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50 years of restoring waterways

navvies 1966

–

2016

What were we restoring in 1966? What’s happened there since then?

waterway recovery group

Issue No 275 February-March 2016


Intro Coming soon...

Volunteers Volunteers wanted wanted at at Little Venice: see p7 Little Venice: see p7

The The return return of of the the Barn Dance: see Barn Dance: see p43 p43

Book Book now now for for the the BCN BCN Clean Clean Up: Up: see see p6 p6

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Lancaster Lancaster


Visit our web site www.wrg.org.uk 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 martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk 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 john.hawkins@wrg.org.uk 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

© 2016 WRG

Contents In this issue... Editorial 50 years of Navvies! 4-5 Coming soon Clean Up, Leader Training, Canalway Cavalcade and more 6-7 Navvies at 50: We look back at 1966’s projects, and what’s heppened since 8-20 Camp report Cotswold New Year 21-23 Diary WRG, IWA, CRT, canal societies 24-29 Letters Pictures on the vans? And are the canals falling apart? 30-31 Directory WRG and canal societies 32-35 Progress our regular roundup 36-40 Camp Report New Year at Dauntsey 41 WRGBC Boat Club News 42 Fundraising including Appeal update 43 Plant more stuff free to a good home 44 Navvies News missing pages? 45 Infill with Dear Deirdre 46 Outro Cotswold New Year pictures 47

Contributions... ...are welcome, whether by post or 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 martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk. Press date for issue 276: 1 March.

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 "Inland Waterways Association" please. This is a minimum subscription, that everyone can afford. Please add a donation.

Cover Picture: “All pull together” - dragging sunken trees out of the Thames & Severn Canal near Eisey on the Cotswold Canals New Year Camp (photo: Martin Ludgate). Back cover: “Can you see what it is yet?” Probably a first for London WRG, who turn their hands to making a canoe rack on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation (Martin Ludgate)

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Editorial

The Editor explains about this year’s Navvies anniversary, and what we’re going to do to mark it

What’s with the ‘50 years’ thing?

How many years of Navvies? Welcome to the first issue of the 50th anniversary year of Navvies magazine. “But hang about”, I hear you say, “Didn’t we only just have the 40th anniversary a couple of years back?” Well, yes we did: four years ago, to be precise. But that was the 40th anniversary of Waterway Recovery Group. You see, the odd thing about WRG and Navvies (well, OK, one of the many odd things) is that the magazine started four years before the organisation did. Navvies Notebook (as it was first called) was originally published by the Working Party Group of the Inland Waterways Association’s London & Home Counties branch; however from very early on, the aim was to publicise all canal working parties to the growing band of mobile volunteers from all over the country who would work on whichever canal they were needed on. Four years later, the people involved (including editor Graham Palmer) decided that this was such a good thing that it was worth developing the idea from just a magazine to a whole national organisation - and so WRG was born. But that’s enough about it here - you can read all about what the volunteers were doing in 1966 on a 13-page special feature in this issue, which goes right back to the first three issues, looks at all 10 waterways that the ‘pre-WRGies’ (or navvies, as they called themselves, after the original navvies who built the canals) were working on; and then at what’s happened on all of those waterways over the intervening half century. But this is just one issue. There are five more issues in this 50th anniversary year. So what else have we got planned? Well, that’s where you come in. As Graham Palmer said in issue 2... Navvies Notebook issue 1, 1966

YOU can help to improve Navvies Notebook by letting the Editor know what you would like to see in N. N. What would you like to see us do to mark the rest of this special year for Navvies? Send your suggestions to the editor, and we’ll see what we can do. (Suggestions already made include “The top 50 whinging letters to the Navvies editor” - come on, I know you can do better than that!) Of course, even better than suggestions are offers of help - and on that subject, my thanks to Harri Barnes for her contributions to the article in this issue. Martin Ludgate

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1966 and all that...

This was the map that appeared in Navvies Notebook issue 3, with the numbers showing all the then current work sites. As you can see, they’re a mixture of:

. .

Waterways that have long since been completed and reopened (Peak Forest, Stourbridge) Waterways that had already been restored or had never closed, where the volunteers were working on maintenance (Wey, Stratford) . Waterways that we’re still plugging away at. (Chesterfield, Mon & Brec) . That odd one that might have been meant to be Droitwich but was in the wrong place! See our feature on pages 8 to 20 for the story of what’s happened since 1966 on all of them

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Coming soon Clean Up, Easter camps...

Last call for Easter camps, then it’s the BCN Clean Up, the Leaders’ Training Day, and Canalway Cavalcade. And we want volunteers for all of them

Easter canal camps A record five camps at Easter this year: two weeks on the Cotswold Canals (Weymoor Bridge) with Martin Thompson leading the first on 26 March to 2 April and Ian Gaston taking over for 2 to 9 April. Colin Hobbs will be in charge on the Chesterfield on 25 March to 2 April; Gary Summers will lead on the Uttoxeter on 2 to 9 April and again on 9 to 16 April. These camps should all be booked via wrg.org.uk or 01494 783453..

Birmingham Canal Navigations Clean Up: 16-17 April This year’s event is extra special with the IWA Festival of Water taking place at Pelsall on the Wyrley and Essington Canal in August. The logistics won’t allow us to clean up that area this year but we will be clearing rubbish out of the lengths of canal that get you there! We will be based at the old British Waterways yard at Ocker Hill on the junction of the Walsall and Tame Valley canals. We plan to clean up to the top of Ryders Green Locks. We are again supported by the BCN Society, Dudley Canals Trust, Coombeswood Canals Trust, IWA and the guys at the Canal & River Trust without whom we could not do it. As with most years we hope to guarantee plenty of muck for little brass, and a good bit of socialising and WRG banter along the way. Our accommodation will be the Malthouse Stables in Tipton, plus floating accommodation for 8 to 10 alongside to reduce the amount in the Stables as we got pretty friendly last year! Several people are attending by boat as well which should make it a small boat rally, so let’s see the WRGBC burgees fly! I will be leading the Camp and the more than capable Dave ‘Moose; Hearnden will be my deputy. Maria will be organising the catering with George as usual and we will need van drivers to make themselves available please. Thank you to those who have already contacted me. I look forward to seeing old friends and new in April. Please book in using the booking form opposite or via the WRG website www.wrg.org.uk. Chris Morgan cbmorgan@sky.com 02920 888681 / 07974 111354

Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice: May Day bank holiday The May Day Bank Holiday is rapidly approaching, and that means Canalway Cavalade is nearly upon us once more. Cavalcade is the Inland Waterways Association’s annual three day festival at Little Venice (near Paddington in London), and one thing that makes it happen is a large team of volunteers. It is not an official WRG Camp, but the site services team is largely composed of WRGies. Gary Summers, who ran the team for the last few years, has stepped down and Pete Fleming has agreed to take over. George Rogers will still be cooking and is helping Pete with the administrative workload! So they are on the hunt for a team of volunteers to set up and run the festival infrastructure and manage the site. It’s a reasonably compact festival, but the location makes it logistically challenging, due to being in central London and straddling two canals. The accommodation is limited and restricted to two narrow boats for sleeping on, plus a field kitchen for cooking and eating. The camp runs from lunchtime on Wednesday 27 April (when we build our compound) through Thursday and Friday (when we set up the festival and get all the boats onto the moorings) to the three days of the weekend (when we switch to site management and problemsolving mode), then on to the take-down. We aim to finish by Tuesday afternoon. To make it all happen we’d really like to see the experienced volunteers who have helped out in previous years; but we are definitely also on the lookout for some new faces to join the team.

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We recognise that you may not be able to attend for the whole camp because it does run midweek to midweek, but we do need people to attend on the weekdays because that’s when we most need them. Oh, and we do plan the work so that everyone gets a chance to enjoy some of the festival; and usually the opportunity to steer a narrowboat. For more information, a general chat about what is involved or to book on, contact George Rogers on georgemrogers@btinternet.com or 07789 493967. And if you want to find out what it’s like without revealing your hand to George or Pete, speak to any one of the regular volunteers (they’ll all tell you it is brilliant though!)

Leader Training Day 14 May With Christmas safely out of the way it is time to think about the summer camps season and more specifically in my case the Leaders Training day. As has become traditional, leaders training this year will be held at Rowington Village hall on Saturday 14th May (bacon sarnies from 10am, proceedings to start at 10.30). This year we will be returning to the ‘normal’ agenda with items useful both for new and experienced leaders throughout the day. The format is very relaxed and inclusive – we definitely work on the ‘no stupid questions’ principle. The exact agenda is still a work in progress, so if anyone has any points they feel are worth adding then please let me know via ed.walker@wrg.org.uk. If we have enough interest we will also run a cooks session. This could cover anything from experienced camp chefs sharing hints and tips to providing more information to those planning their first foray into the camp kitchen. We expect the day to wind up at about 4.30pm but we will be providing dinner for those who want to stay on overnight – accommodation will be in the hall and breakfast will also be available. The WRG committee meeting is Sunday morning for those that are interested in seeing how WRG is run. To book on (it’s free!) please contact Jen at head office jenny.black@waterways.org.uk, 01494 783453 remembering to let her know when you’ll be there (particularly if you are planning on staying overnight) and what dietary requirements you have. Ed Walker

waterway recovery group in association with BCNS CRT IWA DCT CCT I would like to attend the 2016 BCN Canal Cleanup on April 16-17 Forename:

Surname:

Address: email: Phone:

Any special dietary requirements?

I require accommodation Friday night / Saturday night / both nights I enclose payment of £

(pay 'Waterway Recovery Group') for food (£13 for weekend)

Do you suffer from any allergy or illness, such as epilepsy or diabetes, about which we should know, or are you receiving treatment or under medical supervision for any condition? YES / NO (If yes, please attach details) In the unlikely event that you should be injured, who should we contact? Name:

Phone:

Signed: Please send this form to: National Cleanup bookings, WRG, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA

You can also book online via the WRG website wrg.org.uk

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Where are they now? As Navvies magazine begins its 50th anniversary year, we take a look back at where the volunteers who were reading it in 1966 were working - and what’s happened to those canals and rivers over the half-century since then. We start with the very first waterway to be mentioned in the magazine... Stourbridge: reopening “by Whitsun”

What was happening in 1966? The work already done was “cutting down the jungle of scrub around the locks and weirs, removing tons of old iron and masonry from the pounds, repairing and re-puddling some of the weirs and culverts, and laboriously digging 3-4ft of mud and brickends from the bottom of the lock chambers” - hampered by unreliable pumps, theft of equipment, and “the worst that British weather can produce”. More of the same was promised: “work a-plenty: if you can dig, shovel, paint, lay bricks, wheel barrows or just make tea you will be very welcome”.

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Harry Arnold

Harry Arnold

What’s the background? The Stourbridge Canal, which provided a useful through link from the Staffs & Worcs Canal at Stourton to the Dudley Canal (part of the Birmingham Canal Navigations) at Black Delph, had never actually been officially closed - but like a lot of the canals being worked on by volunteers in the 1960s, its owners (British Waterways and their predecessors in the British Transport Commission) had simply allowed it to fall derelict. Matters had come to a head in 1962 with the ‘Battle of Stourbridge Cut’, when volunteers cleared out a length of the (illegally unnavigable) canal for access to a campaigning IWA boat rally amid opposition, threats of legal action by the authorities, and questions asked Stourbridge: lock restoration under way... in Parliament. By 1966 relations had improved, and the two-page feature (out of a total of eight pages) in Navvies Notebook 1 described the agreement between the recently established British Waterways Board and the Staffs & Worcs Canal Society for BWB to supply and fit lock gates and provide some equipment, while the volunteers would provide labour. Work began in 1964, and by 1966 nine locks were finished, with a target set to get the 16 complete and the through route navigable by Whitsun 1967.

...in time for a Whitson 1967 reopening


50 years of Navvies magazine 1966-2016

Martin Ludgate

What’s happened since? The remaining seven locks were restored, the Stourbridge Canal did indeed reopen in May 1967, and it’s remained open ever since - indeed, the vast majority of the boaters who cruise it today probably have no idea that it was ever derelict. Since 1985 the canal has had its own organisation the Stourbridge Navigation Trust to keep an eye on it, as well as maintaining and operating the preserved Bonded Warehouse alongside the canal’s Stourbridge Town Arm. And although the canal was never part of the BCN system, it hosted the 2013 BCN Clean Up when 80 volunteers helped to keep it clear of rubbish and easily naviReturn to Stourbridge: the 2013 Clean Up gable.

