Issue 262 • Winter 2018
BROADS BOATING Silver Propeller Challenge in Norfolk
WATERWAYS IN PROGRESS IWA’s vision for restoration
FISHY BUSINESS Have a go at angling on the canals this winter
PLUS The waterway link between Boston and Peterborough
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Winter 2018 Contents Issue 262 • Winter 2018
Column of the National Chairman
Silver Propeller Challenge in Norfolk
WATERWAYS IN PROGRESS
IWA’s vision for restoration
The latest from within IWA and beyond
FISHY BUSINESS Have a go at angling on the canals this winter
10. Campaigns Update
Including a spotlight on the Boston to Peterborough Wetland Corridor
PLUS The waterway link between Boston and Peterborough
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18. Three Norfolk Mills 24/10/2018 08:30
COVER PICTURE: Winter on the Mon & Brec Canal
Silver Propeller Challenge destinations on the Norfolk Broads
24. Best laid plans
In conversation with Ed Gittins from IWA’s Planning Advisory Panel
26. Love Your Waterways
Visiting this year’s Festival of Water
28. Fishy business WATERWAYS EDITOR: Amelia Hamson Tel: 01283 742962 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org FEATURES EDITOR: Sarah Henshaw E-mail: email@example.com ART EDITOR: Claire Davis ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER: Laura Smith Tel: 01283 742956 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING DESIGN: Jo Ward ADVERTISING PRODUCTION: Samantha Furniss E-mail: email@example.com REPROGRAPHICS: Waterways World Ltd, 151 Station Street, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 1BG. Printed in England by Warners (Midlands) PLC, Bourne, Lincs Articles may be reproduced provided permission is obtained and acknowledgement made. ISSN 0969-0654 A non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee (612245), Registered as a Charity (No. 212342) Founded: 1946, Incorporated 1958 Registered Office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA Tel: 01494 783453 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: www.waterways.org.uk Chief Executive – Neil Edwards Company Secretary – Andrew Overy National Chairman – Ivor Caplan For press inquiries please contact: email@example.com For all other contact details, including trustees and branch officers, visit: www.waterways.org.uk/about/ meet_team Nothing printed in Waterways may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless stated, otherwise IWA accepts no liability for any matter in the magazine. Although every care is taken with advertising matters no responsibility whatsoever can be accepted for any matter advertised. Where a photo credit includes a note such as CC-BY-SA, the image is made available under that Creative Commons licence; full details at www.creativecommons.org
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Advice for angling on the canals
32. IWA's North Pole
The lowdown on Lancashire & Cumbria Branch
38. Restoration Hub
The launch of IWA’s restoration vision report, plus WRG’s summer Canal Camps
44. Then & Now Inglesham Lock
48. Going Solo
Tips for single handed boating
Seven reasons why your membership contribution is vital 1. IWA Canal Clean-ups led by our branches keep many waterways clear of debris 2. Restoration is kept high priority through funding for the Waterway Recovery Group
3. Over 10,000 days of volunteering each year will be supported with the right training, tools and materials 4. IWA can defend the waterways from unwelcome development 5. We can pass on traditional skills and workbased experience for volunteering young people 6. We can lobby the Government and work with other organisations to repair, improve and protect our waterways heritage 7. Your voice is counted when IWA speaks up for all those who enjoy the country’s canals and rivers
IWA ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION RATE £36 More details are available from IWA Head Office. Join IWA at www.waterways.org.uk
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The Column of the National Chairman
am writing this column a few days after our Annual Members’ Meeting, held this year near Stroud. It was a really well attended event which included visits to enable members to see the achievements of the Cotswold Canals Trust. Of course, the formal AGM is the essential part of the occasion, but it was also excellent to meet so many members during the day. The strength of IWA at all levels shone through, as well as the real commitment of branches and individual members to make a difference to the waterways in their areas. In my address at the meeting, my key message was to rekindle our proud tradition of campaigning. It’s a thread that runs through the 72-year history of IWA but sometimes, sad to say, we get diverted onto less significant issues. I would like to see more of our activities directed wholeheartedly towards campaigning – it should be the reason for doing things rather than an afterthought. I am pleased to report that our Festival of Water at St Neots over the August bank holiday weekend was a great success, demonstrating how effective our campaigning can be. I congratulate the whole team involved in this year's event for delivering a multifaceted festival that supports the Association’s objectives. We certainly had plenty to campaign about at St Neots, with on-going problems on Environment Agency managed rivers and the launch of the Boston to
Peterborough Wetland Corridor. This exciting project is the first stage in the Fens Waterways Link, which will open up this whole area with a route from the Trent via Boston into the Fens and back to the canal system via the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park. A few days prior to our own AGM, I attended the Canal & River Trust’s Annual Public Meeting, where I was impressed with the commitment to achieve the longterm funding needed in order to properly maintain its assets for the public benefit. IWA supports CRT in this but we have made it clear that we will judge its longterm success on how its canals and rivers are maintained and improved. Our Gap Tracker campaign has already identified shortcomings in the provision of boaters’ facilities and I hope that members will let us know if the general condition of the waterways, such as navigation structures and vegetation management, is less than we would wish for and expect. It was disappointing that there was so little reference to safeguarding the heritage of the inland waterways in CRT’s Annual Report and, under our key objective of protecting, this is something that we will be taking up strongly. It is vital that our waterways heritage is retained for future generations and not just the buildings – the boats, people, traditions and skills of the waterways are equally important. With the gradual loss of traditional boatyards it is likely to become more difficult to service
boats, in particular the heritage craft which require special skills. Our campaigning must be backed up with sound evidence and we have two major reports to provide this; the first – Waterways in Progress, covered in this edition – identifies the value of partially completed restoration projects, while the second, The Value of Inland Waterways, will, when complete, enable us to decide which areas can form the basis of future development and campaigns. We will be discussing with branches how they can take forward their own campaigns to support our national aspirations – something I believe can inspire existing volunteers and encourage new members. I showed some examples during my AGM presentation and I hope branch members present were motivated to take on such activities. The projects don’t need to be large or costly, they just have to make local waterways better and demonstrate the strength and relevance of the Association, both to our existing membership and to the wider world.
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Adjourned AGM to be reconvened
IWA'S ANNUAL AWARDS
Over 160 people attended IWA’s Annual Members’ Meeting, which took place on 29th September in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire. ‘Restoration in Progress’ was the theme of the day and proceedings were kicked off by presentations from WRG chair and IWA trustee Mike Palmer who demonstrated the value of Waterways Restoration in Progress as a precursor to a new report to be published later this year (see p38). The report includes a case study on Cotswold Canals Phase 1a and this project was explained by David Marshall, canal manager for Stroud District Council. IWA’s AGM formed part of the Members’ Meeting and included a review of the year by IWA national chairman, Ivor Caplan, including several campaign updates. The charity’s treasurer, Jonathan Smith, summarised the main income sources and expenditure items for the year and asked those present to approve the Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31st December 2017. Two members pointed out errors in the accounts which the treasurer reported had been confirmed by the auditors as non-material. A discussion ensued and, as a result, members voted to defer the approval of the accounts to a reconvened AGM so that the errors could be corrected. The AGM was therefore adjourned for the approval of the accounts and appointment of the auditors. However, the meeting did accept trustee retirements (Roger Holmes, Gillian Smith and Les Etheridge) and appointments (reappointment of Helen Whitehouse and Sir Robert Atkins and appointment of Roger Stocker and Nicky Schiessel-Harvey), and two member resolutions. IWA’s 59th AGM will therefore be continued on 24th November 2018 at 11.30am at Rowington Village Hall, Rowington, Warwick CV35 7BU. Tea and coffee will be provided before the meeting. To book your place, download a proxy form and view a copy of IWA’s Annual Report and Financial Statements 2017, visit waterways.org. uk/agm.
All proxy requests made for the AGM held on 29th September 2018 will still be valid. Any person being a member of the Association is entitled to appoint a proxy to attend and vote on his/her behalf at the AGM. A proxy need not be a member of the Association. Proxies may only validly be appointed by a notice in writing which states the name and address of the member appointing the proxy and the identity of the person appointed to be that member’s proxy and the general meeting in relation to which that person is appointed. Proxy notices must be received by 11.30am on Thursday 22nd November 2018 to be valid and it is the responsibility of the member to ensure that their proxy will be attending. Alternatively, members can appoint the chairman of the meeting as their proxy, either to vote as he or she sees fit or with specific instructions to vote for or against or abstain on one or more specific resolutions. A quorum of 20 members must be present in person or by proxy. On conclusion of the reconvened meeting, trustee appointments and retirements will be deemed to have taken effect.
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The outstanding agenda items for the AGM to be completed are: 1. To receive and approve the Report and Financial Statement for the Association for the year ended 31st December 2017. 2. To re-appoint Saffery Champness as auditors of the Association.
Restoration, community engagement, waterways partnerships and the passion and dedication of volunteers were all key subjects at IWA’s Annual Awards 2018. The ceremony took place at IWA’s Annual Members’ Meeting. The Cyril Styring Trophy is given to an individual IWA member who has, in the opinion of the trustees, made an outstanding contribution to furthering IWA campaigns. This year’s winner, Audrey Smith, was national chairman between 1994 and 1998 when she oversaw the revitalisation of the Association’s head office, much improved relations with navigation authorities and other waterways user groups, and a more prominent campaigning role for the waterways with government. Four Richard Bird Medals, recognising members whose effort and support are considered to have brought significant benefits to IWA over a sustained period, were awarded. – Peter Bowers has been an IWA member and restoration volunteer since 1992, and in the last five years has attended 22 WRG Canal Camps across the country. – Lesley Taylor is an active member of the Chester & Merseyside branch, and has undertaken a number of roles including sales, events and membership secretary. – Roger Wilkinson is chair of the IWA Towpath Walks Society and through his guided tours of London’s waterways has raised over £22,000 for IWA’s campaign work. – Roger Mungham is a former river inspector who now operates in the role of treasurer for the Peterborough branch. The IWA Branch Achievement Award was accepted by Bernard Morton on behalf of the Northampton Branch. Since adopting the 4-mile Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal in 2013, the branch has held regular task parties along the route, and earlier this year opened a mosaic trail funded by John Faulkner’s legacy. In addition, 70m of Motorway Bridge, formerly blighted with graffiti, on the arm has been decorated with a timeline of Northampton. The Christopher Power Prize, awarded to a person, society or trust which has made the most significant contribution to the restoration of an inland waterway, went to Cotswold Canals Trust this year. Recent successes include the formal reopening of Wallbridge Lock in Stroud by Prince Charles. The trust’s chair, Jim White, collected the prize which features an impressive wood carving of an otter and a cheque for £1,000. Finally, five members who have supported the charity for 60 consecutive years were named as Honorary Life Members. Nominations for national awards can be made by individual members and branch and region committees, and should be submitted by 31st Ivor Caplan (l) presents the Christopher Power March each year. Prize to Jim White, CCT chair.
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Book your mooring for the 2019 Festival of Water on the Lee Navigation.
FESTIVAL OF WATER 2019
IWA has announced the location of the 2019 Festival of Water: the Lee Valley Showground, Waltham Abbey. The Lee Valley Country Park is home to some of the most iconic 2012 Olympic venues and, for those attending by boat, the Festival offers the opportunity to cruise the recently reopened Bow Back Rivers and visit the termini of the rural Lee and the tranquil Stort navigations. It’s expected that around 150 boats will line the Lee Navigation at Waltham Abbey for a full weekend of fun. Exhibitors, traders and caterers will be joined by a variety of attractions, both on and off the water, making for a lovely day or weekend out for all the family. Bookings for moorings, camping pitches and traders are now open: see waterways.org.uk/ festivalofwater.
