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HEREWARD SPRING 2015 Well Creek in Spring

John Revell The IWA charity registered number 212342 The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association or of the Peterborough Branch. They are, however, published as being of interest to our members and readers


Three Mills LOCK & Mill River Lea



n the last Summer’s edition of Hereward I included an article on the waterways of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and also included photographs of the Three Mills area of the River Lea. On doing some further research I realised I had missed a significant piece of waterway’s infrastructure which was on the upstream side of the mills and includes the recently constructed Three Mills Lock. Three Mills Lock is located in Prescott Channel which as can be seen from the map, bypasses the mill race channel. The construction of the lock is the product of a £22 million project started in March 2007 and completed in 2009. It now allows boats to access the Bow Back rivers and to control the tidal water levels above it. The lock was primarily built to allow construction materials to be brought to the Olympic site by water transport from the River Thames. Also as part of the Olympic Games legacy it was intended to provide a new era for the Bow Back Rivers and tributaries of the River Lea by enticing visitors to a revitalised waterfront as I outlined in my previous article. In practice the use of water transport for construction traffic never fully materialised as delays to the completion of the lock meant that most of the bulk materials transfer had to be carried out by road and there were also concerns that the limited window of suitable tide conditions in the Bow Creek would limit the commercial viability of water transport. As it stands at the moment the lock has seen very little use but the impressive installation stands by the Three Mills site to add further to this interesting site. Construction of a main sewer is at present restricting access to the whole of the site but when this is complete and landscaping finalised it will make an attractive visitor destination. Whether the lock will see use in the future for pleasure traffic is a questionable point as the Bow Creek is a tricky tidal channel and navigation will be restricted to suitable craft and suitably experienced crews. However the upstream water level control it provides will be of benefit to inland craft once the waterways of the Olympic Park are fully opened to boats. Photo Captions:(top) The Three Mills Complex looking upstream with the mill race clearly seen below the building. (centre) The view of the upstream side of the mill buildings looking south towards Bow Creek. (bottom) The Three Mills Lock is a substantial installation. This view is looking north towards the junction of the Prescott Channel with the Three Mills Wall River. Philip Halstead




riting this article and looking out of the window there are still remnants of snow in the fields and with the Well Creek still frozen it is an ideal time for reflection and anticipation. The restoration of Horseways channel and Welches Dam lock is and will continue to be, at least in the foreseeable future, this branch’s main concern. To enable us to reach a broader spectrum of support we have formed a joint enterprise with members of the East Anglia Waterways Association, Great Ouse branch of the IWA, and the Middle Level Watermans club, we meet on a monthly basis and more information is posted on the website . A recent site visit to Horseways proved particularly useful, and we were struck by the fact that information from various previous sources appeared inconsistent with our observations on the day. There have been ongoing communications with the Wendover Arm Trust as there seems to be similarities between our projects. To this end a visit was made in early February to view one of their worksites. We believe that this discussion along with the Welches Dam inspection have confirmed we are moving in the right direction. At the risk of repeating myself, nationally the IWA are listing the navigation structures the EA appear to be failing in maintaining and reported, “The problems are mostly in the EA’s Anglian Region”. A stance this branch has consistently repeated over the years! The Northampton Festival of Water will take place over the August Bank Holiday at Becketts Park, Northampton. Your branch hope to have a stand there, where we will be mounting a display on our project for the restoration of Horseways and Welches Dam Lock. Entry forms are available on the IWA website, the EA are offering two for one licences with each completed application form. CRT will also be offering concessionary licences for boaters attending this event –Cheaper boating? Our AGM will be held on 3rd March. Please come along, as this is your chance to put questions to an EA representative who will be attending the meeting. Your committee would also be pleased to see you and answer and queries you may have relating to branch activities or IWA matters in general.

David Venn WELCOME The Branch has received a welcome influx of new members and we offer a warm welcome to all of the following:Richard Crane & Family of Peterborough Paul James & Jean Mary Badger of Skegness Janice Louise Price & Family of March 2




n 19 January 2015 a team from Project Hereward made an inspection visit to Welches Dam lock. A visual assessment of the condition of the lock and repairs necessary to put it back in full operational order were made and measurements were taken. A report has subsequently been made assessing and detailing the work required. An investigation of means to fill the channel, to allow the floating of a weed-cutting boat were investigated, taking into account the barrier of sheet steel piles erected by EA at the lock top entrance from the Old Bedford River in 2006. This effectively closed the lock to operation and to navigation. Several practical options are available and these are being assessed. It was noted that the sheet steel piles are not in fact holding back the water of the Old Bedford River. This is because they do not extend to the Southern bank of the entrance, but leave a gap of around 1.5 m. The 2m The present neglected state of the head of water is being held entirely by the Welches Dam and Horseways route lock top gates with only a small leakage at the mitre. Measurements of the downstream channel were made, which will be used to assess the amount of sealing membrane required to line the channel. A visit was also made to the Wendover Canal on 7 February 2015 to view the work of the Wendover Arm Trust in reopening this waterway, a 6.5 mile lock-free branch of the Grand Union Canal. Of particular interest is the fact that a two mile stretch suffers from leakage, just as our waterway does, and they are lining it with a Bentomat membrane to provide a seal. Much useful information was obtained from this visit and our thanks go to the Wendover Arm Trust for their help and hospitality. On 10 February discussions took place with the supplier of an alternative sealing membrane, Sahara, with a view to using this material as a possible alternative to Bentomat or to puddled clay. This will assist us in making the best choice of method for sealing the Forty Foot between Welches Dam and Horseway locks. A series of photographs showing the methods being used by the Wendover Arm Trust to seal the leaking sec ons of canal are included inside the back cover of this issue. More details can be found on the Trust’s website: 4