Kennet & Avon - the “delusion that girls are too delicate” What’s the background? Compared to the Stourbridge, which (without wanting to belittle the huge amount of work that went into it between 1964 and 1967) was a ‘quick win’, the Kennet & Avon Canal was much more of a ‘long haul’. It, too, had been illegally allowed to fall derelict by its owners, starting in this case with the Great Western Railway so that by 1950 it was unnavigable as a through route from Reading to Bristol - although some sections remained usable. The Kennet & Avon Canal Society (later the K&A Canal Trust) campaigned to prevent its abandonment, but for much of the 1950s and early 1960s its future was in the balance. By 1966, however, the tide appeared to have turned with the first couple of issues of Navvies reporting work on two sites, one near each end of the canal.

Graham Palmer / Waterway Images

What was happening in 1966? On the eastern River Kennet length of the waterway, Sulhamstead Lock was under restoration - or rather, reconstruction, having originally been turf-sided (which was usual on the Kennet) but being rebuilt as a steel-piled chamber, once again in collaboration with BWB following the success of the Stourbridge cooperation. Navvies reported work in progress infilling around the new piling and also described what today I suppose we would call the ‘welfare facilities’ - “There is a converted block-house next to the lock which will provide shelter, it has a small coke burning stove for a brew-up and a thaw-out. For those who take a liquid lunch, a quaint pub (the Fox & Hounds I think) will be found by walking along the road for about 10 minutes” Meanwhile at the western end, the Limpley Stoke dry section London & Home Counties IWA on the Kennet at Southcote, 1967

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Where are they now? was the subject of initial work involving sandbag dams and test re-waterings to ascertain the reason why it had run dry. This job featured KACT’s new Junior Division, recruited from local schools and youth clubs, and we read that the girls “joined in the heavy digging just as much as the boys, this should dispel once and for all the delusion that girls are too delicate to take their share...”

Tim Lewis

What’s happened since? Lock rebuilding on the Kennet end and elsewhere continued with volunteer input, but the K&A was always going to be a long job given the sheer number of locks and miles to restore - and in the end it involved considerable professional support too. The Limpley Stoke dry section ended up being rebuilt in concrete, there were numerous road swingbridges on the Kennet to be replaced with modern structures, and in the latter days the canal suffered from issues about the use of volunteers on British Waterways canals (Either the trade unions wouldn’t stand for it, or the BW management falsely claimed the unions wouldn’t - take your choice who to believe!) But despite these problems - and KACT’s volunteers mainly working elsewhere (for example the Newbury branch became the mobile group NWPG, who made a significant contribution to the Basingstoke restoration and are very much still active on canal resto- London WRG on a rare K&A volunteer project in1988: Devizes lock bridges ration in the south), as the Canal Trust’s activities switched more to campaigning and fundraising - it was finally reopened in 1990. Even then, there was more to do - a backpumping scheme finaly gave the canal a more reliable water supply, and a large Lottery grant paid for long-term stabilisation of embankments and other engineering works. Some say the K&A still isn’t the easiest to navigate; others disagree - see past Navvies letters pages - but today it’s held up as a good example of how a completed canal restoration can bring benefits to the communities it passes through.

Peak Forest: “A vigorous renovation process” What’s the background? The Peak Forest Canal, and the Ashton Canal to which it joins, can probably be considered the major ‘northern’ restoration scheme of the late 1960s and early ’70s. Transport of limestone along the Upper Peak Forest (from Whaley Bridge and Bugsworth Basin to the junction with the Maccesfield at Marple) ceased in the 1920s, and the Lower section (from Marple to the Ashton and then onto the Rochdale in Manchester) suffered the same gradual decline of much of the rest of the system in the inter- and immediate post-war years. The Peak Forest Canal Society was formed in 1964, and was initially authorised to carry out ‘agricultural clearance’ on a short section of the lower canal running up to Butterhouse Green Tunnel at Woodley.

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50 years of Navvies magazine 1966-2016 What was happening in 1966? The work of Peak Forest Canal Society (PFCS) features heavily in the 1966 editions of Navvies, with regular detailed updates from a certain John Foley, local working party organiser. By this point, the Society were concentrating on the Marple lock flight, site of the 1966 IWA Rally, which had been organised to highlight the state of the canal. While trying to negotiate formal permission from BWB to work on the flight, the Society were limited to fairly cosmetic work, but to some effect: “A vigorous renovation process, accompanied by application of large quantities of paint, has completely transformed the previous derelict appearance of the flight, cut vandalism to a bare minimum and arrested the continuing process of deterioration”. The Society noted that it had been able to replace three lock balance beams for £15, against the estimated cost of £300.

Martin Ludgate

Harry Arnold

What’s happened since? The Peak Forest and Ashton Canals remained significant sites for volunteer effort for the next few Marple 1969, once major restoration had replaced ‘cosmetic’ work years, with major work parties organised on the Ashton in 1968 and at Marple in 1969, culminating in the famous ‘Ashtac’ weekend in 1972 where 1000 volunteers cleared tonnes of rubble and rubbish from the canal, getting very muddy in the process. BW bowed to the inevitable, and with local authority support and continued volunteer input, the canals were reopened in the celebrated year of 1974, restoring the ‘missing link’ in the Cheshire Ring cruising route (fully reopened when the ‘Rochdale Nine’ locks in Manchester were returned to navigable standard a couple of years later). The restoration of Bugsworth (or Buxworth) Basin took somewhat longer however, despite the persistent work of the Inland Waterways Protection Society, with the basins finally reopened in 2003, but further work carried out since then. Having finished ‘their’ canal, the volunteers of PFCS Mobile joined up with a number of other volunteer groups from the area to form WRG NorthWest, who need no further introduction!

Return to the Peak Forest: a cleanup to mark 40 years since Ashtac (with some 1972 veterans)

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Where are they now? Caldon Canal: early days

What was happening in 1966? It was still fairly early days in the restoration, and few details appear in the early issues of Navvies, but a notice in ‘Next time out’ encouraged volunteers to contact Stoke on Trent Boat Club if they wanted to get involved.

Harry Arnold

What’s the background? The main line of the Caldon Canal (built as a branch of the Trent and Mersey to bring limestone and subsequently coal down to the Stoke Potteries) was never legally closed, but declining commercial traffic meant it had become largely unnavigable (particularly beyond Hazelhurst) by the 1960s. Threats of official closure in 1961 had prompted the Stoke on Trent Boat Club to organise a public meeting, followed by a campaign cruise to the terminus at Froghall. The Caldon Canal Society was formed, and started to work towards the eventual restoration of the canal.

The Caldon piped and impassable at Froghall, 1963

Martin Ludgate

What’s happened since? By the end of the 1960s, the local city and county councils had agreed to support the restoration, recognising the public amenity value of the canal. This was helped in 1972 by ‘Operation Eyesore’, a government scheme which provided funding for improving otherwise unattractive local facilities. The major engineering works were carried out by BWB, with support from volunteers, with the main line of the canal from Stoke to Froghall reopening (like the Peak Forest and the Upper Avon Navigation – it was a great year for openings!) in 1974. Volunteers started work on the Leek branch in 1977, which mainly required clearance and dredging, with few major structures to rebuild. Progress was not entirely smooth, with Leek Tunnel becoming unsafe in the early 1980s with no funds available to repair it. But the entire canal was upgraded to cruiseway status in 1983, and, while not the most heavily used stretch of the network, has continued to attract boaters with its mix of industrial heritage and rural beauty ever since. Major volunteer work started again on the canal in 2003, focused on the restoration of the first lock and basin of the Uttoxeter Canal (strictly a further branch of the Caldon), which comes off the canal through the terminus basin at WRG volunteers celebrate the Froghall reopening in 2005 Froghall. The basin and lock were

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50 years of Navvies magazine 1966-2016 reopened in September 2005 and celebrated on the front cover of Navvies 212. Since then, work has continued on various stretches of the Uttoxeter line, which had a very limited life as a canal, being taken over (literally in places) by the Churnet Valley Railway in 1849; most recently at the 2015 Bonfire Bash and one of this year’s Easter camps.

Southern Stratford: limited resources for maintenance

Harry Arnold

What’s the background? The Northern Stratford (from Kingswood Junction at Lapworth to Kings Norton) was the focus of several high-profile and successful attempts to navigate it in the late 1940s under the auspices of the newly formed Inland Waterways Association, which saved it from being officially abandoned. The southern part of the canal (from Lapworth to Bancroft Basin in Stratford) had become completely unnavigable, and was threatened with legal closure in 1958. This stimulated a further campaign by the IWA, with a dated toll ticket produced by two canoeists providing vital proof that the canal was not disused. Major volunteer effort Stratford Canal bank maintenance, 1970-style... started in 1961 under the leadership of David Hutchings resulted in the reopening of the Southern Stratford in 1964 by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and which was seen as a significant achievement for the waterways restoration movement. However, the canal remained the responsibility of the National Trust, rather than reverting to British Waterways management, meaning there were limited resources available for maintenance.

Tim Lewis

What was happening in 1966? A brief note directs volunteers interested in working on the Southern Stratford to contact Major Crick Grundy at the Stratford Canal Office, Lapworth. Major Grundy was a founder member of the IWA who had been appointed manager of both the canal and the nearby Packwood House, by the National Trust.

...and by London WRG on the 1984-5 Blitz

What’s happened since? The Southern Stratford appears periodically in Navvies over the next few years. This culminated in the ‘Stratford Blitzes’ of the late 1970s and early 1980s, where during the winter stoppage

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Where are they now? season, work was undertaken practically every weekend for several years. This included not just general maintenance but also further restoration of structures which had been less-thanthoroughly rebuilt first time round in the (understandable) political rush to get the canal open. Volunteers travelled to support this from all over the country, and not just by the usual modes of transport. Navvies 58 has a report of PFCS volunteers bow hauling three boats which had been donated by BW from Marple to the Stratford, with the state of various bits of the network at the time, such as Harecastle Tunnel, meaning they had to go a very long way round to reach their destination. Winter 1975 also saw the first outing of the ‘WRG work punt’ (currently being rebuilt for a new lease of life on the Chelmer & Blackwater). The reopening of the Upper Avon Navigation in the fêted year of 1974 reconnected the Stratford Canal to the south, making it the popular cruising route it has remained ever since. Management finally passed back to BW in 1988. It seemed the wheel had come full circle a couple of years ago, when the Canal & River Trust announced that it would be the site for a pilot scheme to involve volunteers in a lock chamber renovation on the navigable network.

Monmouthshire & Brecon: only abandoned four years earlier

Harry arnold

What’s the background? The ‘Mon and Brec’ is the common name for two linked canals, the Monmouthshire Canal to the south and the Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal to the north. The canals intersected with various tramroads and were profitable for a while until inevitably losing out to the railways. The northern section lasted rather longer as a usable canal, because of is role as a water feeder, and IWA held a rally at Brecon in 1952 to promote its use, but various parts of the Monmouthshire section were filled in and built upon during the first half of the twentieth century. The entire route was formally abandoned in 1962, but only two years later, restoration work began, with funding as a result of the Early days: the liftbridge at Talybont-on-Usk goes back in new National Parks legislation. What was happening in 1966? Volunteer effort was focused at Cwmbran, led by the South Wales section of the South Western Branch of the IWA. Tools for the work, clearing weeds from the channel, were provided by the local council, who owned the canal. What’s happened since? The north end of the canal was reopened right through to a new terminus not far short of the original Brecon basin over the following years. But despite ongoing volunteer work since the 1960s, the southern limit of through navigation on the Mon and Brec remains Five Locks Basin on the north side of Cwmbran, only a small distance further south than the length originally reopened in 1970 – and a main road scheme in the 1970s has made further reopening much harder. However a section south of Cwmbran including a short length of the Crumlin Arm and several locks was restored in time for the 2010 Welsh Waterways Festival, which incorporated the IWA Trailboat Festival and saw a number of boats

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Ralph Mills

50 years of Navvies magazine 1966-2016

Boats through here this autumn: current worksite at Ty-Coch locks

make use of the new slipway at Bettws Lane. Over the years, WRG has worked on various structures along the disused stretch, including the scheduled ancient monument of Fourteen Locks at Cefn. Most recently, volunteer effort has been focused at the Ty Coch flight of eight locks which has attracted Heritage Lottery funding – and is scheduled to open this autumn. That leaves just two miles or so (admittedly difficult miles) to restore through Cwmbran to complete the ‘missing link’.

