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volunteers restoring waterways

navvies WRG Reunion

Book now for Uttoxeter: see centre page pullout

waterway recovery group

Focus on:

Wey & Arun Wendover

Issue No 271 June-July 2015


What’s this odd structure being built by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust? Find out in our restoration focus article on page 14 page14

Picture by Bill Nicholson

W&A and Wendover

Picture by WAT

Meanwhile there’s progress on the Wendover Arm with another section being rewatered: read about it in our other restoration focus article on page 10

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Visit our web site or find Waterway Recovery Group on Facebook for all the latest news of WRG's activities Production Editor: Martin Ludgate, 35 Silvester Road, East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266 Subscriptions: Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Rd., Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ Printing and assembly: John Hawkins, 4 Links Way, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 Navvies is published by Waterway Recovery Group, Island House, Moor Rd., Chesham HP5 1WA and is available to all interested in promoting the restoration and conservation of inland waterways by voluntary effort in Great Britain. Articles may be reproduced in allied magazines provided that the source is acknowledged. WRG may not agree with opinions expressed in this magazine, but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless so stated - otherwise WRG and IWA accept no liability for any matter in this magazine. Waterway Recovery Group is part of The Inland Waterways Association, (registered office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA), a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered in England no 612245, and registered as a charity no 212342. VAT registration no 342 0715 89. Directors of WRG: Rick Barnes, John Baylis, George Eycott, Helen Gardner, John Hawkins, Dave Hearnden, Jude Palmer, Mike Palmer, Jonathan Smith, Harry Watts. ISSN: 0953-6655

© 2015 WRG

Contents In this issue... Chairman MKP on the Van Appeal 4-5 Appeal update including Droitwich walk 6-8 Camp leaders we need you! 9 Restoration focus (1) Wendover Arm10-13 Restoration focus (2) Wey & Arun 14-17 Diary (1) WRG and canal societies 18-20 Reunion 4-page special on our autumn Uttoxeter bash, with booking form 21-24 Diary (2) CRT and IWA work 25-27 Camp reports Cotswold at Easter 28-31 Camp reports Cotswold at Easter 28-31 Feedback another cook’s view 32 Progress our regular roundup 33-35 Clean Up BCN report 36-37 WRG BC boat club news 38-39 Navvies News WRG Chairman sacked!40-41 Backfill WRG stickers through the ages 42 Outro BCN Clean Up in pictures 43

Contributions... ...are always welcome, whether handwritten, typed, on CD, DVD or by email. Photos welcome: digital, slides, prints. Please say if you want prints back. Digital pics are welcome as email attachments, preferably JPG, but if you have a lot of large files it’s best to send them on CD or DVD or to contact the editor first. Contributions by post to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or by email to Press date for issue 272: 1 July.

Subscriptions A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of £3.00 to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques payable to "Waterway Recovery Group" please. This is a minimum subscription, that everyone can afford. Please add a donation.

Cover Picture: A team effort pulling a stubborn piece of junk out of the Birmingham Canal Navigations New Main Line on the BCN Clean Up - see report on p36. Back cover: The WRG Van Appeal got off to a great start with £1650 raised by selling fudge on our stall at Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice. See Appeal update on p6 (pictures by Martin Ludgate)

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“I haven’t quite got my head around the concept of an entire WRG van being purchased through sobriety”

...on the van appeal Chairman’s Comment

lar item but was more of a ‘shopping list’ of items that we urgently needed to provide a much needed ‘upgrade’ to our Canal Camps offering. The list included some ‘physical’ items:

I’m pleased to say that our Van Appeal has got off to a splendid start; as I type this the total is such that we could actually order at least one new van now, should we need to. As the appeal was only launched Concrete mixers & Brick Saws which a few months ago, this is a very reassuring we bought and are still being carried round in our trailers doing fine service all place to be. But it is, of course, just the beginning. over the country. Fundraising in WRG is usually pretty Griddles & Water boilers which we straightforward – firstly, we are lucky enough bought and are still in fine health and to have some very generous benefactors giving hungry navvies their breakfasts. If (including many of the branches of our you have ever had breakfast or even a cup parent organisation the Inland Waterways of tea on a Camp or a Clean-Up or Association); then we have some very genera Festival you have probably benefited ous Navvies readers who, although not able from these purchases. to dig so much anymore, do support us with a little extra whenever we ask. Last, but definitely not least, we also have good Kit Trailer which is still carrying Canal friends in waterways businesses and the Camps kit around the country. If you have like. ever been on a Camp that was on Circuit It is thanks to these fine people that, in A then you have benefited from the general, all we have to do in WRG is put out RTFIRJ appeal. Careful servicing and the call for whatever we need and, apart maintenance means it survives a very from putting on a regular series of (often gruelling schedule. very daft) high-profile stunts* and buying the official appeal t-shirt, we get to just keep Plant trailer (with a dumper truck on digging while the massed ranks of our armit!) - again both of these are doing service chair supporters give their hard-earned cash around the country on sites near you. to support us in our work. Both look in very good condition. And I have always been humbled and reassured that a) all our supporters, in what- Then there were some “revenue” items: ever guise they inhabit, still think that we are 100 Hard Hats obviously these have worth supporting and represent good value and (b) that the active WRG diggers are been replaced but those first 100 hard always keen to conceive and participate in hats we bought protected over 2000 volunteers for the six years we had them. any number of ridiculous (but exhausting) high-profile stunts. There is of course a quid pro quo for Training courses we still provide the being on the receiving end of all this generfunds for waterways volunteers to attend these - our latest beneficiary sent osity. People give their money in the belief that WRG is ‘good value’ and it will not be back an email saying “Hi Jenny - I can’t squandered. So I’d like to take a little time find that I actually sent an email to thank the WRG board for the grant for my excelout to reassure people about this. The last WRG appeal we ran was ‘The lent chainsaw course. If I really didn’t Right Tool for the Right Job’ (RTFTRJ) thank them (and you) I’d like to put that right now.” unlike most appeals this was not one particu-

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I hope that the random examples above convince you that WRG does a really good job of looking after our kit. We like to feel that the donations we receive are multiplied year on year by our volunteers’ efforts so a donation really will keep working on for many years after it’s given. Just to jog your memory - the Right Tool for the Right Job appeal was in 2003! So that’s 12 years of WRG’s work that the last appeal has enabled so far. But this current appeal really is quite a big total and so I’d like to suggest a slight deviation from the norm as described above. Because, as well as an impressive start and a summer of ‘fun, mud and bucket-shaking’, this appeal is going to need a steady drip, drip of cash if we are to reach our target, and here is my latest suggestion... You may have been puzzled by a photo of yours truly in the Appeal leaflet talking about the price of beer (then again, you may not). The reasoning behind it was, according to no less an organ than The Guardian, the average price** of a pint of beer is £3.20, with the price of a frothy coffee not that far behind. Now £3.20 doesn’t sound very much but remember that drip, drip principle? Firstly let’s remember that, thanks to Gift Aid, a donation of £3.20 is usually worth £4 by the time it gets to us. A wet finger in the air suggests that out of the many Navvies subscribers, prbably about 500 are active at any one time. Now here comes the maths - £4 a month times 500 people for the duration of the Appeal gives us enough money to buy a whole van. So, if 500 Navvies readers were to sign up to a direct debit of just £3.20 a month, you could ensure that we have enough money to buy that ‘difficult’ final van. All it would take to make this transaction ‘invisible’ to your pocket would be to forgo a single pint of beer a month. Admittedly I haven’t quite got my head around the concept of an entire WRG van being purchased through sobriety. Presumably it will turn out to be a bit thirstier than the other vans! Just imagine - every time you climb into this van you will be able to think “I helped buy this - just through a little less alcohol/caffeine (delete as applicable)”. Indeed, seeing as we seem to manage to

run our vans for at least 8 years, you will be able to think that for the next generation of volunteers after you! This neatly leads me on to a request concering our current vans. They too are in very good nick, thanks to all who look after them. But they are at a ‘tipping pont’ which is, of course, one of the reasons we have started to think about replacing them in the next couple of years. It doesn’t take too much to turn these vans from ‘very good condition’ to ‘showing their age’. To be clear - one of the ways we are funding these new vans is the sale of our old vans. So please, this summer take extra care with them. We really do find that if a camp starts with a filthy van then it will be treated worse by the volunteers on the Camp. So even though it seems the least important job at the end of the week please do give the van a clean. It’s another example of the steady drip, drip principle - the time you take to clean the van really will add £5 to the final sale value, and that’s another £5 added to the total. As a starter for ten this year we are going to get all the vans together before they set off and give them a very serious clean before they set off for the summer. So please, this year more than ever, look after the van on your camp; don’t abuse it, don’t damage it and do make sure it’s clean and presentable going onto the next Camp. All of which leads me onto the real business of the next few months: a massive 24 weeks of Canal Camps. At our recent Leader Training Day we went through all the Camps and the many weeks of preparation that had been completed and the many more to come. It looks a really great programme for the 2015 enjoy it. Hugs and Kisses Mike Palmer * A perfectly good example of these daft high profile stunts is the Droitwich Sponsored Walk announced on page 7 of this edition. ** Regional variations regarding the price of beer do of course exist: Yorkshiremen moan about the price, Londoners whinge about the price, Welshmen lament about the price, etc.)

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Van Appeal £120,000 needed

The appeal for 120 grand to replace our fleet of vans has already raised enough for the first van! But we still need over £80,000 more: here are lots of ways you can help...

We have raised £36,160 so far, enough to buy one van! So what’s been happening?

100km down the Grand Union Challenge towpath at the end of this month. See for more details.

. Donations – We’ve been overwhelmed

Look out for more details on…

Van Appeal Round-up

by the generous donations that have been made these past few weeks, including incredible donations of £1,000, £5,000 and £10,000!

. VANilla Fudge at Cavalcade – Fudge was flying off the stand, with the VANilla proving most popular over the chocolate, and a grand total of £1650 was raised towards the appeal. I was selling fudge on the Sunday and during the course of the day everyone that worked on the stand gradually transformed into a fudge connoisseur (the chocolate fudge goes great with a coffee!). A huge thank you to John Hill Foods (Carolyn and Jonathan Smith) for donating the fudge.

. WRG Car Stickers – WRG have been selling car stickers to make your car the envy of all other vehicles. The stickers have been on sale since the beginning of April and £1 from every sticker goes to the appeal. You can buy the stickers for £1.50 each at

What’s to come…

. Droitwich Walk

- A 22-mile sponsored walk around the Droitwich Ring in September… with a twist! See opposite page for more information.

. Welsh 3000 – 15 Welsh mountains…30 miles… under 24 hours. Yes, fundraising for the vans has reached a whole new level! See panel (right) for more info.

. Grand Union Challenge – Raise money for the vans in style! We’re still on the lookout for people to take up the challenge of walking or running 25, 50 or

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. IWA/WRG Quizzes . The return of the Barn dance . Funky new Van Appeal T-shirts . I Spy WRG Vans . Bitter Transit WRG Beer (ideas for a better name welcome!)

