner of south east England. This is the perfect walk for a long weekend.

Start: Guildford Finish: Amberley Distance: 36 miles Duration: 3-5 days More information:

Nene Way The Nene Way is a well signposted trail running from Badby in rural Northamptonshire to Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire, on the tidal section of the river. There being no towpath alongside the river, from time to time the route deviates away from the water. Far from detracting from the route’s appeal, however, this gives extensive views across the valley and allows exploration of a number of pretty villages. There are numerous highlights: the river’s ancient mills, bustling Northampton and Peterborough, and beautiful, historic Fotheringhay with its much photographed riverside church and poignant association with the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. Most people choose to stay a night or two here, but there are fine country inns and hotels to be found all along the river’s course.

Start: Badby, Northants Finish: Sutton Bridge, Lincs Distance: 110 miles Duration: 10-14 days More information: name/n/nene

Wye Valley Walk (Llwybr Dyffryn Gwy) You won’t encounter narrowboats or cruisers on this invigorating walk from the source of the Wye to Chepstow where it joins the mighty Severn (although the river is popular with canoeists throughout its length). But the splendour of the scenery provides more than adequate compensation as the river tumbles its way down from the uplands of mid Wales, running along dramatic limestone gorges and through the gorgeous rolling countryside of Herefordshire – one of England’s least explored but most beautiful counties. On its way it criss-crosses the border between England and Wales and passes through the


Autumn on the Chesterfield Canal.

ABOVE: Stunning scenery on the Wye Valley Walk. RIGHT: Enjoying the Wey-South Path at Loxwood.

welcoming market towns of Rhayader, Builth Wells, Hereford and Monmouth. This is a demanding walk, both in terms of length and gradients, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. You should allow plenty of time for rest and to savour the surroundings – much of the route lies within an Area of Natural Beauty (AONB).

Houghton Mill on the Great Ouse.

Start: Plynlimon, Hafren Forest, Powys Finish: Chepstow Distance: 136 miles Duration: 3 weeks More information:

Cuckoo Way The Cuckoo Way follows the course of the Chesterfield Canal, one of the unsung heroes of the waterway network. Thanks to the sterling work of the Chesterfield Canal Trust and others, including IWA, the canal is being restored section by section so it won’t be too long before it becomes better known to boaters. But you can explore it first on foot! On its way from Chesterfield to the Trent, the path passes through, or close to, Staveley, Worksop and Retford. But it also traverses some surprisingly lovely scenery, especially the wooded sections in the vicinity of Worksop. A series of three and four-rise staircase locks and the ongoing restoration works add additional interest. If you are seeking a relatively easy, long weekend excursion somewhere in the north of England, this could well be the walk for you.

Start: Chesterfield Finish: West Stockwith Lock, junction with the River Trent Distance: 46 miles Duration: 4-5 days More information:

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Y-SA N.C Burton at CC-B

Ouse Valley Walk

The River Severn at Ironbridge.

Although there is no towpath alongside much of the Great Ouse, the Ouse Valley Way is a network of footpaths following the route of the river from source to sea, including the navigable length. The first section of the path was opened in 1990 between Godmanchester and St Ives, with the entire route being formally completed in May 2004. It has been divided into 20 sections of between four and thirteen miles long. This is a fabulously varied route, offering lush watermeadows along the river’s upper reaches, a host of welcoming towns and villages – try Godmanchester, Houghton, St Ives and Ely for a start – and some archetypal Fenland views as you head downstream towards Denver Sluice.

Start: Syresham, Northamptonshire Finish: Kings Lynn Distance: 150 miles Duration: 3 weeks More information:

Severn Way This is the big one. At 210 miles it is one of the longest waymarked trails in Britain, appropriately enough as it closely follows the course of Britain’s longest river. It begins at the river’s source on the wild Plynlimon plateau in mid Wales (close to the source of the Wye, also featured on these pages)