River Wey - “work which maintenance staff are too busy to attend to”

Graham Palmer / Waterway Images

What’s the background? It might come as a surprise to see the River Wey Navigation in this article at all - not only had it never been officially abandoned, but (unlike the Stourbridge, Peak Forest, K&A and more) it hadn’t been allowed to fall into dereliction through lack of maintenance either, and was still fully open from the Thames to Godalming. Run as an independent commercial freight-carrying concern until the 1960s, latterly by the Stevens family who were the last remaining regular traders - still using horse-drawn barges into the 1960s. But with freight traffic nearing the end and leisure use taking over, Harry Stevens handed ownership of the Wey Navigation over to the National Trust in 1964 and four years later this was followed by the Godalming Navigation, a historically separate legal entity that was responsible for the top few miles above Guildford. This put it in a similar position to the Stratfordupon-Avon Canal (see earlier), which had been taken on by the NT during its restoration in the early 1960s by volunteers. It also raised the currently topical subject of whether volunteer navvies’ efforts were best concentrated on restoration, or should include maintenance too. In his opinion piece Why Working Parties in issue IWA work party near Guildford in 1968 1, Tim Dodwell (yes, the

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Where are they now? brother of John whose letter appears in this issue) was in no doubt: “Where it matters basically most of all, in the physical state of the waterways themselves, we can, where the opportunity is offered, get down to work and personally achieve and see improvement under our own eyes. This may take many forms: it may be by doing work which the maintenance staff are too busy to attend to - for example cutting back trees on the River Wey - or it may be part of a scheme for, or the prelude to, actual restoration as on the Stourbridge and Kennet & Avon, but all of it is working towards our main objective to see the waterways appreciated and used.” What was happening in 1966? There was a lot of the ‘cutting back trees’ mentioned above - the first three issues all have reports from working parties at Pyrford and at Thames Lock (Weybridge), spent hacking back overhanging vegetation. They sound interesting events, involving work boats (one skippered by Ernest Pull - our van ‘EHP’ is named in tribute to him), chainsaws, axes, big bonfires, a group of youth volunteers and lunchtime trips to the pub. Oh and “an excellent if unfortunate lesson that a first aid kit on working parties is a good idea” after a branch broke suddenly and threw a volunteer out of a tree, as well as somebody’s hat catching fire - “a fact which he did not discover for some time”.

Martin Ludgate

What’s happened since? Despite the slightly hair-raising accounts of work in the pre-H&S era, grateful letters from the National Trust make it clear that the working parties succeeded in keeping up with the bankside vegetation control and other tasks, and half a century on, the Wey is still open and still in the hands of the National Trust. It’s been a while since Navvies has carried any details of working parties on the Wey, but the National Trust still Coxes Mill still received grain by horse barge in 1966; today it’s apartments makes extensive use of volunteers on the river, including not just maintenance teams on each length of the Wey, but also education / school trips, staffing and maintaining the visitor centre, and even a sewing (yes, sewing, not sawing) group which is currently making outfits for visiting schoolkids to wear!

River Stour - “under the watchful eye of Essex River Board” What’s the background? The Suffolk Stour (more accurately the Essex and Suffolk, as much of it runs along the boundary) was in yet another different position as regards whether it was legally open, closed or whatever. Although officially abandoned in 1937 (the last boats having stopped using it some years earlier) and no longer navigable, a legal public right of navigation still existed along the entire route from Sudbury through to the sea below Manningtree - even though it couldn’t be exercised in anything much bigger than a canoe. In 1968 the River Stour Trust was formed to protect this right, and to reopen the river to larger boats - but when Navvies 1 was published, that was still two years into the future.

page 16


50 years of Navvies magazine 1966-2016 What was happening in 1966? As mentioned above, there wasn’t a restoration trust yet but there was a River Stour Action Committee which in combination with the Inland Waterways Association was attempting to head off any threat to the use of the river for navigation. Local activist John Marriage had been struggling to negotiate with the river authority to be allowed to patch up the gates at the bottommost lock, Brantham Lock, to keep tidal water out and lack of permission made planning working parties difficult. Sure enough, issue 2 reported back from “more of a show of protest than the normal Remains of a Stour lock before restoraiton began volunteer ‘hard labour’ effort”, with a boat successfully worked through the lock and taken as far as the next lock (Flatford, made famous by painter John Constable) where protest signs were nailed to the gates, with ITV and the Press present. They then waited for the tide to go out before carrying out clearance at Brantham “under the watchful eye of the Essex River Board official who was on hand to see that no ‘structural changes’ were made to the lock”. The writer remarked drily that the lock was in such a bad way that it was “diffucult to differentiate between structural changes and improvements”.

River Stour Trust

What’s happened since? For a lot of the time since the establishment of the River Stour Trust, progress on reopening the river has been frustratingly slow. Locks have been restored - Flatford, Dedham and Stratford St Mary at the downstream end; and construction of the brand new Great River Stour Trust trip-boat on a restored length at Flatford Cornard Lock at the top end near Sudbury - as well as rebuilding the historic Granary building and the last traditional Stour lighter. However, progress hasn’t been helped by what has been seen as a less-than-helpful attitude to reopening by the various authorities over the years - not only when it comes to obtaining permission to work (as per the Essex River Board mentioned above) but by (for example) the Anglian Water Act of 1977 which forbids powered craft on the river (other than the upper length from Great Henny to Sudbury) other than those craft already licensed on the river in 1977. Despite this, the Trust still runs events for unpowered craft (including an annual Sudbury to the Sea trip) as well as continuing to campaign for the rebuilding of the remaining locks.

page 17


Where are they now? Chesterfield - no longer “nearly possible to walk across the canal” What’s the background? The eastern 26 miles of the Chesterfield from the Trent at West Stockwith to Worksop had never closed, but had been brought back from the brink. Threatened with closure to boats in 1961, it was given a stay of execution after protest cruises by local boaters led to the formation of the Retford & Worksop Boat Club the following year. Six years of work and campaigning by RWBC resulted in the canal being listed as a ‘cruiseway’ to be maintained for leisure craft in the 1968 Transport Act, rather than a ‘remainder waterway’ to be dealt with as cheaply as practicable. Meanwhile the abandoned western 20 miles from Worksop to Chesterfield were pretty much ‘off the radar’ as regards reopening.

Courtesy of John Lower collection

What was happening in 1966? The only mention in the first three issues is the following enigmatic entry in a national list of worksites (headed ‘Looking for work?’) in issue 3: “Retford and Worksop Boat Club: more details next issue”. And then nothing in the next issue.... or the one after... But don’t think there was nothing going on - issue 8 reports that “Six years ago it was nearly possible to walk across the canal, so thick was the weed and other debris. Now it is fully navigable... All the locks are in working order although some are a bit dilapidated, but the worst have been renewed by British Waterways Early canoe campaign cruise on the Chesterfield who have given their fullest support to the efforts of RWBC whose members have given up much of their leisure time working on the canal.” The dates list indicated they were out every Sunday.

Martin Ludgate

What’s happened since? As mentioned above, the initial campaign to save the eastern 26 miles succeeded. But then in 1976, the Chesterfield Canal Society was launched with the aim of restoring the remaining 20 miles. This included Norwood Tunnel which had collapsed and been badly damaged by coal mining; then beyond the tunnel were sections that had been sold off, infilled, built on, or affected by subsidence. It wasn’t going to be an easy job. The Society (now Not even on the radar in 1966: restored locks leading up to Norwood the Chesterfield Canal

page 18


50 years of Navvies magazine 1966-2016

Martin Ludgate

Trust) spent its early years tryng to negotiate with BW for permission to begin restoration work from the Worksop end - but to no avail. By the late 1980s, it had shifted its attention to the five miles at the Chesterfield end, which had been sold off by BW (so they were in no position to dictate whether CCT could work on it) but had been retained as a water channel to supply industries, so wasn’t in too bad condition. Four locks were restored and one new one built, and this length was completed to Staveley in 1997. Meanwhile, thanks to supports from regeneration funds, a professional restoration of the six miles and 30 locks from Worksop to Norwood Tunnel got under way, and was completed in First boat into the new Staveley Town Basin in 2012. Eight miles to go! 2002. More recently the Chesterfield to Staveley length has been extended including creation of the new Staveley Town Basin and Lock (where WRG will be supporting CCT again this summer), a new terminus for Chesterfield is under construction, the remaining unnavigable section is down to about eight miles, and much work has already been done at several sites on this length. The only fly in the ointment is the HS2 railway plans...

Shrewsbury & Newport - “re-gating and mucking out all that’s required” What’s the background? We’re including this, even though it’s more a case of ‘where the volunteers in 1966 weren’t working’, because it gets a mention in issue 2 - and it’s topical. The Newport Arm of the Shropshire Union from Norbury Junction to Wappenshall, and the section of the Shrewsbury Canal from there on to Shrewsbury, had both been abandoned by the LMS Railway’s 1944 Act of Parliament which shut a large proportion of its canals - but until the 1960s they still survived in fair condition with few major obstacles to restoration. The Shrewsbury & Newport Canal Society was founded to restore the route - but unfortunately before it could even get started, British Waterways sold off key sections of the route and allowed demolition of important structures to begin. Some said they did it deliberately to avoid the hassle of having somebody restoring their canal; others that they had gone so far down the path to selling it off that it was too late to change. Whether it was simple short-sightedness or somrthing worse, it put back reopening by a half century or more. What was happening in 1966? Basically nothing. As Navvies editor and WRG founder Graham Palmer put it in his Comment column: “I am sad to learn that the British Waterways Board have given a definite ‘NO’ to the proposals for the restoration of the line to Shrewsbury. To anyone who knows this Arm, the decision will be very frustrating, as the condition of the canal in the area of the Norbury flight at least, is very good indeed; it would seem that re-gating and some Stourbridge type

page 19


50 years of Navvies magazine 1966-2016 mucking-out would be all that is required. Personally I was greatly looking forward to working on the restoration of such a superbly engineered waterway.”

Martin Ludgate

Harry Arnold

What’s happened since? S&N’s loss was Monty’s gain: the canal society reacted to the bad news by renaming itself to Shropshire Union Canal Society, broadening its interest to cover the whole of the former SU network, and concentrating on the restoration of the Montgomery which began around three years later. And they’re still hard at it today. Meanwhile on the S&N, subsequent proposals to restore it have come and gone - one group carried out some clearance in the 1970s before fading away; on a couple of occasions in the late 1980s and 1990s it looked like Government money or other funding might pay for completion of the Monty, allowing SUCS to return to the S&N, but each time the cash failed to materialise. Meanwhile the number and seriousness of the blockages affecting the S&N route have increased over the years - trunk road crossings and demolished aqueducts adding to its woes. And when the Shrewsbury & Newport Canal Trust was finally founded, it didn’t get off to the best of starts when its proposals for a boat lift to replace the Norbury Locks led to opposition from some local people. But in recent years (and rather against the odds, looking at the last half century) SNCT, having scrapped its boat lift plans, has begun to make good progress both on the political side (with local authorities) and on the ground too. WRG canal camps have supported the re-lining of the first short length of canal at Forton (near Newport) and work on the nearby Meretown Lock, and we’ll be back there this summer. It will take a lot more than the ‘re-gating and mucking out’ that Graham Palmer reckoned was all it needed in 1966, but its prospects are the best they’ve been for a long time. Martin Ludgate and Harri Barnes

“A stitch in time...” - Norbury Locks when the original restoration plans were refused by BW, and today

page 20


The editor reports back from a week of scrub-bashing, waders, Tirforing, rain, pubs, cheese boards, and a very long walk across the fields...

