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Autumn 2019

Autumn 2019

Newsletter of Guildford & Reading, Newsletter of Kent & East Sussex Guildford & Reading & Oxfordshire Branches

Kent & East Sussex and Oxfordshire Branches


Robin Higgs OBE 1931-2019 We are saddened to report the death of Robin Higgs OBE on 20th June at the age of 88. Robin was widely known amongst many waterway restoration groups as the only chairman of Southern Canals Association since its inception in 1975 to date. Robin was chairman of Surrey & Hants (now Basingstoke) Canal Society (1974 to 1991) throughout the years of the restoration of the Basingstoke Canal, and was very much the driving force to make it all happen both behind the scenes and as the Society’s public face. Before this, Robin’s life-long contribution to waterways restoration was stimulated by IWA’s national festival at Woking in 1962 and started in earnest in the early years of Waterway Recovery Group, when Robin acted as WRG’s first plant manager and as WRG founder Graham Palmer’s chauffeur. Graham was legendary for his leadership of waterways restoration in the late 1960s and 1970s and his appearances around the country, but he couldn’t drive – so it was Robin who took him everywhere, and it was no accident that Waterway Recovery Group was launched on Robin’s home patch of the IWA National Festival at Guildford in 1970. Robin became chairman of IWA’s Restoration Committee and an IWA trustee from 1995 to 1999. Robin was equally well-known and feted in heritage railway circles, taking a leading role in The Watercress Line (Hampshire) and the Welsh Highland Railway (North Wales). He was made an OBE in the 2003 Birthday Honours. By trade, Robin owned and ran a family plant nursery business, near Woking, and was President of the Agricultural and Horticultural Society in his home village. His wife, Heather, predeceased him. Neil Edwards IWA Chief Executive

Editorial Our Region Chair, Verna Smith, has asked for you to let her know where you see Himalayan Balsam present. On my family’s recent visit to the Four Counties Ring we saw Himalayan Balsam in several places. Unfortunately, not in our area! This, with Giant Hogweed, is proving very troublesome in some areas and needs all of our efforts to keep it under control. Please let Verna know where it is seen as it will be even worse next year. Going back to the Four Counties Ring, we last travelled that way more than 20 years ago. What a change. Last time we easily managed to take in the whole of the Llangollen Canal as well as the Four Counties. This time we got to Whitchurch before we had to turn around. Why? One of the reasons was that we were in two

3 boats – one for my husband and I and one for the children and grandchildren (good move!). The other was the number of permanent moorings. I know people have to live somewhere and the canals are supposed to be travelled at your leisure but passing so many boats at tick over can be stressful. It was still a very pleasant trip though. Finally, we were boating on The Thames during that very bad week in June and decided to stay in Reading. We were pleasantly surprised to see we could now moor outside Tesco’s without incurring a penalty. Happy Times! Chris Jones – Editor

From the Region Chair The waterways in our region are each unique in their own right but many are affected by the same invasive species. I am asking for help to identify sites where Himalayan Balsam is growing in order to develop a plan for a series of Himalayan Bashes in 2020. Please forward details of location, waterway and branch area to me as and when you see the plants in 2019. Thank you for your help with this and if anyone wants to act as branch or region coordinator, I would be delighted! I would also aim to have a programme for 2020 to clear plastic from our waterways in conjunction with like-minded groups. A series of regional workshops for members about the changes to the website and other issues are being co-ordinated by the staff at Chesham. Please watch your inbox for details. I am very pleased to announce that the 2020 IWA Trailboat Festival has been awarded to the Wey and Arun Canal Trust (WACT). If you would be prepared to help at this event please contact me asap. We need lots of people. The IWA AGM will be held in Stoke-on-Trent on September 28th and all members are welcome to attend. I would also recommend the Restoration Hub’s course on Governance in November at Hatton which will update members on staying on the right side of the law when undertaking work on the waterways. Both events can be booked via the IWA website. Elsewhere you will read about the death of Robin Higgs. I feel lucky to have counted him as a wise mentor in my previous roles with the Basingstoke Canal Society and my present position. Verna Smith Himalayan Balsam Photo Cover Photo: WRG Workers – Wey & Arun Canal

Courtesy: Erica Martin Courtesy: WACT


Index Basingstoke Canal Society Chobham Social Meetings John Pinkerton Focus on Accessible Boating Association Future Events

Page: 6

Page: 8

Guildford & Reading Branch Future Events

Page: 5 Page: 6

Kent & Sussex Branch – IWAKES Past Events Kentish Stour River Medway Thames & Medway Canal Association River Adur Chelmer & Blackwater Future Events

Page: 24

Page: 31

Kennet & Avon Canal Newbury Reading Crofton Beam Engines Future Events

Page: 11

Page: 14

Mikron Theatre Group

Page: 41

Oxfordshire Branch Banbury Canal Partnership

Page: 32 Page: 35

Region Chair Report

Page: 3

River Wey & Godalming Navigations National Trust Puffing A Wey Future Events

Page: 15 Page: 16

Salisbury Group Future Events

Page: 5 Page: 5

Southampton Canal Society Future Events

Page: 18 Page: 19

South London

Page: 40

Towpath Walks

Page: 39

Wey & Arun Canal Trust Future Events

Page: 19 Page: 23

Wilts & Berks Canal Future Events

Page: 37 Page: 39


Salisbury Group Future Events There will be no meeting in September. Thur 17th Oct: London’s Lost Route To the Sea. The aim of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust is to achieve the restoration of the navigable link between the rivers Wey and Arun and so recreate the direct link between London and the South Coast. A speaker from the Trust will inform us about the history, original function and restoration of this navigation. Thur 21st Nov: Exploring the South of France by Boat. Jon Van de Geer takes us on a journey from Séte along the Canal du Rhône á Séte and along the Petit Rhône to Arles on board the hotel boat “Anne-Marie”. He will also take us on an excursion to Carcassonne and a trip along the Canal du Midi. Thur 5th Dec: Waterways quiz organised by Southampton Canal Society at Chilworth village hall. Thur 12th Dec: Christmas Dinner at The Green Dragon Alderbury, 7.00pm Unless otherwise stated, meetings are at The Green Dragon, Old Road, Alderbury, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP5 3AR starting at 7.30pm when visitors will be warmly welcomed. Further information can be obtained from Ron & Myra Glover on 01722 710322 or 07768 622966, email, or Jon Van de Geer on 01722 412841.

Guildford & Reading Branch Branch Chairman Our branch committee is composed of four people, all of whom work very hard to ensure that we fulfil our duties as branch officers, but we are really stretched to do this. In an ideal world we need at least two more people to share the load. For example, I was approached to organise a branch Himalayan Balsam Bash this year but had no idea where it was growing in our patch. So, for 2020 I am asking all branch members to note where this invasive plant is growing so we can plan for a series of events across the branch. I will need some help to co-ordinate this.

6 We also need some volunteers to support the IWA National Trailboat event on the Wey and Arun in 2020. This event often is staged on more northerly waters so it is good to see it coming south. More details to follow in the next edition. The Raft Race on the Basingstoke Canal will take place on September 1st near Galleon Marine at Odiham with food and drink stalls. Last year was an outstanding success with seven rafts competing and no sinkings. If you would like to enter a raft please see the link from the Galleon Marine website. Finally, I hope that you are able to enjoy the waterways this summer from on the water or on the bank. Verna Smith (acting Chair)

Sales & Publicity Stand The Sales Team is looking forward to the Wey River Festival on September 21st. Further details are available elsewhere in Cargoes. We are looking for volunteers to help on the stand even if only for a couple of hours or for setting up and breaking down. If you can help please contact Ben Scott, on 07484 223691, or the Cargoes editor. We will welcome you with open arms! Our email address is The Sales Team

Future Events Sat 21st Sep, from 11am: Wey River Festival, Dapdune Wharf, Guildford

Basingstoke Canal Society Chairman’s Report The increasingly familiar pattern of lock closures during the dry summer months is compelling us to look at ways of supplementing the water supply to the canal. Several options are being considered including back-pumping (particularly at Deepcut where the problem is most acute), the creation of side ponds (again at Deepcut), the sinking of boreholes and the accessing of water supplies from the disused reservoirs on the Army land near Aldershot. All these options will require detailed consideration and will inevitably involve considerable expense. However, without the Dredger Unity brought back into service

7 proper analysis and detailed cost estimates it will not be sensible to seek funding for any of these schemes. We have a very well qualified team (led by John How) examining the pros and cons of each option but, if there are any IWA members with relevant experience, we would welcome them into our team. In June we received the very sad news that Robin Higgs, a former Chairman of the Basingstoke Canal Society and one of our Vice Presidents, has died. It is impossible to over emphasize the enormous contribution that Robin made to securing the future of the canal and in promoting its restoration. Robin campaigned to save the canal during the difficult years in the late 1960s and early 1970s and was instrumental in persuading Surrey and Hampshire County Councils to take over the canal and organize its restoration. Robin had many friends in both the Society and the IWA (he was Restoration Committee chairman at one time) and he will be sorely missed by all of those who knew him. Philip Riley