We are keen walkers and have completed a few long distance trails, notably Offa’s Dyke Path and the Pennine Way. As boaters and inland waterway enthusiasts, we decided it was time Ely Cathedral. to combine our two interests and tackle a long distance waterway trail. We chose the Fen Rivers Way, a fairly modest challenge at just 50 miles. Last spring we set off from Cambridge on a fine sunny morning, our plan being to complete the distance in three days – not too demanding we reasoned, given the flat nature of the walk and the good surface of the paths. The River Cam through Cambridge is a delight, being tree-lined and not unlike sections of the Middle Thames. The towpath was busy with fellow walkers, cyclists, joggers and more serious runners. At Bottisham Lock archetypal Fenland scenery asserts itself. It is not to everyone’s taste of course, but we love the wide horizons and fabulous sunsets. As you’re walking on top of the flood banks, the views are unrivalled. At Pope’s Corner we joined the Great Ouse for three miles or so into Ely – our first night’s stop. We had pre-booked a guest house in this lovely little city and were pleased to find that it was situated virtually in the shadow of the magnificent cathedral. Below Ely the Great Ouse is deep, wide and straight all the way to Denver Sluice, where we were able to marvel at this impressive engineering structure which protects a vast swathe of low-lying land from flooding. Close by is a good pub, the Jermyn Arms, and Denver Windmill, which dates back to the 19th century and has been fully restored. It was then but a short hop into Downham Market where we spent our second night. Tidal below Denver, the river runs parallel to the Relief Channel into Kings Lynn, a characterful port with a long history. Here the Fens River Way comes to an end – and there are numerous good pubs and restaurants in which to celebrate completion of the walk. It had been a great experience and we would wholeheartedly recommend it to others – although perhaps an extra day would have allowed us more time to explore the sights and attractions along the way. As for us, we’re already planning our next waterway walk… Patrick and Lauren Jacobs

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WINTER WALKING WITH IWA Ely’s lovely waterfront.

before making its way through Welshpool, Shrewsbury and Ironbridge. The river is navigable downstream from Stourport, with boat traffic and impressively large locks enhancing the interest for ramblers. The path continues through Upton-onSevern, Worcester, Gloucester and Slimbridge, the latter well-known for its wildfowl and wetlands reserve. Although the official end of the Severn Way is at Severn Beach, close to the M4, you can continue along the Bristol Link and then by way of the River Avon Trail into central Bristol. That’s another 15 miles, but who’s counting at this point! Weather conditions can sometimes be hostile on the Welsh section of the walk and good equipment and plentiful stamina are required to complete the longest riverside walk in the country.

Start: Plynlimon, Hafren Forest, Powys Finish: Severn Beach Distance: 210 miles Duration: 3 weeks More information: name/s/severn

Best of the Rest The above information merely scratches the surface of the long-distance waterway walks available. In the south you could also try the Basingstoke Canal Walk (33 miles), the Kennet & Avon Walk (84 miles), the Royal Military Canal Path (27 miles) or the Sussex Ouse Valley Way (42 miles). Northern options include the Cheshire Ring Canal Walk (98 miles), Derby Canal Ring (28 miles) or the Salt & Sails Trail (20 miles) which follows the River Weaver – ideal for the weekend! The Grand Union Canal Walk is an epic option at 145 miles, whilst the Oxford Canal Walk is a slightly gentler option at 83 miles. If you’re in the south west there’s the River Parrett Trail (50 miles), whilst the Newry Canal Way (20 miles) hits the spot for keen waterway ramblers in Northern Ireland. For even more suggestions visit the IWA website: walking/walking.


The Inland Waterways Association has been organising, at branch level, canal and riverside walks for over 50 years. Both members and non-members are welcome and this is a great way to get out and about by the water, and make new friends at the same time. Published below is a list of waterway walks this winter, organised by IWA branches and canal societies up and down the network. Details provided include waterway, start time and contact information. NOVEMBER 6th Regent’s Canal Paddington Basin, Little Venice, Paddington Arm. Meet at Edgware Road station (circle line) at 2.30pm. £8 (IWA/London Walks, 020 8969 9941, NOVEMBER 18TH Grand Union Canal Hatton ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Meet at 10am at Hatton bottom lock car park. (IWA Warwickshire, 01926 422764) NOVEMBER 20TH Regent’s Canal Little Venice to Camden. Meet at Warwick Avenue station at 2.30pm. £8 (IWA/London Walks, 020 8969 9941, NOVEMBER 24TH Bridgewater Canal Meet at the Parr Arms, Church Lane, Grappenhall for a 10.15am start. Bridgewater Canal, Trans Pennine Way, Latchford Locks on the Manchester Ship Canal then returning to the Bridgewater. 4 miles. (IWA Chester & District, 01928 788673, chesteranddistrict@ NOVEMBER 26TH Chesterfield Canal A walk around Renishaw with Ruth and Mark Tiddy. 10am start. (Inland Waterway Protection Society, 0161 427 7402, NOVEMBER 27TH Oxford Canal Meet at 10.45am at Hawkesbury Junction. (Old Union Canal Society, 01536 760165) DECEMBER 4TH Regent’s Canal King’s Cross to Camden. Meet at King’s Cross station taxi rank at 2.30pm. £8 (IWA/London Walks, 020 8969 9941, DECEMBER 18TH Regent’s Canal Little Venice to Camden. Meet at Warwick Avenue station at 2.30pm. £8 (IWA/London Walks, 020 8969 9941, DECEMBER 27TH Regent’s Canal Paddington Basin, Little Venice, Paddington