Camp Report Cotwold New Year Camp

Cotswold New Year Camp Sunday: It’s customary to begin these reports by describing assorted volunteers arriving at random times from various directions, and sure enough that’s what happened – not that I’m one to ‘place-drop’, but my own journey began many hours earlier with a trip on Métro line 5 to Gare du Nord – and by early evening we’d assembled three vans and 25-odd volunteers (bloody odd, some of them…) in Watchfield Village Hall. Just to make things easier, there were four Martins and four Ians (OK one of them was actually an Iain); there was a sizeable London WRG contingent, a bunch of chainsaw-wielding guys from Forestry, and generally a good mix from first-timers to old hands. Leaders Moose and Laura did the introductions, we were treated to the last ever showing of the old WRG H&S video (signed copies available) – unless the new one still isn’t ready for Easter – then Maria served up chicken casserole, following which a bunch of us headed round the corner to the Eagle, which turned out to be under new management. Sadly, there was no repeat of the last new management’s donation of a bottle of champagne to London WRG on their opening night a couple of years ago, but they did sportingly give us a spare pint they’d poured by mistake. Monday: We all piled into various vans and headed to the work site, which was 20 minutes’ drive away near Eisey Lock – well, it was 20 minutes for the other two vans, but Alan knew a short cut: in general (and aided by an Ordnance Survey map) he managed to remember which way to turn a good 10 yards before each junction, so we were only a few minutes behind the other vans. We also spotted a 3 tonne weight limit (as we came out of the other end of it), so that was the end of short cuts for the week. Actually we still weren’t last on site, as we’d somehow left RAF Martin in the accom. And anyway, owing to a slight communica-

tion misunderstanding, we had to wait a few minutes for the Canal Trust chaps to arrive (we put the time to good use, by getting the Burco going in the old farm building that was to be our brew station). Finally, we took our vans and splashed our way through the puddles (to a chorus of “Pah, call those puddles?” from the 2013 New Year Camp veterans) down the farm track to Rucks Bridge, and leader Moose led us to site. Or so we thought... For those familiar with the site: there’s Rucks Bridge where the farm track ends; and a hundred yards or so off to your right there’s Eisey Lock; and a good few hundred yards away to your left there’s a decent length of towpath that the aforementioned 2013 camp cleared; and then a few hundred yards further there’s where Moose finally stopped walking. For those not familiar with the site, it was a sodding long way. “Blimey, Moose, if we hadn’t stopped walking soon we’d have had to start heading back for brew!” “What the heck are you lot following me for, you should have stopped walking and started working ages ago!” “But you’re our leader!” By this point, the idea of walking all the way back didn’t appeal either, so we decided on a “Start at the far end and work back” strategy, set to with the bowsaws and loppers, got the kindling out, and soon had the first bonfire going. And the second, and the third, as we split up into teams spread along a length of canal, and got stuck into the main task – basically clearing any trees and scrub either growing on the towpath or overhanging the canal. To give some indication of quite how far we’d had to walk: even though we’d put the Burco on as soon as we’d arrived, we just couldn’t face walking back for tea! But later, our trek back along the towpath for lunch gave us an opportunity to try our skill at van-pushing… The afternoon saw more of the same, plus the first Tirfor winch team in action on

page 21


stump-pulling. At some point (my notes don’t say when) Fran arrived in shiny new boots and a very shiny new hi-vis jacket, having been on an odyssey that involved Cornwall and London. On arriving back at the accommodation she disappeared under the stage. Maria served Lasagne and some of us went to the Eagle again. My notes appear to report that the discussion in the pub involved the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals, Harris tweed, ‘lant’ (and I don’t think we’re talking Lower Avon Navigation Trust there!) and floating brothels...

page 22

Wednesday: well, it was windy all right, even if it was dry to begin with. We walked to site across the fields for two thirds of a mile… follow the electric pylon, then the dead tree, then the far corner of the field… occasionally stopping to chase our hard-hats as they blew off our heads. The rain duly arrived at about 11.30ish, so all bar a few hardy souls / masochists / nutters (delete as appropriate) walked back for three quarters of a mile across the fields… follow the dead tree, then the pylon, then the van… “This is like Chairman Mao’s Long March” “Never mind long March, it just feels like a bloody long December!” …and went back to the accom for early lunch. With surprisingly little enthusiasm for a van tour of derelict canal remains in the

Martin Ludgate

Tuesday: We all awoke bright and early (Note: could volunteers who are used to getting up for work at 6am please turn their phone alarm when they go on canal camps?) Fran managed to fling open the door of her troglodyte dwelling without cracking Martin too hard on the head. Emma from Head Office arrived. We didn’t leave anyone behind. All in all it was a pretty auspicious start. Work on site was more of the same, but by now we had two Tirfor teams working and lots of bonfires, as well as the chainsaw guys working on some of the bigger stuff. To avoid the long trek back for tea break, we took the Burco most of the way to site. This was much better. Unless, that is, you were the poor bugger carrying the Burco. For a break from slash-and-burn, several of us went for a walk beyond the far end of site and succeeded in finding a few random lumps of stone that we managed to convince ourselves were the remains of an aqueduct. No, really. For some complicated reason involving a pheasant shoot that was due to take place a few days later, for the rest of the week we didn’t walk to and from site along the towpath, we walked across the fields for about half a mile… follow the dead tree, then the electric pylon, then the van… Maria served lamb stew with dumplings, following which my notes don’t say whether we went to the Eagle, but I wouldn’t bet against it. Oh yes, the weather: up to now it had been OK, and today it was particularly good: bright, sunny, mild, and hard to believe that it was late December and that the northern half of the country was still coming to grips with the disastrous flooding of Boxing Day. We checked out the forecast for Wednesday, and rapidly made contingency plans for abandoning site when the threatened heavy rain and gales arrived around lunchtime, and

an afternoon spent going to the cinema / sitting around in the accommodation / driving round looking at remains of canals.

John on the Tirfor winch


pissing down rain, we stayed in and watched a couple of DVDs. Rush, based on the 1970s rivalry between Formula 1 drivers Hunt and Lauda, was watched by the various WRG van drivers with great attention to the techniques, attitudes, safety awareness etc displayed. We’re not sure which of our volunteers drew their inspiration from Father Ted which followed. The forecast for Thursday being rather better, we planned an early start. Meanwhile Maria served curry, following which some of us went to the Eagle. Thursday: It dawned wet, but brightening up – although rain was forecast for later in the day. By the time we left for site at a commendable 8.30am the rain had stopped, and soon the sun was shining from a clear blue sky. The rain had had an effect, though: there were various minor floods on the road to site, and the walk of almost a mile across the fields… follow the pylon… then the dead tree… then the far corner of the… “Hey, wait a minute, that was a field yesterday! What are those swans doing?” “Swimming, stupid.” Despite that, we managed to get the fires going and carried on with the scrub-bashing, chainsawing, Tirforing, and – for real masochists – something that appeared to involve somebody (usually Paul) wading out into the cut in chest-waders to attach the Tirfor cable to bits of tree to haul them out. There was what my notes refer to as “an episode of keys / cups / vans / people staying on site”: perhaps it’s as well that I can’t remember the details or who the guilty party was. We were just letting the fires die down and starting to think about stopping work fairly soon and heading back when the rain arrived with a vengeance. By the time we struggled back for a mile or so across the fields… follow the black hazy thing that might be a dead tree, then the big blurry metal thing, then the red splodge in the distance… we were heading into the teeth of a horizontal rain-and-sleet-and-hail storm. Nigel put it succinctly: “I’ve never got wet bollocks from walking across a field before!” Of course by the time the vans were half way back to the accom, it had stopped raining.

Maria served up a super roast dinner for New Year’s Eve, followed by a choice of puddings and a cheese board. I ran a ‘quiz of the year’ and then we all went to the Eagle to welcome 2016 in, with a few drinks and Auld Lang Syne. Breakfast chef Paul promised us a lie-in until 9am. Paul almost kept to his word, but couldn’t quite bring himself to serve breakfast any later than 8.45. The usual arrival on site after a mile and a bit across the field… follow the pylon, then the far corner of the lake that used to be a field… revealed even more water in the canal – we had to install ‘stepping stones’ and a handrail to help us across what had been a nice dry dam a couple of days earlier. The lake in the former field was even bigger. But despite all this, work was progressing very well, and there really wasn’t a lot left to do – and to further boost our spirits, Bungle arrived to deliver some home-made chocolate brownies (and to pick up a trailer or something). Finally we walked back about a mile and a quarter across the field... follow the dead tree, then the pylon, then the van... Maria served chicken casserole followed by more cheese board, following which some of us went to the Eagle, only to return after finding it was shut and the staff were varnishing the chairs. We looked at the forecast, wondered whether it was worth going on site at all for what was only going to be a half-day on Saturday (we needed to pack up all the kit ready for an early departure on Sunday morning), leader Moose pronounced himself well satisfied with what we’d done so far, and we decided that all it would take would be the few hardy souls to tidy up the site. Saturday: checked the kit, loaded vans and trailers, the ‘hardy souls’ went to site (insert usual bit about the fields here) for a couple of hours, and most of us went home. Sunday: I don’t know, I wasn’t there. Thanks to Moose and Laura for leading, Maria and her able assistant Margaret for cooking, Paul for breakfasts, and everyone else for being a great team of volunteers and cheerfully doing lots and lots of work, and hardly complaining at all about the mile and a quarter walk across the fields… follow the dead tree, then the pylon, then the van… Martin Ludgate

page 23


Navvies diary WRG and mobile groups Your guide to all forthcoming work parties Feb 13-20 Camp 201601 Feb 20/21 wrgBITM Feb 27/28 London WRG Feb 27 Sat wrgNW Mar 1 Navvies Mar 4-10 WAT Mar 5/6 KESCRG Mar 5/6 NWPG Mar 5/6 wrgNW Mar 12 Sat WRG Mar 13 Sun WRG Mar 19/20 London WRG Mar 19/20 wrgBITM Mar 25-Apr 2 Camp 201602 Mar 26-Apr 2 Camp 201603 Apr 1-7 WAT Apr 2/3 KESCRG Apr 2/3 wrgNW Apr 2-9 Camp 201604 Apr 2-9 Camp 201605 Apr 8/9/10 NWPG Apr 9 Sat wrgNW Apr 9-16 Camp 201606 Apr 16/17 London WRG Apr 16/17 wrgBITM Apr 16/17 BCN2016 May 1 Navvies May 6-12 WAT May 7/8 KESCRG May 7/8 London WRG May 7/8 wrgNW May 14 Sat LT2016 May 14/15 NWPG May 14 Sat wrgNW May 15 Sun WRG May 20/21/22 wrgBITM Jun 3-9 WAT Jun 4/5 KESCRG Jun 18/19 London WRG

Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation: Scrub clearance Wilts & Berks Canal: Pewsham - stump pulling and clearing fallen trees Wey & Arun Canal ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Press date for issue 276 Wendover Arm: Pipe capping & bank shaping Thames & Medway Canal: To be confirmed Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge or Lower Wallbridge Locks Chesterfield Canal: To be confirmed Barn Dance: Rowington Village Hall Committee & Board Meetings: Rowington Ashby Canal: (to be confirmed) Basingstoke Canal: To be confirmed Chesterfield Canal: Staveley Town Lock Cotswold Canals: Weymoor Bridge, arch rebuild Wendover Arm: Pipe capping & bank shaping, and profiling & lining Wey & Arun Canal: To be confirmed Lancaster Canal: To be confirmed (or Apr 16/17) Cotswold Canals: Weymoor Bridge, arch rebuild Uttoxeter Canal: Bridge 70 Wey & Arun Canal: Dunsfold Summit. Compasses Bridge ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Uttoxeter Canal: Bridge 70 BCN Clean Up Cotswold Canals: Weymoor Bridge (accom at Brimscombe) BCN Cleanup Press date for issue 277 Wendover Arm: Pipe capping & bank shaping, and profiling & lining Wendover Arm: Whitehouses Chesterfield Canal: Joint dig with WRG North West Chesterfield Canal: Joint dig with London WRG Leaders Training Day Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge or Lower Wallbridge Locks ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Committee & Board Meetings: Rowington Rickmansworth Waterways Festival: Site services (open to public on Sa Wendover Arm: Pipe capping & bank shaping, and profiling & lining To be arranged Shrewsbury & Newport Canals

For details of diary dates beyond the end of this list ple

page 24


Canal Camps cost ÂŁ63 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Camps identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 2016-01' should go to WRG Canal Camps, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA. Tel: 01494 783453, enquiries@wrg.org.uk. Diary compiled by Dave Wedd. Tel: 01252 874437, dave.wedd@wrgbitm.org.uk

s

at 21 & Sun 22)

Dave Wedd Tim Lewis Barry McGuinness Martin Ludgate Roger Leishman Bobby Silverwood Bill Nicholson Malcolm Bridge Mike Palmer Tim Lewis Dave Wedd

Roger Leishman Bobby Silverwood Malcolm Bridge

Bill Nicholson Barry McGuinness Tim Lewis Dave Wedd Martin Ludgate Roger Leishman Bobby Silverwood Tim Lewis Malcolm Bridge Bill Nicholson Barry McGuinness Mike Palmer Dave Wedd Roger Leishman Bobby Silverwood Tim Lewis

01494-783453 07816-175454 07802-518094 0161-681-7237 07779-478629 01442-874536 07971-814986 01844-343369 01422-820693

enquiries@wrg.org.uk bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk london@wrg.org.uk b.mcguinness1@gmail.com martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk rwleishman@gmail.com bobby@kescrg.org.uk bill@nwpg.org.uk nw@wrg.org.uk