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BSS CERTIFICATION CONSULTATION The Boat Safety Scheme is running a consultation, which will affect boats seeking BSS certification from 2019. The proposals include a mandatory requirement to have suitable carbon monoxide (CO) alarms – in good condition and placed in suitable locations – on boats with accommodation spaces. BSS is a safety initiative that helps minimise the risk of boat fires, explosions or pollution to users of the inland waterways, and most navigation authorities require its boating customers to have a BSS certificate. If the proposals are implemented, checks for CO alarms will begin in April 2019. IWA is fully supportive of this initiative. The intended benefits include helping to prevent CO poisoning of people and pets aboard boats, assisting emergency services staff in responding to life-threatening incidents, and making boatowners aware of moderate levels of CO on board their craft, which if left undetected could cause long-term health issues. CO alarms recommended for use on boats are different to those designed for buildings. It is also important that CO alarms are fitted in the right place. Details of suitable alarms and placement guidance can be found on the BSS website – boatsafetyscheme.org. Find out more about the proposals at boatsafetyscheme.org/about-us/co-alarm-consultation. Boaters are encouraged to respond to the consultation by Friday 9th November 2018.
Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:35
IWA has welcomed publication of the HS2 Phase 2A Select Committee’s Second Special Report recommending improved noise mitigation for canal boat occupants at Great Haywood and Fradley Wood in Staffordshire. IWA Lichfield branch chair, Phil Sharpe, presented IWA’s Petition to the HS2 House of Commons Select Committee on 9th July. It asked for recognition of the residential use of most canal boats and for better noise mitigation fencing for boats moored in Great Haywood Marina, on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood and Hoo Mill, and near Fradley Junction. The House of Commons High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill Select Committee, Second Special Report of Session 2017-19, published on 23rd July says: “The Inland Waterways Association petitioned on behalf of occupants of narrowboats and how HS2 classified their residences. The Great Haywood Marina will be significantly impacted by the scheme and HS2 should look at installing the 5m barrier as requested by the petitioner. Furthermore, HS2 should look at providing further noise mitigation at Fradley Wood.” IWA had petitioned on several issues, including noise mitigation, on HS2 Phase 1 (London – West Midlands) but HS2 Ltd had continued to regard canal boat moorings as ‘transitory’ with users staying only for a few hours at a time, whereas many are, in fact, occupied residentially for extended periods from several days to several months. Members of this Select Committee have listened to the evidence, understood that people do not just live in houses but also on boats, and recommended improved noise protection for these two canal locations. IWA hopes that HS2 Ltd will now realise that the same principles should apply to the whole of HS2 and that we will not have to petition again on this matter for the waterways affected by Phase 2B (Crewe – Manchester and West Midlands – Leeds).
Independent ombudsman sought for Scotland's canals The Lowland Canals Association addressed the Scottish Parliament Public Petitions Committee on 27th September to seek an independent water ombudsman for Scotland. The petition was successful and the committee has agreed to write to various bodies, including IWA, for advice. IWA welcomes the opportunity to assist in this matter and has already identified a number of concerns on the Lowland canals, particularly the Forth & Clyde and Union. The current tally of broken infrastructure amounts to five inoperative bridges along the F&C and Union, and one inoperative lock on the eastern end of the F&C where the waterway descends to the Kelpies and Grangemouth. The F&C remains closed, despite additional funding having been made available, and restrictive opening times elsewhere don’t take into account tide times at sea locks and make it difficult for boaters to use the canals. All these matters, plus more, will be raised in IWA’s response to the committee.
HS2 update: noise mitigation
IWA successfully petitioned HS2 Ltd for better noise mitigation at Great Haywood Marina, among other locations.
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CAMPAIGNING WITH YOU Boaters’ facilities and access along the Dee Branch are among some of the issues we’re campaigning on with your help. Here’s how we’ve been doing on these and other affairs…
Old Bedford River campaign cruise Of all the destinations included in IWA’s Silver Propeller Challenge, Welches Dam is probably one of the toughest to reach on the connected system. In the lead up to the IWA Festival of Water at St Neots in August, IWA Peterborough Branch organised a campaign cruise on the Old Bedford River, through Welney and up to Welches Dam Lock. The cruise was organised to highlight two main campaigning issues: the continued closure of Welches Dam Lock, shut off by the Environment Agency in 2006, and the ongoing difficulties in accessing the Old Bedford River, a statutory navigation, from the tidal River Great Ouse. The August campaign cruise took place over several days, and the publicity for the event encouraged ‘boaters with a pioneering spirit’ to take part, including those in canoes and small portable craft. At one point six narrowboats, one cruiser and two sailing
dinghies were lined up to take part, but various reasons, not least the reluctance of the Environment Agency to confirm that it would be able to increase the water level in the river, led to a number of uncertainties. In the event, three narrowboats and a 22ft sailing yacht, which had crossed the Wash to take part, made the attempt. These took place over two days and three different tidal windows when a suitable water level was reached – this should have allowed passage through the single guillotine gate, but the tidal entrance was silted up and not deep enough. A small crowd gathered on both sides of the tidal Ouse to watch the boats attempt to enter the Old Bedford River. Despite valiant efforts by all concerned, only one narrowboat was successful – Lily May, owned and crewed by IWA Eastern Region chair, Chris Howes, and his wife, Christine Colbert. Three portable craft
were put directly into the Old Bedford River by the sluice gate at Salter’s Lode, and so a flotilla of four boats set off and reached Welney, about halfway along the navigation, by the Sunday evening. The next day the four boats continued their journey along the Old Bedford River, encountering much more weed along this section, which made the passage slower, and arrived at the closed lock at Welches Dam soon after midday, where other supporters had gathered to watch the boats arrive. Viewing the flotilla from the bank were some of the boaters who had been unsuccessful in getting through the sluice, the crew of a boat who had arrived at the other end of the Horseway Channel, and a TV news reporter with a camera and drone. After photos and interviews had taken place, the flotilla returned the way it had come, and Lily May successfully passed back through the Old Bedford Sluice on the ebbing tide on Monday evening. The event subsequently appeared on ITV Anglian News about a week later, and created a lot of publicity for the ongoing campaign about Welches Dam Lock. The campaign cruise demonstrated the benefits of working together, with great support from EA and Middle Level Commissioners staff who operated the sluice, as well as from Fox Narrowboats, the Lamb & Flag pub at Welney, Welney Angling Club and the Middle Level Watermens’ Club.
The Old Bedford River Campaign Cruise flotilla reached the closed lock at Welches Dam on 20th August.
Why campaign with IWA? We strive to make the waterways better for all. 10
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Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:36
Dee Branch blockage IWA members Ian and Pam Fletcher recently took a detour down the Dee Branch in Chester to ‘bag’ a location for the Silver Propeller Challenge and encountered some navigation issues which IWA urgently raised with Canal & River Trust at a local and national level. After initially coming across floating weed islands and struggling to exit the second lock as one of the bottom gates would not open fully (due to some protruding bolts), Ian then discovered he couldn’t get any further, and nor could he wind his boat. The lift-bridge, before the third and final lock on the branch, turned out to be inoperable. As Ian reported afterwards: “The hydraulics on the lift-bridge were (despite it only being a fairly lightweight footbridge) horrendously hard – too hard not only for my wife to operate but even for a fit, young university student who happened to be passing. All that they were able to do was to lift the deck by about 1ft.” Ian had already been told during prior discussion with CRT that he would be unable to get into the third lock, which is the river
Help keep our waterways alive
lock onto the River Dee, due to severe siltation, but he was surprised to notice a stop plank in place above the lock, which would have prevented any further passage even if he had got through the lift-bridge. A widening on the bend in the second pound, which should be large enough to wind a 50ft boat, was too silted up, so Ian had to reverse back up the two locks (and back past the floating weed islands). This situation is particularly disappointing following the recent success in getting the Environment Agency to remove the ‘temporary’ flood barrier which had been in place for two years, following campaigning by IWA and CRT. As part of the Silver Propeller Challenge, boaters are encouraged to use the Dee Branch, and, for the purposes of claiming it as a destination, the second pound will act as the Silver Propeller location until such time as CRT has completed works to address the issues. IWA will continue campaigning for the whole branch to be fully navigable again.
A fallen tree temporarily blocked the route to Horseway Lock on the Middle Level Navigations this summer, but one intrepid crew took to their dinghy to complete the journey to the lock. Middle Level Commissioners assured IWA that the tree would be removed as soon as possible. (The tree, or even the junction between the Sixteen Foot and Forty Foot, will also count as the Silver Propeller location for those without tenders!)
Silver Propeller update Many people have been taking up IWA’s Silver Propeller Challenge to visit some of the lesser-used parts of the waterways. As the locations have largely been chosen with campaigning in mind, it is not surprising that a number of navigation issues are being highlighted as a result of more people starting to cruise to them. It has been commented on that some locations aren’t accessible by full-length boats (such as Brandon on the Little Ouse, which is only accessible to boats of 40ft or less due to the size of Brandon Lock). Destinations on the narrow canals are also limited to boats under 7ft wide. However, in order to get your free Silver Propeller Challenge plaque, you only have to visit 20 out of the 40 locations. Don’t forget, too, that the challenge is open to anyone, not just boat-owners. You can visit some locations by hire-boat or trip-boat, or even by dinghy, canoe or paddleboard if you are feeling adventurous. Your submitted list of 20 visited locations can include a mixture of all these modes of transport. IWA would love to hear from you if you are taking part – why not post a photo of a Silver Propeller Challenge location that you have visited on our social media accounts (see page 20)? We are also open to suggestions for locations with a campaigning angle that could be added to the scheme for 2019. Please email email@example.com. uk.
With your support, we can do even more. waterways.org.uk/campaigns Winter 2018 010 Campaigns Update AH.indd 11
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Environment Agency navigation charge increases IWA has responded to the Environment Agency’s consultation on proposed navigation charge increases, which would see some boaters paying over 30% more for their licence over three years, by asking EA to reconsider its proposals. EA intends to continue the high percentage increases that it implemented for 2018-19 for at least the next two years. IWA acknowledges that regular increases in boat registration charges are necessary, and was among many organisations that raised concern at the lack of increases in EA charges in some previous years. But these year-on-year high increases are unsustainable. The increases, already implemented this year and proposed for the next two years, are 5.7% on the River Thames, 7.5% on Anglian Waterways and 10% on the Medway. IWA considers that the differing percentage increases across the three different waterway areas are divisive and that the level of increase across all EA waterways should match CPI (Consumer
Price Index), since in all likelihood anything above this will be expropriated by the government through further reducing EA’s Grant in Aid funding. To put this into perspective, the August 2018 CPI was 2.4%. The impact of registration charge increases has already been felt on Anglian waterways, with Great Ouse registrations falling by 9% since this year’s 7.5% increase. This followed an increase of about 9% the previous year when charges had been static. IWA is worried that the higher cost of registering a boat is likely to deter people, especially families and young people, from getting involved with boating in the first place, as well as being likely to lead to more instances of registration fee evasion. The proposed increases are also likely to start pricing existing boaters away from EA navigations, with a potential resulting loss of income due to fewer boats being registered. On the Thames, where it is relatively easy for boats to relocate to other
adjacent non-EA waterways and for larger craft to move to the Continent or UK coastlines and estuaries, registrations dropped from 20,490 at the end of 2011 to 17,149 at the end of 2016. On the Medway, the number of registrations has dropped from 1,827 to 1,678 over the same period. EA needs more funding in order to continue the existing levels of navigation maintenance and service. However, IWA believes that the high increases proposed to registration fees are not the way to retain vibrant waterways alive with boats, and all their associated benefits to the economy, communities, and the wider population, and that more financial support from government through Defra is required. In top-level meetings with EA, IWA continues to raise its concerns over the scale of the increases. At the same time IWA has offered support for EA’s Navigating Forward Strategy and looks forward to working constructively by offering practical support and help with projects that will allow EA’s navigation team to increase its income without disenfranchising boat-owners and pricing them off the waterways.