Annual General Meeting of the IWA Peterborough Branch Notice is given that the Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 3rd March 2015 at Peterborough and District Indoor Bowls Centre, Burton Street, Peterborough at 7.30 p.m Agenda 1. Apologies for Absence 2. Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 2014 3. Matters Arising from those Minutes 4. Chairman’s Report 5. Presentation and Adoption of the Branch Accounts for the year to 31/12/14 6. Election of Committee Members (see notes below) Notes: a) There is no longer any limit to the number of members of the committee b) Under the 3-year rule Roger Mungham and Richard Fairman will retire at the forthcoming AGM. Both are eligible for re-election and valid consents to stand for election have been submitted c) It is no longer necessary for those who wish to be elected to the committee to be nominated and seconded but all who wish to stand must agree to do so. Consents from members of the Branch who wish to stand for election at the AGM 2015 must be deposited with the Branch Secretary before the start of the Annual General Meeting. Valid consent forms have been deposited by: Stephen Heywood


CONSENT FORM I agree to stand for election to the Peterborough Branch committee at the 2015 Annual General Meeting. I am a member of Peterborough Branch. (Signed) -------------------------------

Print Name ---------------------------------



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BRANCH NEWS EA Review of the Year at AGM A representative of the EA will be attending our Branch AGM on Tuesday 3rd March to provide us with the usual review of the year’s happenings on the Anglian Waterways. This is usually a very informative presentation and we hope there will be an opportunity afterwards for questions and general discussion. IWA Conference & Workshop in Peterborough An IWA Conference and Workshop is being held at Peterborough Museum on Saturday 28th March to discuss issues surrounding ’energising volunteers’ and recruitment and retention of members. Your Branch committee will be supporting the event and will report any outcomes in a future edition of ‘Hereward’. Further details can be found on the IWA website. Easter Cruise The Branch will again be organising an Easter Cruise. Details of the route are still to be finalised but the cruise will be on local waterways. Boats to assemble on Good Friday with the cruise concluding on Easter Monday. Anyone wishing to join the cruise please contact Roger Mungham or David Venn for details. 9


Email: 11


COMMITTEE MEMBERS CHAIRMAN: David Venn, Bruffs Lodge, High Street, Nordelph, Downham Market PE38 0BL Tel: 01366 324102

SECRETARY: Roger Green, 70 Windmill Close, Ellington, Huntingdon, Cambs PE28 0AJ Tel: 01480 890215 Mobile: 07799 066001 e-mail:

TREASURER: Roger Mungham Boatmans Cottage, Workhouse Lane, Upwell, Wisbech PE14 9ET Tel: 01945 773002 e-mail:

EDITOR: Philip Halstead, 20 Cane Avenue, Peterborough PE2 9QT Tel: 01733 348500 e-mail:

ENTERTAINMENTS OFFICER: Richard Fairman, The Old Railway House, Cowbit, Spalding, Lincs PE12 0XD Tel: 01406 380575 Roger Sexton, 2 Shaw Drive, March, Cambridgeshire PE15 9TB Tel: 01354 652329 Andrew Storrar, 48 Station Road, Morton, Bourne, Lincolnshire PE10 0NN Tel: 01778 570610 e-mail: Stephen Heywood, Whitehouse Farm, Nordelph, Downham Market PE38 0BG Tel: 01366 324470



hese views show volunteers from the Wendover Arm Trust carrying out work to reline the channel on the leaking secon of their canal. As Andrew Storrar describes on page 4 there are dis nct similari es with the problems we have on the Horseways channel and a similar soluon is an op on currently being considered by the Project Hereward team. The method of sealing is to use a ‘Bentomat’ liner onto a cleared and newly profiled bed. The mat is then protected by a layer of spoil with blockwork being laid on the sloping channel walls. A coir role is provided at the top of the slope where an ‘ecological edge’ is required. Photos: David Mercer

Ini al re-profiling of the channel

Restored sec on not fully in water

The sealing materials for the channel invert and profiled sides Work through a bridgehole

Wendover Arm Visit February 2015 Finished sec on rewatered

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Hereward spring 2015  

The magazine of the Peterborough Branch of the Inland Waterways Association

Hereward spring 2015  

The magazine of the Peterborough Branch of the Inland Waterways Association