Arm. Meet at Edgware Road station (circle line) at 11am. £8 (IWA/London Walks, 020 8969 9941, JANUARY 1ST 2012 Coventry Canal Walk around Hawkesbury Junction. Meet at 10.30am by The Greyhound. (IWA Warwickshire, 01926 422764) JANUARY 1ST Regent’s Canal Little Venice to Camden. Meet at Warwick Avenue station at 2.30pm. £8 (IWA/London Walks, 020 8969 9941, JANUARY 15TH Regent’s Canal King’s Cross to Camden. Meet at King’s Cross station taxi rank at 2.30pm. £8 (IWA/London Walks, 020 8969 9941, JANUARY 26TH Weaver Navigation Meet at Wharton Park Hotel, Weaver Valley Road, Winsford for a 10.15am start. 4 miles. (IWA Chester & District, 01928 788673, JANUARY 29TH Regent’s Canal Mile End to Limehouse. Meet at Mile End station at 2.30pm. £8 (IWA/London Walks, 020 8969 9941, FEBRUARY 5TH Oxford Canal Walk around Boddington Reservoir. Meet at 10.30am in the reservoir car park. (IWA Warwickshire, 01926 422764) FEBRUARY 5TH Lea Navigation Bow Back Rivers and 2012 Games London. Meet at Bromley-by-Bow station at 2.30pm. £8 (IWA/London Walks, 020 8969 9941, FEBRUARY 19TH Regent’s Canal Paddington Basin, Little Venice, Paddington Arm. Meet at Edgware Road station (circle line) at 2.30pm. £8 (IWA/London Walks, 020 8969 9941,

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THE NEXT GENERATION In the first of a regular new series, we look at attempts to attract young people to the world of the waterways

NEET Group work on the waterways


new project for the Waterways Action Squad, the youth engagement programme from British Waterways and The Waterways Trust, is working with NEET (Not in Education Employment or Training) young people in Cheshire. This new project will see a group of five young people who are currently unemployed undertaking 24 hours of voluntary work and learning per week for 24 weeks. Prior to the start of the project, Gillian Bolt, IWA’s Youth Development Co-ordinator and Alan Platt, North West Region Chairman, met the Waterways Action Squad team to discuss potential projects, and the ongoing work at Taylor’s Boat Yard in Chester was highlighted. The new tenants Yvette and Dave Askey, who moved into the yard in January, have made a fine start on restoration work (see Summer 2011 Waterways) but it was felt that they could do with some help. The 24/twenty-four group has been instrumental in clearing the area alongside the dry dock, uncovering a historic track and weeding the area around the workshops. The group has also undertaken lock painting, all of which has been a boost to the Askey’s efforts to tidy the whole area and make it fit for work.

Receiving a donation to WOW funds from the Boaters Christian Fellowship.

Painting the lock-gates at Chester. Since then the team has also carried out work at the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port, been on a boating day out and had an angling taster session to teach them more about using the waterways for leisure. Recently the group encountered Geoff Taylor, a relative of the Taylor family, and a key member of the Chester Canal Heritage Trust, who was delighted with the work the group is undertaking and impressed that young people are engaging with the waterways. NEET candidates are an extremely difficult group to motivate, often suffering from low self esteem and a lack of social and work skills. Projects such as these can make a real difference to the way they relate to people and give them more of a focus within the community, leading to far more positive attitudes towards work and their own future. If any IWA branch has projects in their area which could benefit from the 24/twenty four Project teams please let us know and we will try to put you in touch with the local co-ordinators. E-mail: gillian.bolt@ A NEET volunteer at work at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port.