Appealing Updates We will keep you updated on the appeal so look out for new events/activities that will be added later in the year. If you would like any further information on the appeal visit or contact Toby Gomm at 01494 783453 ext. 611 or Toby Gomm

Two Englishmen, a Scotsman and a Welshman go for a walk… Jenny ‘Digger’ Morris, Rob Nicholson, Pete Fleming and Amber Jenkins will be taking on the challenge of walking the Welsh 3000 on June 20th 2015. The route will be 25miles long traversing 15 peaks all of which are over 3000 feet, within a 24hours period. The total ascent will be 2,983m. We will be doing this in order to raise money for the WRG Van Appeal. We’d be really grateful for some sponsorship…but no Red Morph Suits this time around I’m afraid. Please visit our Virgin Money Giving Page : fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiser ProfilePage.action?userUrl=AmberJenkins or send a cheque to IWA, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA. We will try and keep everyone updated on the day via the WRG facebook page so keep your eyes pealed on the day. Thank you.

The Ultimate Van-tastic Wacky-Races - Droitwich Sponsored Walk Date: Saturday 19th September Location: Droitwich Canals, Worcester & Birmingham Canal & River Severn Distance: 5-7 mile (route tbc) or 22 miles (the Droitwich Ring) Cost: £5 per person (tea & cakes provided at finish!) and under 12s go free More details: WRG are organising a sponsored walk along the Droitwich Canals and Ring to help raise funds for our Van Appeal. We want everyone, WRGies, IWA members, friends & family and members of the public to get involved!

So get your boots on for WRG! The plan is to have 2 routes. Route 1 will be a 22-mile walk around the Droitwich Canal Ring and Route 2 will be a family friendly 5-7 mile wander along the Droitwich Canals on Saturday 19th September. You can walk as an individual, a family, group of friends ... or you can take part in our team event (more details below!) Joining us on the walk would be a great opportunity for you to see the Droitwich Canals fully restored, particularly for those of you who were involved in the restoration of the Hanbury Flight and the Droitwich Barge Lock, as well as helping us raise money for the WRG Van Appeal. Fancy dress is encouraged and the theme is the colour red!

Be part of a Van-tastic Team? We thought we’d make things just a little bit more van-tastic... since WRG was formed in 1970 we have owned several vans, all of which have had their own personalities, quirks, and characteristics. We thought it would be a great idea for teams of people to represent* our vans on the walk. *Just to clarify you are still walking the route... we don’t think our vans will fit down the towpath!!

So how is this going to work? Become a ‘driver’: Over the years WRG vans, land rovers and other items of plant have played an important role in canal restoration. Below is a list of vans looking for a ‘drivers’ to coordinate a team of ‘passengers’. It costs £10 to ‘drive’ a van, with each ‘passenger’ paying £5 for a seat in the van. To reserve a van please or call (01494 783 453 ext 604) Jen or Amber. You “van” can choose to either do the 5-7 mile walk or the full 22 mile walk.

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Become a ‘passenger’: Each ‘van’ needs to be full of ‘passengers’ to complete the walk. To become a ‘passenger’ please contact the ‘driver’ of each van, find out if they have space and then pay £5 online, by cheque or over the phone to reserve your seat (details below).

Fancy dress? It wouldn’t be a WRG event without red t-shirt or fancy dress. Each driver is responsible for coming up with a fancy dress theme for their team. For example Team RFB’s driver Jude Palmer has chosen Snow White and the Seven Wharfs... and team GMA is going green!

Vans with Drivers Team ‘RFB’ Driver: Jude Palmer Passengers: Contact Jude and join team Palmer (be warned Snow White & the Seven Wharfs is their team theme!) Team ‘GMA’ Driver: Mark Antony ‘MK2’ Richardson Passengers: Contact MK2, to become a passenger and join the KESCRG team! Team ‘FEH’ Driver: Matt Baines. Passengers: Contact Matt and join his team! Team ‘NUH’ Driver: Martin Ludgate Passengers: Contact Martin and join the London WRG team! Team ‘KNP’ Driver: Mark Gribble Passengers: Contact Mark and join the WRG BITM team! Team ‘SAD’ - Sheila’s Wheels! This all female team is looking for driver & team mates. Please contact WRG Head Office for more details. Team ‘EHP’ Driver: IWA Please contact IWA Chairman Les Etheridge to get involved in Team ‘EHP’ Team ‘VAL’ Driver: Mike Palmer

Vehicles still looking for ‘drivers’ Van Teams: GCW VOJ DPY WNE BAM RAX NJF HLA JDB CFT VRK TBH ADX AOD KNP JFH Plant & ‘Elite’ Land Rover Teams (n.b. may get distracted, breakdown, stop to refuel several times and not complete route!) FLN ADZ SWS TVP SMB TPP DOK For more details and to book on go to: or contact Jen & Amber at WRG Head Office on 01494 783 453 ext 604 / email or send a cheque payable to ‘Waterway Recovery Group’, to Droitwich Sponsored Walk, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA

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Could you lead one of this summer’s Canal Camps? Could you be a camp cook? Or could you be an assistant leader? We would like to hear from you...

Wanted! Leaders and cooks

Volunteers Needed! WRG is still looking for more leaders, assistant leaders and cooks to help run this summer’s Canal Camps.

Camps still needing help... Date: 18th-25th July Site: Cotswold Canals Wanted: Leader and a van driver (camp has assistant and a cook… along with 16 volunteers!) Date: 18th-25th July Site: Swansea Canal Wanted: Leader, assistant leader and cook. Date: 8th-15th August Site: Lapal Canal Wanted: Leader, assistant leader and cook. Date: 15th-22nd August Site: Lapal Canal Wanted: Leader, assistant leader & cook wanted. Date: 15th-22nd August Site: Ashby Canal Wanted: cook (Pete Fleming is leading the camp) Go on give it a go ... help WRG run a Canal Camp this summer! Volunteering to lead, assist or cook on a Canal Camp gives you the chance to work alongside new canal navvies, take part in exciting restoration projects and make a real difference to the waterways network. More information about getting involved can be found on the WRG website If you want to chat more about leading, assisting or cooking before you sign up please give Becky Parr a call on 07932 158758 or drop her an email on Thank you!

Leaders Training 2015 Thank you to all who took part in this year’s Leaders training day and particular thanks to all the people that agreed to present and to Jude’s catering team for keeping us well fed all day. The new leaders section in the morning seemed well received and the “usual” afternoon update session for all leaders went well. We could have filled even more time as we tried to answer the great questions of life i.e. where can we find more leaders and how can we get better at volunteer retention? If you have any feedback or any suggestions as to what you think it would be useful to include next year please let Jenny Black know. Ed Walker

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The Wendover Arm What’s happening on the Wendover? ing and available labour. It took about two Inside this issue of Navvies you will find a set of raffle tickets to sell in support of the Wendover Arm Trust. So to give you an idea of what your raffle ticket money will be supporting, we’ve put together this article to tell you about the background to the Wendover Arm restoration project, what’s planned for the future - and what’s happening on it right now. And we’ll bring you the last of these first: here’s Nigel Williams from the Wendover Arm Trust to bring you some important news about a major milestone that the restoration has just reached...

Further progress on the Wendover Arm

weeks to fill this length [the photos on these pages show this re-watered section] It is hoped that wildlife will quickly establish as found with previously restored lengths. Despite the fact that the Trust was unable to previously announce re-watering to the general public owing to parking and other constraints, a considerable number of interested parties were present having heard of the development by word of mouth. The Trust will be holding Restoration Open Days on Sunday 7 June and 6 September when this new restored section will be open to all with guided tours available. The Trust is now commencing restoration between Bridges 4 and 4A and progress could be speeded up by employing contractors for part of the work if additional funds can be obtained – in this connection a Funding Director is anxiously sought. Meanwhile work is in progress regarding a possible Heritage Lottery Grant. For more information see our website Nigel Williams

Pictures by WAT

At 11 a.m on Saturday 11 April last volunteers from the Wendover Arm Trust broke through one of the temporary bunds and commenced re-watering of 437 metres (just over one quarter mile) of canal up to Bridge 4A (one of the two wooden footbridges erected to allow walkers to cross the canal using the established footpath). This further restored length has taken about five years to complete and required about 3.15 million litres of water to bring the level up to nearly 1 metre – still not to navigable depth, but this section will not be connected to the fully completed Phase 1 for a number of years – dependThe newly watered length seen from Bridge 4A in April... ing upon fund-

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Restoration Focus in short supply) made it very difficult to keep it watertight. Far from being a useful source The story of the Wendover Arm is the of water, parts of the Arm leaked so badly story of a branch canal that was conthat it was depleting the main line of water. ceived mainly as a water supply, ended The Company tried various methods includup costing more water than it was ing lining the canal in bitumen, but eventusupplying, was closed and replaced by ally gave up and closed the Arm to navigaa pipe, but one day will reopen as a tion (apart from the first mile and three canal. quarters from Bulbourne to Tringford). They The Grand Junction Canal (now part of dammed off and drained a length of almost the Grand Union) crossed the Chiltern hills two miles (from Tringford to Aston Clinton) via long series of locks to the north and and laid a water pipe in the canal bed, feedsouth, climbing up to a short summit level ing water down to a pumping station at near Tring. This summit needed supplying Tringford, to maintain the supply past this with water, which wasn’t particularly plentiful dry section. in the area. So a six-mile arm was built from This pipe, and the surviving lengths of a junction on the summit at Bulbourne to the Arm, still form an important part of the Wendover, to serve the town but also to tap Grand Union’s water supply. That’s a very in to water supplies at Wendover and feed important consideration, because when the them to the main line. Over the years a Wendover Arm Trust was formed with the whole series of reservoirs, connecting pumps aim of reopening the Arm to navigation, it and channels were created to keep the sumhad to not only find a way of making it hold mit level and locks fed. water, but maintain the water supply for the Unfortunately the porous chalk soils whole time that restoration is under way. that the arm passed through (and which For the first section (‘Phase 1’: see over were also one of the reasons why water was for an explanation of the Wendover Arm’s phases and stages) this wasn’t an issue as the pipeline bypassed this length. So WAT rebuilt the channel using waterproof Bentonite lining and concrete, rebuilt the missing Little Tring Bridge, created a winding hole (turning place) to encourage boats up to the full 70ft to use the surviving navigable length from Bulbourne, and celebrated with an opening ...and the same scene just a month earlier in March 2015 in 2005.

What’s the Wendover story?