Woking Wharf opened The Woking Town Wharf on the Basingstoke Canal (right) was officially opened at a short ceremony on Friday 31st May. Those present at the ribbon cutting ceremony aboard the Society’s trip boat Kitty (below) included Councillor Colin Kemp, Councillor Saj Hussain (Deputy Mayor), Mrs Farra Shahi (Deputy Mayoress) and Philip Riley (Chairman of Basingstoke Canal Society), with around 80 members of the Society, the BCA and the general public in attendance. Created in 2018, the Town Wharf project was funded as a joint initiative by Woking Borough Council and Surrey County Council with a contribution from Basingstoke Canal Society. River and Canal Services were the main contractor, who are a local specialist company for Inland Waterways. working with James Taylor of the BCA and engineer Steve Williamson. The new Town Wharf came about as an idea from Woking Borough Council and the Basingstoke Canal Society to attract visiting boaters to stop off in Woking, the idea being to encourage visits to Woking’s many and varied attractions and facilities as part of their longer visit to cruise the Basingstoke Canal. The wharf also creates an attractive area for all to enjoy by the

8 canal side, whether it be a lunchtime spot away from the office or a place to get a few minutes peace and quiet or a start point for a jog along the canal. Woking Wharf Interpretation Board (click on image, then on enlargement, and then on “+� symbol for close-up) It also provides a focal base for the Woking trip boat Kitty and accessible trip boat Maggie G which have provided a new visitor attraction in the centre of Woking enabling all visitors and residents to have an opportunity to explore their local waterway by boat. An interpretation board describing the history of the wharf area, paid for by the Surrey CC Community Fund, was also unveiled at the event (right). It was generally agreed that the occasion provided a significant boost for the canal in Woking. To see newspaper reports, click here and here, and to see Facebook coverage of the event, click here. Many thanks go to Woking BC and Surrey CC for co-funding the wharf construction, to Richard Kelly for organising the ceremony, to the councillors and other guests who took time out to visit, and to Rob Locatelli of RCS for providing the refreshments. Martin Leech

Future Events Sat 1st Sep: Odiham Raft Race: from Colt Hill to Lodge Farm Bridge and back.

Chobham Social Meetings The Chobham Social Meetings take place during the winter season at The Parish Pavilion, Recreation Ground, Station Road, Chobham, Surrey GU24 8AJ, at 8pm on the third Wednesday of the month from October to April. Not only are these meetings an opportunity to meet fellow canal enthusiasts, but also to hear interesting talks on a variety of subjects, which are usually canal related. Non members and friends will be made very welcome.

9 These meetings are free of charge to attend although there is an optional retiring collection. Refreshments will be available at the interval. There is sufficient, and safe, parking alongside the hall. Please come along and support these social evenings as we always like to see new faces. Please email Mark Coxhead for more information, or if you have an idea for interesting future talks. He provides an email reminder service, and sends these out about a week before the meeting. Please email Mark if you would like to be on the list. Wed 16th Oct: Fiona Shipp, Canal Manager: The Basingstoke Canal Manager. Fiona will describe the day to day operations of the Basingstoke Canal Authority and how they work with neighbouring local authorities, volunteers and the Canal Society to manage the Canal. Wed 20th Nov: Rosie Jordan. Surrey Search and Rescue. Surrey Search and Rescue is a professional but unpaid team who are on call to assist Surrey Police 24 hours a day to search for and rescue vulnerable missing persons. They search on land and in or near water, sometimes from their boats and from the air with drones. Wed 18th Dec: Film evening. From the BCS archives. Archive film about one of the last commercial voyages from the Wey Navigation into London’s Royal Docks. The film was made in the 1970’s by Tony Harmsworth but has recently had a commentary added and now presents a vivid picture of life and work on the Wey navigation and the River Thames at this time. Wed 15th Jan: Lester Hillman. When London had an inland Port. The arrival of the completed Regent’s Canal with a huge terminal at City Basin was a game changer for London. Hear about the politics, engineering marvels, commerce and the crime linked to this project. What of the future of the City Basin? Wed 19th Feb: Ms Jo Gosney. 100 years under the flightpath. Jo Gosney’s talk is about Farnborough and the impact of aviation on the people, workplace and economy for over a century. Farnborough is renowned for its International Air Show but its inhabitants know a different history. At the beginning of the 20th century the army moved its Balloon Factory to Government land in South West Farnborough. This marked the beginning of an era of experimental flying and research that took Britain to the forefront of aviation development. With the evolution of flight the town expanded and developed rapidly. This talk charts that progression with photographs of various aspects of daily life in the shadow of the airfield. Wed 18th Mar: Alan Norris: Woking’s Railway. Alan describes the coming of the railway to Woking in the 1830’s and how the London Necropolis Company’s cemetery at Brookwood affected the town’s development. The talk will also include the Brookwood Cemetery railway and the Bisley Tramway. Wed 15th Apr: Tim Knox: The Electric Boat Association. Tim is a committee member of the Electric Boat Association and owner of Mothership Marine. He will tell us about the association, the advantages of electric propulsion for canal boats and the current state of electric boat technology.


Trips aboard the John Pinkerton II Public Trips in Hampshire aboard the John Pinkerton II restarted at Easter 2019, see: Theme Cruises - The following Theme Cruises will take place during 2019. These were very popular last season, so please book early. Some new cruises have been introduced this year for the first time, as indicated. All trips depart from Colt Hill, Odiham and are of 3½ hours duration, unless stated otherwise. Fri 6th Sep 7.00pm: Sea Shanties & Ale Cruise with Haslefolk Sea Shanty Crew Tickets: Adults £25, including fish & chip supper. Wed 11th Sep 3.00pm: Cream Tea Cruise with piano accompaniment. An approx 2½ hour trip. Tickets: Adults £18. PLEASE NOTE: Trip durations may be longer than stated when the Canal water level is low, for example after periods of little rain.

Bookings and Enquiries These public and theme trips are popular, and to avoid disappointment, we suggest you make an advanced booking using our secure on-line booking system. We are limited to 50 passengers for each trip (except where a lower limit is stated), so cannot guarantee to have space at the last moment. For more information, or to make a booking for any of our trips, contact the Booking Team, on 01256 765889 (10am – 8pm), or via email at Trips from Woking aboard the Society’s trip boat Kitty restarted on the 6th April 2019 for a cruise in the beautiful surroundings of the Basingstoke Canal. Enjoy a cruise past Horsell Common, a short distance from the setting for HG Wells’ “War of the Worlds”, and see the town from a completely different, and peaceful, perspective. We run Public Trips on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays at various times throughout the summer, each trip lasting approximately 1¼ hours if no stops are made. For details of the trip schedule, You can book as individuals or family groups on public trips, up to a maximum of 12 people, and you will be sharing the boat with others. Trips from Mytchett aboard Rosebud the 12-seater trip boat, started the season on the 30th March. Tea, coffee and soft drinks are available. Trips are usually 90 min. More information on Rosebud is available from the Canal Centre on 01252 370073 or Private charters are also available


Focus on Accessible Boating Association The Accessible Boating Association, (Accessible Boating or ABA), is a registered charity initiated in 1985 by Mildred Stocks, then Chairman of Hart District Council, who wanted to enable people who couldn’t use existing canal boats to enjoy cruises on the Basingstoke Canal. Madam Butterfly is a comfortable 7-berth cruising boat, equipped with wheelchair lifts, fore and aft, and a hospital bed, ideal for families or groups with little or no experience of canal boating Dawn is a 12-person day boat with a wheelchair lift, toilet and a gas hob and is available for trips manned by ABA volunteers or self-drive hire. Dawn is used for scheduled trips and for publicity and fundraising activities such as Father Christmas trips and running trips from Old Thatch when open for the National Gardens Scheme. Both boats are based in Odiham at Galleon Marine’s boatyard with trips operating from Colt Hill Wharf from April to October. Over the winter months maintenance of both boats is undertaken by volunteers calling on professional help when necessary. For more details see the website New volunteers are always welcome; speak to one of our volunteers or contact our Chairman, John Ranson at

Kennet & Avon Canal News Newbury Branch The summer season is well underway for MV Jubilee and our regular public trips are proving to be as popular as ever. We have been especially pleased to welcome several local schools on board and this has allowed the children to have a taste of life afloat and see our beautiful waterway from a different viewpoint. Our Thursday afternoon trips have been especially popular and during August we increased the number to two, at 12 noon as well as 2.30pm. In August, MV Jubilee turned into a Pirate ship for swashbuckling trips on Tuesday afternoons. See our website for details of all our standard public trips and summer Pirate specials. MV Jubilee had a record-breaking visit down to the Water Fest at Reading in June where she carried over 300 passengers, more than ever before. This popular event is one of the highlights for the crew who get a chance to work on a different part of the canal, including during the transit to and from Reading.

12 MV Jubilee is also available for charter. Perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, reunions and club outings. The boat comes complete with a fully trained crew. Trip times typically are from around 90 mins to around 4 hours. The boat is ideal for up to 25 passengers. For more information check our website, or call our Devizes office on 01380 721279 (Monday to Friday during office hours), or e mail .