Good year for WOW


011 has seen more children learning about the waterways through WOW than ever before. Events were run by IWA volunteers at Norbury, Northampton, Neath, Etruria, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Burton-on-Trent. We also had the Boaters Christian Fellowship using WOW as part of their 2011 Mission on the Erewash Canal, resulting in a very kind donation to WOW funds. Materials were sent out to the Coombeswood Canal Trust, the Thames & Medway Canal Association and – a real first – the Newry Branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland to support their Family Fun Day on the Newry Canal. This canal is currently dewatered, but has a very high footfall by walkers, cyclists, families and nature lovers. The Newry Branch of the IWAI is keen to build on that local support so that boats can return to the canal in future. Another interesting use of the WOW activity sheets was by IWA Warwickshire Branch. A boat has been placed in Bancroft Basin, in Stratford, to act as an information centre and the Branch have placed IWA information in there as well as WOW activity sheets for children. It is hoped that this will encourage families to pick up the packs and take them home. The new WOW booklet has now been produced and includes an ‘I Spy’ page on wildlife, a dot-to-dot activity page and then opens out into a wildlife poster which can be displayed on a wall. UK Boat Hire, who are great supporters of IWA, are placing these booklets aboard their hire boats when families are using them. The leaflets have also been sent to Water Farm Boat Hire on

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The Next Generation

the Lancaster Canal who operate a day boat, whilst Alison Smedley, Secretary of IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch, is also now operating a day boat on the Caldon Canal and is trialling the booklets with her customers. There has been greater demand this year for mini WOW kits and to facilitate this, more signage has been ordered and will be ready for next year’s events. We already have bookings for the kits in 2012 – so if you would like to use one at your event, please let me know as soon as possible by emailing Lots of enthusiasm at the WOW stand at the Burton National.

BW WOW News 200 years of the Brecon & Abergavenny

Pupils then took part in water safety activities through the use of the WOW ‘Stay SAFE near Water’ resource material.

The WOW team are now recruiting volunteers to help set up education projects during 2012 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Brecon & Abergavenny Canal. Projects including guided walks, boat trips and hands-on workshops are being planned at various locations along the canal, including Goytre Wharf, near Abergavenny, and Brecon. WOW volunteers are needed to assist with school visits to the canal and running sessions in schools. Elaine Stanley, British Waterways education volunteer coordinator is organising these so for full details contact her on 07733 124565, e-mail Elaine.stanley@

Naming the Torksey Castle.

Cubs and brownies learn about waterways It’s not just schools where WOW volunteers are getting involved. Many of our activities and resources can also help cub scouts and brownies to gain their achievement badges. Janice Barnett and Alex Sharp have been leading uniformed group visits at Hatton Locks and in Birmingham, using the WOW resources.

Workboat named at Torksey

Canal Art on the Underground


entral Line passengers on the London Underground have been enjoying a series of artworks created by young members of the Laburnum Boat Club in Hackney. The drawings recount the story of a journey, part imaginary, part real, leading from the tube to the Regent’s Canal. To gain inspiration, the youngsters took a boat trip along the canal, passing through Islington Tunnel. The theme of the artworks is ‘A Lock is a Gate’ – which has both a philosophical and practical meaning: a canal lock is a water gate that requires special knowledge to operate. Once opened, it allows boats to pass between different water levels. In the same way, obstacles in life that might at first seem impassable can be overcome.

Children from Marton Primary School recently took part in an activity to name a new British Waterways workboat, which is now working on the Fossdyke Canal. The project began with a classroom visit, learning how canals were built, why they were built and what cargoes were transported in their local area. The children then took part in an activity to name the new workboat. Many names were put forward with the final chosen one being Torksey Castle. The class subsequently joined BW staff at Torksey Lock to stick the name plaque onto the boat and watch it go through the lock.

Foxton volunteers go to school Stockingford Junior School in Leicestershire has benefited from the new Foxton Locks education volunteers. They took part in a new ‘All About Canals’ presentation, led by David Payne, a WOW volunteer. David and four other Foxton based volunteers spent three days with the school, teaching six classes about the local waterways. As a result of this, the school are also booking a volunteer-led waterways visit later in the term.