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The Wendover Arm bypass some years ago. But when they got on to Phase 2, covBut it’s still a long slog - and even with ering the rest of the dry section to Aston Clinton, it got a whole lot more laborious. the possibility of professional input, as mentioned earlier, a lot of it will be done by The pipeline is buried under the canal bed, and has to be kept in service throughout the volunteers - so new volunteers are always restoration. So the process involves first welcome. And it costs a lot - rather over a million, mostly being raised by the Trust’s locating the pipe; then uncovering it and efforts (including the raffle tickets in this laying a protective concrete capping over it; then re-profiling and lining the canal channel issue) rather than from external grants. in bentonine matting and concrete, and finally re-watering it and decommissioning And then what? that length of pipeline. In addition, there are mooring bays to create (because a narrow Rebuilding the Phase 2 length might seem a channel profiled in this way isn’t suitable for long, slow job, but it will at some point be casual mooring) and footbridges to build. finished. And then the good news is that it To get an idea for just how labourgets much easier. intensive this is: the Trust’s volunteers have The remaining length (Phase 3) from been holding monthly seven-day working Aston Clinton to Wendover is still in water parties, supplemented by occasional summer (albeit at a slightly reduced level, so it will camps and visiting weekend groups, for the need to be carefully raised and any resulting 10 years since Phase 1 opened. In that time leaks sealed). A couple of minor road they’ve completed between one third and bridges will need to be raised - for which half of the length to be rebuilt. Working back funding will have to be found. But there’s no from Aston Clinton to Tringford (the water more channel rebuilding required. levels and site access dictate that it has to be So get Phase 2 completed, and reopendone in that direction), the 321 metres ing of Phase 3 right through to the original rewatered some time ago have now been Wendover terminus could follow quite closely extended by another 437 metres just afterwards. rewatered (see previous pages), making 758m but there’s another 1300m still to go. On the plus side they’ve also built both of the new footbridges needed; they’ve got ahead with creating mooring bays on the next length of channel to be rebuilt; they’ve done a lot of heritage work at the former Whitehouses pumping station (with a great deal of support from KESCRG); and a length at the far end of the dry section was rebuilt by contractors when it was diverted for the Work in progress in late 2013 on the length that has now been watered A41 Aston Clinton

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Restoration Focus Phases and stages Progress reports from the Wendover talk in ‘stages’ and ‘phases’ - here’s what they mean. The entire restoration scheme was divided by Wendover Arm Trust into three phases: Phase 1: the initial project to extend the navigable length at Little Tring including buiding a watertight channel, reinstating a bridge and creating a winding hole - opened 2005. Phase 2: the current long-running project to rewater the entire dry section to Aston Clinton This length is further divided into stages of about 350m each. See detail map below. Phase 3: the remaining work to make canal (currently in water at reduced level) from Aston Clinton to Wendover fully navigable To Birmingham Phase 2 Little Marsworth Tring to Aston Aylesbury Arm Clinton: under Grand Union Main Line Bulbourne restoration - see detail map below Tringford To London A4

Aston Clinton

Phase 1 at Little Tring: reopened 2005 including new bridge and winding hole

Phase 2 section in detail Stage 3: in progress, first part rewatered Apr 2015


Stage 1: complete, rewatered To find out more about A4

the Wendover Arm Trust see


the Wendover restoration or to join

Bulbourne to Little Tring: always navigable

Little Tring


Phase 3 Aston Clinton to Wendover: in water at reduced level, two new bridges needed

In water to Wendover

Stage 4: Stage 5 mooring Stage 6 wall built in advance Bridge 4: complete Navigable to Bulbourne Bridge 4A: complete Stage 2: complete, rewatered Apr 2015 These stages (including diversion for new A41 bypass) completed by contractor during road works

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The Wey & Arun Canal What’s happening on the Wey & Arun? since the late 1970s. Winter flooding brought The Wey & Arun Canal in Surrey and Sussex has been one of our regular work sites for many years - but we haven’t heard much about it in Navvies recently. So Bill Nicholson brings us up to date...

Progress update on the Wendover Arm It is some time since I last reported on volunteer work on the Wey & Arun. If I had kept a record, it would have been interesting to see just what has happened in a period of what must be at least three years and whether any of my then optimistic predictions have materialised. Anyway here is the position as of here and now. The period just gone has been one of much behind-the-scenes work: seeking permissions – from local authorities, the Environment Agency, Natural England and land owners – as well as preparing detailed designs and fund-raising for the various projects. The exciting part is that as of today the Wey & Arun Canal Trust (WACT) is at a point where work on the ground is about to start on two major projects and that volunteers – local teams, visiting groups and WRG camps – will all have a vital part to play in the plans. So here’s a review of volunteer activities completed and planned. Because of the limitations of both my imagination and literary skills, my report takes a linear geographical approach by following the route of the canal starting from the southern end.

Pallingham to Drungewick Lock Little has happened at the southern end of the canal (Arun Navigation) since visiting groups completed the installation of Haybarn swingbridge in 2005. However last autumn WACT’s Midweek Working Party (the main scrub-bashing team) spent a couple of months clearing the canal between Cooks and Pallingham Bridges which is the first time the Trust has had access to this length

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the work to a halt (this length is in the Arun Flood Plain) so it is hoped to return to finish the work later this year. Moving north, the area around Haybarn Swing Bridge, from Lee Farm Lock (restored by Dig Deep teams in 1990-1) through to the restored Orfold Aqueduct and water wheel pump is maintained by the Trust’s “Keeping up appearances” – Monday Group. They also look after the Dig Deep sites at Rowner and Malham Locks north of Newbridge. How vital it is that there are these volunteers who look after sites and sections of the canal once the heavy restoration teams have moved on. Without them there would be little point in restoring the canal in the first place.

Drungewick to Southlands Lock North then to the navigable length of the canal. This comprises six operational locks, one aqueduct, seven new bridges and 3½ miles of canal including Southlands Lock, reopened in 2013. Volunteers maintain this length (WACT’s Loxwood Link group). The hedge laying team (who also work elsewhere on the canal) is led by Keith Nicholls; lock and track maintenance by Kevin Baker. Other regular groups also help out as required to ensure that this showcase section where the Trust’s profitable boat operations run, is kept to the highest standards. NWPG made a significant contribution to the modern Canal Centre at Loxwood by erecting all the hard landscaping around the building, as well as relocating the ugly close boarded fence of the pub garden away from the towpath so that now both pub and canal users benefit from the newly opened up view. Plans are also being drawn up for the erection of canoe landing stages (funded by the British Canoe Union) on this and other sections of the canal which will help to bring greater public use of the restored sections – vital in the wider efforts to secure funds for restoration work. I should not forget to mention that NWPG and WRG BITM assisted in the dredging of the Devil’s Hole to Southland length prior to its re-opening in 2013.

Restoration Focus The future: The Three Sites Strategy

Before I get to the lock, a quick mention of the section between Southlands and Gennets. This includes a causeway at Hillcroft where the Trust has planning permission to construct a swing bridge. This will commence once funds are available and land owner consent is forthcoming. Gennets Bridge Lock (or rather, the site of the former lock - all bar one of the lock structures from here north to the River Wey have disappeared) is home to a population of Great Crested Newts and all the joys that having these little beasties on your site bring with them. I won’t dwell on two years past, but I can report that following the grant of a European Protected Species Licence in April preparations are underway for the contractors to move onto the site during the summer (and once the GCNs have been relocated to their new homes and the terms of the licence have been satisfied). As at Southlands Lock, contractors will build the concrete shell of the lock and bridleway bridge with the Trust’s Thursday/ Sunday Group led by Eric Walker following on to do the rest – bricklaying, back pumps, landing stages and landscaping. The section north from here to Site 2 includes both the Bonfire Hanger section and the very attractive Sidney Wood section where NWPG have been involved in the past and where regular WACT maintenance work parties now take place.

Pictures by Bill Nicholson

Site 1: Gennets Bridge Lock

Reprofiling on the summit level

rebuild the bridge and to restore the whole 1½ miles to a fully navigable state to allow a trip boat to operate on a second section of the canal. More good news as contractors should be on site soon (weeks not months) to start work on the new bridge which is going to be sited immediately adjacent (less than 4 inches at one point!) to the causeway. Once the contractors have left in September, volunteers – and we hope with good support from visiting groups – will be doing all the brickwork cladding tor the bridge. After that we will have a major role in removing the causeway using heavy plant. This plus further work elsewhere on the length could be a site for a WRG camp in 2016? Finally it will be our job to re-instate the area to make it Site 2: The Summit and an attractive facility for the public. Being only Compasses Bridge a few yards from the Three Compasses pub, There has been water in parts of the 1½ it should become a very popular venue. mile section of the summit alongside London WRG, KESCRG and NWPG have Dunsfold Aerodrome for a long time since already been very busy in the area over the the trees were removed by the early WACT last 6 months. A substantial contractor’s winter camps led by John Ward. However the compound has been built including a facilimajority of it was and still is unnavigable and ties cabin with hot and cold water and fridge, in the centre of the length is a large concrete including various covered work areas, two sided causeway which forms the southern large shipping containers including one with access to the airfield and business park and 240v power supply for use as a workshop which obstructs the canal. The plan is to and the other for the storage of materials, all

page 15

The Wey & Arun Canal around a large concrete yard. This is all necessary as the Trust is acting as main contractor for the bridge which whilst it involves a lot of work, saves much on the contract price. Once this job is done, the cabins will move to wherever the next site is. No more will volunteers have to “hole up” under a tree for their lunch breaks! Trust volunteers led by Compasses Site manager Dave Evans also spent a week in early March re-profiling the canal north from the Tickners Heath causeway. Using a 13 ton long reach hired from Land and Water and tracked dumpers, some 500 metres of canal was cleared - pulling out glutinous mud like you’ve never seen it! It took a full day with four people and a petrol pressure washer to get the plant clean enough to return. More re-profiling operations are planned over the next two years using a mix of contractors and volunteers. There’s more! This summer, subject to planning permission being given, the Trust’s summer camp will start work on a slipway to enable trail boats to access the section. This will be a major job given that the canal where the slipway is to be sited is in a shallow cutting. Visiting groups will find this will be an overflow site from the bricklaying job at Compasses Bridge.

Before discussing Site 3, a quick mention of the Whipley Skew Railway Bridge crossing near Cranleigh where BITM have started the clearance of trees and scrub along and around the high causeway that now impedes the canal. More work can be expected in this area as part of investigations as to the re-instatement of the (now) cyclepath bridge over the canal.