Sarah Foley

Reading Branch We have had changes to the Reading Branch in the last few months. David Copley the chairman for the past ten years stepped down at our AGM and I have the huge task of following in his footsteps. I would personally like to thank Dave for the time and sterling effort he has put in on behalf of the branch. Dave was one of the team of enthusiasts who got their hands dirty digging and clearing the near derelict canal bringing it back into use some 30 years ago. Thanks also from me, for steering me, introducing me and guiding me into the KACT organisation. Luckily for the trust and myself Dave is still on the trust council and has agreed to stand in as the branch Vice Chair. Recent branch activity has included a visit from the Canal Laureate Nancy Campbell with a poetry workshop, and more recently we had a joint meeting with the IWA G&R Branch. Roger Cansdale spoke on the history of the Basingstoke Canal, the current activity and plans, and the vision some have, of opening a link between the Basingstoke Canal and the K&A using the Loddon river and Foudry Brook. A dream maybe but we all need these sort of aspirations. Graham Puddephatt Trip Boat Matilda. In the 1970’s at the formation of the K&A Canal Trust, a trip boat called Enterprise was used to capture the interest. It demonstrated support generated from the folk enthused by LTC Rolt’s book “Narrowboat” and concern about the threatened abandonment of the Kennet and Avon Canal. The Reading Branch of the KACT is proposing to revive the Reading Boat to provide a short trip through the centre of Reading and the historic Abbey Quarter. Reading Borough Council has designated the Abbey Quarter including the Abbey ruins reopened last year, as their key to the ‘Great West Way’. This is a new 125mile touring route between London and Bristol, based on ancient routes which includes the Kennet and Avon canal and the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust is also a partner. Reading is the eastern entrance point of the Kennet for the Kennet and Avon Canal Navigation. It is the largest town on the K&A, has the largest commercial centre on the canal and has a huge historic legacy. The aim of the trip boat is to

13 support the Trust’s aims to ‘Promote, Enhance, and Improve’ the Kennet and Avon Canal Navigation experience in this case specifically Reading area. Reading branch members suggested 12 names for selection for the planned trip boat in Reading. After several rounds of elimination, the members chose Matilda as the name for the boat at the April meeting. Matilda as daughter of Henry I and mother of Henry II was born locally (Sutton Courtney) and was a large contributor to the set up and stability Reading Abbey. She was known as Empress Matilda (Matilda the Anarchist by some). The boat will be operating in the area of Reading Abbey so Matilda has some meaningful connections and some parallels: ‘Matilda’ the Roald Dahl book and ‘Matilda’ from Robot Wars to generate conversation. Reading Water Fest. this year was the 30th anniversary of the event. We had a good collection of 30 boats, if you include the RNLI fund raising Giant Duck. Pride of place was the converted traditional Narrowboat “Bournemouth” which had previously belonged to Philip Ogden the Honorary chief engineer of the KACT during the years of restoration. The current owners see themselves as caretakers for an important piece of heritage and have collected memorabilia connected to the boat. This year we had a number of artists and crafts folk’s work on display. The K&A stall displayed pictures from photographer and linocut artist Chris Slaney and the famous Maps of the east and west of the K&A by Dru Marland canal artist and boater. Dru has also painted a new route map for the trusts planned Reading trip boat Matilda. We also had the Cheese and Gin boat from “The Grumpy Goat” in the Harris Arcade in Reading, another interesting boat being the star of TV’s George Clarke’s ‘Amazing Spaces’. The Water Fest opened with a boaters evening on the Friday night with music from ‘Dolly and the clothes Pegs’ and culminated with the traditional duck race at the end of the day on Saturday. The top prize this year was donated by ABC Boats at Aldermaston. The lucky winner can explore the K&A for a day on their day boat. The best presented Boat and Crew received a magnum of wine each curtesy of Bel and the Dragon Restaurant.

14 Aldermaston canal building

In agreement with the CRT an extension to the arrangements of the Aldermaston Tea Rooms the K&A Canal Trust has agreed to pay for a substantial refurbishment of the small brick building in front of the tea rooms. This is a building that is believed to be older than the 18th century tea rooms building. Its exact use and purpose are unclear. It could have been used as a toll house, a wash house or even a community bakery. We are at the beginning of this adventure and hope, in restoring the building, we will find out some of its history. We hope to set up the toll/wash house/bakery as an information centre for the K&A helping to make the Tea Rooms as a destination location. The Eastern End K & A Volunteers (an independent Community Waterway Adoption group) is authorised by CRT to carry out maintenance work on certain parts of the K&A. on the 2nd Wednesday and last Saturday of each month. If you would like to join a Working Party, email Mick Savill for dates and details and to check the next one will be taking place. (

Future Events The Reading Branch holds its monthly meetings (no December meeting) at 7.45pm at The Grange Free Church, Circuit Lane, Southcote, Reading RG30 3HD (just off the A4 Bath Road). Tue 17th Sep: “Wildlife of the Kennet Valley” by Adrian Lawson Tue 15th Oct: “Somerset Coal Canal” by Adrian Tottenham Tue 19th Nov: Christmas Party and Speaker. Branch contact is: John Swift who can be reached on 0118 941 5540 or 07533 886 917 and by email: Entry donation, including K&A members, £2.50 (to help with expenses). Further details can be found on the Website at


Crofton Beam Engines Future Events The Engine House, Engineman’s rest Café and gift shop are open until the end of September (except Wednesdays) from 10.30 to 4.30. Admission to the grounds and Engineman’s Rest Café is FREE - except for the Steam Gala at the end of September when there will be a small charge to enter the grounds to see the many outdoor attractions. When the pumps are in steam a charge will be made to view the pumps - Adults: £8.00, Concessions: £7.00, Children under 16 accompanied by paying adult: Free. On non-steaming days, the charges to view the static pumps are Adults: £4.50, Concessions: £4.00, Children under 16 accompanied by paying adult: Free. Sat 28th Sep & Sun 29th Sep: Crofton Steam Gala More information from

River Wey & Godalming Navigations This summer has not been quite as hot as last year (thankfully) and we have experienced some torrential downpours of rain – over 50mm in one day recorded at Walsham. The weather however has generally not hindered our planned work programme other than delayed vegetation cutting due to weir operation commitments and dropped a few large trees expectantly into the waterway. The main item to report in this issue is the successful completion of phase 1 of our dredging programme between Worsfold Gates and Pyrford Lock. Working with our main contractor, Land and Water, this project has gone relatively smoothly and achieved all the objectives we set. This has been a significant and large investment to ensure the waterway remains open and operational. Navigation L&W Dredging licence and mooring fees directly fund and make this vital work possible. The next phases of our planned Channel Dimension Management Programme will take place in the future once further funding has been secured for the works.

16 As mentioned in the last edition our Maintenance Team has been working to improve the towpath between Broadford Bridge and St Catherine’s Railway Bridge. This work has been successfully completed and has made a huge improvement to access along the river in this area. The Team will shortly move upstream to undertake bank and towpath repairs from Unstead Lock to Tilthams Bridge. Our winter work programme is now firing up. Stoppages to replace lock gates and undertake inspections and repairs will take place at Pyrford Lock (replacing upper lock gates) from 18th November to 2nd December 2019 and Newhaw Lock Broadford Towpath (lower gates) from 10th February to 2nd March 2020. The Environment Agency continue with its programme replacing River Wey Improvement Weirs at Newark, Bowers and possibly Broadmead and Millmead this year. The planned fish pass at Millmead has been delayed until next year. The replacement wastewater sluice at Unstead has also been delayed while a new sluice gate is manufactured. Finally, don’t forget the Wey River Festival takes place at Dapdune Wharf on Saturday 21st September. Please remember there will be no on-site parking this year so plan to park locally in one of the nearby public carparks and walk into the wharf. John Gibson, Navigations Manager

Future Events Boat trips from Dapdune Wharf We have three very quiet electric launches, Dapdune Belle, Sir Richard Weston and Seewey. The volunteer skippers have interesting tales to tell - all about the history of the area you will be passing through on your trip. In summer, the damselflies dart in and out of the boat, shining emerald and blue. Most trips head towards Guildford, passing what used to be the manufacturing quarter, with the Electric Theatre - the former electricity works for Guildford until 1927, and the site of Moon's timber yard - now Debenhams. Sometimes our volunteer skippers decide they need a change and head downstream towards Stoke lock, passing lovely bankside vegetation and offering you a completely different view of Guildford. Trips can only be booked at the ticket hut on the day and are not available for advanced booking. When the river is in flood, we're unable to operate the boat. As the boats take a maximum of 12 passengers, on busy days they get booked up very quickly, so there are times when there may only be seats for the last boat left. Sat 21st Sep, from 11am: Wey River Festival, Dapdune Wharf: We welcome boaters and visitors alike to celebrate everything that is great about the river. There will be plenty to do such as willow weaving, children’s crafts, Surrey Wood Turners and many other foodie and activity stands. The illuminated pageant at dusk is the highlight of the day, lighting up the river from the centre of Guildford.