01564-785293 07802-518094 07816-175454 01494-783453 01494-783453 01442-874536 07971-814986 01422-820693 01494-783453 01494-783453 01844-343369 0161-681-7237 01494-783453 07802-518094 07816-175454 01494-783453 07779-478629 01442-874536 07971-814986 07802-518094 01422-820693 01494-783453 01844-343369 0161-681-7237 01564-785293 07816-175454 01442-874536 07971-814986 07802-518094

mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk london@wrg.org.uk bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk rwleishman@gmail.com bobby@kescrg.org.uk nw@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk bill@nwpg.org.uk b.mcguinness1@gmail.com enquiries@wrg.org.uk london@wrg.org.uk bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk rwleishman@gmail.com bobby@kescrg.org.uk london@wrg.org.uk nw@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk bill@nwpg.org.uk b.mcguinness1@gmail.com mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk rwleishman@gmail.com bobby@kescrg.org.uk london@wrg.org.uk

ease contact diary compiler Dave Wedd: see top of page

page 25


Navvies diary

canal society regulars

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

BBHT BCA

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

BCT BuCS

Aqueduct section Buckingham area

Tim Dingle Athina Beckett

01288-361356 01908-661217

Every Mon and Wed Every mon am Thu pm

CCT CCT

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

01453-836018 01285-861011

Various dates Every Sunday

CCT ChCT

Cotswold Phase 1a Chesterfield Canal

07986-351412 01246-620695

Every Tue and Thu Every Tue & Wed

CSCT C&BN

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

Every Friday Second Sun of month

ECPDA FIPT

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

H&GCT H&GCT

Over Wharf House Over / Vineyard Hill

Maggie Jones Ted Beagles

01452 618010 01452 522648

Thursdays Every weekday

H&GCT KACT/CRT

Herefordshire Bradford on Avon

Wilf Jones Derrick Hunt

01452 413888 01225-863066

2nd Sunday of month Every Wed/Sat/Sun

LCT LHCRT

Lancaster N. Reaches Keith Tassart Lichfield Terry Brown

01524-424761 01889-576574

3rd Sunday of month Last weekend of month

LHCRT MBBCS

Hatherton Creams Paper Mill

Denis Cooper Steve Dent

01543-374370 07802-973228

Two Sundays per month Weekly

NWDCT PCAS

N Walsham Canal Pocklington Canal

David Revill Dick Watson

01603-738648 01759-305025

Every Wed and 1st Sat 2nd Sunday of month

RGT SCARS

Stowmarket Navigtn. Martin Bird Sankey Canal John Hughes

01394-380765 01744-600656

1st Sunday of month Last weekend of month

SCCS SCS

Combe Hay Locks Stover Canal

Derrick Hunt 01225-863066 George Whitehead 01626-775498

2nd Sunday of month Every Thu and Sat

SNT SORT

Sleaford Navigation Sussex Ouse

Mel Sowerby Ted Lintott

1st weekend of month Every Tuesday morning

SUCS TMCA

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

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)

page 26


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 to be advised 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 Sue Blocksidge 07917-585838 1st Mon & Wed of month Hatton Grand Union Canal Sue Blocksidge 07917-585838 Last Sunday of month Hawkesbury Coventry/Oxford Miriam Tedder 07775-543990 2nd Friday of month Huddersfield Huddersfield Broad to be advised 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 Sue Blocksidge 07917-585838 Alternate Tuesdays Leicester Grand Union/Soar Tom Freeland 01827-252010 3rd Saturday of month London Grand Union/Lee Debbie Vidler 07825-099167 3rd Thursday of month East London Lee & Stort Navs Debbie Vidler 07825-099167 3rd Tuesday of month West London Grand Union Canal Debbie Vidler 07825-099167 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 Sue Blocksidge 07917-585838 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 firstname.surname@canalrivertrust.org.uk, eg steve.manzi@canalrivertrust.org.uk for K & A. If no phone number given, use CRT Tel: 03030 404040

Abbreviations used in Diary: BCA BCNS BuCS BCS BCT ChCT CBN CSCT CCT ECPDA FIPT GCS GWCT H&GCT IWPS KACT

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

KESCRG LCT LHCRT MBBCS NWPG NWDCT PCAS RGT SCARS SCCS SCS SNT SORT SUCS TMCA WACT WAT WBCT

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

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Navvies diary

IWA branches...

Inland Waterways Association and other one-day working parties

Feb 18 Thu Feb 20 Sat Feb 23 Tue Feb 23 Tue Feb 24 Wed Feb 26 Fri Feb 27 Sat Every Wed Mar 5 Tue Mar 9 Wed Mar 10 Thu Mar 12 Sat Mar 12/13 Mar 13 Sun Mar 13 Sun Mar 17 Thu Mar 19 Sat Mar 22 Tue Mar 23 Wed Mar 25 Fri Mar 26 Sat Mar 29 Tue Apr 2 Tue Apr 9 Sat Apr 9/10 Apr 10 Sun Apr 10 Sun Apr 13 Wed Apr 14 Thu Apr 16 Sat Apr 21 Thu

IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance. IWA Manchester Venue To be confirmed: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. IWA Northants Northampton Arm IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm WBDCS/IWA BBCW Worcester Birmingham Canal: Tardebigge Lime Kilns 9:30am-3pm IWA NSSC Macclesfield Canal: Congleton Station project. Veg clearance. IWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Painting, tidying & veg clearance IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Veg clearance at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm WBDCS/IWA BBCW Worcester Birmingham Canal: Tardebigge Lime Kilns 9:30am-3pm IWA Northants Northampton Arm SNT/IWA Lincs Sleaford Navigation: Various work on navigable section IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance. IWA Manchester Venue to be confirmed: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm WBDCS/IWA BBCW Worcester Birmingham Canal: Tardebigge Lime Kilns IWA NSSC Macclesfield Canal: Congleton Station project. Veg clearance. IWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. IWA Northants Northampton Arm IWA 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 WBDCS/IWA BBCW Worcester Birmingham Canal: Tardebigge Lime Kilns 9:30am-3pm IWA Northants Northampton Arm SNT/IWA Lincs Sleaford Navigation: Various work on navigable section IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Painting, tidying & veg clearance IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Veg clearance at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. IWA Manchester Venue to be confirmed: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance.

IWA branch abbreviations BBCW = Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire; Other abbreviations: BPT = Burslem Port trust; CUCT = Caldon & Uttoxeter Canal Society; CRT = Canal & River Trust

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 20-21

10am-3pm 10am-4pm

10am-12:30 10am-4pm

10am-3pm

10am-3pm 10am-4pm 9:30am-3pm 10am-12:30 10am-4pm

10am-3pm 10am-4pm 10am-3pm

John Brighouse Geoff Wood Steve Wood Bill Lambert Bob Luscombe Mike Carter Martin Bird Steve Wood David Struckett Robert Frost Martin Bird Bill Lambert Geoff Wood Chris or Steve Hayes John Brighouse Steve Wood Bill Lambert Bob Luscombe Mike Carter Geoff Wood Steve Wood Martin Bird Bill Lambert Geoff Wood Chris or Steve Hayes David Struckett Robert Frost John Brighouse

07808-878317 07710-554602 07976-805858 02476-726924 07710-054848 07795-617803 01394-380765 07976-805858 07976-746225 07743-628091 01394-380765 02476-726924 01522-689460 07808-878317 07710-554602 07976-805858 02476-726924 07710-054848 07795-617803 07976-805858 01394-380765 02476-726924 01522-689460 07976-746225 07743-628091 07710-554602 07808-878317

john.brighouse@waterways.org.uk secretary@manchester-iwa.co.uk geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk steve.wood@waterways.org.uk volunteers@wbdcs.org.uk bob.luscombe@waterways.org.uk mike.carter@waterways.org.uk restoration@rivergippingtrust.org.uk steve.wood@waterways.org.uk david.struckett@waterways.org.uk robert.frost@waterways.org.uk restoration@rivergippingtrust.org.uk volunteers@wbdcs.org.uk geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk workparties@sleafordnavigation.co.uk john.brighouse@waterways.org.uk secretary@manchester-iwa.co.uk steve.wood@waterways.org.uk volunteers@wbdcs.org.uk bob.luscombe@waterways.org.uk mike.carter@waterways.org.uk geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk steve.wood@waterways.org.uk restoration@rivergippingtrust.org.uk volunteers@wbdcs.org.uk geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk workparties@sleafordnavigation.co.uk david.struckett@waterways.org.uk robert.frost@waterways.org.uk secretary@manchester-iwa.co.uk john.brighouse@waterways.org.uk

Mcr= Manchester; NSSC = North Staffs & South Cheshire RGT= River Gipping Trust; SNT = Sleaford Navigation Trust; TMCS = Trent & Mersey Canal Society;

in pubs.

Please phone to confirm dates and times

London.

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

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Letters ...on canals and vans Dear Martin I waited after your issue 273 to see what people said in issue 274. Now, as an avid reader of Navvies, keen restorationist, former navvy and now Canal & River Trust (CRT) Trustee who is a boat owner, I write with my personal views. There was a quote that “the entire canal system’s going to ruin. They should concentrate on keeping the existing canals going, not try to open any more”. The canal system is not going to ruin – as any regular boater can testify - see John Norton’s letter in issue 274. If you want to know what the network used to be like, try reading the recently republished Journeys of the Swan by John Liley – a very good read – and look at the pictures of the 1960s and read about the number of times they hit bottom. For more recent info, look at the figures for major locks, tunnels, embankments and other infrastructure in poor condition. There are some 10,000 such structures. A decade or so ago, 30% were in a poor state – now it’s 15%. And look at the near-doubling of the dredging budget since CRT took over in 2012. The implication that large amounts of money are diverted into restoration is wrong. Practically all restorations works are funded by others – recently the Heritage Lottery Fund; before that, regional development agencies and the Millennium Commission. Thank goodness, as that has given us the restored Droitwich and the Huddersfield Narrow and the Rochdale – much to the benefit of their local communities. To put this into context, CRT’s annual spend on restoration is about £350,000 – out of a budget of over £150m. John Cowie’s pessimistic letter mentions a missing ground paddle at Wolverhampton Lock 20 and only one ground paddle being operational at Lock 1. He’ll be pleased to know that this winter’s stoppage programme has meant new top and bottom gates at the top lock, and the paddle post at Lock 20 is being dealt with. He also mentions problems at Blockhouse Lock in Worcester – another place covered by in this winter’s stoppages.

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“The canal system is not going to ruin – as any regular boater can testify”. Boater and CRT Trustee John Dodwell replies to views expressed in issue 273... By the way, it was interesting to read in the December Waterways World profile of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal that they thought the Tardebigge Flight was “well maintained and easy to operate”. My experience of the Walsall Canal is different to John Cowie’s. My boat Helen draws 3 ft and I would not say it is “barely navigable”. Underused, yes, and so in need of more use. CRT know this – and the same can be said about other parts of the northern BCN – which can be remarkably rural. There’s been significant dredging in recent years. John Cowie said he didn’t see any signs of dredging taking place. One of the realities of dredging is that is that it’s not always immediately obvious that it has been done, as the results are hidden under water. Maybe you can see the spoil on the side of the canal – the preferred option as that’s a cheaper way of disposal. Anyone who’s been on the Caldon recently will have seen that – but be quick before nature grows over it. John Cowie may be forgiven for not noticing the dredging at Wightwick on the Staffs & Worcs – nature has already grown over the mud . If he were to venture on the Erewash, he wouldn’t see much, unless he looked carefully at a dredging tip which was re-opened. You won’t see anything if you go along the Slough Arm – where the spoil was all taken to a tip. But draw comfort from the fact that CRT has committed to spend £80m over 10 years on dredging – in its later years, BW was spending under £4m a year. John Cowie said he didn’t see any signs of maintenance being done during his summer cruise. Well, most serious works take place in the winter months. Do take the chance of looking at what’s involved by going to one of the Open Days CRT now organises. I don’t pretend everything is fine. With a 200 year old plus system, it’s hardly surprising if there are problems. If you have any, then do write in and tell CRT – that’s likely to be more effective than only writing to magazines! Yours sincerely John Dodwell


Having just “Waterway Recovery Group” on the vans means nothing to the average lay person. It is just like having “Thames Water” on vans in London or any other Waterways Utility in other places around the country. It doesn’t state what WRG is, what WRG stands for or what WRG does. The WRG vans travel thousands of miles each year along the byways and into the town centres. They are permanent mobile advertising billboards and we should take full advantage of this. I am not suggesting because CRT have them that we should too but I do like the pictures on the CRT vans. Can we please have some inland waterways scenes on the WRG vans? Hoping that these changes can be made. Regards Robin Bishop

Lesley McFadyen

Dear Martin On any future WRG vans can we please have additional signage on them: a statement reading “Volunteers Restoring Britain’s Inland Waterways”? I was recently at a camp and we had WRG BITM van RX06KNP. This van has the following statement on it “Volunteers Restoring Canals For You”. We now have banners at camps which have both the WRG and IWA logos on them and also the statement “Volunteers Restoring Britain’s Inland Waterways”. They look great! All this info should be on the WRG vans. Also I feel that the IWA logo should be added to the vans. There is no statement on the vans that WRG is part of IWA. This needs to be added as well. Can the IWA address on the vans be changed to read as follows “IWA and WRG Head Office: Island House...”?