Cub scouts and brownies at Hatton Locks.

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SAVING BRISTOL HARBOUR Earlier this year I happened by chance to be staying in Bristol on the same weekend as the Bristol Harbour Festival and what a popular event that was. Thousands swarmed along the quays beside the Floating Harbour and there was an almost Mediterranean atmosphere of festivity about the whole waterside area of the city. I thought though that I remembered an earlier proposal by Bristol City Council to fill in the entire floating harbour and build roads, flats and shops on it, and sure enough, soon after my return home I received a letter from one of our West Country stalwarts enclosing cuttings that confirmed this. It was in fact the Festival’s fortieth anniversary and the (Bristol) Evening Post published a special supplement with the banner headline on its front page “Keeping harbour alive”. In 1969 the account began, the Floating Harbour was about to disappear “Apart from the Bristol channel dredgers coming in

to dump their loads at the sand wharves [an operation that has now been stopped by the local nimbys] there was very little commercial traffic left and the place looked, and felt, very run down”. Just like Central Birmingham, Salford Quays, Limehouse and Paddington Basin in fact. SS Great Britain was still rotting away in the Falkland Islands and there were even plans to fill in the Feeder Canal “which would have stopped vessels navigating upstream towards Bath” (and of course the Kennet & Avon Canal). Battle commenced with a public meeting in December 1969 but the Council went ahead with promoting a Parliamentary Bill that would have withdrawn the right of navigation through the Floating Harbour. This was opposed by, among other organisations, IWA’s South Western Branch. “The IWA (SW) was lucky to have as its chairman a local man, Fred Blampied, who in 1970, galvanised his members into action.

Fred…suggested that a ‘rally of boats’- a mini maritime festival – be held to demonstrate the Floating Harbour’s leisure and amenity potential.” The rest, as the cliché goes, is history. I am happy to say that Fred is still with us and that it was indeed he who supplied the cuttings. These included considerable coverage in the Western Daily Press and the Bristol Evening Post which last had a picture of Fred

about to be taken aboard one of the regular water buses that now ply throughout the Harbour. But just think. If the Harbour had not been saved, what would have happened to SS Great Britain? We would probably never had the chance to see this wonderful relic of world maritime history and she would have been left to rot in the Falklands. And Bristol would not have a superb annual event.

One of the popular trip boats operating in Bristol Harbour.

SOLVING THE HOUSING CRISIS? This summer, during what many are pleased to call “the silly season” for the media, a political story suddenly broke. Among the many journals airing the matter was The Daily Telegraph. “Minister floats boat plan to ease home crisis” said the headline in late August. Out of the blue came a statement from a little-known Government Minister called Grant Shapps with a hint that local authorities might wish to drink from the poisoned chalice of residential moorings. The Minister, according to the paper, said that “boats with residential moorings could be used to allow people to live in areas of the country where they could not afford to do so otherwise”. He then went on to give us some statistics, some of which look suspiciously like British Waterways’ ones, though they could I suppose also have come from IWA. “Around 15,000 people live on Britain’s waterways and many more ‘would like to do so’, the minister said. Half the population lives within five miles of one of Britain’s waterways”. New moorings, said Mr Shapps, “could be eligible for the Government’s New Homes Bonus, meaning that councils could receive funds to invest in waterside areas”. Later on he was quoted as saying that “the Government’s localism agenda could be an opportunity for houseboats to be given ‘a new lease of life’”. I couldn’t possibly comment, not wishing to


stir up a hornets’ nest of irate live-aboard boaters and possibly causing mass-resignations of IWA members who either approve or disapprove of such a policy, but a recent issue of Private Eye entered the fray, raising a number of awkward points concerning residential craft and other matters. The article in question began with the following statement: “Recreation, education and canal restoration are all worthy responsibilities for the new waterways charity due to take over from…BW next year, but the proposed charitable purposes make no mention of housing – even though thousands of people live aboard boats along the nation’s canals. The article then went on to comment upon the recent case at Bristol County Court which ruled that a boater who moved his boat a short distance “up and down the Kennet and Avon Canal” was not a ‘bona fide’ navigator of the canals. The article finally commented, quite justly, “that a County Court judgement cannot set a precedent.” There also used to be a rule of thumb expressed by some lawyers that “hard cases make bad law” and the article went on to describe allegations of “sick pensioners” being forced to move boats in “freezing weather”. These allegations, for what they are worth, were made by an organisation calling itself the National Bargee Travellers Association.