Gap Tracker update
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places where items can be recycled and confusion about what can be recycled, and IWA will be asking navigation authorities to improve what they are doing about this. CRT, EA and Middle Level Commissioners have all confirmed that they will welcome the findings. Once all the results have been analysed, IWA will be following up with all these navigation authorities in detail.
Navigation authorities will be able to use the information to prioritise where facilities require improvements, or where new facilities are needed, and in some cases may be able to use the results of the survey as supporting evidence for thirdparty funding bids. More information about IWA’s Gap Tracker campaign, including how to report a problem with boaters’ facilities, can be found at waterways.org.uk/gaptracker.
Following the launch of IWA’s Gap Tracker campaign about boaters’ facilities, there has been a great response over the summer with lots of people using the online reporting form to tell us where water and waste facilities are absent or inadequate. Over 400 responses have been received so far, and the findings will be used to encourage navigation authorities to improve the provision of boaters’ facilities nationwide. While the majority of these are, as you would expect, about facilities on Canal & River Trust’s 1,800 miles of navigable waterways, comments have also been received about Environment Agency navigations, Middle Level navigations, the Bridgewater Canal and waterways in Scotland. IWA policy is that basic facilities, such as water points, rubbish and chemical toilet disposal, should be available at least every five hours’ cruising time. Early findings of the survey included many cases where the distance was double this, partly due to the number of waste facilities which were out of use on CRT’s waterways over the summer. Another recurring issue in the survey was recycling, or rather the lack of
Gap Tracker is collecting data on inadequate boaters’ facilities.
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IWA waterways |
The wetland corridor will be of benefit to people and wildlife alike.
Willow Tree Fen.
BOSTON TO PETERBOROUGH WETLAND CORRIDOR The new waterways link to improve boating opportunities in the Lincolnshire Fens Pictures by Chris Howes IWA announced at the Festival of Water in August the launch of the Boston to Peterborough Wetland Corridor project. Itâ€™s a collaboration with the Environment Agency and Lincolnshire County Council that will facilitate navigation on 50 miles of existing watercourses and construct approximately 12 miles of new channel.
The challenge Despite being only 30 miles apart geographically, travelling between Boston and Peterborough by inland waterway currently requires a massive 250-mile journey, involving 135 locks and taking over a fortnight. This tortuous route entails cruising along the River Witham, Fossdyke Navigation, River Trent, Grand Union Canal and River Nene, and, because of the narrow-gauge locks on the GU Northampton Arm, is only navigable by boats less than 7ft wide. Larger boats generally have to be craned out and transported by road, which is costly and inconvenient, or undertake a challenging crossing of the Wash. But the coastal journey can be hazardous, especially for craft not designed for rougher tidal waters, and requires a pilot and plenty of planning. The proposed wetland corridor will reduce the journey time between the two cities to little more than a day and open up more accessible cruising options for inland boats of all sizes.
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Partnership The initiative is being led by IWAâ€™s Lincolnshire and Peterborough branches in partnership with EA and LCC. The addition of approximately 12 miles of new channels will connect with 50 miles of existing waterways to create the corridor, incorporating the Black Sluice Navigation (South Forty Foot Drain), and rivers Glen, Welland and Nene, all of which are EA managed. Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:37
Crossing the Wash can be hazardous for smaller boats.
The upgraded Four Mile Bar Bridge on the River Welland. Hubbert's Bridge Slipway.
The southernmost limit of the River Welland. The wetland corridor will extend this waterway into Peterborough.
Black Sluice Moorings.
It builds on the Fens Waterway Link, an ambitious scheme originally mooted in the early 2000s. Some progress has been made on this project with major investments in Boston and upgraded facilities on the existing waterways along the proposed route. Improvements have been made to Willow Tree Fen nature reserve, Black Sluice Lock and Four Mile Bridge, and slipways have been installed at Crowland, Surfleet and Hubberts Bridge. The development of the wetland corridor concentrates on, and broadens the scope of, the northern part of the old Fens Waterway Link project but at a significantly lower cost. The partnership between IWA, EA and LLC has proposed the formation of a charitable trust to ensure inclusion of all potential stakeholders and beneficiaries. The trust board will be formed of volunteer stakeholders as well as regional and local representatives. Itâ€™s also hoped that public interest in the opportunities and benefits of the initiative can be reinvigorated, particularly in the Peterborough, Lincolnshire and North Cambridgeshire areas.
Black Sluice Lock is among the structures to have beneďŹ ted from the Fens Waterway Link project.
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The advantages of the proposed wetland corridor far exceed ease of boating between Boston and Peterborough. It will provide a new route for cyclists and walkers, and be welcomed by anglers and other waterway enthusiasts, including canoeists, kayakers and paddleboarders. The wetland corridor will also incorporate a nature reserve, improving flora and fauna and contributing to the health and well-being of locals and visitors to the area. IWA Waterways |
St Bardolph’s, Boston.
Improvements have already been made to the area, such as this slipway at Surfleet.
Currently, only narrow-beam boats can pass through the locks on the GU Northampton Arm.
Welcome economic regeneration will flow into the market towns of Spalding and Market Deeping, as well as the cities of Boston and Peterborough, and communities of Hubberts Bridge, Pinchbeck, Surfleet, Crowland and Peakirk. A comparison with the proposed Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterways Park, a new 16-mile route between the Grand Union Canal and River Great Ouse, suggests extra tourism resulting from increased boat traffic could boost the local economy along the wetland corridor by an additional £7m annually. While the projected outcomes of the wetland corridor look profitable, the initial costs are relatively low. The route runs mainly through flat, agricultural land and there are no major engineering challenges to overcome. It’s a simple and deliverable solution that will ultimately open up a plethora of opportunities for boaters to explore the beautiful waterways on the eastern extremities of the network.
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The Boston to Peterborough Wetland Corridor initiative is being led by IWA Regional chairs: • Chris Howes (Eastern Region/Peterborough Branch)
• Dave Pullen (East Midlands Region/Lincolnshire Branch) email@example.com Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:38
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IWA waterways |
SILVER PROPELLER CHALLENGE
THREE NORFOLK MILLS
Exploring the far-flung reaches of the network just got even more rewarding
With 125 miles of stunning waterways to explore, the Norfolk Broads are popular with boaters. Sue Oâ€™Hare guides us to three lesser-known sections
his third article on the less-visited destinations featured in the Silver Propeller Challenge focuses on the Norfolk Broads. It may seem a surprising choice in view of the popularity of the Broads, but the three locations on the list are at the quieter extremities of the system. There is much of interest in the area, ranging from remote marshes to the vibrant and historic city of Norwich. The local boating traditions and terminology are fascinating too: quants, rond anchors and mud weights, staithes, broads and wherries, all set in a peaceful landscape with sails moving gently through the fields.
Horsey Mere on the River Thurne.
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The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads form the UK’s largest protected wetland area and third-largest inland waterway system, with about 125 miles of navigable rivers and broads. They have the status of a national park, with the Broads Authority having responsibility for navigation as well as conservation and recreation. The lakes and dykes are medieval peat workings flooded by rising sea levels. They have created a unique landscape rich in history and rare wildlife which has inspired many authors, notably Arthur Ransome who set two of the Swallows and Amazons series here. The hire-boat industry started on the Broads in Victorian times and reached its peak in the 1970s, when more than 2,500 motor cruisers and yachts were available. The number of hire-boats has since more than halved, although the number of privately owned craft has increased and canoeing has become particularly popular. The Broads are tidal and can be accessed from the sea at Great Yarmouth or Lowestoft, but are not connected to the main inland waterways system. Intriguingly, the sources of the River Waveney (running to the North Sea through the Broads) and the River Little Ouse (running into the Wash via the Great Ouse) are only 400 yards apart. Proposals to link the two rivers have come to nothing, despite the attractive prospect of navigation between the Broads and the Midland canals through Denver Sluice. The five main rivers (Bure, Ant and Thurne in the north and Yare and Waveney in the south) converge on Great Yarmouth. Three of the rivers were extended with locks but all these navigations are now closed and the Broads are lock-free. Geldeston Lock, built in 1670, is at the present head of navigation on the Waveney. Currently being restored by a local group with IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group help, it is well worth visiting the Southern Broads to see this interesting bow-sided early lock with its excellent and remote pub.
Regatta on Barton Broad.
“The five main rivers (Bure, Ant and Thurne in the north and Yare and Waveney in the south) converge on Great Yarmouth”
A great crested grebe.
Boats moored at Ludham Bridge on the River Ant.
Boating on the Broads
Silver Propeller Challenge – Norfolk Broads
How Hill on the River Ant.
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IWA Waterways |
Brograve Mill, Waxham New Cut Brograve Mill is a derelict windmill at the head of navigation on Waxham New Cut off Horsey Mere in the north-east corner of the Broads close to the coast. It is only accessible to craft shorter than 30ft owing to the narrowness of the cut. If approaching from the main system along the River Thurne, craft must also be able to pass through the very low Potter Heigham Bridge. There is a voluntary ban on boating on Horsey Mere during winter. Brograve Mill was built in 1771 by the local landowner Sir Berney Brograve to drain the Brograve Levels into the cut, to combat the flooding and erosion caused by the North Sea. It is constructed of red brick and had an eight-bladed fantail and a boat-shaped cap carrying four ‘patent’ shuttered sails powering The low bridge at Potter Heigham on the River Thurne.
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“Brograve Mill was built in 1771 by the local landowner Sir Berney Brograve to combat flooding and erosion caused by the North Sea.” an internal turbine. Patent sails were designed to be adjusted without stopping the mill and were invented by William Cubitt from a local family of millers. Cubitt was prolific, inventing the prison treadwheel as well as engineering canals, rivers and railways and supervising the construction of the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851. Brograve Mill is thought to have last worked around 1930 and today, although it is Grade II-listed, it is an unsafe shell with only two stocks and two stubs of the original sails and a distinct lean to the west. Legend has it that Sir Berney made a bet with the devil that he could mow 2 acres of bean plants faster. The devil used black magic to win and turned to collect the soul he had been promised, but Sir Berney just managed to run inside the mill and slam the door in the devil’s face. The devil pounded on the door with his cloven hooves and tried to blow the mill down, and when Sir Berney dared to open the door in the morning he found it covered in hoof marks and the mill leaning over. Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:40
Silver Propeller Challenge – Norfolk Broads
Ebridge Mill and Millpond are on an isolated restored section of the North Walsham & Dilham Canal at the northern edge of the Broads. They are only accessible by craft which can be launched over the bank (prior permission is not needed and motorised vessels are permitted). To qualify for the award, boaters need to travel the full length from Bacton Wood Lock (Spa Common) to Ebridge Millpond by water – which includes the options of using one of the North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust’s trip-boats or volunteering with the Waterway Recovery Group on one of its ‘floating’ work parties. Boaters intending to visit are requested to notify the trust by emailing the secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org. The North Walsham & Dilham Canal is Norfolk’s only locked canal. It was developed late; the Act was passed in 1812 and the canal completed in little more than a year before opening in 1826. It leaves the River Ant just upstream of Wayford Bridge and extended for nearly 9 miles north-west to Antingham Ponds near North Walsham. Six 50ft by 12ft 4in locks were sized to take 20-ton Norfolk wherries, which had to be bow hauled when the wind was unfavourable for sailing. Surplus water from the four lower locks provided power for mills beside them – though there was constant friction between the mill owners and wherrymen as to whose need for water was greater. Coal continued to be transported overland from the coast and never became the lucrative cargo
Canoeists pass NWDCT trip-boat Sue B on the Ebridge Reach.