The one above might be more in keeping with WRG tradition, but might the one below do us more good?

“Here’s one we made earlier!”

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Directory Canal Society and WRG contacts ASHBY CANAL ASSOC Cyril Blackford 48 The Ridgeway, Burbage Hinckley LE10 2NR Tel: 01455 614816 volunteers@ashbycanal.org.uk BARNSLEY, DEARNE & DOVE CANAL TRUST June Backhouse, 39 Hill St, Elsecar, Barnsley S74 8EN 01226 743383 www.bddct.org.uk BASINGSTOKE CANAL SOCIETY Duncan Paine, 52 Kings Rd Fleet GU51 3AQ 01252-614125 duncanpaine@talktalk.net www.basingstokecanal.org.uk BCN SOCIETY Jeff Barley, 17 Sunnyside Walsall Wood, W Midlands 01543 373284 www.bcn-society.org.uk BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOCIETY Athina Beckett 2 Staters Pound, Pennyland Milton Keynes MK1 5AX 01908 661217 email: athinabec@aol.com www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk BUGSWORTH BASIN HERITAGE TRUST Ian Edgar Top Lock House, Lime Kiln Lane, Marple SK6 6BX. 0161 427 7402 ian@theedgars.co.uk www.brocross.com/iwps/ index.htm

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CALDON & UTTOXETER CANALS TRUST Alison Smedley Hazelhurst Cottage Denford, Leek ST13 7JT 01538-385388 alison@hazelhurstcottage.co.uk www.cuct.org.uk CHESTERFIELD CANAL TRUST Mick Hodgetts 31 Pottery Lane Chesterfield S41 9BH 01246 620695 chesterfield-canaltrust.org.uk CHICHESTER SHIP CT Linda Wilkinson 1 Chidham Lane Chichester PO18 8TL 01243 771363 www.chichestercanal.co.uk COTSWOLD CT Bell House, Wallbridge Lock Stroud GL5 3JS 01453 752568 mail@cotswoldcanals.com www.cotswoldcanals.com FRIENDS OF THE CROMFORD CANAL George Rogers 28 Drury Avenue Spondon DE21 7FZ web@cromfordcanal.org.uk www.cromfordcanal.org.uk DERBY & SANDIACRE CS Doug Flack 23 Thoresby Cres, Draycott Derby DE72 3PH 01332 576037 www.derbycanal.org.uk

DIG DEEP INITIATIVE Alan Cavender 53 Derwent Drive, Maidenhead SL6 6LE 01628 629033 alancavender@waitrose.com www.dig-deep.org.uk DORSET & SOMERSET CANAL SOCIETY Derrick Hunt 43 Greenland Mills Bradford on Avon BA15 1BL 01225 863066 derrickjohnhunt@gmail.com www.dorandsomcanal.org EAST ANGLIAN WATERWAYS ASSOC David Revill 43 Kings Road Coltishall, Norfolk NR12 7DX 01603 738648 david_gisela@hotmail.com EREWASH CANAL P&DA John Baylis 215 Clipstone Rd. West Forest Town, Mansfield Notts NG19 0HJ 01623 621208 john.baylis@waterways.org.uk ESSEX WATERWAYS LTD Graham Brown Paper Mill Lock North Hill Little Baddow Essex CM3 4BT 07966 375351 graham.brown@waterways.org.uk www.waterways.org.uk FOXTON INCLINED PLANE TRUST c/o Mike Beech Foxton Canal Museum Middle Lock Gumley Road Foxton Market Harborough LE16 7RA 0116 279 2657 mike@foxcm.freeserve.co.uk www.fipt.org.uk


RIVER GIPPING TRUST Martin Bird 29 Melton Grange Rd, Melton Woodbridge IP12 1SA 01394 380765 restoration@rivergippingtrust. org.uk GRAND WESTERN CT Hugh Dalzell, 1 Town Hill Culmstock, Cullompton Devon EX15 3JQ 01884 849255 hugh.dalzell@btinternet.com GRANTHAM CANAL SOC Ian Wakefield 0115 989 2128 ian.wakefield@ granthamcanal.com www.granthamcanal.com HEREFS & GLOUCS CT c/o The Wharf House Over, Gloucester GL2 8DB 01452 332900 www.h-g-canal.org.uk KENNET & AVON CT Derrick Hunt (as per Dorset & Somerset) www1.katrust.org.uk KESCRG Eddie Jones ‘Little Orchard’ Berryfields, Fillongley Coventry CV7 8EX 0845 226 8589 eddie@kescrg.org.uk www.kescrg.org.uk LANCASTER CT Keith Tassart 24 Kings Crescent Morecambe LA3 1HX 01524 424761 www.lctrust.co.uk LAPAL CANAL TRUST 26 Loynells Road, Rednal Birmingham B45 9NP 01785 713862 or Hugh Humphreys 07970 765554 www.lapal.org

LICHFIELD & HATHERTON CANALS REST'N TRUST Sue Williams, Norfolk House 29 Hall Lane, Hammerwich Burntwood WS7 0JP 01543 671427 info@lhcrt.org.uk Hatherton: Dennis Cooper 01543 374370 www.lhcrt.org.uk NEATH & TENNANT CS Ian Milne 16 Gower Road, Sketty, Swansea SA2 9BY 01792 547902 MANCHESTER BOLTON & BURY CANAL SOCIETY Steve Dent 07802-973228 www.mbbcs.org.uk MONMOUTHSHIRE BRECON & ABERGAVENNY CT Phil Hughes 14 Locks Canal Centre Cwm Lane, Newport NP10 9GN 01633 892167 mail@fourteenlocks.co.uk www.mbact.org.uk NWPG Bill Nicholson, 17 Clifford Rd Princes Risborough HP27 0DU 01844 343369 / 0779 1097773 bill@nwpg.org.uk www.nwpg.org.uk POCKLINGTON C.A.S Paul Waddington Church House, Main St. Hemingborough YO8 7QE 01757 638027 ROLLE CANAL AND NTH DEVON WATERWAYS SOC Adrian & Hilary Wills Vale Cottage, 7 Annery Kiln Weare Giffard, Bideford EX39 5JE Tel: 01237 477705 adrian@thewills.eclipse.co.uk www.therollecanal.co.uk

SALTISFORD CT Budbrooke Road Warwick CV34 5RJ 01926 490 006 saltisfordcanal@aol.com www.saltisfordcanal.co.uk SANKEY CANAL RESTORATION SOCIETY John Hughes 01744 600656 www.scars.org.uk SHREWSBURY & NEWPORT CANALS TRUST Bernie Jones 01743 709601 07971 016322 berniecjones@hotmail.com www.sncanal.org.uk SHROPSHIRE UNION CS David Carter 01244 661440 dcartersucs@hotmail.co.uk www.shropshireunion.org.uk SLEAFORD NAV TRUST Steve Hayes 10 Chelmer Close N Hykeham Lincs LN8 8TH 01522-689460 email: steve.hayeskyme@ntlworld.com www.sleafordnavigation.co.uk SOMERSETSHIRE COAL CANAL SOCIETY Derrick Hunt 43 Greenland Mills Bradford on Avon BA15 1BL 01225-863066 derrickjohnhunt@gmail.com www.coalcanal.org RIVER STOUR TRUST John Morris 2 Stockton Close Hadleigh Ipswich IP7 5SH jgmorris@btinternet.com www.riverstourtrust.org

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STOVER CANAL SOCIETY George Whitehead 26 Northumberland Place, Teignmouth TQ14 8BU. Tel: 01626 775498 Georgewhitehead1@tiscali.co.uk www.stovercanal.co.uk

WEY & ARUN CT The Granary, Flitchfold Farm Loxwood, Billingshurst West Sussex RH14 ORH 01403 752403 office@weyandarun.co.uk www.weyandarun.co.uk

STRATFORD ON AVON CANAL SOCIETY Clive Henderson The Bridge House Church Lane, Lapworth Solihull B94 5NU 01564 783672 clive.henderson@waterways.org.uk www.stratfordcanalsociety.org.uk

WILTS & BERKS CT George Eycott Knowle House 1 Ham Road, Wanborough Wiltshire SN4 0DF 07771 775745 bungle@wrg.org.uk www.wbct.org.uk

SUSSEX OUSE RESTORATION TRUST Ted Lintott 4 Farm Cottages Parkfield Way Haywards Heath RH16 4TB 01444 414413 tedl@talktalk.net www.sxouse.org.uk SWANSEA CANAL SOC Clive Reed 17 Smithfield Road, Pontardawe Swansea SA8 4LA 01792 830782 THAMES & MEDWAY CA David Rouse 60 Sun Lane Gravesend DA12 5HL 01474 362861 info@thamesmedway.co.uk www.thamesmedway.co.uk WELL CREEK TRUST Mrs C Mansell, 1 Tramways Outwell PE14 8PZ carole1910@hotmail.com WENDOVER ARM TRUST Roger Leishman 7 Hall Park Berkhamsted HP4 2NU 01442 874536 rwleishman@gmail.com www.wendoverarmtrust.co.uk

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WOODEN CANAL BOAT SOCIETY 173 Stamford St Central Ashton under Lyne OL6 7PS 0161-330-8422 wcbs@care2.com www.wcbs.org.uk WORCESTER, B’HAM & DROITWICH CANALS SOC Bill Lambert volunteers@wbdcs.org.uk

WRG CONTACTS WRG ENQUIRIES, BOOKINGS, DRIVER AUTHORISATION, Jenny Morris, IWA Island House, Moor Road Chesham HP5 1WA 01494 783453 enquiries@wrg.org.uk www.wrg.org.uk WRG NORTH WEST Malcolm Bridge 89 Rishworth Mill, Rishworth Sowerby Bridge HX6 4RZ 01422-820693 nw@wrg.org.uk www.wrgnw.org.uk WRG NW: PAPERCHASES Barry McGuinness b.mcguinness1@ googlemail.com 0161 681 7237 www.wrgnw.org.uk

WRG BITM & 'NAVVIES' DIARY David Wedd 7 Ringwood Road Blackwater Camberley Surrey GU17 0EY 01252 874437 dave.wedd@wrg.org.uk www.wrgbitm.org.uk LONDON WRG Tim Lewis 5 Herongate Road, Wanstead London E12 5EJ 07802 518094 tim@timlewis.org.uk www.wrg.org.uk WRG EAST MIDLANDS John Baylis 215 Clipstone Rd. West Forest Town Mansfield Notts NG19 0HJ 01623 633895 john.baylis@waterways.org.uk ESSEX WRG John Gale 24 Longleaf Drive Braintree Essex CM17 1XS 01376-334896 wrg@glenp.org.uk www.wrg.org.uk WRG FORESTRY Clive Alderman 30 Primley Lane Sheering Bishops Stortford CM22 7NJ 07973 877380 clive_jo.alderman@yahoo.co.uk IWA/WRG STAMP BANK Steve & Mandy Morley 33 Hambleton Grove Emerson valley Milton Keynes MK4 2JS 01908 520090 mail@morleytowers.org.uk


Canal & River Trust volunteer coordinators Central Shires East Midlands Kennet & Avon Manchester & Pennine North East N Wales & Borders North West London South East S Wales & Severn West Midlands

Tom Freeland tom.freeland@canalrivertrust.org.uk Wayne Ball wayne.ball@canalrivertrust.org.uk Steve Manzi steve.manzi@canalrivertrust.org.uk Steve O’Sullivan steve.osullivan@canalrivertrust.org.uk Lucy Dockray lucy.dockray@canalrivertrust.org.uk Paul Corner paul.corner@canalrivertrust.org.uk Matt Taylor matt.taylor@canalrivertrust.org.uk Debbie Vidler deborah.vidler@canalrivertrust.org.uk John Highmore john.highmore@canalrivertrust.org.uk Alan Sumnall alan.sumnall@canalrivertrust.org.uk Murray Woodward murray.woodward@canalrivertrust.org.uk

CANAL CAMPS MOBILES (A) 07850 422156 (B) 07850 422157 'NAVVIES' EDITOR Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Rd. London SE22 9PB 020 8693 3266 0777 947 8629 (mobile) martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk 'WRGWEAR' CLOTHING Helen Gardner 27 Broadacre Comberbach CW9 6QD 07989 425346 wrgwear@wrg.org.uk WRG BOAT CLUB Sadie Heritage 236 Station Rd. Whittlesey Peterborough PE7 2HA 01733 204505 07748 186867 (mobile) sadiedean@msn.com WRG DIRECTORS CHAIRMAN Mike Palmer 3 Finwood Road Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk WRG PLANT George Eycott Knowle House 1 Ham Road, Wanborough Wiltshire SN4 0DF 07771 775745 bungle@wrg.org.uk

PUBLICITY Judith Palmer 3 Finwood Rd, Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 jude.moore@btinternet.com WRGPRINT John Hawkins 4 Links Way, Croxley Grn Rickmansworth WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 john.hawkins@wrg.org.uk IWA CHAIRMAN Les Etheridge c/o IWA, Island House Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA les.etheridge@ waterways.org.uk TRANSPORT MANAGER Jonathan Smith 23 Hardings Chalgrove Oxford OX44 7TJ 01865 891 370 jonathan.smith@wrg.org.uk

OTHER DIRECTORS Rick Barnes 11 Lawns Park North Woodchester Stroud GL5 5PP 07976 748345 rick.barnes@wrg.org.uk John Baylis (see above) Harry Watts 18 Furneaux Avenue London SE27 0EG 07889 237834 harry.watts@wrg.org.uk Helen Gardner (see above) Dave Hearnden Chellowdene Outwell Wisbech PR14 8TL 07961 922153 moose_dave@hotmail.com

Please help us to keep this directory up to date If you spot any errors or omissions or know of any changes please pass them on to the editor. The next full directory will appear in issue 278, but any corrections received before then will also be included as a news item in the first available issue. Thank you for your assistance.