| IWA waterways - Winter 2011

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Cuttings Please Send all your waterway cuttings to David Blagrove at IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA

PERILS OF THE THAMES I mentioned in the last issue an article on water supply by Boris Johnson. During September Boris continued his watery theme with a centre-page article in The Daily Telegraph on the subject of pollution of the Thames. He appears to have been inspired by the recent example of the comedian David Walliams’s swim from Lechlade to London, during which the poor chap appears to have picked up some sort of bug. I quote at length, because there are some worrying points made in the London Mayor’s article. Wrote Boris “He (Walliams) has only one thing to fear, as he porpoises along. There is one risk more dangerous than the cold, or the currents, or the rats or the pike or the snagging of underwater weeds or the churn of outboard motors or even the siren call of foxy Henley ladies as they lean from their launches in leopardskin bikinis and invite him inside for a warming cup of tea. The thing he had to worry about is rain. “Yes rain is the danger, even for a man in a wetsuit and immersed in the Thames. Because as soon as it rains more than 2mm, the sewers of London are no longer able to cope with their burden and wooosh – the Bazalgette interceptors are discharged into the Thames with consequences that simply cannot be overlooked. It is not just that poor David Walliams will be at yet graver risk of an upset stomach, or that the rowers of Putney start to find the water full of unmentionable items. Nor is it just the massacre of fish and other aquatic life forms. We are facing the long-term deterioration in Thames water quality, and unless we act now I am afraid no-one in their right mind will be swimming in this river in 10 years time – certainly not beyond Teddington.” For the rest of the article Boris argues the case for a super sewer some 75 metres below river level which will prevent further pollution at times of heavy rainfall.


Mazy backwaters and horse-drawn boats I must mention a full-page article in The Daily Mail recently extolling the delights of “a slow, steady float along Britain’s historic canals” but, sadly, entitled “Blissful Barging” (ugh!) Max Davidson, the writer concerned, waxes lyrical on the atmosphere of the Worcester & Birmingham and Stratford Canals and compares the centre of Birmingham with the Upper Stratford: “a mazy backwater meandering through green fields and past the backs of gardens.” And finally, the Yorkshire Post published an atmospheric picture of Sue Day leading the horse Bilbo along the Rochdale Canal near Sowerby Bridge during the recent Rochdale Canal festival. Bilbo is drawing a modern, steel-built boat “designed to be horse-drawn”, and there you have it. Past and present, continuity and change, summed up in one picture of the Rochdale Canal in August 2011.

The state of the Thames in London is in sharp contrast to other streams, including the Thames above Teddington according to the Yorkshire Post. An article in that paper’s Politics and Economy section said that according to an Environment Agency list, the 10 most improved rivers, in other words waterways that have got rid of industrial pollution “to become havens for wildlife, walkers and anglers once again” (but not boaters I note) are; “the River Wear in County Durham; the Mersey Basin – once declared an affront; the River Wandle in London – once declared a sewer; the Thames; the River Stour in Worcestershire; the River Darent in Kent; the River Dee flowing from Wales through north-west England; the River Nar in Norfolk; the River Taff in South Wales – which once ran black with dust; and the River Stour in Dorset.” Of these of course only the Thames is a major navigation, although the Mersey Basin contains canals that can be affected by riverine pollution and the Stour feeds into the

Severn below Stourport. I also recall a gent who used to regularly turn up at IWA AGMs and try to persuade us to take more interest in the River Wandle (he was a canoeist). The salient point is that these rivers are not alone in being cleaned up and that water quality is better generally in inland waters than it has been for many years. However there is another danger that looms. The Post’s article states that “River habitats have also benefited from reductions in the volume of water taken by water companies, farmers and industry”, yet just as I was about to send this article off for publication, a cutting from Reading Midweek arrived with the disturbing heading: “Kennet River is blacklisted”. A number of environmental and wildlife campaigners have taken issue with the Environment Agency over their rather self-congratulatory attitude. The article in question tells us “The Kennet, a former chalk stream which flows into the Thames in east Reading, is ‘perilously’

The River Kennet at Woolhampton


low this month (September 2011) because of high levels of abstraction – where water is taken from the river – and limited rainfall. This has prompted complaints that not enough is being done to tackle the environmental pressures it faces”. I am sure that members do not need reminding that the section of the Kennet between Reading and Hungerford either forms part of or feeds the Kennet & Avon Canal.