Ebridge Mill, North Walsham & Dilham Canal
expected, but the canal did reasonably well with grain, flour, timber and animal foodstuffs – and a weekly cabbage wherry from Antingham to the market in Great Yarmouth. In 1886 the canal was sold to a local miller, Edward Press, who pioneered pleasure boating and hired out five converted wherries to holidaymakers from Ebridge. Trade and the state of the canal both continued to decline, until the wherry Ella made the last cargo-carrying trip in 1934. Further damage was caused by the construction of the Bacton Gas Terminal in the late 1960s. Thoughts of restoration started in 1953 with a visit by Robert Aickman. IWA was involved in early work with the East Anglian Waterways Association, which was instrumental in setting up the North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust in 2008 to progress restoration at a more local level. Detailed studies of the canal have been carried out as well as extensive restoration work in partnership with the canal owners (there are four different private owners along its length). Ebridge Mill is a five-storey former watermill built of red brick with a slate roof. It was owned by Cubitt & Walker from 1869 to 1998 and used to produce flour and animal feed; it is now restored and converted for residential use. The mill pond and reach to Bacton Wood Lock are used by the trust’s trip-boats including the new Ella II, officially named in June 2018 by descendants of the skipper of Ella, Nat Bircham.
North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust’s solar-powered electric boat Ella II at Ebridge Mill.
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IWA Waterways |
Norwich Yacht Station marks the limit of navigation for hire-boats on the River Wensum.
Norwich New Mills Yard, River Wensum New Mills Yard in Norwich is a former watermill complex forming the head of navigation on the River Wensum, a tributary of the River Yare running through Norwich. Hire-boats are limited to Bishops Bridge just above the Norwich Yacht Station, but may turn here and still qualify for the Silver Propeller Challenge. The river played an important role in the development of Norwich, as both a means of transport and a source of power. In the 13th century, Caen limestone for Norwich Cathedral was brought from Normandy up the river onto a canal built by monks through the arch at the watergate at Pull’s Ferry. Bishops Bridge is Norwich’s only surviving medieval bridge, built about 1340 in stone with three arches and a gatehouse as part of the city walls. The nearby Lollard’s Pit pub is named after a former chalk pit where religious heretics were burned at the stake in the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1549 a landowner called Robert Kett led an army of 20,000 people to Norwich to protest against the enclosure of common land, stormed the bridge and took control of the city for a few days. In 1923 the city authorities proposed to replace Bishops Bridge with a wider structure, but the Norwich Society succeeded in having the bridge listed. The development of the mills at New Mills Yard started in earnest with the construction of a corn mill in 1430 on the site of even older mills. The mill was funded by the mayor and other citizens who were keen to avoid the high milling charges levied by the Abbot of St Benet’s on the River Bure. Subsequently the Abbot, encouraged by a former mayor Thomas Wetherby, decided to object to the New Mills. The dispute became known as Wetherby’s Contention and resulted in a riot in 1442 known as Gladman’s Insurrection. By the 1780s New Mills had developed into a complex which over the years housed flour mills, a fulling mill, saw mill, silk mill and waterworks pumping drinking water into the city – all under a single roof and with a waterwheel at each end of the mill structure. This was large-scale milling: in 1836 a waterwheel 15ft wide and 18ft in diameter powered seven water pumps. In 1897 New Mills were again rebuilt, this time as a single-storey red-brick pumping station across the Wensum forming part of the city sewerage system. Its purpose was to produce compressed air for moving sewage, using Shone pumps that were the last working examples in the country apart from those still used at the Houses of Parliament. New Mills pumping station eventually closed in 1972 and the building has been unused since then, although sluice gates still control the drinking water supply for the city and riverside housing developments have been built. The River Wensum Strategy adopted by Norwich City Council in June 2018 requires the development of an action plan for future improvement.
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#SILVERPROPELLER We’d love to hear from you while you’re on the way to meeting the challenge. You can post your pictures to our UK waterways Flickr group, or tag your images on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with #silverpropeller. • Twitter: @IWA_UK • Instagram: @iwa_uk • Facebook: facebook.com/ inlandwaterwaysassociation
The River Wensum runs through Norwich.
Further Information The Broads Authority provides up-to-date information on navigation (including access from the sea, registration requirements and navigation notes): broads-authority.gov.uk/boating/ navigating-the-broads Licensing for canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards: visitthebroads.co.uk/discover-thebroads/boating/canoe-kayak-sup/_nocache North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust: nwdct. org (including access maps: nwdct.org/maps.html)
Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:40
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Waterways meets Ed Gittins, one-third of IWA’s Planning Advisory Panel, to learn how members can benefit from the service and better safeguard their local waterways Not all IWA members will be aware of the Planning Advisory Panel – how long has it been in existence and who's involved? IWA has had two Honorary Consultant Planners, myself and Bob Dewey, for some time. We’ve been dealing with planning issues in the background as part of a fairly informal arrangement – people contact IWA if they have a planning problem or query and it gets farmed out to one of us. This year we’ve tried to introduce a more joined-up, considered approach by launching the Planning Advisory Panel (PAP), with the addition of Phil Sharpe from IWA Lichfield Branch. We’re on hand to offer professional advice on a wide range of planning matters including Development Plans, Neighbourhood Plans, Planning Applications and Planning Appeals – or just provide an opinion on whether planning permission is required.
How can members contact the panel? Contact IWA Head Office and the query will be referred to us. We also have contacts with other experts, so can put people in touch with more relevant authorities if and when the situation demands, for example if there are engineering implications.
Who will benefit from the service? There are two elements to it really. The first strand is aimed at people or organisations requiring planning law advice. Is planning permission needed for particular developments? If, on a restoration for example, you’re simply replacing a lock gate then you won’t require permission. But if you’re cutting a new line for the canal then it’s an engineering operation that does require permission. Planning impinges on the restoration movement quite strongly. The other aspect is that sometimes the allocation of land in Development Plans will affect the line of restoration. We can advise on the need to put in representations or objections to local development plans to safeguard the route of canals. Equally we can advise on challenges to developments that affect the amenity of existing canals. There are concerns, especially in towns, that some urban developments can create dark corridors – a canyon effect – on the waterway.
What sort of projects are you currently working on? The Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) for a Rail Freight Interchange in Northamptonshire is the first major development requiring PAP involvement. The proposed development will have a massive impact on the Grand Union Canal and the PAP will be working closely with the Canal & River Trust and IWA Northampton Branch to ensure waterway interests are safeguarded.
Many people are put off filling in planning application forms. Is their reputation for complexity deserved or are things simpler these days? In my experience, the planning process has become infinitely more complex than it was 10 or 15 years ago. To many it is now unfathomable. In fact, when it comes to
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IWA’s Honorary Consultant Planner Ed Gittins.
filling in a planning application form, I tell my clients they would probably prefer to fill in their tax returns!
Why is it important that the inland waterways movement keeps in touch with the planning system nevertheless? There’s a review of the planning system in the pipeline and we anticipate some major changes. As an Honorary Consultant Planner I’ve taken on the job of providing IWA’s response to government on a variety of consultation exercises and it’s very important that we not only keep in touch, but help influence any changes to both national and local planning policy. Waterways aren’t sufficiently safeguarded, in my view, by the current system. Unless we’re proactive, our waterways won’t secure the degree of protection they need for long-term retention, especially for restoration schemes.
How can IWA members be more proactive – on an individual or branch basis – when it comes to planning? I think it’s very important that branches have planning officers to monitor planning within the branch area. It’s a formidable task and there are many, many different planning authorities within one branch area. It’s a very time-consuming business, although helped to some extent by the internet. It’s possible to monitor all planning applications and development plan progress online now, but it may not be obvious which waterways will be affected, or how, without having good local knowledge. The role requires meticulous research and monitoring.
When did you get involved with IWA? I wasn’t actively involved until 10 or 11 years ago when I applied to become a member of the Restoration Committee. I served on that for about seven years, not long after which it was disbanded and superseded by the Restoration Hub. Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:41
Planning Advisory Panel
Ed’s interest in the waterways was piqued by walks along the Welsh canals as a child.
Above: Planning is an area that impinges greatly on the restoration movement.
What do you enjoy about volunteering? I have a keen interest in the industrial and architectural archaeology of canals and I enjoy indulging this whenever I can. The larger part of the inland waterways system is national heritage and there’s a lot of potential in promoting it further and, by doing so, extending and improving the system. I want to play my part. That’s not to say I have tunnel vision (literally!) and don’t appreciate the value of canals from other users’ perspectives. It’s just I think there is a wider, national importance attached to a system that was created 200 years ago and which is still in operation. It’s quite amazing.
Where does your interest in the waterways stem from? I was brought up in Oswestry, so very close to both the Montgomery and Llangollen canals, and explored them from a young age. This was the 1950s, when the canals were in a very poor state. There was hardly any traffic on the Llangollen. I used to just walk along the towpath and, even at that age, considered it a shame that such wonderful amenities weren’t surviving. I can remember walking alongside Aston Locks on the Monty, and their dereliction really got me thinking of ways in the future that they might be restored. I suppose that sowed the seeds for future involvement with IWA and the restoration movement generally. Interestingly, it was near here that Tom Rolt took charge of Cressy, his narrowboat, which had been operated by A & A Peate – millers at Maesbury. The Peates used to come to tea with us – although little did I realise the connection, as a child, between them and this towering figure of the IWA movement. Many years later, when the IWA National Rally was held at Burton-on-Trent in 2011, I pushed Sonia Rolt around the showground in her wheelchair and had an opportunity to tell her about this link. She was fascinated.
Do you have a favourite waterway? The Llangollen is the one I have closest association with as it’s my local waterway, but the Montgomery is the one I would really love to see completed. I’m still hoping it’ll all be joined up and I’ll be able to get to Newtown in my lifetime, some way or another. I’d also love to see the Stour Navigation fully restored but there’s still a long way to go with that. Both would be wonderful additions to our network. Winter 2018 024 planning advisory panel SH AH.indd 25
“Waterways aren’t sufficiently safeguarded, in my view, by the current planning system”
For more planning guidance visit: waterways.org.uk/information/planning/planning_advisory_panel IWA Waterways |
COME AGAIN PLEASE? After sampling his very first Festival of Water last year, boater Ron Pannell determined to make even more of the experience at St Neots this summer. Waterways caught up with him after an eventful weekend... So Ilkeston 2017 really whet your appetite, did it? I found the experience so interesting. In fact, it was my wife Anne who suggested we boat to Ilkeston last summer. We have family in that part of the country so it tied in nicely. It was only after doing a bit of research, however, that she realised how many locks the journey would entail – 150 each way! Matters weren’t helped by her hurting her toe one day out of Peterborough, and injuring her back on the return trip. We had to swap roles – she learned to drive the boat while I worked the paddles. Going to Ilkeston was also the longest we’d ever spent aboard. It took just over four weeks as a round trip. There was so much rain on the return journey that even I was grateful to be back in a house again at the end of it. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful experience.
I bet you were pleased this year's festival was closer to home... Yes, it was much more local – just a couple of days’ cruising. And no real problems to report on the way, except for a lot of weed in the channel approaching St Ives. This wasn’t really an issue for us on our narrowboat, but I think it might have been a different story for people on water-cooled cruisers.
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Celebration entering the tidal channel below the Old Bedford Sluice.