Site 3: The Bramley Link and Hunt Park

The northern end of the canal has always been the key to unlocking the route south; it also has the largest obstacles to restoration – basically there is nothing there! However there is a planned route and a plan to reinstate it and I can do no better than to refer you to the Editor’s recent article in the May edition of Canal Boat magazine for details. Central to the plan is to build public support and in this the Trust is building a public nature park through which the canal will run, partly using the existing river (Cranleigh Waters) and a longer part in a new canal. Visiting groups (and WRG Forestry and NWPG in particular) have been working on park building for over two years including a long surfaced footpath that follows the route of the river and much tree clearance. The Trust’s MWWP has also done a lot of work in clearing the land to the west of the river and enhancing the habitats to increase biodiversity. NWPG are currently in the process of constructing a public viewing platform – which is a very large steel and timber structure which looks more like a seaside pier – the only difference being that there’s no water around it. Why are canal volunteers building parks? Surely park building is not what WRG’s about? Well I was sceptical myself at first, but have since been convinced that it was the The Hunt Park viewing platform (see also page 2) right decision. Since we’ve been

page 16

Restoration Focus working there we’ve had nothing but praise from locals; R. Wey to Weybridge the paths are extensively used by walkers, campers (!), joggers and cyclists. This has convinced local landownSite 3: ers critical to the enabling the provision of a route for Bramley Link the new canal to come around to support us such and Hunt Park that the Trust is almost there in obtaining a route Bramley through to Gosden Aqueduct. Further good news is Diversions that the Environmental Impact Assessment and needed detailed engineering design of phase 1 are underway with a view to submitting a planning application for phase 1 in 2016. The route will include a new lock, weir and about ½ mile of completely new canal on land leased to the Trust. For volunteers, as at Compasses, we are in the warm up stages, but our presence now doing the fiddly bits remains central to the success of the whole. Our next significant work on this section is likely to be the progressive removal of trees along the cycleway (railway embankment) which is to form the west bank of the new canal. There is also the possibility of a second Trust visitor/information centre being erected in the park. A long report but much to catch up on. If the Wey & Arun Site 2: The has been rather quiet for visiting groups since we lowered summit and Brewhurst Lock back in 2007, things are changing and we are Compasses about to get very busy – and on proper canal restoration too! Bridge Consequently there will be more, shorter, reports in the future. Loxwood Bill Nicholson WACT Northern Work Party Organiser Restored NWPG and visiting group co-ordinator length

What’s the Wey & Arun story?

Site 1: Gennets Bridge Lock

The Wey & Arun was one of the earliest canals to close: it’s now been abandoned for well over twice as long as it was Newbridge open for. But despite this, its remote location means that most of it survived much better than many other canals. Orfold What we call the Wey & Arun was built in two stages: the Arun Navigation extended the naturally navigable River Arun north from Pallingham to Newbridge; then the Wey & Arun Junction Canal, opened in 1817, connected it to the River Wey above Guildford making a through route from London to the South Coast. It wasn’t a great success: two Pallingham main purposes (avoiding French forces and the dangerous journey around the coast) had already disappeared by the time it opened, with the defeat of Napoleon and the development of better ships. The company tried to make a success of local trade, but as soon as railways appeared it was doomed, and it closed in 1871. However its course remained largely unobstructed for River Arun to Arundel much of the route, as it ran through relatively unpopulated and the South Coast areas and along flood plains which were less likely to be built on. When the then Wey & Arun Canal Society was formed in 1972 there was still plenty left except at the north end. So WACT concentrated on the southern lengths (in particular north of Newbridge and through Loxwood), rebuilding all seven surviving bridges and a similar number of locks, before recently looking northwards to the sections described in this article.

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Navvies diary WRG and mobile groups Your guide to all forthcoming work parties Jun 20/21 wrgBITM Jun 27 Sat wrgNW Jul 1 Navvies Jul 3-9 WAT Jul 4/5 Essex WRG Jul 4/5 KESCRG Jul 4/5 London WRG Jul 4-11 Camp 201504 Jul 4-11 Camp 201505 Jul 4-11 NWPG Jul 11-18 Camp 201506 Jul 18/19 wrgBITM Jul 18/19 wrgNW Jul 18-25 Camp 201507 Jul 18-24 Camp 201508 Jul 18-25 Camp 201509 Jul 25-Aug 1 Camp 201510 Jul 25-Aug 1 Camp 201511 Jul 25-Aug 1 Camp 201512 Jul 25-Aug 1 WACT Jul 26 Sun WRG Jul 31-Aug 6 WAT Aug 1 Sat RGT/IWA Ipswich Aug 1-8 Camp 201513 Aug 1-8 Camp 201514 Aug 1-8 Camp 201515 Aug 1-8 KESCRG Aug 8/9 London WRG Aug 8/9 WBDCS Aug 8-15 Camp 201516 Aug 8-15 Camp 201517 Aug 8-15 Camp 201518 Aug 15-22 Camp 201519 Aug 15-22 Camp 201520 Aug 15-22 Camp 201521 Aug 22-29 Camp 201522 Aug 22-29 Camp 201523 Aug 22-29 Camp 201524 Aug 29-Sep 5 Camp 201525 Aug 29-Sep 5 Camp 201526

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Somersetshire Coal Canal: Paulton & Timsbury ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Press date for issue 272 Wendover Arm: Seven day weekend Fri-Thu Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation: Annual BBQ on Sat evening Ashby Canal: Joint dig with London WRG, preparing for bridge rebuild. Ashby Canal: Joint dig with KESCRG Driffield Navigation Cotswold Canals: NWPG’s annual camp Cotswold Canals: NWPG’s annual camp Cromford Canal Wey & Arun Canal: Slipway at Dunsfold Chesterfield Canal: Staveley Swansea Canal Cromford Canal Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock, Stroud Monmouthshire Canal Chesterfield Canal Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock, Stroud Wey & Arun Canal: Summer camp building a slipway for next years Committee & Board Meetings: Rowington Village Hall Wendover Arm: Seven day weekend Fri-Thu River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm Monmouthshire Canal Chesterfield Canal Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock (KESCRG) Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock - KESCRG’s summer camp Basingstoke Canal Worcester Birmingham Canal: Tardebigge Lime Kilns Lapal Canal Ashby Canal Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Lock Lapal Canal Ashby Canal Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Lock Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Grantham Canal Stover Canal Grantham Canal Stover Canal

Canal Camps cost ÂŁ56 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Camps identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 2015-04' should go to WRG Canal Camps, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA. Tel: 01494 783453, Diary compiled by Dave Wedd. Tel: 01252 874437, Dave Wedd Barry McGuinness Martin Ludgate Roger Leishman John Gale Bobby Silverwood Tim Lewis

Bill Nicholson Dave Wedd Malcolm Bridge

Trailboat Festival George Whitehead Mike Palmer Roger Leishman Martin Bird

Bobby Silverwood Tim Lewis Bill Lambert

07816-175454 0161-681-7237 07779-478629 01442-874536 01376-334896 07971-814986 07802-518094 01494-783453 01494-783453 01844-343369 01494-783453 07816-175454 01422-820693 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01626-775498 01564-785293 01442-874536 01394-380765 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 07971-814986 07802-518094 02476-726924 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453

page 19

Navvies diary

canal society regulars

Canal societies’ regular working parties Every Sunday if required Every Tuesday


Bugsworth Basin Basingstoke Canal

Ian Edgar Chris Healy

0161-427 7402 01252-370073

Once per month: pls check BCNS 2nd & 4th w/e of month BCS

BCN waterways Basingstoke Canal

Mike Rolfe Duncan Paine

07763-171735 01252-614125

Thursdays Sep-Apr 2nd Sun & alternate Thu


Aqueduct section Buckingham area

Tim Dingle Athina Beckett

01288-361356 01908-661217

Every Mon and Wed Every mon am Thu pm


Cotswold (W depot) Ron Kerby Cotswold (E end) John Maxted

01453-836018 01285-861011

Various dates Every Sunday


Cotswold Phase 1a Chesterfield Canal

07986-351412 01246-620695

Every Tue and Thu Every Tue & Wed


Chichester Canal Malcolm Maddison 01243-775201 Chelmer & Blackwater John Gale 01376-334896

Every Friday Second Sun of month


Langley Mill John Baylis Foxton Inclined Plane Mike Beech

01623-633895 0116-279-2657

Thu and last Sat of month GCS 2nd Sat of month GWCT Tuesdays H&GCT

Grantham Canal Nynehead Lift Oxenhall

Ian Wakefield Denis Dodd Brian Fox

0115-989-2128 01823-661653 01432 358628

Weekends Wednesdays


Over Wharf House Over / Vineyard Hill

Maggie Jones Ted Beagles

01452 618010 01452 522648

Thursdays Every weekday


Herefordshire Bradford on Avon

Wilf Jones Derrick Hunt

01452 413888 01225-863066

2nd Sunday of month Every Wed/Sat/Sun


Lancaster N. Reaches Keith Tassart Lichfield Terry Brown

01524-424761 01889-576574

3rd Sunday of month Last weekend of month


Hatherton Creams Paper Mill

Denis Cooper Steve Dent

01543-374370 07802-973228

Two Sundays per month 2nd & last Sundays


N Walsham Canal Pocklington Canal

David Revill Paul Waddington

01603-738648 01757-638027

Every Wed and 1st Sat 2nd Sunday of month


Stowmarket Navigtn. Martin Bird Sankey Canal John Hughes

1st Sunday of month Last weekend of month


Combe Hay Locks Stover Canal

Derrick Hunt 01225-863066 George Whitehead 01626-775498

2nd Sunday of month Every Thu and Sat


Sleaford Navigation Sussex Ouse

Mel Sowerby Ted Lintott

1st weekend of month Every Tuesday morning


Montgomery Canal David Carter Thames & Medway C Brian Macnish

01244-661440 01732-823725

Wey & Arun Canal David Daniels Drayton Beauchamp Roger Leishman

01483-505566 01442-874536

Most days, please contact WACT 1st w/e of month (Fri-Thu) WAT

Jon Pontefract Mick Hodgetts

01394-380765 01744-600656

01522-856810 01444-414413

If you have any additions / corrections / deletions to this list, please send them to Navvies diary compiler Dave Wedd (see previous page)

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page 21

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CRT towpath taskforce

Navvies diary

Canal & River Trust ‘Towpath Taskforce’ maintenance working parties 2nd Saturday of month Audlem Shropshire Union Glenn Young see below 2nd Saturday of month Aylesbury Grand Union Miriam Tedder 07775-543990 4th Thursday of month Bath Kennet & Avon Steve Manzi 07710-175278 Alternate Thursdays Blackburn Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 1st Sunday of month Burnley Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Thursday of month Cheshire T&M/Macclesfield Steve O’Sullivan 07887-684707 1st Saturday of month Chester Shropshire Union Glenn Young see below Alternate Saturdays Chorley Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 2nd Tuesday of month Churnet Valley Caldon Canal Barry Keight 07919 560582 3rd Thursday of month Devizes Kennet & Avon Steve Manzi 07710-175278 Weds and Thurs Droitwich Droitwich Canal Suzanne Byrne 07900-276544 3rd Saturday of month Ellesmere Llangollen Canal Glenn Young see below 1st Saturday of month Fradley Trent & Mersey Tom Freeland 01827-252010 4th Thursday of month Gailey Staffs & Worcs Murray Woodward 07808-786772 1st Mon & Wed of month Hatton Grand Union Canal Murray Woodward 07808-786772 Last Sunday of month Hawkesbury Coventry/Oxford Miriam Tedder 07775-543990 2nd Friday of month Huddersfield Huddersfield Broad Claire McDonald 07920-295943 1st Thursday of month Knottingley Aire & Calder Nav Lucy Dockray 07767-383736 Alternate Thursdays Lancaster Lancaster Canal Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Saturday of month Lapworth Stratford Canal Murray Woodward 07808-786772 Alternate Tuesdays Leicester Grand Union/Soar Tom Freeland 01827-252010 3rd Saturday of month London Grand Union/Lee Becky Williams 07799-436816 3rd Thursday of month East London Lee & Stort Navs Becky Williams 07799-436816 3rd Tuesday of month West London Grand Union Canal Becky Williams 07799-436816 4th Saturday of month Manchester Ashton / Peak Forest Steve O’Sullivan 07887-684707 1st Thu and 3rd Sat Maunsel Bridgwater & TauntonSteve Manzi 07710-175278 2nd Thursday of month Newbury Kennet & Avon Steve Manzi 07710-175278 Alternate Wednesdays Preston Lancaster Canal Matt Taylor 07780-222977 Alternate Fridays Sefton Leeds & Liverpool Alice Kay 07825 196365 3rd Saturday of month near Selby Selby Canal Lucy Dockray 07767-383736 Alternate Wednesdays Skipton Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 Alternate Fridays Stoke Caldon / T&M Tom Freeland 01827-252010 Every other Wednesday Tamworth Coventry Canal Tom Freeland 01827-252010 4th Saturday of month Tipton BCN Murray Woodward 07808-786772 Alternate Thursdays North Warks Tom Freeland 01827-252010 Every Tuesday Wigan Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Thursday of month Welshpool Montgomery Canal Glenn Young see below Contact details: All CRT co-ordinators can be emailed at, eg for K & A. If no phone number given, use CRT Tel: 03030 404040