Puffing-A-Wey 2019 On 29th June, the hottest day of the year so far, the National Trust hosted the Puffing-A-Wey event at Dapdune Wharf. Over a dozen members of the Steam Boat Association of Great Britain brought their steam launches to Guildford and visitors were invited to enjoy free trips on the River Wey. Several of the boats were regular attendees including Aurelia, Lady Lady Selsey & Dapdune Belle Heather, electric launch Emerald, Zara Finn and Mark Rudall's boat Mazeppa. I was pleased to see Mark, who gave us a talk at the AGM this year, and was busy with a spanner attending to a detail on his boiler water feed pump. Also attending were Lady Amanda, steel-hulled Surta, Genevre and the small but speedy Gladstone. This year there were several boats which I had not seen on previous years, Anna Jayne, Artemis, Firebird, Lady Selsey, and Gladstone Sunbeam. I am grateful to the owner of Sunbeam for taking us for a trip on the river. Sunbeam is a launch built in the 1890s and beautifully restored with varnished deck planks lined out in black. Sunbeam is coal-fired and has a more modern twin cylinder engine. An added attraction was an exhibition by the Astolat Model Railway Circle in the shade of the Barge Shed. Two track layouts were on show featuring navigable waterways in their scenery. The Priorsfield layout had a boat passing a staircase lock, and I was particularly fascinated by a layout called Ashbury Wharf, which had been constructed in 1968 and was being restored. This had a narrow gauge railway serving the wharves of a large canal basin, where there were 14 ft barges loaded with timber and a steam crane and a steam driven sawmill. The model included a canal tug, a horsedrawn narrowboat and a motor and butty pair. The layout was full of fine Ashbury Wharf detail and, representing a time between the Wars, encapsulated a bygone era in our industrial history. Photos: Matthew Lewis Mike Lewis


Southampton Canal Society April Meeting: Chris Witts and his life on the River Severn It was a pleasure to meet Chris and his wife Susan. Chris always dreamed of being a boatman on the River Severn, watching the oil Barges just fitting into the locks on their way to Worcester, the tugs with large Barge tows full with timber and the small Dutch Coasters. At 15 he went to Gloucester Docks and asked at the office if he could join a ship. Too young, come back when you have finished your studies, he was told. Leaving school at 16 he went to see the John Harker manager at their South West office in Gloucester. After pestering him, he joined John Harker Tanker the Shell Steelmaker the following day at 7.30am as fourth hand. He arrived to find the ship with engine running and ropes singled up with the skipper telling him to move himself (he was a tad late). He stayed on the Shell Steelmaker for 3 weeks which he found hard due to the long hours. At one point during his first 3 weeks he arrived back at the dock to find the ship had already left! His next ship was the Wyesdale H. This ship had a strange crew, always bickering between themselves. His first trip in fog was one to remember, the tanker Wastdale H came out of the fog straight at them and hit them cutting their fender in two. The fourth hand of the Wastdale H shouted at them that that was another job for the morning! He never saw the following day because that night the Wastdale H was in a collision with the Arkendale H and both drifted into the Severn Railway crossing upstream of Sharpness. They demolished two of the supports, caught fire and then blew up! Five crewmen from the two boats lost their lives. Chris was lucky! During Chris’ time on the Severn there were plenty of other craft trading. In April 1961 the Wyesdale H was rebuilt at Gloucester so that she could operate as far as Swansea. She was in the docks for 11 weeks. Chris stayed with that ship for the next couple of years. The runs to Swansea meant long hours, sleeping for 1 hour or up to 4 hours. He stayed on the boats till the end of 1963. Chris then decided to come ashore but he missed the life. 30 year later he found himself working again on the Severn for Allied Mills. Further details can be found on Chris Witts’ website “River Severn Tales”. Alan Rose June Meeting: Gosling’s Gallivants with Paul Gosling Society members and visiting guests welcomed Paul Gosling to the Society’s June Meeting on the 6th June. Paul presented a wide range of subjects from around the UK including cranes, trains, buses and coaches. Locations from Penzance, Falmouth and St Mawes in the south to Fort William and Mallaig on the West Highland line. There were memorable images of a Black Five engine taking on water outside Southampton Station, the Union of South Africa steaming through Millbrook and Princess Elizabeth pulling the Royal Scot train.

19 Water related topics included: Loch Katrine and the trip boat the Sir Walter Scott; Paddle steamer Waverley on an excursion from Dunoon through the delights of Argyll and Loch Long; Deck games at sunset on the SS Shieldhall, cruising on Southampton Water; Portsmouth and the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and Cruise ship, Aida, a regular visitor to Southampton carrying welcome visitors to the City.

Gordon Osborn

Future Events Thur 5th Sep: The subject and speaker of this meeting is yet to be confirmed. Thur 3rd Oct: Our speaker will be David Farthing who is an expert on William Walker: the diver who saved Winchester Cathedral. Thur 7th Nov: We will be welcoming Andy Lester, from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. Meetings, unless specifically stated otherwise, are held at Chilworth Parish Hall, Chilworth Southampton SO16 7JZ. Start 7.45pm, Visitors welcome. For monthly Newsletter visit or ring 02380 675312.

Wey and Arun Canal Trust WACT News Local firm lends a hand in canal restoration A team from pharmaceutical firm Sanofi swapped their desks for a day in the countryside last week to help out the Wey & Arun Canal Trust’s restoration work. Some 38 employees from Sanofi’s Guildford office headed to Southland Lock near Loxwood in West Sussex on June 6 to carry out maintenance jobs as part of the firm’s commitment to volunteering with local charities. It was the second year running the team had visited the canal to lend their support. Team leader Tania Whittern said: “Everyone really enjoyed last year’s event and were keen to return. Volunteering like this is good for team building as

20 we are working with colleagues we may not usually chat with, and it’s so good for our wellbeing to be outside and doing something physical.” Sanofi managing director Hugo Fry added that volunteering was “really important for both engagement with our employees and engagement with the community”. Teams had to do battle with the heavy clay soil to dig out the canal bank in preparation for a new staircase down to the waterway, install a gate with fence posts to the side of the lock, and sand and paint the balance boards, paddle mechanism and handrails of the lock itself. The volunteers also helped clear overgrown areas of the towpath. Despite the hard work in the warm sunshine, the volunteers said the day was worthwhile and how much they appreciated the beauty of the area. Wey & Arun Canal Trust chairman Sally Schupke said the team’s effort was much appreciated and another step towards ensuring the waterway continues to be a valuable amenity for all to enjoy. “Working with local companies allows us to not only show the value of our restoration work to those who use the canal for walking, cycling, boating and more, but what can be done when people come together in a common aim.” Gill Davies Free event to help celebrate Surrey’s heritage The Wey & Arun Canal Trust is taking part in England's biggest heritage festival with a free event on Sunday 15th September. As part of the Heritage Open Days scheme, the Trust is inviting the public to take a trip back in time with a guided walk from the Gunpowder Store at Stonebridge Wharf in Shalford, Surrey, to the former Bramley Wharf. The trust’s historians will explain the role of the Wey & Arun Canal in the risky business of transporting gunpowder by barge and introduce the characters responsible for taking tolls at Bramley Wharf. Walkers will also get a chance to stop off and admire the beauty of Hunt Nature Park via the viewing platform built by the Trust. Other highlights of the 2.5km walk include Tannery Lane Bridge (the only roving bridge built on the canal, enabling a horse pulling a barge to follow the towpath without the need for the towrope to be unhitched), Gosden Aqueduct and Wharf Cottage. To book your place on the walk, which will take about two hours, go to or email . Gill Davis

21 IWA National Trailboat Festival to come to the Wey & Arun The Trust is to host the IWA National Trailboat Festival in 2020. The threeday event will take place at the Summit Level at Alfold/Dunsfold over the Bank holiday weekend of May 23rd -25th. Trailboats from across the UK are expected to attend the festival, which will also be open to the public, with a full programme of entertainment planned for all ages. Boats will launch from the Thriscutt Slipway, which was built by Trust volunteers and opened last year, and get a close-up view of canal restoration. It is hoped the festival will significantly help the Trust’s work in publicising the canal in the Cranleigh/Alfold/Dunsfold area. If you would like to help in organising the event, please email Gill Davies Trust sets up pop-up shop in Godalming The Wey & Arun Canal Trust has opened a pop-up shop in an historic building in Godalming, Surrey. The high street shop, in Crown Court, will be used to showcase the Wey & Arun Canal’s history, publicise the Trust’s restoration plans and boat trips, and allow visitors to buy gifts and memberships during opening hours. The 16th century building had been home to a family-run jewellers since the 1950s and the pop-up shop has been made possible thanks to the generosity of building's owners and Trust members the Donn family. Wey & Arun Canal Trust chairman Sally Schupke said the pop-up shop was an ideal opportunity to increase awareness of the Trust and its work, and let more people know about the valuable amenity on their doorstep. She added: “The restored canal offers so many benefits, from walking to boating to bird-watching, and the opening of the pop-up shop is a fantastic way to make people aware of this and the Trust’s ongoing restoration plans. “We are immensely grateful to owner Chris Donn and his family for giving us this opportunity.” The shop is currently being manned by volunteers from 2pm to 4pm on Wednesdays, but the Trust is on the hunt for more helpers to allow it to open for longer. If you have a few hours to spare, call our northern office on 01483 505566 or email Gill Davies Summer working holidays boost canal restoration Volunteers from across the UK and France spent three weeks in July helping restore the Wey & Arun Canal as part of a Waterway Recovery Group Summer Canal Camp initiative. Some 50 volunteers headed to Birtley, near Bramley in Surrey, to join the Wey & Arun Canal Trust in building a lift bridge, which is needed to bring an abandoned section of canal back to life.