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The Spring 2012 issue of Waterways will be published in February 2012. Editorial closing date is 30th December 2011.

Do you have something to say about IWA or Waterways? It’s your magazine so please write and tell us your views. We will aim to publish responses to letters that ask questions about any aspect of IWA policy or decision-making. Please write to The Editor, Waterways, c/o IWA, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA or e-mail

( Star Letter ( INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION I have read the feature in the last issue of Waterways about attracting the younger generation to the cut. It is something I’ve had an interest in for many years - I used to be ‘Waterways for Youth’ officer at Northampton Branch, back in the early ’90s. A suggestion I made back then which was never taken seriously was that IWA should try to institute a ‘young waterways club’ along the lines of the RSPB’s Young Ornithologists Club. That way, the enthusiasm of kids who take part in what we now call WOW could be retained by their membership of such a club rather than allowed to dissipate at the end of each event. I know it would mean someone having to run it, producing a specific newsletter on a regular basis etc, but I still believe it to be a valid way forward. It would bring more young people into the waterways, and give them an interest which would hopefully go on into their adult lives. Another thing you failed to mention was the influence of children’s literature and entertainment. I remember, as I am sure do many others, the upsurge in ‘canal mania’ among the very young that followed the Rosie and Jim phenomenon a few years ago. That has sadly now vanished, although its mantle is being gradually taken up by the Bert & Betty books and by the Dusty Miller stories.

Geoffrey Lewis, (aka Steve Miles, chair of Friends of Raymond), via e-mail

A WORD OF APPROVAL I liked the slightly amended layout of the Autumn issue of Waterways, with the national chairman’s column in the centre and a welcoming address from the editor on page 1. It’s good to know who is doing the work behind the scenes to produce our magazine for us.

Hannah French, Lyme Regis

THANK YOU MAX! Thank you for publishing the fascinating account by Max Sinclair detailing the early days of the Droitwich Canals restoration project (Autumn Waterways). I enjoyed looking at the nostalgic photos of the working parties toiling away in the1970s. What a debt of gratitude is owed to Max and a host of other enthusiasts for saving – and finally reopening – these beautiful canals. In the same issue you also highlighted the excellent work being done by the Waterway Recovery Group on canals throughout the country. Max is no doubt delighted that his example is being followed by plenty of fellow enthusiasts – it really is time that I signed up for a ‘dirty weekend with WRG’!

Martin Turner,,Stockport More on Diesels I found your article Horsepower to Diesel (Autumn Waterways) most interesting, but can you please answer one question: what is a semi-diesel? I know about petrol and diesel engines, both two stroke and four stroke, also spark plug and injectors. But what is a semi-diesel, also can they be multi-cylinder, or are they always single cylinder?

E. Picketts, Upper Norwood, London The semi-diesel bridged the gap between steam engines which were relatively inefficient and labour-intensive to operate, and true diesel engines which were much more efficient but were also more complex and used high compression ratios and high pressure injectors. Semi-diesels are also known as hot-bulb engines. The fuel is sprayed at low pressure into

an iron box (called a hot bulb) which opens into the combustion chamber. It is heated for ignition by a blow-lamp, usually for between five and ten minutes. After this, it is kept red hot by the heat of combustion. One of the advantages of this sort of engine is that it can use a wide range of fuels including kerosine, crude oil, vegetable oil, creosote and used engine oil. It seems that most, but not all, semi-diesel engines were produced as two-stroke, single cylinder units, possibly because of the difficulty of pre-heating more than one hot bulb with a blowlamp. Ed. IWA ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION RATES

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IWA waterways - Winter 2011 |

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IWA Waterways Magasine, Winter 2011  

Inland Waterways Association Waterways Magasine, Winter 2011

IWA Waterways Magasine, Winter 2011  

Inland Waterways Association Waterways Magasine, Winter 2011