Basingstoke Canal Authority Birmingham Canal Navigations Soc. Buckingham Canal Society Basingstoke Canal Society Bude Canal Trust Chesterfield Canal Trust Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Chichester Ship Canal Trust Cotswolds Canals Trust Erewash Canal Pres. & Devt. Assoc. Foxton Inclined Plane Trust Grantham Canal Society Grand Western Canal Trust Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust Inland Waterways Protection Society Kennet & Avon Canal Trust


Kent & E Sussex Canal Rest. Group Lancaster Canal Trust Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Rest'n Trust Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society Newbury Working Party Group North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust Pocklington Canal Amenity Society River Gipping Trust Sankey Canal Restoration Society Somersetshire Coal Canal Society Stover Canal Society Sleaford Navigation Trust Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust Shropshire Union Canal Society Thames & Medway Canal Association Wey & Arun Canal Trust Wendover Arm Trust Wilts & Berks Canal Trust

page 25

Navvies diary

IWA branches...

Inland Waterways Association and other one-day working parties Jun 23 Tue Jun 23 Tue Jun 25 Thu Jun 26 Fri Jun 27 Sat Jun 28 Sun Jun 29 Mon Every Wed Jul 2 Thu Jul 4 Sat Jul 4 Sat Jul 5 Sun Jul 7 Tue Jul 8 Wed Jul 9 Thu Jul 10 Fri Jul 11 Sat Jul 11 Sat Jul 12 Sun Jul 12 Sun Jul 16 Thu Jul 18 Sat Jul 24 Fri Jul 25 Sat Jul 28 Tue Every Wed Aug 9 Sun Aug 12 Wed Aug 13 Thu Aug 15 Sat Aug 20 Thu Aug 25 Tue Aug 28 Fri

IWA Leicester River Soar: Himalayan Balsam clearance, Aylestone Mill Lock 10amIWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Himalayan Balsam clearance Bridge 70, Crumpwood. IWA NSSC Macclesfield Canal: Congleton Station project. Veg clearance. 10amIWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10amIWA Northants Northampton Arm IWA NSSC Caldon Canal: Himalayan Balsam clearance. Froghall Tunnel 7pmRGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm IWA NSSC Caldon Canal: Himalayan Balsam clearance. Cheddleton Top Lock 7pmIWA West Country Bridgwater & Taunton Canal: Himalayan Balsam clearance at Bathpool RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm IWA NSSC Caldon Canal: Himalayan Balsam clearance. Cheddleton Top Lock 7pmIWA Leicester River Soar: Himalayan Balsam clearance, Aylestone Mill Lock 10amIWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Himalayan Balsam clearance IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Himalayan Balsam clearance Bridge 70, Crumpwood IWA NSSC Caldon Canal: Himalayan Balsam clearance. Denford to Cheddleton IWA Lancs/CumbriaLancaster Canal: Himalayan Balsam pulling at Haslam Park, Preston IWA ShrewsburyShrewsbury & Newport Canals: Himalayan Balsam clearance, Newport IWA Lincs/SNT Sleaford Navigation: Various work on navigable section IWA Warks River Avon: Himalayan Balsam clearance in Warwick. 10am IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance. 10amIWA Manchester Venue T.B.C.: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. 10amIWA NSSC Caldon Canal: Himalayan Balsam clearance. Consall Lime Kilns 7pmIWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10amIWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm IWA Lincs/SNT Sleaford Navigation: Various work on navigable section IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Himalayan Balsam clearance IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Veg clearance at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. 10amIWA Manchester Venue T.B.C.: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. 10amIWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance. 10amIWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm IWA NSSC Macclesfield Canal: Congleton Station project. Veg clearance. 10am-

IWA branch abbreviations BBCW = Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire; Mcr= Manchester; Other abbreviations: CUCT = Caldon & Uttoxeter Canal Society; IWPS = Inland Waterways Protection

Mobile groups' socials:

The following groups hold regular social gatherings

London WRG: 7:30pm on Tues 11 days before dig at the 'Star Tavern' Belgrave Mews West, NWPG: 7:30pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading.

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...and other one-day work

Navvies diary

For WRG canal camps and working parties see pages 18-19 1pm 10am-3pm 12:30 4pm 9pm 9pm 10am-2pm 9pm 1pm 10am-3pm 7pm-9pm 10:30-2pm 10am-4pm

4pm 4pm 9pm 4pm

3pm 4pm 4pm 12:30

Stefanie Preston Steve Wood Steve Wood Bob Luscombe Mike Carter Geoff Wood Alison Smedley Martin Bird Alison Smedley Mike Slade Martin Bird Alison Smedley Stefanie Preston David Struckett Steve Wood Alison Smedley Wendy Humphries John Myers Chris or Steve Hayes Andy Hellyar-Brook Alison Smedley Mike Carter Steve Wood Martin Bird Chris or Steve Hayes David Struckett Steve Wood Andy Hellyar-Brook Steve Wood Bob Luscombe

01494-783453 07976-805858 07976-805858 07710-054848 07795-617803 07779-090915 01394-380765 07779-090915 07977-263840 01394-380765 07779-090915 01494-783453 07976-746225 07976-805858 07779-090915 07763-561572 7711858986 01522-689460 07926-204206 07710-554602 07779-090915 07795-617803 07976-805858 01394-380765 01522-689460 07976-746225 07976-805858 07710-554602 07926-204206 07976-805858 07710-054848

NSSC = North Staffs & South Cheshire Society; TMCS = Trent & Mersey Canal Society; RGT= River Gipping Trust; CRT = Canal & River Trust

in pubs.

Please phone to confirm dates and times


Contact Tim Lewis 07802-518094 Contact Phil Dray 07956-185305

page 27

Camp report

Reporting from the first of two weeks at Bowbridge Lock on the Cotswold Canals, making good progress on rebuilding the chamber walls

Easter at Bowbridge: 1

results. Paul Rodgers, Michele Baylis & Lucy B ensured that mixes were maintained and flow distributed where needed. A daily count of bricks was kept and whilst a count of over 2,000 was given, an accurate count was unavailable. Better to say ‘great progress was made’. The accurate block count came, as ‘100 blocks’ was the original estimate and an extra three were required to complete the wall. The brick teams were (1) Rob Brotherston on gate recess assisted by Carine O’Reilly; (2) Pete Bowers assisted by David Croker; (3) Phil Cardy assisted by Jemima & Richard; (4) Bob Crow assisted by Reece; and (5) Bob Coles assisted by Jemima.

Bowbridge Lock, Easter Camp 1 with Ian Gaston, Lucy Blake and Martin Danks. Plans in hand and vans to arrive on Saturday 28 March - but then the brakes failed on the van from Tom’s, and with rain forecast for the Sunday, was this the way it was going to be? Martin L came to the rescue with London WRG’s van, as did RAF Martin and David Miller, so both SAD & FEP were on camp by Sunday. Rain did not stop play as David Smith used his own van, with Paul Weller using Stroud’s Nissan; the latter pulling trailers to cart the many tons of rubble / old bricks from lock chamber wall demolition off site, whilst alongside them Bob Coles in FEP brought new bricks on site. No bricks laid, however, as it was too wet to start... Monday dawned bright and clear, and teams started on the various tasks: David Miller leading on pointing and the art of mortar-mixing using the electric mixer with our DoE attendees. Teams worked on cleaning / pointing, bricklaying and preparation of site for the block retaining wall (this was to form the back of the rebuilt chamber wall, on the lengths where there was no old brickwork to tie in to) by Steve Baylis and the Hawk. Tuesday saw our WRGie film stars (John ‘the Hawk’ and Bob Crow) going off to Ham Mill Lock (under cover) to film site safety… With the Hawk gone, the 9” concrete work (filling the gap between the block retaining wall and the new brick facing) could commence. Steve B was ably assisted by Shantelle Gaston-Hird (“I am as strong as any man” – and she put us all to shame ‘Ed’) the Green Machine mixer was brought on line and the words ‘Mortar’ or ‘Concrete’ could be heard across the site. Lucy Edwards & Richard Stenning kept the mixers turning, ably keeping pace with demand allowing the brick / block layers to deliver

page 28

Pictures by David Miller

Cotswold Canals Camp 2015-02

Bricklaying under way on the chamber wal

Wednesday brought the first real change in scaffolding and daily from then changes were made, checked and double checked as the brickwork increased. Block wall complete. Thursday, 5 minutes of rain, final concrete mixed (total of 5.5 ton of ballast mixed and used on backfilling the retaining wall) pointing complete and brick count up. Friday: the last day. Rain meant a late start, 10:00 on site, the shouts already “mortar!”’ and the majority of the team focused on bricklaying. Paul demonstrating the Arbotec (handy power tool for cutting out old mortar) made short work of the old brick removal on the gate recess, towpath side. Our DoE attendees (Jemima, Lucy, Reece & Richard) gained a good range of skills, from mixing; Portland and lime mortar to a consistent concrete mix, to cleaning brickwork to pointing and prepaThe Arbortec: handy for cutting out old mortar ration of old surfaces and finally and most importantly laying the new bricks. So where was Lucy Blake at this time? I can tell you she was not hidden or quiet and was heard more than once to say “who is leading this camp anyway?” Lucy my intrepid assistant, queen of the chain gang, always there managing the distribution of bricks and mortar across the site, not an easy task as the words ‘mortar’ and ‘concrete’ rang out most of the day Monday through to Friday. Not only were the team worked hard during the day but with ‘extreme snap’, bowling and a boat trip the team were thankful for lights out! Martin Danks our cook, provided some excellent food, also managed a day on site and arranged a rota of DofE’ers to cook breakfast each one morning and assist with at least one evening meal. To my Assistant Leader, our cook and all the wider team I wish to thank you all for a great first camp for me as a leader. My thanks also to RAF Martin, whose help was invaluable both in sorting out my early van problem and providing me with some missing paperwork. It was a steep learning curve but at no time did I feel isolated as in leadership that is often the case, as the WRGie community is something great in its own right! Roll on Mon & Brec in August (1 to 8), are you free to attend? Ian Gaston Blockwork complete on the right, brickwork well on the way on the left