22 The series of three week-long working holidays attracted volunteers of all ages and experiences, from Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award students, to those looking to increase their skills in construction, and returning Canal Camp enthusiasts from restoration groups KESCRG and Newbury Working Party Group. Many of those attending were first time volunteers, keen to give their time to canal restoration, learn new skills and meet new people. Oceane Pottier had not attended a Canal Camp before: “I am studying engineering in France and signed up to the camps to get some more experience in this. I’ve really enjoyed my time here,” she said. For Claire Sawyer it was her 19th camp. The peri-natal mental health nurse said the camps provided the opportunity to meet different people and she had made lots of new friends as a result, as well as gaining new skills. She added: “It’s also great to look back at what you’ve achieved at the end of week.” Software engineer Stephen Davis, who led the third week of the camp, has been attending canal camps for 20 years as part of restoration group KESCRG. “Coming to these camps is so rewarding. With my computer work you don’t see visible results like you do here. I like to be out in the fresh air and get some exercise. We’ve got a great spread of ages and backgrounds here, from chemists, retired lawyers to students.” Over the three week-long camps volunteers started with just a hole in the ground and have created the foundations on which the bridge will stand. To achieve this, they have used over 5 and half tonnes of reinforced steel, 7000 ties and have poured more than 22 cubic metres of concrete. The

23 bridge has been designed by Wey & Arun Canal Trust volunteer Rob Nicholson, who also led the second week of the camp. The Newbury Working Party Group’s Bill Nicholson, who led the first week of the camp, said: “Building a new bridge is a major engineering project, and this would not be possible without the commitment of volunteers willing to give so much time to help plan and build the structure. In just three weeks we turned a hole in the ground into the base structure that will support the lift bridge, it’s fantastic to see such progress in a small amount of time.” Wey & Arun Canal Trust chairman Sally Schupke thanked the volunteers for their hard work and highlighted the difference the camps make to the canal’s restoration progress. “It’s clear the volunteers get so much out of these annual events, and we’re grateful to them for their dedication and commitment to helping us realise our vision of restoring the canal and bringing its benefits to so many people.” If you would like to join the Wey & Arun Canal Trust’s volunteer teams,go to or email Gill Davies For general information on the work of the Trust, please telephone our Northern Office on 01483 505566, or visit

Future Events Wed 4th Sep 2.15pm & 4.30pm Cream Tea Voyage: An opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy a delicious cream tea on electric canal boat, Wiggonholt, whilst watching the beautiful countryside pass by. £14.00. Booking essential. Sun 15th Sep Guided walk from the Gunpowder Store at Stonebridge Wharf in Shalford, Surrey, to the former Bramley Wharf as part of Heritage Open Day Scheme. FREE. Please book Wed 18th Sep 2.15pm & 4.30pm: Cream Tea Voyage. Last opportunity of the season to sit back, relax and enjoy a delicious cream tea on electric canal boat, Wiggonholt. Watch the beautiful countryside pass by. £14.00. Booking essential. Fri 1st Nov 6.30pm: Halloween Quiz & Nibbles: Come along suitably dressed and enjoy a spooky trip on the canal. Mulled wine and nibbles provided whilst passengers pit their wits against a Halloween themed quiz. £40 for a table of four. Further details and booking from the Trust Office on 01403 752403. Northern Office Phone: 01483 505566 (Mondays-Thursdays, 8.30am-12.30pm)


Kent & East Sussex Branch IWAKES Chairman’s Piece In my last column I wrote in detail about the need to set up a partnership involving all relevant parties to progress the restoration of the Thames and Medway Canal. To achieve that we need a willing volunteer to take a lead for TMCA. Unfortunately, nobody has yet come forward. The volunteers who have done so much since 1976 need help and I hope somebody will be able to take this role on. It has now been confirmed that the Environment Agency (EA) will retain control of its navigations including the River Medway. EA are now planning their future strategy including charging plans. Over the last few years the Medway has suffered the highest fee increases of all the EA navigations and unsurprisingly the number of boats on the river has reduced. It is to be hoped that EA finds ways of increasing income that are more imaginative than simply imposing large increases on boaters. IWA both nationally and locally will play our part in helping to shape EA’s future plans. As a branch we were pleased to nominate Tim Loughton MP as IWA’s Parliamentarian of the Year in recognition of his support for the Shoreham Slipway Group. Whilst Tim did not win the award a local press release was issued helping to further the campaign for a slipway. Please contact me at if you would like to help with any of our work.

Len Wright Lawrence Wright (known as Len) was originally of Newport, Monmouthshire. He was married to Joan, with daughters Jacqueline and Amanda and was a Civil Servant. He died suddenly but peacefully, aged 92, on 1st April 2019. Len joined IWA in 1985 and was IWAKES' Secretary between April 1998 and March 2003. He remained a Branch Committee member until he retired in February 2009. We spent many evenings round the table at the bi-monthly meetings at the 'Bull' where he was a stickler to ensure the minutes were precisely correct. Len was also a member of the IWA South East Region Committee. Len organised several, quite large-scale, boat day-trips; hiring commercially and selling tickets to members of both IWAKES and the Civil Servants Pensioner's Association. One such was from Tonbridge Town Lock down the Medway. Unfortunately, the River was at high stream and on reaching Eldridge's (the first lock) the current was found to be so strong that the gates would not open against the high head over the weir, even with all the gate paddles lifted and much force from members of the crew and the passengers. So, we spent two hours moored at Eldridges before returning to Tonbridge! On another trip, from Newenden to Scots Float, the cable connecting the wheel to the rudder parted and the boat was manually steered from deep below the stern, with directions shouted from the bow.


Thames & Medway Canal Association TMCA has taken another step towards being a more obvious presence in the community as we now have premises, having managed to negotiate the management of a portacabin and surrounds for our operations. It is located along Mark Lane adjacent to the Police Training Establishment on land owned by the Sea School charity some of which is currently used as a car park. This is a major step forward as it gives the TMCA and especially Work Party members, a base from which to operate so we can make a cup of coffee, shelter from the rain, welcome visitors, etc. We will have a major job in renovating both the cabin and the surrounding area but hopefully this will not take too long with our group of hardworking volunteers. The photo shows the ‘lawn’ in front! Recently a pathway has been established on the top of the bank along the southern side of the Mark Lane end. This allows us access to a previously unused area. We intend to re-site our boat storage here as it has a gentle slope right alongside the canal which will make launching and retrieving small boats much easier. The current storage area is a patch of grass behind the Sea School which is not ideal as we must tow the boats down a track, cross Mark Lane and tip the craft down a steep bank over a high kerb. There is a lot of work to do before we can use it as it is shoulder high in brambles throughout but, hopefully, we can make it useable by the year end. Another project is to install a new bench along the canal which will give a good view over the marshes to the River Thames. This will be dedicated to Brian Macknish, a past Chairman of the TMCA, as having been a founding member he was for many years an enthusiastic prime mover for the restoration of the canal. Dave Parnell


Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust Whither SORT? SORT is looking for work! Restoration work at Isfield (Sutton Hall) Lock is pretty much complete, at least so far as physical construction goes. There is still some landscaping work to do in the lower cut, but that's pretty much it, although a loyal (small) band are also keeping the environs neat and tidy during regular summer visits. We did start work at Irongate Lock in the meadows at Sheffield Park back in 2012, but a change of management in the National Trust team meant that we were barred from doing any more work there about four years ago. No fault on our part, the new property manager just didn't want an "ugly building site" in the meadows. The Trust are now doing their own minimal conservation work (pictured by Hazel Lintott), but we don't think it will last out the first winter. They seem to be refusing to even talk to us now. We had hoped to be able to start work on Sharpsbridge Lock, which would be a perfect site, but again, the landowner didn't want the disruption of a "building site" at the bottom of their meadows. There is some hope though. A new owner at Pimm's Lock might want our help in reinstating the winding hole and wharf at their property, which is just north of Lindfield, here's hoping. It has also been suggested that maybe we could work on the lock at Henfield Wood. The suspected landowner here seems supportive and didn't actually know there was a lock on their land! But first we have to find it, as there's not much to be seen of any remains. Roy Sutton believes that he might know the correct location, which he thinks is demarcated by a parallel line of trees. We are hoping to find it during an exploratory walk on the 23rd July. Watch this space. There is also the possibility of a trip boat operation. It would be difficult, but not necessarily impossible. We have a potential volunteer from within the membership who has come forward to potentially manage such a venture. We just need to set up a suitable meeting to outline what would be required. Again, watch this space. Bob Draper


Kentish Stour news from Roy Newing On 21st May 2019 Therese Coffey, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, made the following written answer to Rosie Duffield, MP for Canterbury…“There is no navigation authority with jurisdiction over the Kentish Stour between Canterbury and Fordwich. Rights of navigation over this stretch are subject to navigation agreements between landowners and those wishing to navigate the waterway. The Department does not hold information on individual navigation agreements”. This is contrary to IWA’s previous understanding of the general right of navigation and of the right to navigate in tidal waters. On 14th June 2019 Roy Newing (IWAKES' Kentish Stour Representative) wrote to Rosie Duffield, pointing out the errors in the written answer and requesting her to request DEFRA to review and amend its advice and to ensure the record in Hansard is corrected as a matter of urgency. The arguments in Roy’s letter are that:  

The River is tidal so the bed belongs to the Crown and there is a public right to navigate on it. That the River is tidal is confirmed by the Environment Agency’s Local Environment Agency Plan (1999) and by Ordnance Survey mapping. The public right of navigation to Abbot’s Mill, Canterbury is confirmed by an Act given Royal Assent on June 22nd 1825.