LOVE YOUR WATERWAYS
And no injuries to report this summer?! Well, just one. The day before we were due to come home I saw Chucklefoot play, the one-man band, because I wanted to get his CD. Coming out of the tent well after midnight, when it was dark and I’d had a couple of pints, I tripped over a cable and fell headfirst into a ditch! It was just one of those things. We had a laugh about it afterwards.
You certainly got stuck into the weekend, beginning with a campaign cruise on the Old Bedford River before the gates had even opened! Yes, my wife insists I’m mad! IWA is campaigning for the reopening of Welches Dam Lock and I wanted to lend my support. The plan was to meet up at Welney, about halfway along the Old Bedford River, later that evening and have a few drinks, before making the return trip the next day. Unfortunately, having tried to get into the Old Bedford Sluice at Salter’s Lode three times, we had to give up. Twice we ran aground on the silt. The third time we actually got in, but found our boat was listing as the tide pushed us onto a sandbank. Anne got a bit worried at that point so we called it a day. There’d already been some drama earlier that morning – we had to free a sailing boat that had been stuck overnight, and the tide was late coming in. But it was still a good experience with great camaraderie. And the whole event was quite well supported by members of the public looking on. Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:42
Love Your Waterways
What were your personal highlights of the weekend?
Ouse cruise: the festival site in all its glory.
The grandchildren enjoyed free taster paddleboarding sessions at the festival.
Definitely not the rain! We took part in the illuminated boats procession, which was fun, and there were certainly more stalls than at Ilkeston, so we had a good time exploring those. Mainly, though, we enjoyed the opportunity to see so many other craft and meet like-minded people. We also caught up with a few boaters we’d met on the way to St Neots. It’s such a friendly community on the waterways, and the festival really brought out the best of it.
And you were inspired to become IWA members off the back of it? Yes, I joined IWA that very weekend because I’m full of admiration for the work it does. I offered to support any future work parties and I’ve subsequently helped clean vegetation on Horseways Channel. Volunteers can achieve a great deal on these waterways – I just wish EA would be more proactive too.
We hear you had canine company aboard for the weekend – how did Hollie the Yorkshire terrier enjoy her festival? I’m proud to say she picked up a Highly Commended prize in the veterans’ section of the festival dog show. In retrospect, I should’ve entered her into the ‘Cutest Dog’ category as so many people complimented her. However, with all the rain she certainly wasn’t looking her best that weekend. Not that it stopped her having a wonderful time. The festival site was well set up for dogs – the park was bustling with local dog walkers, as well as those off the boats.
How important are events like IWA's Festival of Water? Very important, I think. You’re bound to meet people who you’ve seen before and the venues are so well chosen – they’re invariably places on the network that you wouldn’t ordinarily think of going to. Victory in the veterans’ category for Hollie the dog.
You've been boating for 22 years now. Do you have a favourite waterway? My wife would say the Middle Levels as there aren’t so many locks! The Nene is alright but it’s a bit lonely sometimes. We both enjoy boating the Grand Union, especially around Braunston, Stoke Bruerne and Foxton. There’s so much to see and do. The only problem is that, from our mooring in Peterborough, it takes a while for us to actually get there.
Why do you love the waterways so much? When we first got our boat I wasn’t sure we’d be able to use it much as I was still working full-time. And I worried, when the odd weekend did become available, that cruising the same stretch of water might become boring. It didn’t. The wildlife and scenery change so much from season to season, year to year. I suppose it’s a bit like having several more gardens, instead of being limited to the one with your house. The relaxation the waterways offer is really important too. I often worked nights and found them quite stressful. Following a particularly lousy one, I would always go to the boat for an hour before heading home. I’d chill out or sleep for half an hour, and then take the boat upriver on my own. It calmed me down better than any drug. If there’s anything more relaxing than being on the water, the Good Lord kept it for himself. Taking part in the illuminated boats procession.
Winter 2018 026 LYW_st neots SH AH.indd 27
IWA Waterways |
FISHY BUSINESS Waterways stoppages might thwart winter cruising, but fishing offers a refreshingly different way to enjoy our canals this festive season. IWA puts forward the case
Why try it? The joy of sitting quietly, half watching a float and taking in the sounds and sights of the birds, insects and small mammals going about their daily business across the water and around the bankside is a special experience. While other waterway users actively travel past on their boat, bike or on foot, the angler has time to observe the changing light across the water, watch a busy kingfisher hunt for fish and listen to the scurrying of a vole around the bank edges. Actually catching a fish is quite often an unwelcome disturbance!
Why on a canal? Over the last 25 years the canals have fallen out of fashion with anglers, possibly due to the growth of commercial fisheries. However, they benefit from being easily accessible, they run through many of our major urban conurbations and in the winter see little boating traffic. There are many stretches of canal where it is possible to find quiet, peace and solitude in lovely unspoilt countryside to witness wildlife at its best. Due to the nature and diversity of canal fishing an angler can never be sure what he will catch next!
For example... It’s possible to catch a huge variety of species from our canals – roach, perch, chub, pike, carp and, where rivers run into canals, our native brown trout and also rainbow trout. It’s possible to catch fish to very good sizes too. A 40lb carp has been caught from the Grand Union Canal at West Drayton, one of this size from the Kennet & Avon Canal and rumours of 40lb carp from the Basingstoke Canal. There is even a flowing stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal where grayling are sometimes caught. Pike over 28lb from the Basingstoke Canal are recorded and one of 26lb 14ozs was landed from the Kennet & Avon Canal a couple years ago. However, many anglers choose to fish the canals for the more elusive roach – a fish which requires patience and some luck to catch to specimen size.
What time of day is best? The best fishing is either early or late in the day when there is less bankside disturbance, the boats have stopped passing and the locks are not operating and therefore creating moving water.
Do I need permission?
Anglers on the Trent & Mersey in Burton-on-Trent.
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Fishing rights to most of the inland waterway network belong to local fisheries or angling clubs. Often a oneday licence can be purchased from a bailiff visiting the bankside. Other fisheries require joining as a member and paying a yearly subscription to fish. Details of individual fishing clubs and waterways can be found on the Angling Trust website: fishinginfo.co.uk. On the canal network, most of the fishing rights are licensed to angling clubs but some stretches may not be let for various reasons. Canal & River Trust operates a Waterway Wanderers Scheme making these waters available to individual anglers and angling clubs: canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-thewaterways/fishing/waterway-wanderers-scheme. Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:43
Fishing from a boat may be allowed but day or season membership of the controlling angling club must be purchased and their rules must be adhered to at all times.
What about a rod licence? A rod licence is required by everyone over the age of 12 to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt and eel with a rod and line in England (except the River Tweed), Wales and the Border Esk region of Scotland. Fishing the River Thames at the locks and weirs requires an additional licence. These are issued by the Environment Agency and are valid from 1st April to 31st March. There are concessions available and also shorter licences of one day and eight day durations. Fishing without a licence is an offence and carries a fine up to £2,500. More information can be found on the Environment Agency website: gov.uk/fishing-licences/when-you-need-a-licence.
Why should we all try harder to be fishermen's friends? The angler is one of a variety of people looking after our waterways, and angling clubs hold regular work parties to improve their local waterway for fishing. They carry out work to improve fishing swims by litter picking, clearing overhanging vegetation and maintaining the towpaths. Anglers are very aware of the damage invasive species are having on native fish populations and will not return signal crayfish or zander to the water if caught. The impact to bank erosion being caused by Himalayan balsam has led to many clubs running their own work parties to remove the plant from their waters. Floating pennywort and other carpet-forming invasive plants such as Australian swamp stonecrop can make waterways not only unnavigable but also unfishable.
CRT hosted dozens of free fishing events on our canals in 2018 to encourage people to try out the pastime for free.
Five minutes with the Angling Trust’s David Kent Can you remember the first time you fished in a canal?
Is boat traffic a nightmare if you're trying to fish?
Yes, I was eight years old and it was on the Erewash Canal near Long Eaton. I caught a gudgeon and was hooked for life.
It’s sometimes a problem because there’s a lack of understanding between the angling and boating communities. It’s getting better but you still find people on both sides who don’t want to cooperate or see any scope for sharing. I think CRT forums are really helpful, in this respect, for encouraging all users to get together and exchange ideas and discuss problem areas. There are certain pinch points on towpaths or on the water itself that make it difficult. A boater might be forced to take a different line, for example, from that which is deemed appropriate by an angler. Sticking to the deepest part of the channel, usually the middle, and progressing at a gentle speed is what I advise most boaters. At the end of the day the fish are quite used to boat traffic and it’s sometimes the anglers rather than what they’re catching who get needlessly upset.
Why might canals be a better place for a novice angler to start than rivers or lakes? You don’t need too many complicated bits of tackle or baits to fish a canal. As a youngster I made do with a slice of bread and a spoonful of sugar, which we used to call ‘bread paste’. So it’s a relatively cheap place to start. You can buy equipment now that would catch you fish on most canals for a relatively low price.
Do you need lessons before trying it? You don’t need lessons but there are so many top quality coaches around now that it would certainly help getting onto a local session, or just joining someone else who knows what they’re doing. You can always benefit from their experience.
There is a popular misconception that canals only contain tiny fish – is this true? No, the whole size range is in there and the ordinary person with no particular expertise will probably get bites all day from fish ranging from 3in long to 6-8in long.
Winter 2018 028 angling SH AH.indd 29
So could anglers, then, do more to improve relations with boaters?
always been to keep vegetation down. At 1m there’s plenty of habitat for wildlife, but it also means people can see each other in good time. I’ve argued the same thing with EA on the river.
Magnet fishing is growing in popularity – has there been any conflict with traditional angling? I haven’t seen any personally, but I do know of a verbal stand-off in Nottingham recently between traditional anglers, shall we say, and those doing it with magnets. There are undoubtedly health and safety implications with magnet fishing, which haven’t yet been addressed. For example there are currently no rules, either with CRT or at club level, dictating where people can and can’t do it. It’s still very much in its infancy in that sense. David thinks better communication between waterway users and a commitment from CRT to improve visibility could improve relations.
Frankly I believe the relationship is improving anyway. I do think, though, that CRT could play its part with regards to vegetation management. Good visibility is essential and where bankside vegetation is allowed to grow, say, beyond 1m high, then anglers sometimes can’t spot a boat until too late. My view has
IWA Waterways |
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One month to view with space for daily notes. Illustrated with a full page waterway scene 339mm x 232mm (13.4” x 9.1”) approximately. Calendar opens to 339mm x 464mm (13.4” x 18.2”) approximately at full length.
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One month to view with space for daily notes. Illustrated with a waterway scene in a detachable postcard format. 320mm x 172mm (12.5” x 7”) approximately.
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Cover Picture: Hartshill Wharf, Coventry Canal Photographer: Jo Lodge
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60 Christmas Cards. Five cards each of twelve traditional paintings. 40 Christmas Cards. Five cards each of eight traditional paintings.
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Christmas Cards - £3.60 Per Pack Printed on high quality card. Supplied in packs of ten of one design. Message inside Christmas cards: “With Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year”.
Shropshire Union Canal,Christleton Chester Code X121 From an original painting by Ann Farrell
Code X122 Kings Bromley Marina From an original painting by Dave Gardham
Uppermill Huddersfield Narrow Canal From an original painting by Alan Firth
Out of the Mists From an original painting by Alan Firth
Braunston Boat Yard From an original painting by Alan Firth
Winter Gathering at Braunston Code X117 - £3.25 From an original painting by Alan Firth.
Whiteley Green, Macclesfield Canal
Code X114 - £3.25 Photo by Andy Hilliker.
Aldersley Junction on a winter evening
Recent Christmas Favourites The Packet House, Worsley
Code X116 - £3.25 From an original painting by Alan Firth.