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Camp report Easter at Bowbridge: 2 Cotswold Canals Camp 2015-02 Another camp report from your ‘brick cleaning expert’... This was RAF Martin and Alan Wiffen’s ‘2nd Easter camp’ which followed on from record-breaking brick laying on Ian Gaston’s and Ms Blake’s (see previous pages). We were extremely lucky to have a new recruit called Craig who was on a busman’s holiday with us, on his first ever WRG camp, so here’s hoping he returns as he was a wonder to behold, especially in the hod carrying mode (without hod) and the catch and throw demo with Mr Bayliss. He was addressed as ‘Guv’nor’ by a couple of folk present who recognised his awesomeness. Steve was prodigious in his speed and accuracy, as ever, despite his chest infection. Conservative estimates of the number of bricks laid , based on the amount of sand used= 3,893; and when we look at the number of trips with Bob Crow to get more bricks from Brimscombe and the number of pallets emptied there, we arrive at a similar number. However we can also look at where we

The second week’s volunteers at Bowbridge over Easter manage to lay 3893 bricks, plus some improvisational gap-filling and ad hoc unisex moments... are in the pictures and see what progress was made, and the consensus is: ‘’we’ve all done very well’. Thank you to all present, who were:

Iain Corbin

Gill from Wigan, who had to leave due to a poorly daughter. Josh from Saffron Walden, a trainee Maths teacher and film fan. Peter (white bearded) from Suffolk. Yolande with motorbike. Emily, Sandra and Rachel from Nottingham, all fabulously gifted in the mudlarking and wearing of waders at various times. Harry equally mud spattered and good on the mixer. Bristol David did the shifting of rubble and detritus from the area near the vet’s, with various members filling trailers at different times. Welsh Huw, Brian (formerly Navy) and Richard Thomas were all extremely useful and provided the needful for the brick layers: Rob, Steve B, Craig as previously mentioned, Dave Miller and Alan who had to leave us to ‘’go back to work.’’ Probably for a rest, in fact. Also present: Brick Cleaner Valerie, Iain the pointer and van driver and mud party supervisor down at Ham Mill; Michelle was mixing, with Millie in attendance, for the 1st two days when I got there. John ‘award winner’ Hawkins was his usual self, and the robin didn’t put him off his stroke. Another WRG regular, Bob Crow, was his usual model of energetic exuberance until he had to leave before the week was over, so he missed the night I made the Spag ‘Mudlarking’ in the forebay of Ham Mill Lock Bol, I think.

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Iain Corbin

The recreational boat trip (plus wikiClive) was very popular. Work included laying bricks (both sides of the lock), raising scaffolding; pointing in the paddle recesses,clearing out behind the wall on the vet’s side ready for the blocks and the concrete pour (I think); and I helped Rob and Brian with the quoin and the placing of the coping stone atop plus the levelling and the pushing the mortar in all round it. Debbie and Sarah began the week as cooks, then Debbie’s daughter replaced Sarah for a couple of days; then there was some improvisational gap filling which ended with a BBQ (thank you Martin) and some extremely delicious potato salad. Memorable moments included the impromptu entrance to the accom in unconventional manner, when the WRGies had to show their mettle. Well, it was a high window. And some folk had rips in their trousers. In other news: owing to shower queue some ad hoc unisex moments occurred.

Bricklaying in front of the concrete blockwork Me, to surprise gent in ladies’ shower: Are you going to come out naked? Him: You’d have to pay extra for that. (My reply is not recorded.)

Martin Ludgate

Later on, to Sandra: ‘Will you be back?’ Rachel:’Oh yes! But not for a year though’.

The majority of us will be back at Brimscombe as often as we can, as nowt quite beats that view from the window, and the company and badinage - and the brick action! - thank you to all who make it such a blast. Tasterella Taster

Footnote: as you can see, there’s been some good progress since the Easter camps thanks to visiting groups’ weekend work parties. Our target to finish Bowbridge Lock this summer looks well within reach. Just as well, as we might now have another lock to do too. Watch this space...

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up for breakfast on someone else’s camp to find only tomatoes for example - I don’t like them very much! If a full selection isn’t available then you very quickly get an empty plate - and getting a decent breakfast is the fundamental starting point to a day. The kitchen is my domain: I think that’s pretty clear - I’ll be the one doing the cooking, you stay out! I’ve found the two worst groups for violating this are the people washing up the brew kit and old hands Canal Camps Cook: yet another view particularly those who know you and seem to think that means the rules don’t apply (I’ll confess to being I’ve been reading the various cooks’ approaches with guilty of that myself though!). interest - but as nobody has yet described how I do it, I If I’m cooking at Christmas, I’ll generally have a thought I would share my experiences. I reiterate that this volunteer helper in the morning to help with lunch (I get is my approach only! Firstly, a few golden rules: volunteers to make their own, but at Christmas it’s always good to take soup or baked potatoes to get 1. I’m there to cook people warm again). At Cavalcade this year, I had a 2. Volunteers have paid for the food permanent assistant - mainly because the work means 3. The kitchen is my domain that often they need to leave the washing up and there is 4. Pay attention just more to do - but otherwise, the kitchen is mine. Pay attention: Much as you try to ask them for To expand on those: I’m there to cook: By this, I their likes / dislikes etc, many volunteers won’t say mean several things - most importantly, I don’t do anything. So I think it is very important to pay attention cleaning. I’ll keep the kitchen clean and tidy, but I (and not just when you are the cook) to what other expect the camp leader to organise a rota or similar people eat / don’t eat. Some vegetarians don’t like for accommodation cleaning. mushrooms, other people pick out the carrots. I had a Secondly, I don’t go on site (maybe an occasional vegetarian for whom I cooked a squash and mushroom visit). Because I’m there to cook, I like to cook - so I pie, only to find they didn’t like squash! They didn’t tell tend to make a lot of things from scratch and the meals I me before, and didn’t tell me after, but I’ll remember for make aren’t always the most simple. That’s not to say the future. Clearly, you have to cater for everyone - but I’m serving gourmet food - but I like to make all the the occasional ‘special’ meal can make that volunteer sauces, do all the veg prep etc. Making proper cheesefeel really valued. It’s particularly relevant with curry / cake is one of my personal favourites. This means I chilli - just because you’re going to offer a ‘mild’ option, generally don’t get much spare time to go to site. don’t assume that’ll please everyone, so perhaps a Volunteers have paid for the food: WRG set a saucepan of baked beans to accompany the baked camp budget of £5-6 per person, per day. When I potato is worthwhile (and don’t forget the tabasco for first started cooking, I used to really focus on every those who you just can’t make it hot enough for) meal - how much was everything? Nowadays, I find Paying attention extends to sandwich fillings, that if I stick within what I know, I’ll generally be breakfast preferences etc. I had a summer camp with about right - although my tendency to buy lots of quite a high contingent of foreign volunteers - and it ‘ingredients’ rather than ‘products’ means I definitely was only later in the week that I realised that the high err towards the upper end of the budget. uptake of fruit was down to them eating a lot of it My other point here is that I believe volunteers for breakfast (and equally, that’s why I could always expect to get what they’ve paid for - so if the £6 per have about 4 sausages for breakfast...) person, per day budget means that you can afford decent The day: Having cooked on summer camps, meat and don’t need to bulk out with lots of vegetables Christmas camps & Cavalcade, I can safely say that I then I, personally, think that you have a duty to do that. can’t have a common plan for the day. I’ll cook There are some things I won’t skimp on - meat, crisps, breakfast, then on the summer camp or Cavalcade I’ll tea bags, coffee, free range eggs, bread, cereal etc. I’ve try to get off shopping as soon as possible. At Christnever understood some people’s aversions to cheap mas, I’ll be making the lunch so I’ll generally go shopping baked beans though - by the time I’ve cooked them and from the site - but in that circumstance I try to shop forgotten to stir them, you’re really not going to notice. ahead so that the meal I’m cooking in the evening is I also like to make sure that at breakfast, not the one I’m shopping for in the afternoon (and there’s plenty for everyone. That means beans, therefore I can start prep work whilst an assistant is tomatoes and mushrooms - black pudding is availworking on lunch). Then I’ll get back and cook the able if there’s a demand and things like hash browns evening meal. Then I’ll sleep, and do it all again!! are not limited to vegetarians. I get frustrated if I go George Rogers


Even more on cooking...

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Our regular roundup of progress on restoration projects around the country begins with a burst of activity on the Lichfield Canal

Progress Lichfield Canal

Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust The first 3 months of 2015 have seen a burst of activity following the receipt of a substantial Social Investment Business grant which had to be spent before 1st April.

. The canal track from the Boat

Inn on the A461 has been purchased.

. Trust volunteers with contractors

have cleared over half a century’s growth of trees and vegetation ready for the extension of the Heritage Towpath Trail over the M6 Toll aqueduct to Barracks Lane. (see picture)

. Midland Expressway honoured a

long-standing promise for the reinstatement of the Cranebrook culvert which was removed when the motorway was built and presented a cheque for £50,000. The work started in early April. awaited Memorandum of Understanding with Lichfield District Council and Lichfield City Council which confirmed the close working relationship which the Trust has enjoyed for several years. Other bodies will be drawn in at appropriate times.


. In March we signed the long-

View from cleared bed at Summerhill towards M6T aqueduct.

. Discussions with HS2 have gone forward in a positive way and Trust proposals for the

rerouting of the Lichfield Canal at Huddlesford should now be included in the HS2 Ltd project. There is still some way to go before it can be certain that the Trust’s requirements have been fully met. The new route will rejoin the existing track just below Lock 30. The next cause of concern will be the culvert required under the Lichfield to Birmingham railway. Staffordshire Highways is currently designing the extension of the Lichfield Bypass at Birmingham Road and it will be vital to install the canal culvert at the same time. Unfortunately separate culverts will be needed and the cost implications are very heavy. Work will start within the next two years. At Tamworth Road, clay puddling continues although weather and the need to work near the aqueduct have slowed the programme. It is still intended that most of Pound 27 will be put in water before the end of summer. Brian Kingshott

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Progress 25 years on at Tapton!