River Adur news from Brendan Whelan It is understood that the publicly accessible slipway at Emerald Quay, on Shoreham Beach remains closed. The EA, as part of raising the Tidal Walls, constructed an up-and-over slipway. This has removed the turning area, at the head of the slipway, and made it impossible for drivers to see over the bump. The ramps are smooth and provide limited grip for car tyres. It was suggested to the EA before construction started that gates, as used elsewhere in the Tidal Walls Scheme, would be appropriate. The owners of the site have closed the access to the slipway on safety grounds. We understand that an "independent" report was commissioned by the EA but are unaware of the conclusion and what steps, if any, are being taken to remedy the situation. The suggestion of a new slipway at Silver Sands, again on Shoreham Beach, has been discussed with Adur District Council (ADC) Officers and Councillors. The Shoreham Slipways Group has been waiting several months for a promised response from ADC about any potential road access issues. Shoreham-by-Sea remains a maritime port with no practical slipway available to the public.


River Medway news from Mike Marsh Environment Agency: The new interim EA Medway Operations manager is Lisa Lennox who succeeds Simon Cox. The Operations Manager appointment is being reviewed and it is understood that the permanent candidate will be appointed shortly. Boat registrations on the Medway are down for 2019-20 by 5% to 585, possibly due to the higher fees. Another factor could be the anti-social behaviour towards boaters that occurs periodically in the Hampstead Lock area. East Farleigh lock top gate paddle spindles are being replace by Hunton Engineering with tapered ones to accommodate the different windlass sizes after incidents of slippage when operating the paddle gear. EA Medway River maintenance staff have now received chainsaw training which will reduce costs and hopefully speed up the clearing of fallen trees and general river bank tree cutting.

The EA Dredger unit will be transported to the Royal Military Canal for two months in October this year to carry out dredging and tree work. New skippers are being trained. So, this will give a total of 3 when completed. ÂŁ1.2 m has been allocated this year for work on the operating wheels at Sluice weir and also work on Allington lock gates. No information yet on any navigation restrictions but these are normally publicised in good time. Fishing Licence enforcement has been undertaken over 2 weekends.

29 Other news: Concerns have been expressed by the MRUA (Medway River Users Association) about the amount of debris that builds-up below Allington Lock with it being a hazard to navigation. Peel Ports have been asked to address the situation. Discussion have also taken place with the MSBA (Medway & Swale Boating Association) on how to take the issue further. Maidstone River Festival. Saturday 25th July. By the time this edition is circulated the Festival will have happened. Pictures and report in the next edition. Anti-Social Behaviour. There have been occasional reports of boaters being targeted by youths at Hampstead Lock, Yalding. The advice is to report any such incidents to the Police so they have up to date information on incidents. The police are aware of the situation and 2 youths have recently been moved on from the Yalding area. Hopefully boaters should not be discouraged from taking their boats to Tonbridge, a lovely section of the Medway that could well do with more boats making the journey. Medway Hire Cruisers. You can now hire two river cruiser boats from the centre of Maidstone: Medway Belle (8-seater) £100 for 3 hrs or Lady Gillian 6seater £90 for 3 hours. /HireCruises or call 01622 753740.

Giant hogweed is being sprayed from Bow Bridge Marina to Yalding. Photo Courtesy of RHS/Advisory

Appeals for a representative from the river angling clubs to join the MRUA have been made so please contact the MRUA or if you are an angling club member and are interested in helping your sport’s communication in this way.


Dartford & Crayford Creek Restoration Trust Fantastic news for Dartford Creek and the Trust was announced by Dartford Council's Leader, Cllr Jeremy Kite, at the Council’s General Assembly on 25th February. He announced support for two new projects. “The first sought to return Dartford Creek to recreational and leisure use and the preservation of this important heritage asset by providing funds for the creation of a master plan to deliver capital works in partnership with the Dartford & Crayford Creek Restoration Trust." The future of the creeks is now more certain and all the volunteer’s and member’s hard work is starting to pay off. David Leal, owner of Thames sailing barge Decima, replaced the companionway glass after vandalism but it lasted less than a week.

The boat that Dartford and Crayford Creek Restoration Trust bought to clear rubbish has been badly damaged and rubbish has been thrown into it.


Future IWAKES and Other Events Wednesday 21st August 2019: Hythe Venetian Fete: Thursday 17th October 2019: 7.30 for 8.00pm: Strood Yacht Club, Knight Road, Strood, Kent. ME2 2AH: ‘Thames Tidal Defences’: Nathan Ellis of the Environment Agency manages all the Thames tidal defences and will give an in-depth description of the operation of Woolwich and other barriers. Thursday 21st November 2019: 7.00 for 7.30pm: Upper Room, Perrymount Methodist Church, Perrymount Road, Haywards Heath. RH16 3DM (near the railway station and 200 yards from Clair Hall): ‘Fish-Passes’: Tony Woolnough, Director of Fishways Ltd, is an internationally renowned specialist designer of fish-passes. He has been a SORT member from the start and lives near Lewes. Many fish-passes on the Ouse are ineffective and we hope Tony can tell us what should be done: Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust and IWAKES joint event. Wednesday 11th December 2019: 7.30 for 8.00pm: Gravesend Sailing Club, East Promenade, Gravesend. DA12 2BS: ‘Waterways Books’: By Eric Garland: Get together with Thames & Medway Canal Association. Thursday 23rd January 2020: 7.30 for 8.00pm: Strood Yacht Club, Knight Road, Strood, Kent. ME2 2AH: ‘RNLI – Innovations’: Colin Brown of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute will extend on the great talk he gave at Strood in 2019. Wednesday 19th February 2020: 7.30 for 8.00pm: Christ Church United Reformed Church, High Street, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1SG: ‘IWAKES Annual General Meeting’ followed by ‘IWA Videos’ presented by Les Etheridge. Tea and coffee are available at all IWAKES evening meetings. Venue maps can be found at

Chelmer & Blackwater Boat Trip?

A two or three-hour late afternoon/evening return trip on the twelvepassenger boat Albert departing from Paper Mill Lock, Little Baddow (near Chelmsford) towards Heybridge in June or early July 2020. Anticipated cost around £16.00 per person. Light refreshments available. Car park at lock. If you would be interested please advise Roy Sutton ( ). No response was received after the last Cargoes. Without it there will be no trip.


Oxfordshire Branch Branch Chairman Last week I decided it was time for us to hold one of our regular Oxford Branch Committee meetings before everyone went off on their summer holidays. I got in touch with our Team via our Treasurer Ann Yeatman and between us we agreed to meet at around lunchtime at The Perch at Binsey, a Thames riverside pub on the outskirts of Oxford. The next issue was what was to be on the Agenda. Having given the matter some thought and having made a few telephone calls I decided to go ahead as follows . . . . Agenda ITEM 1: Introducing Tim Wiseman - Oxford Waterways Coordinator for Environmental Sustainability, including Planning, Sustainable Development and Regulatory Services. Tim is relatively newly appointed, and I am sure we all wish him well as the Coordinator of the “Oxford City Council Waterways Project”. My thinking in inviting Tim along was with the intention of getting him to explain his work and aspirations to the Oxford branch committee and hopefully to win the committees support for him, his ideas and his ongoing efforts for all our local waterways. Agenda ITEM 2: Introducing guest Stephanie Pirrie who organised last year’s bi-annual Oxford City Canal Festival to learn more about how we might be involved in the planned 2020 event, but next time perhaps on a larger scale? This is really all about following on from last year’s success in attending the 2018 Oxford Festival. It will also be my intention to discuss the complexities of Public Liability Insurance, the Helmsman qualifications required/acceptable if we are to run trip boats once again and also what needs to be done to ensure we are compliant with all of the Health and Safety regulations and related matters. Agenda ITEM 3: Following on from the previous agenda item and whilst on the topic of Festivals and trip boats for the public, our next speaker who will address Item 3. is our own very committed committee Member Mr. Robin Williams who has regular contact with TOOLEYS Boatyard in Banbury, volunteering as he does to help out there most weekends. What underlies my thinking here is that due to the redevelopment of the Banbury Shopping Centre this year, very sadly there will be NO annual Banbury Canal Day in October 2019. However, I do wonder if the Oxfordshire Branch, in conjunction with Tooleys, might be able to arrange at least some form of Canal Day event? Between us all, maybe we can still do something to wave the Inland Waterways flag? Any ideas from the wider readership would be welcomed I am sure. Please do chip in with any ideas, or even volunteer to be involved in some way. Agenda ITEM 4: Next is Mr. Steven Tabbitt The Manager of the world famous Thames Path National Trail (plus an EA engineer ) to explore how we can all mutually benefit/contribute, to/from/by the IWA (including our restoration arm and our Political Lobbying team) in increasing, as required, influence along the