Code X107 - £3.25 From an original painting by Dave Gardham.
Spikes Bridge, Grand Union Canal, Southall
Cruising Home for Christmas Code X115 - £3.25 From an original painting by Dave Gardham.
Code X118 - £3.25 Photo by Colin Harris.
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24/07/2018 10:25:55 24/07/2018 10:44
NORTH POLE As Christmas approaches, IWA’s northernmost branch suggests winter highlights for hardy boaters and looks ahead to what’s happening there in 2019
t’s safe to say it’s been an active year for Lancashire & Cumbria Branch. “It’s certainly been a busy one,” agrees its chair Wendy Humphreys, before running through a long list including everything from litter picking and Balsam bashing, through to working with local university students on a rebranding exercise for the Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership. Along the way they’ve welcomed two new active committee members to fly the branch flag – quite literally, by decking out their boat in IWA paraphernalia and handing out flyers during their summer cruising – and celebrated the achievements of longstanding ones like Audrey Smith OBE, who picked up IWA’s most Audrey Smith OBE receives the Cyril prestigious award, the Cyril Styring Styring Trophy from Ivor Caplan. trophy, at the September AGM. The prize goes annually to an individual member who has, in the opinion of the trustees, made an outstanding contribution to furthering IWA campaigns. Audrey, a previous national chairman (1994-1998) more than fits that bill. During her four years of chairmanship, she oversaw a revitalisation of the Association’s Head Office, much improved relations with navigation authorities and other waterways user groups and a more prominent campaigning role for the waterways with government. And over the past 20 years Audrey has continued to serve in a variety of roles, including
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as vice president and currently as chairman of the Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership, giving it a new lease of life with just-announced HLF and other substantial grants. Of course, all work and no play would make the branch very dull indeed, so fortunately the social side has also been admirably covered over the last 12 months with a trip to Portland Basin (including a cruise on the Ashton Canal) and talks from an array of guest speakers. The latter have been even more well attended than usual thanks to a new, cosier venue complete with bar and additional parking. Winter on the Lancaster Canal
Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:45
Lancashire & Cumbria Branch
200th anniversary Paradoxically, however, the main focus of the year has been the build-up to what’s happening next year – when the Lancaster Canal celebrates 200 years since opening. The branch has long supported its full restoration, and works closely with the Lancaster Canal Trust to this end. Wendy explains: “We have a crossover in membership, promote their events and send a representative to their meetings, and vice-versa. Sitting around a table together is really useful in helping to highlight how many common aims and interests we have.” The branch is hoping to forge more close partnerships like this as it follows CRT’s lead on the waterway’s 2019 anniversary. Wendy reveals: “We’re planning a celebratory journey from the historic start of the Lancaster Canal which, believe it or not, is just past the Wigan Flight at Leigh, on the Leeds & Liverpool, and ending up in Kendal on 18th June. Obviously the route can’t all be done by boat, so the plan is to use the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society’s heritage craft Kennet as far as Johnson’s Hillock, before walking onwards to Preston following the line of the canal. From here it’ll be back on the water to Tewitfield, the extent of the navigable section of the canal. However, we’re hoping to use the LCT’s trip-boat Waterwitch to go on a little further still towards Stainton. There’s still some water in that section as it’s used as a feeder for the canal. Shallow-draughted boats can make it, as well as dinghies and canoes. We’re hoping for a flotilla of those kind of boats. After that there’ll be a walk to Kendal. The line is protected and it’s a really beautiful route.” The journey is expected to kick off towards the end of May and will, in the words of Wendy, “be quick and intensive with a lot of publicity”. Among other ideas being floated are a series of afternoon teas along the way, inviting local dignitaries along the line of the canal and using local premises like the parish or village hall to host the events. Getting the community involved, especially children, says Wendy, is something all organisations involved in the celebrations want to promote.
Trailboat Festival But the 200th isn’t the only big event on the branch’s 2019 calendar – they’ll also be hosting the ever-popular Trailboat Festival in June as part of Country Fest at Westmorland County Showground. Wendy says: “Unfortunately the timing of it (1st-2nd June) won’t coincide with the canal’s anniversary journey as we’re constrained by the dates of Country Fest. Linking the two events was too good an opportunity to miss, however, as we’ll have a captive audience
“We’re planning a celebratory journey from the historic start of the Lancaster Canal”
Committee members Maralyn and Jim Nott’s IWAbedecked boat has proved a great way to advertise branch activity.
Winter 2018 032 branch focus lancs_cumbria SH/AH final AH.indd 33
The branch’s L&L display at Country Fest this year promoted lots of interest.
for our trailboat event and the people attending that have the added benefit of all Country Fest’s attractions, from craft stalls and a kite festival to farming events and a dog show. From an organisational point of view, too, there are obvious attractions to tagging on. We don’t need to worry about security, toilets, all the things that cost a lot of money when you’re putting on a big public event of this kind, as they’re already provided.” In the meantime there’s plenty of other work to get done, not least keeping an eye on the worrying situation across the border. Lancs & Cumbria is unique among IWA branches in the vast geographical spread of its waterways which extend, not just across the North West, but to the whole of Scotland too. “Scottish waterways are going through a dark time,” says Wendy. “After all that excitement a few years ago with the opening of the Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies, it’s such a shame that we’re now facing the real prospect of closures. We’re monitoring the situation closely and are obviously very concerned.”
Stainton Aqueduct Closer to home they’ll also be keeping up to date with repairs to the Stainton Aqueduct, which was damaged by Storm Desmond back in December 2015. A Heritage Lottery Fund application to repair it was successful and work started a few weeks ago. “The idea is not just to fix the aqueduct and do some work along Hincaster Tunnel, but to make it into a good visitor attraction too, which was a stipulation of the grant,” explains Wendy. “We’re hoping that by the time the Trailboat Festival happens, participants can see the results for themselves.” The branch also continues to support Lancaster Canal Trust’s ‘Buy a Block’ appeal. Some 23,000 are needed to line the canal, with donations so far amounting to £7,500. Supporters can buy a block for a pound via the LCT website (lctrust.co.uk). “If they really want to,” adds Wendy, “they can come along and lay it themselves – volunteers are always welcome!” The same applies at Lancs & Cumbria Branch committee level. Despite a healthy membership of around 350, and the arrival of two new faces on the committee in February, Wendy insists: “We’re not complacent. We’ve seen what a difference it makes when enthusiastic and knowledgeable people join. So wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could get even more people on board as it would increase the good work we can do still further.”
Find out more:
waterways.org.uk/lancsandcumbria IWA Waterways |
Lancs & Cumbria's
of Christmas Cruising
Hest Bank/ Bolton-leSands,
Heading up north this holiday season? Branch members share a dozen ‘don’t miss’ suggestions on or along their local waterways
Glasson Branch, Lancaster Canal The dock sits on the 2.5 mile stretch of the Glasson Branch, which opened in 1826, and provides the towns of Kendal, Lancaster and Preston with a link to the sea. Today, Glasson Dock is a scheduled monument and Glasson itself a quiet village with a marina and a small, active port. Use the Glasson flight, visit the legendary Smokehouse to stock up on fish, chutney, wine and charcuterie or have lunch at Lantern o’er Lune café-cum-bistro.
Lancaster Canal It’s not often canal cruising affords views of the sea, so make the most of these villages for their great vantage over Morecambe Bay and the latter’s local pub.
LANCASTER Lancaster Canal
Guy's Thatched Hamlet,
Bilsborrow, Lancaster Canal
This canalside hamlet of thatched-roofed buildings is just off the A6 at Bilsborrow near the market town of Garstang. You’ll find Guy’s Eating Establishment and pizzeria nestling next to the atmospheric ‘Owd Nell’s Tavern, Guy’s Lodge and School House Square with its craft shop, plus lots more entertainment, from jazz bands to Punch & Judy shows. guysthatchedhamlet.co.uk
BLACKBURN EANAM WHARF
Ribble Link BOTANY BAY
Leeds & Liverpool Canal PARBOLD
Leeds & Liverpool Canal
The Windmill, Parbold,
Leeds & Liverpool Canal This small market town is a convenient place for taking on provisions, with all local shops, plus Tesco, and bus and train services to Liverpool, Southport and Preston. Eateries abound and recent developments around the old wharf have added a range of amenities, bringing an area of redundant buildings back to life.
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Leeds & Liverpool Canal
Parbold is nice near the canal bridge, where the brick tower of the old windmill is complemented by an equally attractive pub. Stop here for hearty food, delicious beer and a roaring log fire before continuing a very scenic cruise through to Crooke along the Douglas Valley. thewindmillparbold.co.uk Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:45
Lancashire & Cumbria Branch
Winter Wonderland, Falkirk Wheel
Lancaster Canal The northern terminus of the Lancaster Canal offers a good bus service to Lancaster and Keswick and the opportunity to take a stunning wintry walk along the northern reaches. You’ll find good food at Longlands Hotel, just east of the canal terminus, which is dogand child-friendly. longlandshotel.co.uk
This December the Falkirk Wheel will be transformed into a winter wonderland as Santa and his elves prepare for the big day. Families are invited to book a boat trip on the wheel to visit Santa’s grotto, which runs hourly from 12.30pm until 6.30pm (4.30pm on Christmas Eve) from 15th-24th December. Tickets are £13.95 per person (under 1s are £2), which includes a gift for each child. scottishcanals.co.uk/events/magicalchristmas-falkirk-wheel-2/
Greenberfield, Leeds & Liverpool Canal
There’s a canalside café and beautiful picnic area at what are often described as the ‘Best Kept Locks in the Country’. You’ll find good overnight moorings at the bottom of the locks, about 400 yards from the café.
Burnley Wharf, Leeds & Liverpool Canal
BINGLEY Although mooring here isn’t recommended overnight (unless the festival is on), it’s a good spot to tie up during daylight hours with a pub, museum and Tesco all within a few minutes’ walk.
Leeds & Liverpool Canal
Leeds & Liverpool Canal For those of us who are naughty, rather than nice, Christmas at Withnell Fold might provide a necessary corrective in the form of an old set of wooden stocks in its centre. This small estate village is worth a gander for other reasons too. It was built to house workers at the (now demolished) canalside paper mill, and the terraced cottages (complete with gardens and outside toilets) grouped around three sides of a spacious square remain a remarkable relic from that time.
Eanam Wharf, Leeds & Liverpool Canal
Eanam was one of the first areas to develop as an industrial zone after the opening of the canal in 1810 in Blackburn, and this is reflected in the groupings of early 19th century warehouses. There are safe moorings here (though not especially quiet) and a good bus connection to Blackburn. In recent years the Blackburn Canal Festival has been held at the wharf.
Botany Bay Village, Leeds & Liverpool Canal
Canalside near Bridge 78A, this retail village in a converted mill should help tick off plenty of gifts from your Christmas shopping list. There’s even a dedicated Christmas shop on the fourth floor! If you flag from all that retail therapy, the food hall and play area should provide something to revive spirits for the whole family. botanybay.co.uk Winter 2018 032 branch focus lancs_cumbria SH/AH final AH.indd 35
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23/10/2018 10:08 19/10/2018 15:18:16
restoration HUB: Waterways in Progress: The Waiting Gain
2014’s Water Adds Value report reviewed the beneﬁts brought by completed restorations.