On the Sussex Ouse, Isfield Lock is nearing completion; there’s a landmark re-watering on the Wendover, and the Chesterfield marks an important anniversary

great landmark in the overall restoration plans, there remains the problem of the The dry spring has enabled Sussex Ouse Resremoval of a WW2 concrete barrier, installed toration Trust’s work on Isfield Lock to get off in 1941, from the upper end of the chamber. to a great start this year, with working parties This will not only require the use of some being able to access the site and commence heavy duty equipment but expert advice on work much earlier than in previous years. how the demolition is to carried out. Work on the remaining 5 metre section Although 2015 will be a year when of the failed west wall of the chamber is the SORT completes the chamber rebuild there is main focus of this year’s work and much still much work to be done at the Isfield site. progress can already be reported. As the wall At the end of April, as a way of raising is rebuilt, backfilling has required many the knowledge of what SORT are doing, Ted tonnes of ballast but the work becomes Lintott, the project manager, conducted a tour easier as the work on the wall approaches of the restoration site and gave an informative the top of the lock and the workforce and entertaining talk to a group of 60 Sussex emerges from the large hole that was rewalkers who visited the lock during a walk quired to complete the rebuild. down the river (see photograph). Coping stones have already been preTerry Owen pared and are ready to be positioned when the rebuild is complete. The top ground Wendover Arm paddles required complete reconstruction and this also has been achieved. The completion of the bund in the Bridge 4A The upstream towpath on the west side narrows at the March working party allowed of the cut, which is a public right of way, is Wendover Arm Trust to cut a channel being raised, levelled and landscaped. Mean- through the bund at the end of Stage 1 and, while downstream from the lock, the short at 11am on Saturday April 11th, start the flow cut leading back into the River Ouse is being of water into the next 450 metres of restored dug out and gradually cleared. canal - over a quarter of a mile! Although this year will see the compleThe re-watering (pictured, page 2) was tion of the chamber wall rebuild, itself a not an overnight event as it took about a week before the final Wendover water level was reached. Nor was it a major public event for various reasons including not knowing for certain whether there would be enough water flowing from Wendover during this rather dry period. In April the first length of pipe capping from the manhole east of the bund was cast and this work will proceed during the rest of the year. During the April work party the new cabin to be erected at Whitehouses was delivered and Tony Bardwell will be in charge of laying a base and putting the flatpack hut together during the May working party. Some time ago we brought SORT

Sussex Ouse

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along several young trees that have been repotted and tended until they are now 4 to 6 feet tall. At the April working party these were all planted on the Herts County Council land farmed by their tenant farmer, Keith Slade, where they have allowed us to tip surplus spoil and asked us to reinstate trees that we had to remove to facilitate the tipping. The Trust has now spent over £½m on Phase II. This is quite an achievement especially when you add the Phase I cost, a grand total of £909,360 in 18 (financial) years. Just over £50,000 a year! What is also remarkable is that, bearing in mind the Trust has £400,000 still ‘in the bank’, £1,309,360 has been raised by the

Trust since 1989 of which only about £310,000 has been in the form of grants and a bequest, i.e. the Trust has raised £1m to date plus the funds required for the nonrestoration costs of running the Trust!. The budgets are still based on volunteers carrying out all the work but will need revising if it is decided to pay for contract assistance for some of the more arduous work such as earthwork and block laying. See our feature on pages 10-13 for more about the Wendover restoration, including an explanation of the various phases and stages. Roger Leishman, Restoration Director. 01442 874536

Anniversary plaque at Tapton Lock


On 29th April, the Mayor of Chesterfield unveiled a plaque commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the re-opening of Tapton Lock on The Chesterfield Canal Trust the Chesterfield Canal. It also thanks the Volunteer Work Party volunteers, some of whom have worked on 29th April 2015 the canal for nearly 30 years. The 25th anniversary of the re-opening of A brief ceremony was attended by lots Tapton Lock of volunteers, past and present (including The Work Party restored this lock. They also several from WRG), some of whom had restored Hollingwood Lock (1993), Bluebank cruised up the canal from Hollingwood Hub Lock (1994) and Wheeldon Mill Lock (1997). aboard the boat Madeline. Robin Stonebridge, They built the new Dixon’s Lock (1995) from the Chair of the Chesterfield Canal Trust, scratch. They restored Mill Green (2004) and thanked all of the partners who have been built the 600 yard washwall between Mill involved in the restoration, but highlighted the Green and Staveley Town Basin (2012). They astonishing feats performed by the Trust’s built the abutments for Constitution Hill volunteer Work Party for decades. Bridge (2014) and are currently building the The Mayor unveiled the plaque (full text new Staveley Town Lock. shown on the right) whilst standing on the Several of these volunteers have turned out foredeck of Madeline with Work Party stalwarts every week for over 25 years. Their work has Mick Hodgetts, Terry Berridge and Dave brought huge enjoyment to the many thousands of people who use the canal. France. Afterwards, Madeline and John Varley To all members of the Work Party, took volunteers and guests on a short cruise. past and present, Thank you Tapton Lock was the very first lock to be re-opened in the restoration of the canal in 1990. The work had been done by the volunteer Work Party of the Chesterfield Canal Society. The huge crowd which came to witness that event was one of the first signs of how popular the canal would become in the future. Since then, a further 35 locks along the canal have been restored or built from scratch, along with 11 major road bridges, 2 marinas and 12 miles of canal. Only 9 miles remain to be restored. The Chesterfield Canal Trust is determined to see this nine mile gap closed.

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Clean Up

This year’s annual Birmingham Canal Navigations Clean Up tackled the Old and New Main Line canals and connections in the Smethwick area. Chris Morgan reports...

Reporting from the BCN

(aka Dave Hearnden, the other team leader) and his team worked up Spon Lane Locks. Perhaps one statement that could cover this After lunch Saturday we worked from year’s event was “a tight squeeze”? The Engine Arm Aqueduct to the Summit We used the historic Malthouse Stables Tunnel, while Moose’s team worked down at Tipton which were well appointed but a bit Smethwick locks and to Rabone Lane Bridge of a squeeze for 54 people, but it was fun. on the New Main Line Canal. Lots of the Finding accommodation proved difficult this usual suspects pulled out, but Moose’s team year; the old school we used for many years found a shotgun and ammunition and a has now gone posh and not interested in our Hindu Statue! types! Saturday evening saw everyone fed, as The attendance of Narrow Boat Swallow well as some of the local residential boaters again aroused much interest, and even atand volunteers from BCN Society / IWA / tracted a few stowaways! Coombswood Canal Trust joining us for a We gathered on Friday afternoon, many social evening. Linda Simpson, a very talmeeting up at the Fountain Pub, then the ented lady, joined us with her guitar and Mad O’Rourke’s Pie Factory pub not far away played a few songs, including a special birthfrom the accommodation; as usual Friday day song for Adrian! Owen Morgan also evening went well socially and many a beer played his guitar for us. was seen off. Another great breakfast on Sunday After a hearty breakfast cooked by morning and off to Smethwick, this time to George and Maria, on Saturday morning two have a try of the New Main Line. Both teams groups set off for the Oldbury area. The plan started at each end with the plan to meet in was to work towards each other down the the middle but alas, not enough time due to Old and New Main Line canals and meet at CRT wanting to finish on time. But plenty the junction at the top of Spon Lane Locks. was pulled out, especially at the old Pump On the old BCN main line at Oldbury house museum - lots of pipes and rubbish. (Anchor Bridge) my team found lots of tyres, I would like to thank Moose and Maria a freezer, road signs, road work fences and for all their support, also George for the bundles of copper pipe. Meanwhile Moose catering and Eton Mess pudding! Thanks to

BCN Clean up report

Birmingham Canal Navigations Old and New main lines Smethwick and Oldbury area

New Main Line to Tipton and Wolverhampton Spon Lane Locks

Summit Tunnel

Oldbury Old Ma in

Galton Tunnel




Steward Old Main Line Aqueduct to Tipton



Smethwick Locks

ai n Lin e

Engine Arm Aqueduct

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Engine Arm To Birmingham

Tim Lewis

Aileen for the coordinating in between, and thanks to Tony from CRT for his organisation. I would also like to thank the volunteer crews from BCNS/IWA/ CCT/Dudley Canals Trust/ Friends of Tipton Cut and CRT - we couldn’t do it without you. Thanks to all the van drivers for your efforts before, during and after the event, you know who you all are. Thanks to the dishwashers and wipers up (Tim was quite good). Three barrels of local ale were sold over the weekend generating a profit of £192 to WRG funds, thank you to Viv Thorpe for bringing along his vintage beer engines to dispense the ale. Thanks to Brian for bringing the extra hooks for which we were struggling this year. Special thanks to Jenny and Toby at Head Office who work so hard doing things throughout the year. Toby managed to get a grant this year that helped pay towards the accommodation costs, I have asked him to look out for similar funding to get us Possibly the most appropriate thing we pulled out all weekend! some grapple hooks and maps so that I can make up packs for each van, all things that hopeyour contribution is vital in securing fully will make things easier for us next time. the future of our waterways. No doubt you will have seen Jenny’s For next year we have been asked to press release, over 40 tonnes of junk again, look at the old favourites, the Walsall and as estimated by CRT. Their Chief Executive Tame Valley Canals, taking in the Perry Barr Richard Parry attended both days and got Locks as well. If we have the same accomdirty, he wrote to me, and I quote: modation, we will need overspill sleeping I had a great time at the Clean Up space. I am looking at two local camping last week. A significant amount of boats: would people be interested in this? rubbish was removed and it is down to This would alleviate the cramped conditions such enthusiastic and hardworking and allow Moose to have the en suite! volunteers like yourself that the canal Last ‘thank you’ is to you all for attendis once again at its best for everyone ing, it really is a great event, and you people to enjoy. I was hugely impressed by put the ‘great’ into it. Take care and see you the can-do attitude and hard work of all soon everyone involved. I wanted to pass on Chris Morgan my personal thanks for all your efforts, See inside back cover for more Clean Up photos

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Boat Club

WRG’s own boat club is planning its AGM at the Northampton Festival in August, and finding bits of newly restored canal to navigate...