33 entire length of the River Thames and contributing in future to policy consultations plus perhaps working together on summer training camp developments? By the way, for those who are unaware, the towpath beside the River Thames, (alongside which we boaters so regularly moor, driving in our mooring stakes to enjoy a BBQ with a glass of wine or two, very often also using the path to walk, or bicycle to the local pubs, churches and village shops), IN LAW it is NOT a Tow Path at all. Instead it carries the much higher legal rank in being one of the Nation’s family of only 16 National Trails. By way of just a few other examples: The Pennine Way, The South West Coastal Path, The Cotswold Way and The Hadrian’s Wall Walk are all National Trails protected under the 1949 Act of Parliament (ask Steve Tabbitt for more on the legal aspects). As Steve Tabbitt will explain, approaching 500 volunteers are responsible for keeping the 184 miles of Thames Path National Trail in tip top, world class, ‘Gold Standard’ condition all year around, NOT the EA, as so many suppose. This is achieved on meagre funds from Natural England and fund raising! Next up, but still on the same agenda item, we have Mr Mark Hill the Operations Manager of the Environment Agency for the Thames Area. Mark is based at Osney Yard, in Bridge Street, Oxford and specialises in Engineering as opposed to Navigation. It is comforting to know that Mark Hill is nice and close by whenever we need to meet up to mutual advantage in problem solving. For example, when Steve Tabbitt and his team of volunteers suddenly need to repair a flood eroded riverbank that has rudely been flushed away, and in so doing has overnight dumped the Thames Path National Trail into the river!! No walking, no cycling, no moorings, no BBQ, NO WINE . . . Don’t panic, just send for Steve Tabbitt, 500 volunteers and Mark Hill. Agenda ITEM 5: To comment upon the NEW CYCLING POLICY of the Thames Path National Trail from an IWA and Thames Navigational Users point of view. Including a discussion regarding whether the IWA would accept becoming a Member of the Thames Path National Trail Partnership Board if offered? THE END OF MEETING AGENDA I know that publishing an Agenda may seem a strange article from a Branch Chairman for entry into our Cargoes magazine and it certainly is a departure from my last article about suicidal boat cats trying to drown themselves in the canal, but I do hope it sheds some light on what goes on behind the scenes that perhaps most IWA Members never get opportunity to see, or to participate in? Maybe we should arrange some other events where Branch Members would feel interested enough to come along and get involved in heavyweight debates? Answers on a postcard please (or email). And finally, for all of us grown-ups that like to play with our “Big Boys Toys”, namely our boats and engines, I have just yesterday had confirmation over a pint at the Red Lion in Aston, that my friend Russell La Forte will come along to give us a talk and answer any of our questions about his real life experiences with his truly ‘Big Boys Toys’. Yesterday he accepted my invitation to attend our next Annual AGM. For those who don’t immediately recognise the name, Russell La Forte is actually . . . Russell William "Russ" La Forte, CBE. Aide de Camp (ADC) to Queen Elizabeth II. The former Commander of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands.

34 By way of just one of his reminiscences this Falkland Islands based Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands, Air Commodore Russell La Forte CBE can recount how he once presented HMS Richmond with his personal Commendation in recognition of Distinguished Service in the region by the Type 23 Duke Class frigate during her Atlantic Patrol Tasking. According to a press release from the Royal Navy at the time . . . . Air Commander La Forte addressing the assembled ship’s Company expressed his gratitude for the dedication, professionalism and wide-ranging capability that the ship continues to demonstrate throughout her time operating in the South Atlantic. Accepting the Commendation on behalf of Richmond’s Ship’s Company, the Commanding Officer, Commander Robert G Pedre said, “I am immensely proud of the significant contribution HMS Richmond and my Ship’s Company has made to Maritime Security and reassurance during this 7-month operational deployment. “We have a critical role in protecting our Nation’s interests and I am honoured to receive this prestigious Commendation on behalf of my ship’s Company.” Meanwhile, we Hobby Boaters with our Big Boys Toys worry if there is a bit of wind blowing across our bows and the sky looks set for rain, or even thunder and lightning before we get to the pub. Do come and meet Russ La Forte !! He is truly interesting, a great speaker and a very nice guy too. Russell La Forte CBE – To be our Guest Speaker at next AGM All the very best,

Steve Good - Branch Chairman


Banbury Canal Partnership May had us rebuilding a fence from the road over Twyford bridge (No 177) down to the canal. The original had rotted away leaving a steep unprotected drop into the farmers field. This required us to remove the remains of the old fence, dig out new post holes and level and concrete the new posts. The posts were then cut to size and the tops canted. Three horizontal rails were then screwed to the Day 1 posts and whole line was then painted. As is the way of things we ran out of white paint so the bottom rails were painted black. June saw us painting the next bridge No 176 which is a wooden lift bridge. Unfortunately someone had altered the weights so that it remained open and to paint it we had to have a wheelbarrow on the closing end. OK until a boat wanted to pass and it is surprising how many boats did. July had us revisiting a site we last visited in 2015. But as it was just down the Day 2 road from where we live, this was no problem. We had rebuilt Aynho weir fence in 2015 but it looked ready for a refresh and change in colour layout to CRT plan. Tomorrow sees us repainting Allens Lock at Upper Heyford. But no photos as we have not done it yet!! Our working parties take place on the third and fourth Tuesdays each month - venue to be announced. If you want a day out in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside come and join us. You might just enjoy it so much you become a regular. Please contact me or Chairman Colin Garnham-Edge if you would like to be put on our emailing list.


Remember we have an email contact address: We also have a Facebook page Brian Saunders BCP/IWA Committee representative


Wilts & Berks Canal All organisations have their challenges. One of my challenges at the moment is the gaps in the list of specialist volunteers we need on our Executive and Board of Trustees. We’re on the lookout for: A Chief Executive Officer A Chief Engineer PR & Comms Engineer A Financial Controller If you know anyone at a loose end with the skills to fit…please do push them gently in our direction. Short job specifications available. My main role in life appears to be answering the multitude of emails which appear as if by magic into my inbox in vast quantity. However in the guise of the Mole in Wind in the Willows the other weekend I shouted “hang spring cleaning and emails” to no-one in particular (the Labrador puppy did look rather taken aback) and went mowing down the towpath with one of our weekend workparties (images of Toad saying Brmm Brmmm)… the most fun I’ve had in ages. I really must do it more often. Making the towpath look tidy again was very rewarding in the number of compliments we received from passers-by. Lots of “thanks for the splendid job you are doing” comments are always appreciated. Maintenance, of course, is a key issue. The team had to head out to the same towpath recently to mend the handrails of a footbridge taking the towpath over a ditch (dug out after the canal closed). It’s keeping on top of these jobs which shows the public we’re responsible restorers and guardians of the canal. Hot off the Press. Swindon worth a visit. You knew that anyway, what with the Outlet Centre, the STEAM museum, etc etc. The Canalside development at Wichelstowe, between Old Town and the M4 has been advancing in recent months with the opening of the Hall & Woodhouse pub/restaurant. This lies adjacent to the canal opposite the Waitrose store and the quay opened by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. As of the 19th July the long footbridge connecting the two sides is open to the public. The bunds in the canal which meant that our tripboat Dragonfly has

38 been trapped in the northern section have been removed…and all we need now is a bit more rain (dangerous words indeed) to keep the pound topped up. I’m heading down there asap to have another look. Here’s photos I took at the end of May… The Deanery Secondary School close by is opening for the Autumn term and planning permission has just gone in for the next new bit of road in the development complete with canal bridge and extension to the canal (on the historic route) southwards. Meantime with another of my hats on (it’s rather moth-eaten and says Grizzled Skipper) I am reminded that it’s the Melksham Food and River Festival over the last weekend in August which is well worth a visit. Details on the web. Members of our Melksham, Calne Chippenham branch will be there doing boat trips on the River Avon. At the moment locally in Oxfordshire we are working up a project plan on our leased section west of Wantage and continue with ongoing routine maintenance as well as sorting out the various engineering issues. This length will involve two lift bridges, several sluices to control the water level….and in due course one road bridge. Should keep us busy for a while. Finally, I am going to end with further news in the Oxfordshire patch of the starting of a biodiversity project to enhance the Canal Trust maintained small park at Shrivenham. This comes under the auspices of a programme of projects entitled “Project Heron”. Whilst the park has a small area of woodland within its boundaries the aim of the project is to increase the number and type of habitat to attract currently missing species, to implement a maintenance strategy which then preserves those biodiversity gains; to provide information to visitors about the programme and to implement community engagement programmes. All good to get the local community more involved. The first work party was held recently with volunteers from Nationwide Building Society. In due course the canal itself which runs along the southern edge of the park will be re-watered. Of course you can keep up to date with Wilts & Berks Canal matters via the website:; Twitter: WiltsBerksCanalTrust @wbctcanal; Facebook: Wilts & Berks Canal Trust As usual I mentioned the trip boat earlier. Do please pay a visit on Dragonfly sometime during the season. Details for booking are available on the Trust website. Brian Stovold, Chairman, Wilts & Berks Canal Trust


Future Events Dragonfly is a great way to see the restored section of the canal in Swindon. She can carry up to 12 passengers and 2 crew and has: plenty of room inside and out; indoor heating; a table; a galley with hob, fridge and sinks and a wheelchair lift. The engine has sound reduction for a smooth, quiet experience. She is available for charters (subject to crew availability). Please contact us well in advance to avoid disappointment. Dragonfly is also popular for birthday and anniversary parties, including pirate parties, club meetings and get togethers, during the day or summer evenings. Hire costs are £50 for one hour, £80 for two hours. We offer 'special', themed, charters. These are advertised on our Facebook page - Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Friends and Volunteers, or call the boat team on 07401 220076 or preferably e-mail or visit our Information Centre in Theatre Square, Swindon SN1 1QN, open Mon, Fri & Sat 10.00 - 15.00. Our webpage is: Sat 31st Aug & Sun 1st Sep: Melksham Food and River Festival. The King George V Park, Lowbourne, Melksham, Wiltshire SN12 7ED. Working to build on the success of last year’s Festival we are looking to welcome a good cross section of boats on the water and expand the range of experiences and activities offered. We are also looking for new and innovative river activities to form part of the display. In the park we expect to have in the region of 80 stalls, plus live music, cooking demonstrations and much more. Further details from Paul Lenaerts on mob 07855 887547.