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Progress Wey & Arun

Down in the deep south, the Wey & Arun Canal Trust have a threepronged attack going with visiting groups and their own volunteers working on three different sites

has to be tackled, from retaining wall construction to reprofiling sections of the canal With activity increasing on the canal’s which have not yet been worked on. VolunSummit Level restoration, extra help is teers will also partially demolish the 1930s needed in organising the various groups of causeway which the bridge is replacing, with volunteers and the work needed to comthe possibility of exposing the remains of the plete the project. The Wey & Arun Canal original canal bridge buried in the concrete. Trust is seeking an assistant for Dave And with planning permission and finance in Evans, Compasses Bridge site manager place, a new small boats slipway will be built and leader of the Summit (Northern) south of Compasses over the spring and Working Party. summer. As the contractors near the end of Anyone who can help Dave organise their involvement in construction of the the work needed on the Summit Level – in new bridge at Alfold, a collection of tasks advance of the official reopening of navigation in October – should email WACT chairman Sally Schupke at sally_schupke @weyandarun.co.uk. Members of the Newbury Working Party Group (NWPG) spent a weekend in November in the Compasses area, working on channels for cabling across the bridge among other tasks. London WRG volunteers have also been at Compasses, altering a drain outflow and creating a bund to allow a section of the canal to be drained, plus preparatory work for moving a water main and getting ready for brickwork on the new bridge. Recruits to the Summit (Northern) Working Party, which meets on the third Saturday of the month, will also be welcome. Email Dave Evans on de@weyandarun.co.uk to join up. Visiting volunteers have also been busy on other Surrey sections of the canal. The WRG Forestry WRG trio on W&A: London WRG locate buried pipes at Compasses... Team removed overgrown Pitures by WACT

Wey & Arun Canal

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and diseased trees along the route of the former Guildford-Horsham railway in Shalford, alongside the planned route for the re-created waterway. The clearance was on Tanglewood Farm land, where the Trust has a lease for digging a 400metre length of canal. The WRG work was an important preparatory step for phase 1 of the Bramley Link section, which is progressing towards a planning application as soon as engineering and ecological surveys are complete. Another WRG group, BITM had an interesting weekend at the canal’s Whipley Manor location. They helped with investigating the remains of the iron bridge that carried the Guildford to Horsham railway over the canal, as the trench they dug revealed some large lumps of metalwork. The group also went to a lot of effort to remove a firmly rooted tree that got in the way of archaeological excavation. ...while Forestry remove overgrown and diseased trees at Shalford... With its three sites strategy now being pursued with increasing pace, WACT also needs help from someone with experience in submitting planning applications and/or conducting public consultations. Email Sally Schupke if you have time to help. ...and BITM deal with a well-rooted tree stump at the Whipley Manor excavation

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Progress Swansea Canal

Meanwhile in South Wales, there’s been great progress over three years at Lower Trebanos Lock. And it’s all down to a fine team effort by Swansea Canal Society, WRG Canal Camps and others...

Swansea Canal Team effort at Trebanos Lock

support and enthusiastic help. The owner of the Green Farm Riding Stables next to the lock has allow us to leave our own and WRG’s heavy plant in their grounds. Slowly but surely we have all moved forward together. The most contentious aspect of the

Pictures by Swansea Canal Society

The first WRG Summer camp on the Swansea Canal worked at Lower Trebanos Lock in 2013. They were the catalysts for the Swansea Canal Society’s continuing restoration there and they have been back every year since. The top picture on this page shows what the wing wall and offside looked like in 2013. The bottom picture is what it looks like in December 2015. It has been a team effort. The Swansea Canal Society has no more than 150 members. Yet ten to twenty of us work every Tuesday come rain or snow and each July the WRG volunteers have returned and brought with them their expertise and Lower Trebanos Lock offside and wing wall in 2013 and (below) today their enthusiasm. The Canal & River Trust who own the canal have provided the materials and taught us the craft of laying walls and repointing with lime mortar. We have involved the community: staff of Virgin Media and Lloyds Bank have carted barrow loads of the local Blue Pennant Sandstone to the lock; the Swansea University Conservation Society have repointed the pound wall; and the carers and clients of the Whitethorns Day Care Centre have been an ever-present source of

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WRG Canal Camp volunteers working on the chamber walls Swansea Canal upper section largely lost under new road

Godre’r-Graig Main work site: Trebanos Locks

Swansea Canal 5-mile centre section under restoration

Pontardawe Resolven Neath Canal under restoration

New cuts proposed

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Taw

Swansea Canal lower section lost

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Clydach

Riv

restoration has been getting access to the lock chamber in order to repoint it. It is an obvious health & safety issue and there have been times when failure to sign off the safety of the stop planks has caused frustration and delays. This can be extremely galling if you are WRG volunteers and have only five days on site. Somehow we all came through some fractious times and the lower lock chamber has now been completely repointed apart from the five or six upper courses where scaffolding will be needed next July for the WRG volunteers to finish it off. Apart from the lock itself we have been mindful of leaving the residents who live on the canalside some improvements to their immediate environment. The unadopted road which acts as both a towpath and access to the properties and the riding school has very poor run-off, and in times of heavy rainfall the excess has run back into the properties’ gardens instead of running into the canal. When we built the 50 yard retaining wall below the towpath we included steps down to the canal complete with a drainage channel which take the excess rain down into the canal. This has meant that the residents have a very high tolerance level whenever we get stone dust on their cars! Thanks to a grant from the Welsh Government we now have our own cement mixer. The sand and lime has always been provided by CRT. The trailers to take all the material and tools from the CRT depot in nearby Clydach to the site a mile and half away were again generous gifts from our local Co-op supermarket. We are a small society, our canal is not yet linked to either the Neath or the Tennant Canal and it has just five miles in water, but Team Trebanos has shown what can be done. One day that spirit will get the Swansea Canal back another nine miles into the centre of Swansea.

Swansea Docks

Neath Tennant Canal to be restored

Swansea Neath and Tennant canals

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level in the whole of the Arm and the mainline canal summit level (Tring Cutting) between Cowroast and Marsworth locks, with surplus water being fed into Wilstone Reservoir. The square brickwork behind the settling tank is the new manhole that will have sluice valves to control the various flows of water. Reinstated in its original position on top Grand Union Wendover Arm of the wharf wall is the paddle gear that will November and December Working allow the length between Bridge 4 (Patrick Parties: The first photograph shows the Saunders footbridge) and Bridge 5 (Drayton progress at the end of the December working Beauchamp Bridge) to be drained. party. It was taken from in front of It has been refurbished in newly Whitehouses, and shows the completed pipe painted black and white. capping (concreting over the canal water Roger Leishman, Restoration Director. supply pipe that was laid in the dry bed of Tel: 01442 874536 the closed canal, so that the channel can be e-mail rwleishman@gmail.com reinstated above it) on the left that is now approaching the end of Stage 3 at Whitehouses. On the offside, behind the pipe capping is the bank being restored in carefully laid shallow layers of spoil that are consolidated by the plant operating to and fro over it. The bank had to be removed to allow the pipe trench to be capped although, as stated in the October issue, the bank was mainly spill from the Herts County Council former rubbish tip adjacent to the canal. On the towpath side the bank is being rough profiled Pipe capping and channel work, and (below) Whitehouses works ready for the re-lining process in due course. Whitehouses: The Canal & River Trust contractor has been working on the water control works although work has been temporarily suspended at present. This photograph shows the present progress. The settling tank in the foreground is ready to receive the cross members that will support a steel grid over the tank The brick piers in the tank, part of the restoration by KESCRG, clearly show the grooves to hold weir boards to control what will be the water

Progress

Pictures by WAT

Wendover Arm

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BITM Christmas Camp at Dauntsey Wilts & Berks Canal I always look forward to our Dauntsey camp between Christmas and New Year, because it’s like an annual get together of old friends, plus a few new ones to add to the mix. This year it turned out to be a very entertaining mix (plenty of laughs!) and a very hard working team. A section of the towpath nearest to my cottage has been too narrow to get machinery up ever since we restored the canal on the west side of the road, so the plan was to uproot the hedge and replant it further back. Our local plant hire company gave us free loan of a 3.5T excavator for the week – it’s one less machine to clutter up their yard during a non-hire week! The next advantage was that one of our new campers turned out to be an experienced machine operator, and I had no problem in passing Ted for a WRG ticket. He has even entered ploughing competitions at home, and proved to have just the skills we needed. We already had Alan with a WRG ticket, but he worked on our work boat which had not been operating very well; he is a lifeboatman at home and manages a fleet of mini-buses for a school. David is halfway to getting his ticket, and Anne and Susan also had some training on the excavator. The forecast for the week was not very promising, but it turned out that most of the rain came overnight and wasn’t too bad during the day, except extremely muddy! Over the week, we cut down and grubbed up 90m of thick hedge, dug a trench further out from the canal, and replanted – there were quite a number of small hawthorns, hazels and oaks that had seeded themselves in the field and the garden, just enough to give us a line of new hedge. Considering how sticky the ground became, the team did a fantastic job of the planting and the levelling of the new bit of towpath. Because we were quite close to my cottage, we were able to come back there for tea and lunch breaks in the warm and dry, and even dry out any wet clothes on the Aga. Anne appointed herself tea monitor, and quickly learnt everyone’s tastes in tea/ coffee/sugar, and Di would have everything ready for us when we came in. The only real soaking was on New Year’s Eve afternoon, so we had to pack up a bit early. Our dog Mina, who at 10 years old is a lot shaggier than she used to be, got very muddy tangled fur while she was supervising

Camp Report New Year at Dauntsey us, but she really enjoyed herself. It’s going to take some brushing out. In between shopping and keeping our tummies filled, Di managed to rake out some large clumps of reeds from the canal, to the disapproval of our two resident swans, but there are plenty more reeds at their nesting site. All together the whole area has been transformed. Five of us went off to Swindon in the hope of seeing the new Star Wars movie, but after working our way to the front of the queue we found all the seats had gone. We saw The Heart of the Sea instead, the true story that Moby Dick was based on. Ted and Anne had a long journey from eastern Essex to Dauntsey, but not as far as Susan who had driven down from Scotland – 560 miles, 13 hour journey. She stayed over until the Monday after New Year to make the journey worth while, where we had been joined by Luke for that final weekend, staying in the cottage. Rob and Robin also stayed over one day to help finish off. Those two are our biggest jigsaw addicts, and managed to complete 3 x 1000 piece ones, and at least halfway into the fourth by the time midnight struck on New Year’s Eve. On the Sunday, we were joined by the Foxham Work Party, and they pulled the final clump of bullrushes from the canal with kebs. Our accommodation, Foxham Reading Rooms, is warm and comfortable and just the right size for a team of 12. At 81, Di had been wondering whether it would be her last Christmas camp, but as several of the team said that they are already looking forward to next year’s camp she was given the incentive to keep going. After all, they will be expecting all the home-made cakes and puddings! She tends to make the Christmas cake and a cake for each day in advance, but then her presents turned out to include a large Panacotta cake, so we’ll be eating that throughout January... I’m so grateful to all the team for achieving such a fantastic job, and I hope they enjoyed themselves as much as I did. Rachael Banyard