A new report from IWA aims to galvanise the restoration movement by highlighting the unlocked potential of partially finished projects. We take a look at what to expect, and why it’s needed ‘This house believes that water adds value.’ As debates go, it’s a relatively straightforward one to win. Anecdotal evidence abounds of how our restored canals and rivers can make a positive difference to the local area and economy, not to mention that intangible sense of wellbeing we all seem to feel when we spend time on or around the towpath. For more quantifiable benefits, we can turn to the Canal & River Trust’s 2014 report on the subject, released in partnership with IWA. Having carefully assessed economic, social, environmental and heritage boons, it concluded: “It is evident from the data..., supported by comments from those interviewed, that the impact of waterway restorations is very far-reaching and almost always in excess of that which is anticipated and planned for.” While this ably justifies the value of a finished restoration, what about projects where the ‘reopened benefits’ are still at some distance? Is there evidence that even protracted schemes can still offer something to lure investors, keep local authorities on side and motivate volunteers? In short, yes. And this is the main motivation for publishing a full report on the subject. IWA believes it is an area that must be better valued and promoted. Restoration schemes are not just a means to an end; they have a life of their own and can bring quantifiable benefits at every stage.
What are 'waterways in progress'? One of the primary aims of this report is to challenge the stereotypes of a traditional restoration. It’s too simplistic to boil down the process into something that looks like the workings of a dreary algorithm: where stacking up x number of high-vis jackets and heavy machinery with y amount in
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The Grantham Canal.
the coffers eventually produces a desired number of navigable miles. By changing the way we talk about restoration, by putting new focus on the process in itself rather than the final result, opportunities along the way become easier to identify. We call unfinished artworks and other creative endeavours ‘works in progress’ because we recognise the intrinsic merit of their evolution and process. By borrowing this language, we finally allow ‘waterways in progress’ the same dynamism and fluidity. Though it might be many years before full navigation is possible, they can be and are making a positive contribution in the meantime – a contribution that IWA believes should be recognised, supported and funded.
Who's this report for? The report will serve a variety of purposes. A key audience will be made up of national and local government members in the hope that it will help put canal restorations at the heart of future policymaking and planning. Other groups with an interest in the waterways, whether that be local landowners or navigation authorities, should also find the report a useful reference tool to help overcome barriers to restoration progress. IWA ultimately hopes it will give restoration societies evidence – and ideas. The former will better equip them to approach potential funders and partners. It will arm them with facts, figures and real-life examples proving return on investment at every stage of a scheme. It
can also be harnessed by volunteers to inform a considered response when curious passersby question the point of their hard work. And it should inspire confidence and creativity when planning new revenue streams or community engagement projects.
What's in it? Using case studies from across the network, the report seeks to explain how well thought-out, strategic, partial restoration initiatives can start to deliver right from Day One. IWA has coined the phrase ‘the waiting gain’ to describe these benefits. Whether an award-winning waterside restaurant (like the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust’s Wharf House) or schemes such as on the Mon & Brec to give unemployed youngsters skills and training to get a job, the journey to project completion can bring assets in its own right, as well as opportunities to engage the whole community. IWA’s report acknowledges there could be obstacles when trying to replicate these ideas. However, it underlines a commitment to campaigning for the removal of barriers where they actually exist, and to working with restoration societies to combat perceived ones. IWA’s vision, spelt out clearly throughout, is that one day every waterway in progress can deliver these benefits across the board. Sign up to receive the report as soon as it’s published: waterways.org.uk/vision.
Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:47
Benefits in bitesize The report breaks down the potential positive impacts of unfinished restorations into four distinct categories;
1) Channelling Regeneration Waterways form a significant part of our nation’s infrastructure, and so their upkeep and conservation necessarily come at a price. However, a good quality, well-run restoration can justify investment by giving lasting and significant economic benefits back. Using examples like Ebley Mill (overleaf), the report will highlight how supporting a restoration project can not only pay off, but ‘pay it forward’ too, galvanising the local economy. The scale of this knock-on effect is limited only by the ingenuity of those involved.
2) Promoting Personal Development & Wellbeing Our waterways are increasingly promoted as a “Natural Health Service”. They accommodate exercise as diverse as a Sunday afternoon family bike ride to fiercely competitive cold-water swimming races. More recently they have been feted for the benefits they bring to mental wellbeing – and these extend even to canals that aren’t yet complete. They’re somewhere you can recharge your batteries and clear your head; a place to swap the rat race for the slow lane; a getaway-from-it-all destination without having to travel far from your doorstep. Restorations can also be a wonderful place to upskill and could even be the stepping stone to a brand new career. Whether it’s directly related to a job or not, volunteering on a waterway proves candidates have a diverse skill set, an ability to work well in a team and no shortage of self-motivation. Employers invariably look favourably on this.
3) Creating Community Spaces Waterways in progress can be a driving force for better social cohesion and provide a focal point for the entire community. While canals are traditionally linked to our industrial past, they are flexible and can respond to the modern needs of users, becoming a safe, inviting space which can Hollingwood Hub on the Chesterfield Canal not only serves as HQ of the Chesterfield Canal Trust, but also includes a coffee shop, meeting space, bring a wide range of groups play and picnic area for the whole community. together through activities and by creating places for interaction. Whether they be school students tasked with delving into local history or amateur artists looking for landscape inspiration; cyclists or birdwatchers; solitary anglers or a whole flotilla of paddleboarders – this is their waterway. Getting these people on board from an early stage bolsters local support for canal projects and ensures their long-term sustainability. And the community benefits in the meantime – an active restoration not only roots people to their past, but helps form a common bond by instilling collective pride in the place they live today. As a result, restorations grow to become much loved, well used and a massive boon for local councils looking to tie in or kickstart other community projects on their patch.
Winter 2018 038 restoration report SH final AH.indd 39
Volunteering on a restoration can enhance career prospects and build new skills.
4) Enhancing Heritage & Habitats The canals of England and Wales are a truly unique living landscape. Once a vast network of arteries moving goods around the country to fuel the Industrial Revolution, they now effectively form a huge linear national park. These canal corridors can act as a vital wildlife sanctuary, an important industrial heritage site and a living and flexible educational resource all rolled into one. The very act of restoration provides an immersive timeline, simultaneously revealing the last few hundred years as experienced by our forebears, while also looking to the future by highlighting conservation opportunities to benefit the next generation.
IWA Waterways |
Case study Ebley Mill, Cotswold Canals – Channelling Regeneration
waterway restoration can act as catalyst for a much wider regeneration of the areas adjoining it – from small housing schemes to the redevelopment of entire brownfield sites. Stroud District Council was one of the first to fully capitalise on this. In late 2008 they took on leadership of a Heritage Lottery-funded project to restore a 6-mile section of the Cotswold Canals. The decision was taken against a backdrop of recession and difficult financial and engineering challenges, but with huge community support. Through the Phase 1A (Stonehouse to Thrupp) regeneration project they have seen over £115m of private investment. This has transformed the area.
Formerly used as a car park, the canal at Ebley Mill has been excavated to become a navigable channel once again, complete with a trip-boat. The mill building itself was previously converted into offices by Stroud District Council. Other parts of the complex now have new uses too and luxury houses face onto the canal, developers having been lured by the waterfront potential. In all, some 550 new houses have been built, 62 hectares of brownfield land recycled and over 770 jobs created. After the success of Ebley Mill, Stroud District Council are keen to repeat it at a site further along the canal. The £3m infrastructure works at Brimscombe Port will provide 200 new homes, business units, community facilities and a canal marina in the Stroud Valley.
All photos care of Mike Gallagher of Cotswold Canals Trust
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Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:47
Ebley Mill in Numbers Private Sector investment
Target £64 million
Actual £115 million
new business start ups
Before & After: The Evolution of Ebley Mill in Images
“The canal project has already brought huge environmental, economic and leisure benefits, which will reach their full potential when we connect to the national network. I’ve been struck by the level of support from the public, who are telling us to get on with it.” Cllr Steve Lydon, leader of Stroud District Council
brownfield land recycled
Target 21 hectares
Actual 62.75 hectares
Target 14,000 sq. m
Actual 26,162 sq. m
new housing units
Target 286 Winter 2018 038 restoration report SH final AH.indd 41
Actual 559 IWA Waterways |
restoration HUB: Waterway Recovery Group
Work party on the Lichfield Canal.
PHEW! ONE HOT WRG SUMMER
The derelict, but not forgotten, canals of England and Wales have once again received the Waterway Recovery Group treatment this summer with 17 Canal Camp volunteer holidays taking place across the season. Ten different canals hosted over 250 volunteers with some having travelled quite literally across the world (from as far as Australia) to take part. With so many fantastic projects happening this year we could only pick a few highlights. Here are three: Derby Canal: Working alongside local volunteers from the Derby & Sandiacre Canal Trust, WRG volunteers spent the week restoring Borrowash Bottom Lock. This was a technical Canal Camp with an emphasis on brickwork accuracy as work focussed on rebuilding the stone gate recess and wing walls. The coping stones were also reinstated. Lichfield Canal: It has been a while since our working holiday volunteers visited the Lichfield Canal. The camp objective was to make a start on the towpath retaining wall, which when finished will be over 100m long. The rebuilt waterway will eventually measure 7 miles and boast 30 locks.
WRG volunteers at the Mon & Brec archaeological dig.
Mon & Brec Canal: This is probably the most unusual project that we have supported this year. Volunteers spent two weeks at Ty Coch Locks, near Torfaen, uncovering original canal artefacts during an archaeological dig.
One last camp… If a canal camp was on your 2018 list of must-do’s, don’t despair as there is still time to join in. The WRG Christmas Camp (26th December-1st January) will take place in the Cotswolds, where volunteers will feast themselves on festive food and clear overgrown areas of the canal.
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Work off your Christmas dinner at the last Canal Camp of the year.
Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:48
FAMILY CAMPS 2018
LOOKING FORWARD TO 2019
Family Camps were launched in 2017 and this year we managed to run three, extending our aim of getting more young people involved with volunteering on canal restorations. All in all, WRG was overwhelmed by the Youngsters support and enthusiasm from help out on the local societies and the families Grantham Canal. that attended. WRG was hosted by the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust, Grantham Canal Society and Essex Waterways Ltd, where 15 families and nearly 20 children were introduced to the world of canal restoration. Our young navvies took the chance to build bird houses, paint and repair bollards, remove invasive species and learn how to operate locks. We intend to run three more Family Camps in 2019, so if you know of some young people aged six and over who might like to spend some time getting to grips with new skills, or if you fancy spending some quality time with the grandchildren, then contact our Restoration Team and we will be sure to keep you informed. Find out more at waterways.org.uk/wrg.
There is never a dull moment in WRG and soon the team will be planning for next year’s Canal Camps. Every year WRG needs over 80 volunteer leaders, assistants and cooks to ensure a fun, wellplanned and safe experience. If you think you or someone you know has the skills or competences we are looking for then take a look at the WRG website to find out more – waterways.org.uk/wrg. WRG intends to publish the 2019 Camp dates and locations by mid-December. Keep your eyes peeled and all the details will be on the WRG website, as well as in the 2019 brochure. You can put your name down to receive the 2019 brochure as soon as it’s published by going to waterways. org.uk/wrg/brochure.
What's the point? Indeed, you may well ask! This and many other questions will be answered by the Restoration Hub’s latest video ‘Project Planning’. Intended to help restoration trusts and groups plan their projects well and to improve set-up skills and standards across the sector, the film will be ready in December and join the Hub’s library of resources designed to support the restoration movement – waterways.org.uk/waterways/ restoration/restoration_resources.
run for the hub
Building bird boxes on the Uttoxeter Canal.
WRG REGIONAL GROUP ROUND-UP Our regional groups have been just as busy restoring canals across the country too.
Mikk Bradley, IWA’s Technical Support Officer, will be running the Marlow half marathon on 4th November to raise funds to support the work of the Restoration Hub. Following a beautiful countryside route, Mikk hopes to raise over £250 and if you would like to support him, or if you or anyone you know would like to help raise money to fund the work of the restoration team, then please do contact our fundraising officer, Ellen Hawes, via email – email@example.com. uk. IWA’s Mikk Bradley is running to raise money for the Restoration Hub.