Towpath Walks Group Sat 31st Aug, 10.45am: Little Venice to Camden, start Warwick Avenue tube station Sun 1st Sep, 2.30pm: Regent’s Canal: Little Venice to Camden, meet Warwick Avenue Sun 15th Sep, 2.30pm: Limehouse, Thames to Docklands, meet Westferry (DLR)(by Cycle Hire Point) Sat 5th Oct, 10.45am: Regent’s Canal: King’s Cross, Granary Square to Camden, meet King’s Cross (taxi rank) Sun 6th Oct, 2.30pm: Grand Surrey Canal: Royal Navy Victualling Yard to Greenland Dock, meet Surrey Quays Sun 20th Oct, 2.30pm: Secrets of the northern Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stratford, meet by “Newham London” sign

40 Sun 3rd Nov 2.30pm: Regent’s Canal: Mile End to Limehouse, meet Mile End Sun 17th Nov 2.30pm: Grand Union Canal: Little Venice & Paddington Green to Paddington, meet Bakerloo Praed Street exit Sun 1st Dec 2.30m: Regent’s Canal: Little Venice to Camden: meet Warwick Avenue tube station. Sun 15th Dec 2.30pm: Regent’s Canal: King’s Cross - Granary Square – St. Pancras meet King’s Cross (by taxi queue sign) Fri 27th Dec 2pm: Regent’s Canal: Little Venice to Camden: meet Warwick Avenue tube station. Wed 1st Jan 2pm Regent’s Canal: King’s Cross - Granary Square – St. Pancras King’s Cross (by taxi queue sign) Towpath Walks Group is looking for volunteers to guide small parties of walkers on short walks along the towpath of the Regent’s Canal (and elsewhere). This introduces newcomers to the pleasant world of waterways – which most outsiders don’t realise is here! It is also a good way of recruiting new members to IWA. No experience? No problem, we’ll brief you. For more information about Walks (Normal charge: £10.00, Concessions & Student rate: £8.00) please contact Roger Wilkinson, telephone: 020 3612 9624 or email:

South London Branch Future Events South London Branch Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:30 for 8:00 pm in The Primary Room, The United Reformed Church Hall, Addiscombe Grove, Croydon, CR0 5LP. Admission to talks and presentations is free to members and non-members, but we do ask that you donate a minimum of £2 per person to offset room hire charges and speakers’ expenses, thank you. For more information please contact the Social Secretary: Shea Richardson. Tel: 07803 904803 or email: Wed 11th Sep: A presentation on the work of `Thames 21’ Wed 9th Oct: Social meeting at Croydon; Speaker TBC Sun 13th Oct: Branch visit to see the `Secret Rivers’ exhibition (FREE) at The Museum of London Docklands at 1300. Contact Lesley on 07787 372408 for more info Thur 17th Oct: Joint social meeting with Kent & East Sussex IWA at 7.30 for 8.00pm at Strood Yacht Club ME2 2AH. For a presentation on ‘Thames Tidal Defences’ by Nathan Ellis. More information at

41 Wed 13th Nov: Social meeting at Croydon; Speaker TBC Wed 11th Dec: Christmas Social meeting at Croydon. Members & Friends are invited to bring slides of this year’s booking experiences Wed 8th Jan 2020: A presentation by Lester Hillman, more info to follow

Mikron Theatre Group Redcoats (R) It all began with Billy – A break by the beach – what more could you dream of? With our usual mix of fun, pathos and songs, join us as we delve into holiday huts, bonny babies, knobbly knees and of course those radiant Redcoats.

All Hands on Deck (AHD) A Tale of Two Wrens - A love story between the Royal Navy and their loyal ‘Jenny Wrens’ New WRNS recruits, Ginger and Lily, are looking for wartime adventure. Lily wants to serve on dry land but Ginger is desperate to serve at sea – and the sailors can’t believe their luck! Our Wrens show pays tribute to all those wartime women who pushed the door to opportunity firmly open. Full of dots, dashes, semaphore and song, Ginger and Lily find themselves in uncharted waters on a journey they’ll never forget. Sat 24th Aug, 7.00pm: AHD, Tontine Gardens, Stourport on Severn, DY13 9EN Sun 25th Aug, 2.00pm: R, Springfield Park, Kidderminster, DY10 2PS Tue 27th Aug, 7.30pm: AHD, Camp House Inn, Nr Worcester, WR2 6LX Wed 28th Aug, 7.00pm: R, Raphael's Restaurant, Evesham, WR11 4BP Thu 29th Aug, 7.30pm: R, Bantock House Museum and Park - The Old Tennis Court, Merridale, WV3 9LQ Fri 30th Aug, 7.00pm: AHD, Coton Mill, Gnosall, ST20 0BN Sun 1st Sep, 5.00pm: R, The Anchor Inn, High Offley, ST20 0NG Wed 11th Sep, 6.45pm: R, Wetherby Whaler, Guiseley, LS20 8LZ Fri 13th Sep, 1.00pm: R, Ewanrigg Community Centre, Maryport, CA15 8HN


The Inland Waterways Association IWA South East Region Chair: Verna Smith 63 Avondale, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hants GU12 5NE Tel: 07986 244479 Email:

IWA Guildford & Reading Branch Committee Acting Chair: Verna Smith 63 Avondale, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hants GU12 5NE Tel: 07986 244479 Email: Secretary: Chris Jones Tel: 07711 784374 Acting Treasurer & R. Wey: Mike Lewis Basingstoke & R. Thames: Vacant

Email: K & A, WACT & Planning:-Verna Smith

IWA Kent & East Sussex Branch Committee Tel: 07768 132703

Chair: Les Etheridge


Secretary, Sussex Ouse & Cargoes Contact: Roy Sutton 79, St Leonards Park, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 1EG Tel: 01342 317569 Email: Treasurer & Royal Military Canal: Peter Wilkinson Membership Secretary: Anne Etheridge Social Secretary: Sue Schwieso Waterways Representatives R. Medway: Michael Marsh R. Stour: Roy Newing Thames & Medway: Bernard Snell Dartford & Crayford: Brian Franklin

R. Adur: Brendan Whelan Northfleet Harbour: Vacant R. Rother: Malcolm Jones Faversham & Swale: Vacant

IWA Oxfordshire Branch Committee Chair: Steve Good 1 The Bungalows, Ham Lane, Aston, Bampton, Oxon OX18 2DE Tel: 07825 296357 E-mail Tel: 07490 4542660 Treasurer: Ann Yeatman Webmaster: Robin Williams

Secretary: Robin Williams Email: Cargoes co-ordinator & Jericho: Terry Yeatman

Non Committee Responsibilities Thames RUG 3: Sue & David Cooper Next issue: Winter Copy date: 22nd October 2019 Opinions expressed in Cargoes are not necessarily those of IWA. IWA, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, Bucks, HP5 1WA. Tel: 01494 783453 Cargoes Editor: Chris Jones Printed by I Tel: 01252 330683

Odiham Raft Race 43

Sponsored by

Sunday 1st September 2019 2pm - 5pm

To raise money for the

Spectators! Why not dress up and cheer on the competitors.

Adult & Childrens Races Finishing at the Boat Basin, Colt Hill Wharf

Our Fancy Dress Theme is 'As you were when the ship went down'

Fancy Dress Prizes!

Raft Teams ÂŁ5 per Adult ÂŁ2 per Child 100 Years of the RAF

Stalls Drinks & Food. Lots of Prizes for Competitors & Spectators!

Entry Forms are Available From The Frame in Odiham High Street and Galleon Marine Boatyard Colt Hill or online Full details and rules can also be found online Our thanks and appreciation to the following Sponsors:

Wey River Festival at Dapdune Wharf, Guildford

Saturday, 21 September 2019 

To round off the day, why not come and watch the spectacular illuminated pageant arriving at the wharf around dusk and enjoy music from the talented Croydon steel orchestra.

 Come

and join us at Dapdune Wharf for a fun packed day.


Site opens from 11am till late.




A variety of food and craft stalls will be available, plus have a go sessions from the Guildford Archery Club, demonstrations from the Surrey Wood Turners and Black Dragon Morris dancers and music from Alder Valley Brass

 There will

be plenty of children’s activities available, from face painting to the NT shipwreck obstacle challenge (there may be a

There is NO PARKING available on site. The use of public transport and local car parks is highly recommended.

small charge for some of these)

Navigations Office 01483 561389 or email

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Cargoes Autumn 2019  

Cargoes The Newsletter for the IWA South East Region

Cargoes Autumn 2019  

Cargoes The Newsletter for the IWA South East Region