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WRG BC Our own boat club WRG Boat Club News

myself, not only was I out of date with the names of some members’ boats, but I managed to spell my own name wrong! Here is a list of my errors (so far noted)- Malcolm Bridge’s boat is Ampère; Liz and Peter Payne’s is Atlanta; Jim and Jackie Buckley’s is Swn-y-Dwr (not as I had it). Please alter your lists to take account of these corrections, thanks. It was suggested that I include home moorings in the list so we could have an idea of members’ cruising areas. Sadly only three people replied to this. I don’t believe that ALL the other letters went astray. So please can you let me know your home mooring (if you have one). Of course most of our free time is spent in various areas of the system where we are involved in restoration work of some kind, but lots of members do move their boats about. I’m sure that you all have brand new diaries waiting to be filled with boating/ restoration details, so quick, before they get too full, write in the gathering at Pelsall, August Bank Holiday weekend. We plan to hold our AGM there – also there will be plenty of work to occupy you. It promises to be a good festival. Should you be thinking, as you read this, that our secretary (me) is really too incompetent and it’s time we had a change – well come along to the AGM and get someone else (you) elected. Just a thought! HAPPY NEW YEAR - I may seem a little late but it’s early January when I am writing this – and we wish good boating in 2016. xxx Sadie Heritage sadiedean@msn.com 07748 186867

Martin Ludgate

Well I’m not sorry to see the back of 2015, not a good year for me or for the many people suffering from flooding! Let’s hope things improve. I do hope that all received their membership card for this year (and of course Christmas card for 2015). I know that this is a false hope as some have communicated that theirs didn’t arrive, BUT due to circumstances and my usual incompetence I’ve managed to forget where I filed them. I will not be offended if you remind me again! I know some members sent notification of change of address; I have found notes of some addresses but not who they are for! (I think ‘incompetence at its best’ must just mean me.) I sent off my usual annual donation etc to Navvies, so I could continue receiving this inestimable publication, and three days later received the letter back! It had been franked on the back, where there was no stamp, and sent to the return address that I had stuck on the back. As there was nothing wrong with the front of the envelope, or the stamp, I put it back in the post. No I’m not trying to bore you with irrelevant information; that is why I didn’t put a return address on the mailing, as I usually do, so should it have gone astray it wouldn’t have found its way back to me. Please, if you realise that you are missing out - I KNOW all members are avid Navvies readers so will see this – let me know! With the membership cards I also send out a list of members and their boats, so we can greet each other should our paths cross. As I admit, I’m not perfect (yet) but I think I excelled Pelsall: come to the IWA festival (and WRGBC AGM) here in August

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Fundraising The Appeal is 3/4 there! December 2015. It raised £14,000, that’s nearly £1,000 more than in 2014. As The WRG van appeal, which aims to raise explainef above, all monies are to be shared £120,000 to replace all four of our minibus/ amongst projects sd nominated by the purvans, has not lost momentum as we roll into chasers of the raffle tickets - and the top 2016. With a fantastic contribution of £1,745 three (in reverse order) are as follows... coming in from the ‘Bungle goes Veggie’ With the 3rd highest number of nomicampaign, we had a total at year end of nations, the Friends of Cromford Canal nearly £87,000. group receives £1,200. The appeal also received a welcome John Baylis from FOCC said “The boost this month from the IWA Restoration money raised by IWA’s raffle means we can Raffle; Van Appeal was the highest nomigo ahead and seek materials quotes for some nated cause, so many thanks to all who much needed repairs along The Cromford bought tickets and voted. In total, WRG Canal. We are delighted to now be in a received £2,259.70 towards the cost of the position to progress this work.” vans - see below. This contribution, comIn second place overall, Shrewsbury bined with January’s direct donations has & Newport Canals Trust was this year’s brought the appeal total just over the top waterways trust beneficiary, receiving £90,000 mark, meaning we are officially £1,300 towards their on-going work with the three – quarters of the way there! Wappenshall Wharf Appeal Orders are now in the final stages of Bernie Jones, Chairman of the Trust being processed for the first two vans, in the said “This money is a real boost to our hope to have them active for this summer’s fundraising efforts. Following an extension calendar of events. on the fundraising deadline from the HeritUpcoming fundraising efforts include a age Lottery Fund, the money raised by IWA Barn Dance at Rowington Hall on 12th March, raffle will be going towards our Wappenshall where we hope to see you all, and selling Wharf appeal.” fudge at Cavalcade and other events again And finally... our very own WRG Van Appeal received the highest number of this year. For further information about the van nominations and will add £2,250 from the appeal or how to buy tickets for the Barn raffle to its appeal total. This figure is a welcome addition to the total fundraising Dance, please contact Sarah Frayne at effort, bringing us a step closer to the final sarah.frayne@waterways.org.uk. target of £120,000. As well as being able to nominate their The Restoration Raffle results favourite waterways projects, ticket purchasYou may recall that a couple of issues back ers stood a chance of benefitting from the we included tickets in Navvies for a raffle run raffle themselves. Top prizes included: a by our parent body the Inland Waterways one-week boating holiday on a six-berth Association - hopefully some of you bought narrow boat with Wyvern Shipping worth up some, and even sold some to your friends! to £1,500; a three-night or four-night boatBut this was no ordinary raffle - the ing holiday on a four-berth narrow boat with difference was that anyone buying a ticket Andersen Boats, and a weekend boating got to choose which canal project their holiday on a four-berth narrow boat with money went to, from all the rstoration Canal Cruising Company, worth £590. schemes all over the country. Thank you to all those organisations IWA has now named the 25 beneficiar- who donated prizes, and of course a very big ies of the raffle, which closed at the end of thank you to everyone who bought tickets.

Van Appeal Update

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Plant ...free to a good home

Following the success of the previous disposal list, here are some more items that are available. Collection to be arranged from Stockport or Swindon area by arrangement with Bungle (bungle@wrg.org.uk). Priority will be given to those that missed out last time and is not first come first served. All expressions of interest to Bungle by Friday

11th March please. Lot 1: Dumper wheel and tyre, tyre size is 7.50 x 16. 5 stud wheel fixing. Tyre may be useable short term but really you are getting a wheel!

2

1 3 Lot 2: Dumper wheel and tyre, tyre size is 10.5 x 18. Again, tyre may be usable short term. Lot 3: Landrover/Trailer wheel and tyre. I wouldn’t trust this tyre for high speed road use based purely on its age and the fact it is a crossply so unlikely to match the other tyres on a vehicle. Tyre is a 7.50 x 16. Although it is old it looks virtually unused so ideal for a site trailer that uses Landrover wheels. 4 Lot 4: Dumper wheel and tyre, tyre size is 6.00 x 16. Tyre looks good at first glance but it is old. Lot 5: Selection of turnbuckles. Note Phil Scott’s hand is not included, just shown for scale. Lot 6: Variety of pump/pipe fittings. We have a load of BSP and Bauer fittings to suit layflat and rigid pipe. We particularly want to find good homes for the 6" Bauer variety as we don’t actually have any 6" pumps. We also have a smaller selection of 4", 3" and 2" fittings. No pictures and at the moment they are all in a heap at the back of the container, but if you let us know exactly what you need we can see if we can help. Bearing in mind that a 6" male and female pair of Bauer couplings cost the thick end of £150 we will not be entertaining people who say “We will take everything”, we want to spread the value around the canal restoration community. Lot 7: Morris chain hoists – two were listed last time, we may have a home for one but one is still available. To be clear, these do not comply with modern lifting regulations so would suit a museum or similar. Lot 8: Yanmar petrol 750w generator. Starts, runs, makes power. 7 5

8

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Brian Kingshott R.I.P. We are sorry to have to bring you the sad news that Brian Kingshott of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust has died. Brian chaired the Trust for 15 years through some tricky times, most notably the struggle to ensure that the M6 Toll wouldn’t prevent the canal’s restoration. He was a reliable supporter of Navvies with his regular reports on LHCRT’s work for the Progress pages. Our sympathies to everyone who knew him.

Moans ’n’ groans, thanks, and apologies... ...but not necessarily in that order! Here’s John Hawkins from WRG Print... Firstly my apologies for the last edition of Navvies, some copies are not as good as they should be; more about that later. When I arrived at Watchfield for the start of the Christmas Camp I was shown a very forthright entry in ‘Facebook’. Apparently the person concerned had received a copy with blank pages and also a ‘double sheet’ – a real double whammy!! There is a chance that other copies may be about; sorry, no prizes if you have one! Thanks to Helen for her response and to others who also added their ‘own style’ comments. For those who don’t do ‘Faceache’; if you receive a copy of Navvies with either pages missing, blank pages or any other problems, just contact myself or Jenny at the office and we’ll send you another copy. If you contact me then please give me your address because I don’t have access to the address database. Edition 274 seemed to be a particular problem in many ways… Martin had planned to be on the joint London/KESCRG weekend dig on the Cotswolds, but spent all Saturday at meetings and Sunday at the accommodation at Brimscombe Port editing Navvies on his laptop. This continued on the back seat of the Transit as they drove back to London. He finally stopped when it became necessary for him to drive for the final part of the journey... When completed some files were sent to Chris at Stroudprint and the remainder (lots!) to the company in Watford for the plates to be produced. They were very efficient and got everything sorted very quickly. Now it was my turn to start the

Navvies News production run... The majority of the printing process went very well with just a couple of hiccups – but then everything started to go wrong. The paper that I use is always bought from the same company, at the same time, stored and used in a similar method; neither were the print machine settings altered; but it nearly always ‘plays tricks’ etc. This time it suddenly started to put 2, 3, 4 or even more sheets through at a time. This then meant that the ‘double feed’ detector decided to stop operating. Twice whilst this was happening, paper went around the ink and water rollers resulting in a horrible mess that needs to be totally cleaned before I can re-start the printing. At least the guillotining part of the print run went well; which is more then can be said for the collating machine. I then encountered problems with the stapling, folding and trimming process. After attempting various other methods and machines to get everything working I had to resort to hand folding every copy and feeding it into the last machine. Over all of the years of running WRG Print this edition presented all of the possible problems and more in the one edition. And finally thanks to the London Canal Museum for the continuing use of their facilities and also to the people who assist with Navvies ‘stuffing’. More people would always be welcome on these evenings – just contact me. John Hawkins

Training Grants A reminder that any volunteer who wants to get any kind of professional training in connection with canal restoration - anything from chainsaw operation to project planning - can apply for a WRG Training Grant for up to 75% of the cost, subject to a maximum of £750.00. Details from Jenny at Head Office.

Congratulations... ...to Bobby Silverwood and Jo Clarke on their engagement; to Mitch Gozna and Tom Fitzpatrick on their engagement; and to Al Moore and Neil Collings on their marriage.

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Infill Deirdre returns...

Deirdre gives her advice on scrubbashing disagreements, Gary and Julie have an arch of windlasses, and we find another candidate for the least inspiring canal name...

Dear Deirdre I spend all day on winter scrub-bashing camps trying to carefully nurture a reluctant bonfire into life, only for one of the other volunteers to throw an enormous bundle of damp vegetation on it and put it out. What can I do? - Malcolm, London

Dear Deirdre One of our volunteers is so precious about ’his’ bonfire on winter digs that he won’t let anyone near his pathetic stack of smouldering twigs. When he turns his back and I try to turn it into a proper fire he gets all huffy about it. What can I do? - Ted, London

Dear Deirdre I do my best to lead our winter scrub-bashing digs, but several of our old hands are constantly at each other’s throats about the best way to manage the bonfires. It’s irritating everyone and the canal’s disappearing under an enormous pile of unburnt tree cuttings. What can I do? - Angela, London

Deirdre writes: It sounds like London WRG may need to invest in a wood chipper. Do you have a question for Deirdre? Email her at deirdre@wrg.org.uk

Jason Howard Photography

And finally...

As a change from the traditional WRG wedding ‘arch of shovels’, Gary Summers and Julie Arnold were given an arch of lock windlasses at their wedding

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Remember a couple of years ago we had a write-in challenge to come up with the world’s least inspiring waterways name? We had the Dismal Swamp Canal, the Greaseborough Canal, Gas Street Basin, Sewer Lock, and Boring Canal Road in India. To carry on with the same theme, this issue’s least inspiring waterways name comes all the way from the United States of America. Let’s hear it for... the Wibble Canal.


Outro Cotswold New Year Camp

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Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Navvies 275  

Navvies 275. WRG's magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways. 1966-2016.

Navvies 275  

Navvies 275. WRG's magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways. 1966-2016.