Buckingham Arm: WRG BITM (for those that don’t know, BITM stands for ‘Bit in the Middle’) and London WRG have been assisting the Buckingham Canal Society with building a new bridge, which will allow the society to continue its canal excavation efforts. Wey & Arun Canal: Significant progress has been made on the slipway near Dunsfold since our Canal Camp back in 2017. WRG BITM also assisted in the repainting of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust’s publicity boat John Smallpiece. Wilts & Berks Canal: London WRG made a trip in early summer to help the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust restore Steppingstone Lane Bridge near Swindon. The group spent the weekend repairing brickwork and installing new coping stones.
Winter 2018 042 WRG AH.indd 43
IWA Waterways |
Then and Now: celebrating restoration success stories
GATEWAY TO THE COTSWOLDS
WA’s work to restore Inglesham Lock at the junction of the Thames & Severn Canal with the River Thames began in 2010 when the Waterway Recovery Group Forestry and London WRG arrived on site, removing trees, stumps and vegetation. Inglesham is the gateway to the Cotswold canals restoration at the eastern end of the canal, and the lock, bridge and adjacent privately owned roundhouse and cottage make an iconic group of structures. Restoration of the lock will eventually open up access to the Thames & Severn Canal from the rest of the national waterways system, complementing work led by Stroud District Council and the Cotswold Canals Partnership in the Stroud valley. IWA raised over £100,000 to fund the purchase of the site and over 300m of the original canal line above the lock and to fund the physical restoration of the lock chamber itself. Following ongoing vegetation clearance and wildlife management work, many visits were made by one of IWA’s Honorary Consultant Engineers to survey the lock, understand the condition of what remained, and to start development of plans and
Overgrown and barely visible – Inglesham Lock gates before restoration.
The lock chamber in 2015.
Large amounts of silt had to be cleared from the lock before rebuilding work could start.
A work in progress in 2016.
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Coping stones removed and numbered awaiting reinstallation.
Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:49
Above: The head of the lock before work started... Above right: ...and awaiting coping stones partway through the restoration.
designs for the restoration. 2014 saw over three weeks of volunteer effort to remove silt and repair the walls underneath the bridge, install new stop plank grooves and stop planks and pack 2,000 sandbags behind the stop planks to ensure the site was properly isolated from the Thames. In 2015 the chamber was cleared of the debris and mud that derelict canals attract, enabling a detailed survey of the lock which indicated it was in a very sorry state due to root damage from many large trees and the effects of the weather and neglect. Since then WRG Canal Camps and ongoing support from the Kent & East Sussex Canal Restoration Group (KESCRG) have made a significant difference at the site, dismantling and rebuilding the chamber walls, installing replacement culvert and retaining walls to the spill weir, rebuilding paddle arches and reinstallation of many of the original coping stones and casting stones where original stones are not available. So much progress has been made this year that the brickwork of both sides of the chamber is almost complete and all that remains to be done is installation of the last few coping stones, alongside specific stones over the paddle arches, backfilling and landscaping. While the lock will not be fitted with gates and paddles until restoration of this section of the Thames & Severn Canal is much closer, activity at Inglesham Lock will be completed in 2019.
Winter 2018 044 Then and Now AH.indd 45
The rebuilding of Inglesham Lock is due to be completed at the end of this year.
IWA Waterways |
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47 23/10/2018 10:10
GOING SOLO Single handed boating can be an enjoyable and rewarding way of experiencing the waterways. Alison Smedley provides tips for staying safe out there on your own
here are many reasons why a boater may find themselves boating without any crew; it could be due to illness or an emergency, such as a crew member becoming unwell, or simply through choice. IWA supports the principle of single handed boating, but acknowledges that the risk of accidents is much greater if you are cruising without a crew, and recommends the following advice for people taking to the tiller on their own.
Use the centre line for mooring temporarily at locks or bridges.
First off, as a single handed boater you should take responsibility for your own actions in the knowledge that the risks associated with boating on your own are greater than with a crew, and you should limit those risks according to conditions. For example, if you frequently single hand your boat through locks in normal weather conditions, you may decide to postpone your trip in extreme conditions such as ice or snow. It is sensible to plan ahead and to have an idea of where you intend to get to each day, especially on rivers or waterways with few places to moor. It’s also a good idea to plan for practical things, such as ensuring that you have enough food and drink easily to hand and extra layers of clothing or a waterproof jacket nearby in case the weather should change. Some boaters prepare hot drinks in a flask before they set off, to drink later on.
Mooring and setting off
Hold a boat in a lock with the centre line – but keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t get caught or hung up.
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A centre line (typically attached to the roof of a narrowboat, or to bitts or cleats on the stern quarter of barges and cruisers) of a good length is essential for single handed boating for a number of reasons. It is useful when mooring up, enabling you to bring the boat alongside the bank before making it secure at each end. A centre line is also handy for temporarily mooring up your boat at the lock landing stage while you get the lock ready; make sure it is tied up tightly enough, or that the engine is left in forward gear to hold the boat in, so that one end of the boat won’t swing out in front of boats coming out of the lock. Additionally, a centre line can also be used for those occasions when you need to moor up very briefly to use the toilet or boil the kettle, for example. Remember: if the rope is attached to the boat roof, passing traffic may make the boat tilt significantly. Winter 2018 24/10/2018 08:50
Single Handed Boating Be aware that a boat tied only at the stern will likely drift across the channel.
At some bridges you’ll have no choice but to clamber over railings with rope in hand.
The centre line should be long enough for the end to be coiled up and placed close to the steering position, so it can be picked up easily as you step off the boat. Another handy tip is to position the end of the rope to the side of the cabin closest to the towpath and move it across if the towpath changes side, or to have two ropes, one on each side (especially on a larger barge or cruiser), so that you can always easily step off the boat with rope in hand. On a river or tideway with a noticeable flow, it is essential never to step off the boat without a rope in hand; if the boat drifts away while you are ashore there will be no one on board to bring it back in again! When you set off from a mooring, make sure you coil the mooring ropes neatly so that they are ready to use when you want to moor up again later on. It’s a good idea to have the mooring hammer and pins handy too.
Locks Allow extra time for locks – it will take you longer to get your boat through them than it would with crew, as you will have no one available to go ahead to prepare the locks. When operating locks single handed it’s a good idea to do things as efficiently as possible so you don’t get overtired, although you will find that there is no way to avoid a certain amount of walking backwards and forwards. Take it steady and don’t run, as that may lead to a fall or slip. Most locks these days have lock ladders fitted, which makes life much easier for the single handed boater. Experienced single handed boaters will adapt their own technique for going through locks, which will be based on their knowledge of how their boat behaves in different types of locks and in certain conditions (e.g. wide or narrow locks, going up or going down). Knowledge of specific hazards with locks on a particular waterway which may result in the boat getting caught up (for example wide gaps between balance beams and planking on river locks which may catch your bow, or lockside chains on which a hardchined narrowboat may hang up) is useful too. Just as when locking with a crew, it is essential to keep an eye on what the boat is doing at all times and to check that it is floating freely and hasn’t got hung up anywhere. Even in narrow locks it is always sensible to have a rope (ideally a centre line) on the lockside with you, so that you can pull the boat out of trouble if necessary and can move it to a ladder allowing you to board. Winter 2018 048 Going Solo AH.indd 49
“On a river or tideway with noticeable flow, it is essential never to step off the boat without a rope in hand; if the boat drifts away while you are ashore there will be no one on board to bring it back in again!”
On river navigations and canals with wide enough locks, it’s always best to share locks with other boats in order to save water. If the other boat has plenty of crew they may be happy to operate both sides of the lock – don’t assume this to be the case, though, and be prepared to do your bit. On some larger waterways there is a requirement for marine band VHF radio (and it’s a good idea on larger waterways even where it’s not obligatory) in order to communicate with lock- and bridgekeepers and other vessels. On certain larger waterways, such as parts of the tidal rivers Ouse and Trent, the byelaws prohibit single handed boating and you may be denied access to the tideway at places such as Goole if you are alone; you will need to find some crew if your journey includes any of those stretches.
Lift- and swing-bridges Moveable bridges, just like locks, should have a landing area where you can tie up the boat while you open the bridge, then return to the boat and take it through, tie up again and return on foot to close the bridge. Some moveable bridges still have the operating controls on the offside, which can make it difficult for the single handed boater. In these cases, operation usually involves having to nose the boat right up to the bridge in order to get off and so that you can get back on again once you’ve opened the bridge, and a similar procedure once you are through the bridge in order to close it again. IWA policy is to press for proper landing stages to be provided on the offside in these cases but there are still bridges where the only option is to climb over bridge railings with rope in hand. IWA Waterways |
Wear waterproofs in cold, damp tunnels.
Tunnels Before entering a tunnel it’s worth making sure that you have a torch to hand (and a spare or wind-up version in case the batteries fail), and a waterproof jacket – most tunnels tend to have water dripping from the roof and there won’t be anybody in the cabin to pass a coat to you!
A wind-up torch means you won’t have to worry about batteries failing.
Keep the top of the boat clear so that you have easy access to lock ladders.
Weather conditions Ice, snow, rain, hail and strong winds are all types of weather that can make single handed boating more difficult and when these weather conditions are extreme it is sensible to postpone your trip. Don’t forget the effects of too much sun either. If boating in hot weather or a heatwave it is advisable to wear a hat and sunscreen, have plenty of cold, soft drinks to hand, and be prepared to moor up for a siesta during the hottest part of the day.
Safety considerations Even if you don’t wear a life jacket all of the time, it can be a good idea if you are boating on your own in certain conditions, such as on rivers, through tunnels, in the dark or in cold weather conditions (immersion in very cold water is more likely to lead to life-threatening situations). On rivers and tidal waterways (and in tunnels) falling overboard when alone may be extremely hazardous, even if wearing a life jacket. On a boat steered with a tiller, contact between the rudder and floating debris when the boat is moving at a reasonable speed can be enough to unbalance the steerer. Risks can be minimised by steering the boat from the safest position possible; for example on a traditional-stern or semi-trad narrowboat, stand in the hatches with the doors closed behind you, so that you can only fall inside the boat. Wearing stout shoes with a good grip is sensible and do take extra care when stepping on and off the boat in the rain, ice or snow, as surfaces are likely to be slippery. It’s good practice to keep the roof of your boat clear so that you can get on and off using the roof when locking. Lock ladders are rarely in the right place and in the bottom of a narrow lock it is difficult to walk along the gunwales to get to the lock ladder, so you will need a way of easily getting on to the cabin roof from the steering position (a small folding metal step is straightforward to install on the cabinside if you don’t already have one).
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It’s prudent to know where you are along the waterway and what feature, such as a junction, flight of locks or a tunnel, is coming up next, so you might want to make sure you have a waterway guide showing the whole of your route handy. If you are boating on a river or tidal waterway it’s sensible to know where there are safe places to moor in an emergency. It’s also advisable to ensure that your anchor is ready for use at all times on rivers and tidal waterways. These days most boaters have a mobile phone and when boating on your own this is recommended, as you may need to call for help in the case of an accident or sudden illness. It’s a good idea to know your location as if you can inform the emergency services of the nearest bridge name or number this can usually help them to find you. It can also be a good plan to make sure that family or friends are aware of your route and to arrange to make regular contact with them. Many of these suggestions equally apply if you are boating with a crew, so whatever trip you are planning, with or without friends and family, do stay safe. Winter 2018 24/10/2018 09:04
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