WRG BC News WRG Boat Club News

wanting to be a club officer this is your chance! The involvement will be minimal, just passing on information and maybe attending a meeting now and then, should no one else be available, and reporting back afterwards. The qualifications needed might include; being a club member; a good sense of humour and of the ridiculous; able to provide/open a bottle of wine (easy now with screw tops); keen on canals and specifically restoration (what on earth are you doing being a wrgie if you’re not?). Someone good at the dreaded technology would be welcome with open arms – by me at least! Future Plans – These could include visits to restoration sites or newly opened bits of

Pictures by Sadie Heritage

As I have mentioned a few times, we plan to hold our Boat Club AGM and social gathering at some time during the IWA Northampton Festival of Water 29th – 31st August. We hope to hold it on the Saturday evening but don’t yet know the programme for the weekend. Here is an agenda for the AGM: Apologies – please let me know if you will not be able to attend; snail mail, email or text will reach me, contact details at the end of this news. Minutes of the previous AGM – These can be found in the October - November 2014 Navvies issue no 267. If anyone thinks that these are NOT an accurate report of what happened they should have said so sooner! What? Are there some members who can’t remember exactly what was written? OK I can send you a copy if you have lost yours, just let me know (and ensure I have a current email address). Unless I hear otherwise, I will assume all agree that the minutes are a correct record of the nonmeeting. Matters Arising from these minutes – please let me know. Officers’ Reports – Commode Door & club representative to AWCC; Secretary; Little Treasure(r). Allocation of Funds and/ or donations (I suspect that the WRG Van Appeal will be a main feature here!) Election of Officers – Existing club officers, Lynne, Ann, Mike and Sadie, are willing to continue but it would be handy to have Ashby: arriving at the new head of navigation... another member. Anyone

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working on building it during this summer’s Canal Camps ...Ed] The reversing back was really easy as the canal there has concrete walls, was deep at the edges and not full of rubbish. Altogether it was a very pleasing trip and we got back to Shackerstone in time to have a trip on a steam train! Restoration progress along the Ashby is very slow and not without its problems, I won’t start to list them but those involved with funding, getting agreements with the nature lobby and local councils will find them all too familiar. ...and work is under way on the next section with winding hole Please let me know of any canal or, preferably something of a camcanals under restoration, or new bits, you paigning nature. Suggestions please! have visited. This is an important activity. Any Other Business - Please advise me of We still have club burgees available anything you would like considered. from Lynne (phone number on your memSo that is the planned agenda for our bership card) and window stickers for inside AGM, all comments, suggestions and advice or outside available from me. I also have gratefully received. some AWCC stickers if required. Looking back at Navvies No 267 NoVery best wishes for boating this year. I vember – October 2014,(which you may be hope to see as many as possible at Northin order to check last year’s AGM minutes), ampton. there is a picture of the ‘New Bit’ on the xxx Sadie Heritage Ashby Canal before water was added. Atemail: tached is a photo of not only the new bit of mobile: 07748186867 the Ashby but us at the end of it in a boat! home ansaphone: 01733204505 We went there just before Easter. There was 236 Station Road, Whittlesey an event held there over the Easter Weekend, Peterborough, PE7 2HA we visited for 2 nights, chatted, looked around and then went to the end of the PS Why not bring loads of dosh to navigable canal. We were told that we would Northampton so we can make a BIG donahave to reverse back - as the other photo tion to the Van Appeal (or maybe just send it should show, one day there will be narrows off or do a direct debit)? and then a winding hole but not during our PPS don’t forget to sign a Gift Aid visit! [There will also be a new bridge - we’re thingy if you pay tax.

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Navvies news

Directory updates

There have been a couple of changes to the Navvies directory of WRG, canal societies and other groups involved in canal restoration, which appears in every third or fourth issue and last appeared in issue 268. The Inland Waterways Protection Society, which began life as a national organisaCanal & River Trust have sacked tion but has concentrate its efforts for many years on restoring the huge canal/tramway the WRG chairman interchange complex at Bugsworth Basin on This is not quite the dramatic headline it the Peak Forest Canal, has now recognised purports to be: one of the posts I have enthis by changing its name to Bugsworth joyed recently is sitting as the volunteers’ Basin Heritage Trust. representative on the Canal & River Trust’s The Shropshire Union Canal Society national council. When CRT were formed, now has a new contact: David Carter: 01244 they knew they needed a Council member to 661440 or email represent volunteering but they couldn’t The full directory will appear in issue work out how they could elect such a person. 272. If you have any updates, please send So we were flattered that they said that WRG them to the editor. should represent the volunteer sector until such a point that they could work out how to Moving house run a fair election among their waterway volunteers. Bobby Silverwood and Jo Clarke of KESCRG Now CRT have been up and running for have moved to 1 Station Terrace, Newport a few years and have been building their Street, Hay on Wye HR3 5BA. George Rogers volunteer numbers in a very impressive (of WRG, the Friends of the Cromford and way. So they have given us notice that the who knows what else?) has moved to 28 next set of CRT Council elections will include Drury Avenue, Spondon DE21 7FZ. a volunteer representative and we are, in If you move house, remember to tell effect, relieved of our post. WRG so we can make sure your Navvies So they are about to seek nominations goes to your new address. for a volunteer rep, and while it does have to be someone registered as a CRT IWA Restoration Committee volunteer, that doesn’t mean it can’t be anyone reading this, whether WRG, CRT, local The Restoration Committee of WRG’s parent society or any permutation of these. body the Inland Waterways Assocation is The nominations run from 4 to 30 seeking enthusiastic advocates of waterway September, with elections 6 November to restoration to join, or provide support for, 4 December. If you are interested in reprethe Committee with its work in promoting senting volunteers within CRTs waterways and developing waterways restoration and then please visit the CRT website for further new waterways in England and Wales. The details. committee is looking for new members and Mike Palmer also honorary advisors with experience in land acquisition and heritage architecture, willing to help individual projects progress New BITM Chairman their schemes Our regional group WRG BITM has a new Whether you are currently active memchairman. Simon Walker has retired, and bers of IWA at branch, region or national Mark Gribble was elected in his place at the level or an armchair member who thinks ‘I BITM AGM. You can contact him by email on really should be doing something more’ we either or would like to hear from you. Restoration Committee members: Dave Wedd remains the main contact We meet six times a year throughout Engfor the group’s working parties (see diary for land & Wales, and communicate largely his contact details). through email in the interim. A couple of

MKP sacked by CRT!

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hours of your time each week is all we are likely to ask of you - but you can volunteer for much more! We are seeking new Committee members with skills and experience in environment and ecology matters; knowledge of political lobbying, planning, engineering and heritage would also be useful. A member from the Wales and the South West: or from that part of the West Midlands within easy reach of these two areas, and a member from the North West would be especially welcome, as would anyone willing and able to attend occasional weekday meetings. Land Agent: Volunteer Valuer - IWA seeks a qualified Chartered Surveyor to undertake voluntary work in the following fields:

Role: We are seeking an appropriately qualified professional to act as an Honorary Cultural Heritage Advisor with specialist skills in Architecture, Heritage Management and/or Industrial Archaeology. Desirable skills include the following:

. . .



Professional experience and a demonstrable track record in heritage management, built-environment conservation, architectural history or similar and related fields. Membership of a relevant profession organisation such as IHBC, CIFA, RIBA, RICS Knowledge of built heritage, construction methods (systems) and engineering relevant to the ‘waterways age’ (c.1700 to present) together with an appreciation of their historical context. Land acquisition Understanding of waterway restoration Lease negotiation and waterside development (or experience of similar forms of heritage-led regeneration). Land Valuation Knowledge of conservation manageThe applicant(s) will ideally be a minimum ment and town planning linked to a working MRICS qualified and have a number of years knowledge of relevant legislation in the UK. experience dealing with land transactions and An imaginative approach to solving valuation. problems! In particular the ability to assess The role is voluntary, however IWA will the impact of development proposals upon provide Professional Indemnity Insurance the canal environment – whether restored or and reasonable expenses will be reimbursed, under restoration – and to make an approusually by the individual projects. priate response including the ability to sugArchitectural Heritage and/or gest visionary alternatives to both local govHistoric Environment Management ernment and developers. (Cultural Resource Management) AdviThe ability to see where schemes could sor: IWA is seeking an enthusiastic advocate promote or seize ‘development gain’ opporof the inland waterways to provide independtunities to progress canal restoration and ent specialist Architectural & Cultural Heritage enhancement. Management advice that will help to progress all forms of inland waterway projects. The role requires reading, correspondence, Background: Waterway projects take together with some site-visits and periodic place in a complex historic environment – a report writing and presentations to Restoracorridor containing a rich heritage of struction Committee and larger external groups. tures, buildings and places. As some of the The role is voluntary, however IWA will earliest industrial features canals were often provide Professional Indemnity Insurance the core of later development and thus they and reasonable expenses will be reimbursed, helped to define the shape of the modern usually by the individual projects. landscape. If you are interested in being considAs waterway restoration projects ered for any of these roles please contact the progress they need support in dealing with chairman of Restoration Committee, the complexities of built heritage and the Vaughan Welch, on 0121 477 9782 or write cultural landscape and the formulation and to him at 3 Beach Close, Northfield, Birmingapplication of conservation management ham, B31 3DB. If you are not already an strategies and plans. IWA member you will need to join. Restoration Committee therefore wishes to strengthen its panel of advisers in this And finally... area by seeking a specialist in Architectural Heritage and/or Historic Environment Man...don’t forget to book for the WRG Reunion. agement (Cultural Resource Management). See centre pages for details and booking form.

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Stick with it!

The launch of the new WRG car stickers being sold to raise funds for the Van Appeal has prompted longstanding Navvies reader Roger Evans to send in an assortment of earlier WRG stickers and posters which we reproduce here. Starting with what he believes to be the original ‘We dig canals’ WRG sticker, printed in black & white on paper with glue at the ends...

Roger points out that it’s clearly an early one as it still uses WRG founder Graham Palmer’s address at 2 Wentworth Court, Finchley. It also manages to add a stray ‘s’ to our name! Next is an early black & white ‘We dig canals’ poster, complete with navvy logo:

An even later poster reverts to black & white but lists a good range of tasks involved in volunteer work on canals. Finally, Roger remarks that today’s volunteers may not even be aware of the 1960s usage of ‘dig’ to mean ‘like/fancy/appreciate’ (especially in music) that made the ‘we dig canals’ slogan something of a pun. However the punning aspect of the other WRG slogan introduced in this early red welly sticker is still understood and in use today.

Dear Deirdre I’m distressed to learn

...which asks the question “Ever thought about canals?” Next comes a later ‘Help dig canals’ poster urging volunteers to ‘bring the derelict eyesores of the past into the waterways of today’ and introducing colour printing - the WRG logo (in capitals, note!) was in red.

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that WRG are planning nude calendar to raise money for the van appeal. The thought of seeing my fellow volunteers wearing nothing but a strategically placed scaff spanner is causing me considerable mental anguish. Is there anything that can be done to prevent this horror? - HJ, Basingstoke Deirdre writes Yes I’ve had a few sleepless nights about it myself. I think the best thing you can do is stitch together enough £50 notes to make a two-piece suit and send it off to the van appeal immediately. They’ll get the hint.

Dear Deirdre Can you tell us what having a new majority government could mean for the future of canal restoration? - Simon, Droitwich Deirdre writes I’m confident that it will mean absolutely nothing. Canals are an apolitical issue that aren’t on the party radar, so nothing will change either for better or worse. You can see this as a blessing or a curse. Either way, you know where Bowbridge is, so get on with your bricklaying.

Our spread of pictures taken on this year’s Clean Up on the Birmingham Canal Navigations (see report, pages 36-37) starts with volunteers slinging their hooks in the New Main Line near Oldbury...

Outro BCN Cleanup

Yet another motor scooter at Smethwick Locks These lumps of metal were identified by our expert Mark ‘Mk2’ Richardson from the photos (he wasn’t actually there!) as the remains of a 5-door Mk2 Vauxhall Astra

A load of junk heads for the skips, courtesy of BCNS boat Phoenix

Picture by Tim Lewis

A side of the M5 motorway that most drivers don’t see

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20,000 bags of fudge will buy 1 new Transit minibus... See inside for the latest on the Appeal

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Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Navvies 271  

Navvies 271. Read Waterway Recovery Group's magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways.

Navvies 271  

Navvies 271. Read Waterway Recovery Group's magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways.