50 years of restoring waterways
Look! New van! First summer camp reports
waterway recovery group
Issue No 278 August-September 2016
Intro Bill Nicholson
Wey & Arun
We We have have three reports three reports from from camps camps at at the the start start of of the the summer summer in in this issue. Here are some this issue. Here are some pictures pictures from from the the rest rest of of the the summerâ€™s summerâ€™s camps camps -- we we hope hope to to include include reports reports next next time. time. So please get writing them... So please get writing them...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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... Chairman’s Comment 4-5 50th anniversary: ‘50 we made earlier’ 6-9 Van Appeal fundraising update 10 WRGBC Boat Club News 11 Camp Reports Grantham, Wey & Arun, Monmouthshire & Brecon 12-20 Letters welcoming DofE volunteers 21 Dig report London WRG on the S&N 22-23 Diary WRG, IWA, CRT, canal societies’ work party dates 24-29 Stover archaeological dig 30-31 Progress our regular roundup 32-36 Camp leading coping with split sites 37 Directory WRG and canal societies 38-41 Navvies News 42-43 Paperchase 40 years of NW history 44-45 Infill What to do with Himalayan Balsam 46 Outro Inglesham update in 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Press date for issue 279: 1 September.
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: Lock 15 on the Grantham Canal - and a new van! See report from first of four camps, p12 (Emma Greenall). Back cover (top): opening of Ashby Canal’s new Bridge 61, where we worked last summer (Gordon Brown). Bottom: first boat through Lower Brake Lock, Mon & Brec. Camp report p18, official opening of the flight in early 2017. (Bob Coles)
Chairman About those new vans...
“Thanks to you we now have two great vans that already have done several thousand miles and transported over a hundred navvies to and from sites”
Chairman’s Comment Despite the fact that it is over a year since you have had a ‘comment’ from me you will no doubt be pleased to hear that I don’t intend to go through everything that has happened over the last twelve months. This is, of course, mainly because our esteemed editor Martin is doing his very best to recognise and celebrate what has happened over the last 50 years so it seems rather lame for me to compete with that. But I will, of course, try and sneak in a few personal highlights. By the time you read this most of our summer camps will be finished, with the honourable exception of a few remaining weeks for Circuit A at Inglesham. But Circuit C has definitely finished which was the circuit with our brand new vans. They have done four weeks at Grantham, a week at Lapal and then two weeks on the Shrewsbury & Newport. So quite a baptism of fire (though all in the Midlands I note - we shall have to arrange some visits to, say, the Wey & Arun or the Lancaster as soon as possible). So there are three really big Thank Yous that relate to this successful summer circuit. Thank You No 1 is quite obvious – thank you to everyone who has given to the Van Appeal. Thanks to you we now have two great vans that already have done several thousand miles and transported over a hundred navvies to and from sites, all doing vital work. Thank You No 2 relates to the fact that this is Circuit C – for many, many years we just ran two circuits and it takes a really big effort to jump that to three circuits. Three years ago the WRG board decided to try it and it has taken a huge effort from many people to make it happen. Thank You No 3 is something that only I saw. While we did buy the vans brand new and all the coachwork was done for us, there was still the finishing touches to be completed. So I was there when Bungle and his Dad laboured late in the evening carefully measuring up and cutting steel work to fit it into the back the very night before the vans were due to go out on Camp. Which seems to me a good summary of why WRG still works: a strong mix of lots of people working together to compete a big plan, but only succeeding because of some last minute thrashing from a few dedicated volunteers AND a much larger group of supporters. It’s been that way for as far as I can remember and it works. My considerable thanks to you all, whatever part you play in that tableau. Just to nip back to the vans themselves; they seem to be very well received. There are a few new foibles compared to the old TranCompleting the fit-out of the new vans sits (opening and shutting
the doors is… well… different), but overall I think they are already becoming part of the family. Certainly on my camp at Grantham they were in use morning, noon and night. And just to complete the vans you may be wondering what we are doing to raise the rest of the Van Appeal total. Well, we are very close to the target but there is still a way to go, so we are currently thinking of having a weekend this autumn with a racenight in the evening and a sponsored walk the followThe Chairman enjoying leading his Grantham Canal camp ing morning (or perhaps the other way round – we haven’t quite worked that out yet). This should give us the focus to finish the appeal off in style. We haven’t quite got the details sorted out yet but we will let you know as soon as we can. Also on the subject of fundraising, the wife and I spent pleasant Sunday morning strapped to a boat in early June. The Chesterfield Canal society were running a sponsored boat pull, using their lovely traditional boat Dawn Rose. Basically, two of you pay £50 towards their charity for the privilege of being able to raise funds for your charity. So Jude and I spent the morning tramping down a section of towpath while various members of the CCT spoke encouraging words such as “it’s not so bad once you get a bit of momentum going, is it?”. Jude and I handed over to Sarah Frayne and Paul Ireson for the afternoon and we were very glad. Whilst it certainly raised a sweat, the lovely CCT friends made us all very welcome and it was a fantastic way to see bits of canal I haven’t seen before. I do hope they continue to run it as a regular event. It’s a good fundraiser and one that should keep building year on year as its profile grows. If you do see it advertised again then go for it – it’s a great way to raise funds for your particular restoration scheme and theirs. But to get back to the summer - the big change for this year was that we decided that wearing eye protection would be the norm on our Canal Camps. By and large I think it’s passed into being without too much issue. We do have a bit of a problem in that, while the wrap-around models for those that don’t wear spectacles are fine, we struggled to find a cost effective model of over-specs that was comfortable enough for long term use. The end result was that we rather overspent our budget, but it seemed that most people appreciated the model we found so that’s the main thing. So the personal highlight? It was, of course, actually running a camp. This year Bex Parr and I went for a week at Grantham and it was utterly brilliant. Yes it helped that we had great weather, and that we were the last week of a run of four, and that we had the lovely Mark Owen to look after the site for us, and Andy B our cook was ultra-flexible when we didn’t come off site till seven thirty. But what really made it was what always really makes it: wonderful volunteers. A perfect mix of young and old, experienced and first-timer – all keen and willing and, more than anything, truly great company. I have deliberately decided to finish on this happy note to complement the article from Martin in this issue. Because Martin’s article is full of truly impressive figures about what we have already achieved in the last 50 years and that is indeed worth celebrating. As we set out next weekend (or whenever) for our next dig we should be proud that we have achieved so much. But to have achieved all of that and spent (almost) every moment of it laughing and smiling in great company is nothing short of a miracle. Hugs and kisses Mike Palmer
50 years of Navvies magazine 1966-2016 “We will never be able to raise £50m for canal restoration” I heard those words, or something like them, spoken at a recent waterway restoration meeting. It was a comparison between the sizeable wedges of cash needed to restore the more difficult canals we’re now working on, and the relatively modest sums that the canal trusts and WRG’s parent body the Inland Waterways Association can hope to raise. But it got me thinking. Not just because of the opportunity to use that magic number ‘50’ yet again in this, the 50th anniversary year of Navvies magazine. But it does sort-of relate to that anniversary, and to the ‘looking back, looking forward’ theme that we introduced in the last issue. But first, a quiz question: what do Sedgwick Aqueduct, Bignor Bridge and Baylham Lock all have in common? The answer is that they’re all structures on derelict canals, and they’ve all been restored, all with a major contibution by volunteers including WRG. But there’s more than that. Unless you’ve been involved in canal restoration for a while, you may well not have heard of them. That’s because although their restoration was substantially completed some years ago, you’re unlikely to be turning up to watch an official reopening or cruising your boat through any of them for a little while yet. And that’s because it’s the nature of canal restoration (not to mention Sod’s Law) that there are very few canal projects where you can start at one end and work your way through to the other, restoring and opening sections of waterway in a logical sequence. No, far more likely that you’ve got a motorway crossing at one end and the landowner from Hell at the other, and you have to start somewhere in the middle where you can get permission to work on a length that’s a practical proposition for volunteers to reopen. Sure, there may be no obvious way forward for linking it up to the rest of the world in the short-term. But that’s OK, because at some point over the many years that you’ll be working on the canal, the motorway will need rebuilding, the landowner will return to the place from whence he came, and that chunk of canal that you’ve opened in the middle will be a ‘showpiece’ section that will be the catalyst for getting the likes of the National Lottery on board for the necessary funding for the harder bits to join it all up. We’ve seen it happen - on the Rochdale Canal, the Huddersfield Canal, the Droitwich Canal - and we’re optimistic that it will happen again with the linking-up of the isolated restored bits of the Montgomery, the Cotswold Canals, the Grantham, Ashby, Wey & Arun and more.
Their time will come: the restored Sedgwick Aqueduct (Lancaster Canal)...
...Boxwell Springs Lock
Looking back, looking forward... But there’s more to it than that. Those are just the more ‘obvious’ isolated restored lengths that you may have heard of because there have been official openings, there are trip-boats operating, you can walk the towpaths and so on. There are plenty more restoration schemes which haven’t reached that point - or individual projects which haven’t reached the linking-up stage, even though other sections of the same canal may have done. But they’ve all been felt to be worth working on - quite possibly at the time, they were the only project that it was felt possible to get permission to work on - and they are patiently waiting for the canal to return, and their moment of glory to come. (Well, for all I know, if locks and bridges have feelings, they could equally easily be waiting very impatiently, thinking “When are all those bloody boats that I was promised going to show up?” But I digress.) The three structures I mentioned above are all in this category. There are many more. They might not see boats for many years, but they are already helping the cause: from a practical point of view (sooner or later they will get linked into longer stretches) but also a ‘political’ one in terms of making the case for further restoration or protection of the route in local planning policies by putting down a marker that the canal is being restored. And yes, you’ve no doubt guessed, I’ve put together a list of 50 of them to mark our 50th anniversary, and to tie in with ‘looking back, looking forward’: here are 50 structures we’ve already restored over the 50 years Navvies has been around, whose time will come sometime in the next 50. I can, of course, hear the alarm bells ringing and the sceptics and cynics collectively rising to their feet. Yes, I do know that all these 50 structures need maintaining so they don’t fall derelict again during the long years waiting for the waterways to reopen. And yes, I know that not all canal societies have always done this as well as they might - in fact the need to maintain what’s been restored has been a hard-learned lesson for the restoration movement at times. But that’s for another discussion (feel free to start it on the letters page). What I want to concentrate on here is the positive side. Imagine that those 50 structures had to be professionally restored today. I’ve no idea what they would cost, but let’s take a conservative guess at £200,000 each on average. Why that figure? Well, a recent feasibility study for a restoration project suggested £300,000 per lock for contractor restoration of a flight of locks - but (a) that included gates, which in many cases won’t have been fitted to these ‘restored but unused’ structures as they would decay before they were needed, (b) my list includes a fair number of smaller bridges which probably won’t cost as much as a lock and (c) I don’t want it to look like I’m exaggerating!
...and Little Hill Farm Bridge (Buckingham Canal)
50 years of Navvies magazine 1966-2016 That means that my list of 50 structures represents the equivalent in kind of a £10m investment by ourselves (the restoration movement, including canal societies, WRG, KESCRG, NWPG, IWA and anyone else) in the future of canal restoration. But that list simply consists of the first 50 I could find, off the top of my head and with a quick ask-around. I’m pretty sure we can find double that if we try. That’s 20 million. And that’s just structures: there are all the lengths of recreated channel too. Oh, and the times that the restoration movement has persuaded a local authority to put in a bridge, a housing developer to reinstate a channel (or even to build a lock!), or a road or railway builder to make provision for navigation. So might the £50m figure perhaps not be so unrealistic after all? Let’s not be unfair to ourselves. Perhaps there really is the equibvalent of £1m worth of completed-but-hidden volunteer waterway restoration work out there for every year of Navvies magazine’s existence. So next time somebody casts doubt on whether we can raise sums like £50m for canal restoration, just point out that in effect we almost certainly already have. And in the meantime, let’s crack on with the next £50m worth. Martin Ludgate
“Here’s one we made earlier” x 50 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.
Buckingham: Little Hill Farm Bridge Chesterfield: Miners Crossing Cotswold: Boxwell Springs Lock Cotswold: Wildmoorway Lock Cotswold: Eisey Lock Cotswold: Rucks Bridge Cotswold: Cerney Wick Lock Derby: Borrowash bottom lock Derby: Ullickers Bridge Gipping: Bosmere Lock Gipping: Creeting Lock Gipping: Baylham Lock Grantham: Cotgrave Lock 7 Grantham: Cotgrave Lock 8 Hatherton: Saredon Mill Bridge Hatherton: Bridge 8 Hereford & Gloucester: House Lock Hereford & Gloucester: Ellbrook Aqueduct Lichfield: Fosseway Lock 18 Lichfield: Darnford Liftbridge Lichfield: Tamworth Road Lock 25 Lichfield: Tamworth Road Lock 26 Lancaster: Sedgwick Aqueduct Montgomery: Carreghofa upper Lock Montgomery: Carreghofa Lower Lock
26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50.
Montgomery: Brynderwen Lock Montgomery: Byles Lock Montgomery: Newhouse Lock North Wilts: Moredon Aqueduct North Wilts: Moredon bottom lock North Wilts: River Key Aqueduct Pocklington: Top Lock Sankey: New Double Locks Sussex Ouse: Isfield Lock Thames & Medway: Milton swingbridge Uttoxeter: Bridge 70 Wendover: Bridge 4 Wendover: Bridge 4a Wey & Arun: Rowly Lock 17 Wey & Arun: Bignor Bridge Wey & Arun: Lee Farm Lock Wey & Arun: Haybarn Bridge Wilts & Berks: Lock 3, Seven Locks Wilts & Berks: Lock 4, Seven Locks Wilts & Berks: Dauntsey Lock Wilts & Berks: Foxham Top Lock Wilts & Berks: Foxham Liftbridge Wilts & Berks: Elephant Liftbridge Wilts & Berks: West summit Lock Wilts & Berks: Steppingstones Bridge
Please note: this highly subjective list is based on the editor’s knowledge and experience (a large part of which has been with London WRG and therefore in the southern half of Britain) plus a quick ask-around, rather than any attempt at a comprehensive list from across the country. Its purpose is to illustrate just how many of these completed projects there are. If you, the readers, can find twice or even three times as many, featuring various canals not even mentioned here, then I won’t be at all surprised. In fact I’ll be disappointed if you can’t!
50 55 56 how many? from 50... 50 from 50: another update... Our ‘50 from 50’ list and map in issue 275 (featuring 50 waterway restoration projects that WRG and its predecessors had worked on in the 50 years since Navvies issue 1 was published in 1966) continues to attract additional suggestions from readers. In addition to the 5 extra entries that I mentioned last time, we’re now up to 57 having had two more, starting with the following from Roger Savage of the Burslem Port Trust... I think you have forgotten the week you spent in the Drill Hall whilst working on the Burslem Arm, when the wash wall was uncovered. Working parties continue regularly on the Burslem Port site. Thank you Roger: yes I had forgotten it, even though I was there. Meanwhile Edd Leetham has our second, less happy, addition... Before Liverpool WRG was subsumed into wrgNW it worked on another navigation that wasn’t in your list - the River Derwent in Yorkshire. OK, it was an abortive restoration that fizzled out when the riparian landowners got heavy and said “we don’t want no boats on our river”, but there was a society actively attempting to restore it and at the time we visited they had high hopes. I still like to think 57 that one day, once the Pockling53 ton Canal is reopened, local opinion will change and boats might get a bit closer to Malton. Thank you Edd, and also to Brian Andrews who made a similar point about the Derwent. Brian also adds:
I am very interested to read of 52 new prospects in the offing and I 54 am sure that I can add one or two more that we can look forward to in the future; it is not long since you raised the prospect of the Bradley Locks Branch in the pages of Navvies and I believe that the proposed Bedford & Milton Keynes Canal is nearing the point of starting construction. Both of 55 these are exciting future projects. I am sure that there are others yet to come, but perhaps we need to complete a few others in the meantime and ensure that those we have restored remain navigable. WRG has much to do in the future if our beloved waterways are to remain in action!
Appeal update First two vans in use!
Our appeal to raise £120,000 to replace our fleet of four van / minibuses is well into 6 figures and the first two vehicles are in service - but we need a final push...
Van Appeal Update As promised in the last edition, we now have photos of the two shiny new vans which are already out doing the rounds on canal camps around the country. They are settling into WRG life well and we’ve had no accidents with height barriers… yet! With the appeal total at just under £110,000 we are still a small windfall away from the completing the campaign and purchasing the next two but we are getting ever closer all the time - so here are a couple ways you can help us get there... The Guess the Miles Competition still has a few weeks left to run, so for those who have not entered yet there is still time to get in with the chance of winning that Van-tastic hoody! See the last Navvies or click ‘guess the miles’ on waterways.org.uk. On 11 September, IWA’s fundraising officer Sarah Frayne will be participating in the Canal & River Trust’s ‘Two Arms on Two Legs’ event (a half-marathon and 10k race taking place along the Wendover and Aylesbury arms of the Grand Union), with all money raised from the sponsored run going towards the appeal. Lookout for the fundraising page, which will be going up in the next few weeks (we’ll tell you about it via the WRG Facebook group and IWA website) or if you want to get involved in the event yourself, you can find more details on CRT’s website canalrivertrust.org.uk. You will also spot WRG at the Festival of Water in Pelsall on the Birmingham Canal Navigations at the end of August, hosting the ever popular ‘Drive a Digger’ and hopefully collecting some donations along the way! Sarah Frayne
Volunteers on the first Grantham Canal share an end-of-camp photo with the two new vans
What kind of boat do you need to be a member of WRG Boat Club? And what do you need to be a member of its committee?
Our own boat club I recently received this message from Sue...
WRG Boat Club news July 2016 A ‘boat’ covers all sorts of floating transport; we don’t have any ocean going liner owners amongst our membership, but that’s probably because they count as ships and don’t use canals much (Gloucester & Sharpness maybe?). Why do I mention this - because I have recently been asked by a canoe owner if they were eligible for club membership? Of course you’re welcome! If you have a vessel and can visit the canals, (especially recently restored bits), you are very welcome to apply for membership. I often wish I had some kind of trailable boat so I could visit the bits that are at present cut off from the main system.
I am sorry to have to pass on the news that Ann Ridley has died. She had been very ill for several years and had moved from her boat to a mobile home on a very good friend’s farm in Kent. Her ex-partner John looked after her for the last seven months. Ann helped on the Wey and Arun restoration and had a varied life on the canal system. She helped me on numerous occasions, cooking for volunteers, these times were always fun and I will miss her. - Sue
I also remember Ann and the fun we had on and off WRG camps. At one stage she and John moved their boat to the Middle Level so we saw more of them then. We last met when they were off to a new mooring ‘up North’. Their boat was towing another, upon which was a huge generator, as the mooring they were taking had no electricity supply. I assume that they had booked a very long mooring to get away from the noise of the generator. A sad loss of another great ‘Character’ from WRG past. Our best wishes go to John. The Club AGM will be upon us, maybe before you get to read this. I would like you to consider this sobering thought – we are, the club officers, getting older and in my case a bit decrepit. I won’t say ‘Dotty’ as you will all think ‘Hmm nothing new there’. We need some new officers – please consider joining the merry band – you will need a sense of humour, or possibly of the ridiculous. It wont take up much of your time so please consider volunteering. I hope that we will get to hear of lots of visits to new canal bits and various digs that are accessible by boat. Oh, being an optimist is another essential for club officers! xxx Sadie Heritage 236 Station Road Whittlesey PE7 2HA Canoes are great for exploring canals under email@example.com tion, as this pic at Ty Coch on the Mon & Brec shows 01733 204505
Camp Reports Grantham Canal Camp 201612, Grantham Canal The four weeks of camps on the Grantham canal in 2016 were to be based at lock 15 and continue the restoration which commenced last summer when exploratory investigation works and construction of a new spill weir were undertaken. However the investigation works uncovered significant structural issues which have resulted in the demolition of the majority of both the lock walls to invert level. Over the winter the local Grantham Canal Society group and Canal & River Trust trainees have completed the excavation and demolition of the lock walls, laid the new concrete foundations and commenced the rebuild of the chamber walls. The plan for the WRG summer camps: progress the rebuild of the chamber walls, in particular the brick facing. Week 1 was led by Emma Greenall, assisted by myself with Harri Barnes and Paul Ireson making up the catering team (Harri cooking until Tuesday morning when she had to go back to work but preparing meals
Reporting from the first of four consecutive weeks’ work at Lock 15 - the one the canal society started restoring and ended up demolishing last year... and baking for the rest of the week). 13 of the camp were new volunteers. Accommodation was Cropwell Bishop Memorial hall. Saturday: In a slight change to the normal camp programme owing to the hall kitchen, toilets and car-park being used for an event, a small team of Emma, Paul, Steve Barrett, Nigel Lee and myself arrived with the aim of getting the site prepared to a suitable position so that the new volunteers would have areas to be trained in brick laying. Several courses of bricks were laid in the ladder recess and pillars started at points along the wall to enable string lines to be set-up. Harri also arrived and spent the afternoon shopping. After a successful afternoon on site the team returned to the hall for fish & chips after which most went to the pub for the evening while Nigel and myself went back to site to meet Bungle who was delivering the WRG digger, getting back to the pub by closing time. Sunday: The day started slightly earlier than planned for those sleeping in the main hall,
Grantham Canal Fact File
Length: 33 miles Locks: 18 Date closed: 1936
The Canal Camp project: Rebuilding Lock 15 on the Woolsthorpe Flight Why? This is part of a major Heritage Lottery Fund backed project by Grantham Canal Society with support from the Canal & River Trust to restore locks 14 and 15 of the seven-lock Woolsthorpe flight. Unfortunately it turned out to be in a much worse state than had been realised, so what had been expected to be a restoration has turned into a demolition (completed in winter) and rebuild job. The wider picture: You’ll see mention in the report of CRT heritage trainees: the work is being used as a skills training exercise for the Society and CRT to help provide a pool of volunteers for the next stage, locks Nottingham River Trent to Newark Woolsthorpe 12-13. In terms of To Shardlow Proposed Locks 12-18 progressing the diversion Redmile restoration, it’s also a step towards Grantham Original route Cropwell creating a 10-mile restored length to obstructed The Long Redmile - an in the medium term, Canal Camp Pound completing the Long Pound to Cropwell. Restored site: Lock 15 Get that open, and someone might just find the cash to length deal with the diversion needed to connect the canal back to the Trent.
when the early morning sun flooded through the high level windows which didnâ€™t have any curtains! After a quick bacon and egg roll breakfast, vehicles were moved to the hall car-park although the new vans needed to wait until some minor adjustments had been completed to the bunting hung above the gateway! Nigel, Steve and Paul went off to site to continue progress on Tricky job: bond the new chamber wall to the existing gate recess brickwork setting out the brickwork, whilst the others waited for the volunteers to arrive periods in other areas. mid-morning. Camille had a short wait at Other tasks included making a start on Grantham station owing to the message not clearing the debris from the bottom of the getting through to us that he had caught an chamber in preparation of the scaffolding earlier train. which would arrive the following week. Paul After a safety brief and quick lunch, and a few others worked to infill the brickeveryone jumped in the vans and we went to work on the offside wall and gate recess intersite where Mark, the CRT site manager gave face. The holes in the previously poured coneveryone an induction and PPE was distribcrete infill on the off side were drilled in prepauted. Steve took a group to demonstrate the ration for the shear connecting bars to be plant and equipment that was on site and the installed later in the week by Patrick and Tom. risks associated with this before moving on This task progressed much faster than anticito teach mortar mixing. Nigel and Paul led a pated and was complete before lunchtime. session of training on brickwork before the Ollie and Iris were trained by Steve on groups swapped over so that everyone expe- the excavator that culminated in the loading rienced all activities. Progress continued with of a number of dumpy bags with sand from mortar being mixed and bricks being laid the stockpile. Iris also had a go on the dumper. until around 5pm when we returned to the accommodation. The advanced party reTuesday: We woke to rain however this had mained on site for an extra hour or so, mak- soon stopped before we arrived on site. More ing progress on the ladder recess and pillars. of the same â€“ mortar mixed, materials Nigel left after dinner having only come moved and bricks laid. Steve did some excaup for the weekend to help get the brickwork vator training. Some bricksaw training was started, and most went to the pub for the done with James and Patrick, so a supply of evening. cut bricks was readily available for use in the ladder recess and odd infill sections. A vanload Monday: The main task of bricklaying on went swimming in Cotgrave in the evening. the towpath side main wall continued with Bethan, Mae, John, Tony, and Ryan whilst Wednesday: Brickwork continued to the supporting functions of brick movement progress with all the associated activities in and mortar mixing were undertaken by addition to other tasks to ready the site for Camille and Jack. Andy took up position on the concrete pour which would be occurring the ladder recess where he would remain for tomorrow. These tasks included the gluing in the majority of the week interspersed with of 88 steel reinforcement bars to the holes
drilled earlier in the week on the offside concrete infill and the drilling of the holes on the towpath side. The final shutters were erected and secured at the rear of the infill on the towpath side which required some modifications to be made to the means of access. Ollie, James and Max painted the shutters with mould oil. Bethan spent some time on the digger under the instruction of Steve. On the offside the final course of brickwork facing for this lift was completed before excess bricks were moved to the towpath side for use. Sufficient materials were loaded out to allow the brickwork to be continued on the towpath side wall whilst the concrete pour was being completed on the offside before the final task for the day of installing the 88 shear bars on this side. With four courses remaining on this wall to complete the lift, everybody could see that the target was achievable especially after Andy completed the ladder recess to level.
undertaken by James, Ollie, Tony and Patrick to prepare, repair and start repointing of the remaining heritage brickwork at the tail of the lock with lime mortar. Tom was trained on the excavator.
Friday: Bricks continued to be laid on the wall with great progress being made through the day so that the target level was achieved. Heritage repairs continued at the tail of the lock with two substantial areas being completed by the end of the day. The shutters were stripped from both sides and stacked at the ends of the infill slab in preparation for use again on the next level. Work then started on infilling behind the wall and creating a new safe access onto this level to load out materials for the coming weeks. A start was made on setting some blockwork pillars to assist with the following camps work. The majority of works were completed by mid afternoon allowing time for the kit clean and check and end of camp photo. Thursday: The day of the concrete pour. In total for the week; 13 courses of Mae left early to go to an interview with CRT facing brickwork were laid the full length of for a Heritage Trainee position. A select wall which is estimated to be around 3000 group left for site straight after breakfast to bricks, 68m3 of concrete poured, 10t of sand get to site early and ensure everything was in used in mortar mix. place and ready for the first load arriving at 9am. When they arrived the pump was alSaturday: As the site kit had been cleaned ready set up in position over the offside, so and checked on the Friday all that was left to final checks were made of the shutters and do was clean and tidy the hall and vans as brickwork on the other wall started. well as checking the catering kit. This all The first load arrived just after 9am and progressed well, with mother nature helping the 6m3 was quickly pumped into place with the washing of the outside of the vans. before the next load arrived. The pump operator placed the concrete in such a way that it meant there was limited shovelling and raking required, thus greatly reducing the heavy work that was expected for the day with only the final tamping needing a number of people to complete. John, Bethan, Andy and Martin completed this and also floated the edge next to the blockwork to allow easy laying of the next course. The offside took until around 11:30 to complete before the pump moved to the towpath side. The brickies had to be occasionally moved from their spots whilst the pour was progressed however progress was still made so only 2.5 courses remained to be completed at the end of the day. Total of 68m3 of concrete was poured with the final 3 barrow loads that brought the final corner to level being gained from Steve instructing on the excavator the material left in the pump. Work was also
Next it’s down to Dunsfold on the Wey & Arun for the first of two weeks of putting the finishing touches on the brand new Compasses Bridge...
Camp Reports Wey & Arun Canal
Camp 201611, Wey & Arun Canal nent accommodation at Brimscombe Port. However, we were fortunate that after NWPG at Compasses Bridge Two years on and two years off, that seems to be the NWPG modus operandi for WRG summer camps. Given 2016 is the Bicentenary of the opening of the Wey & Arun Junction Canal it is appropriate that NWPG returned to our old stamping ground in early July (our first ever camp was at Lee Farm Lock in 1990). Our last two camps were at Stroud where we were tasked with substantially finishing off Griffin Mill and Bowbridge Locks. This year we were asked to finish off a full spec road bridge at Dunsfold Aerodrome except that in this case ‘finish off’ would normally amount to about 4/5 full weeks of WRG camps. Helpfully the Trust has set an opening date of 2nd October so there’s no escape. The canal formally opened here in 1816 so, of course, we’ve got to do the same for the bridge in 2016. The race is on... You can’t underestimate the ease of running a camp on the Cotswold Canals, and in particular the benefits of the semi-perma-
searching high and low for accommodation over the winter months, our old staple, Kirdford Village Hall was available and that they were prepared to let us have it for two weeks non-stop and without any daytime or evening interruptions. Wonderful! We did have to enhance the facilities a little so the first job on Saturday morning was to position the portaloos, or ‘Turdi’ as they affectionately came to be known, and to bring down the Canal Trust’s mobile shower unit and plumb it in. Gazebos were erected on the grass area alongside the hall in the optimistic hope that the weather was going to so nice that we would all want to eat outside. A small team went off to site to start the all-important task of preparing a large hole into which 104 tons of concrete would be pumped as a base for the north side wing walls where previously the road dam was located. More of that later. Camp volunteers new and old drifted in during the day. It was great to welcome back
Wey & Arun Canal Fact File Length: 23 miles
Date closed: 1871
River Wey to the Thames Shalford Bramley
The Canal Camp project: Completion of the new Compasses Dunsfold Bridge, carrying the access road to Dunsfold Aerodrome Canal Camp site: Compasses Bridge
Why? The original bridge was replaced by a fixed causeway in the 1930s. Reinstating the bridge connects together two already restored sections of canal to create a mile-long navigable length.
The wider picture: Having spent some years concentrating on the Restored Loxwood length through Loxwood known as the Loxwood Link, the Wey & Link section Arun Canal Trust has more recently launched its ‘three sites Newbridge strategy’ aiming to spread activity onto the northern sections. One of the three sites is the Loxwood Link, a second is at the north end (aiming to open up navigation from the River Wey), and the third is the Dunsfold section. See pages 32-33 for an in-depth report of WACT’s current activities and future aims along the whole of the Wey & Arun Canal.
Tidal River Arun Pallingham to the coast
Pictures by Bill Nicholson
Kieron, Shaun, Christine and Harry from last year’s camp and new volunteers Johanna, Justin and Colin. Johanna being the granddaughter of Graham Baird who many WRGies will recall as being our well respected engineer at Haybarn Bridge and Brewhurst Lock back in the early noughties. We kicked off the week with the new camp safety video (in which son-of-Nicholson plays a disturbingly large rôle) and our Applying the finishing touches to the south side wing wall copings usual welcoming first night camp barbecue before being reminded that Kirdford is a bit established elsewhere on other tasks. Objecof a squeeze if you try and fit more than 20 tive two was to complete all the brickwork on people in it. I blame the large fishing beds the south side of the bridge including the that seem to be standard sleeping kit these long brick copings on top of the wing walls. I days. Long gone are the days of the rug or had about two days in mind for this. Rob Karrimat. Brotherston was given one and assistant And so to site... Safety talk first of camp leader Graham the other. Five days of course, paperwork signed and the teams solid brick laying later the job was done were established. Now no NWPG camp giving us a useful idea as to how long it will would be complete without objectives. In take on the north side with an opening cerfact the more outrageous the objective the emony planned for 2nd October! more likely it is to be set! This year’s outraAlan, Mike, Steve M, Pete T and JJ geous objective one was the aforementioned carried on with brick cladding the bridge 104 tons of ready-mix - that’s an awful lot of facing walls ably assisted by trainees Chrissie concrete. Worse still, site manager Dave had and Colin. Again this kept them busy for the arranged for it to be delivered from 1.00pm rest of the week (a camp leader’s dream!) on the Tuesday leaving us 2½ working days apart from one and a half courses on the to get the hole ready. Compasses plant sueastern flank wall which Steve finished off premo Andy took on the job of digging the during the second camp. Trust’s 13 ton excavator down into the earth Objective three: On the west bank of with the muck being off loaded into two ten the canal we had to build a 15m long retainton dumpers for a trip down the airfield to ing wall to help secure the bank and thus the Mount Dave. Earlier in the month in just one garden of one of the mobile homes above. day Andy had removed the totality of a Contractors has already installed soil nails NWPG summer camp’s work namely the and a team lead by chippie George Whitegabion ramp down to the canal. Unfortuhead spent three days (including a late night nately it had to go, not least to enable us to on Monday) fixing a steel cage around which build a vehicle ramp down into the canal to a timber box was put in place and secured. get materials in (and out). Remember NiThe latter was critical given the many tons of cholson Rule of Canal Restoration No 1: you concrete that would be pumped into it and it always restore a section of canal at least was to the team’s credit that it didn’t move twice before boats can use it. an inch and probably a lot less. Another of Whilst all this hole digging (and follow- those tasks that someone might say “why are ing that, installing the steel re-inforcing doing this?” but essential in keeping the work) was going on, teams were getting project as a whole on track.
Objective four was to keep everyone and got hotter by the end of the week. As for not doing objectives one, two and three our objectives, the base for the new wing busy. There was certainly no shortage of walls was in and block laying started; the other work. We are not only trying to link south side brick laying complete (just about), two sections of previously blocked canal for a large retaining wall built and hundreds of boats but we also have been building a new tons of spoil moved down to Mount Dave. road and security entrance into the airfield. Can’t complain at that. More drains were installed, manholes My thanks goes out to all 25 volunteers built, verges landscaped and fences erected. who to a man and woman got stuck into 9 brickies needed a constant supply of mortheir work, including Johanna and Justin tar (which of course is always too wet or too doing their D of E, Sue our cook for keeping dry) and bricks. Thanks to Dave’s expertise in us so well fed during the week, to Steve scaffolding we had the benefit of a fine walk- Saunders for installing and enhancing the way and steps that led down to the fully shower caravan and to site manager Dave scaffolded out area under the bridge. We had (and his family who put up with his abto raise it early on in the week but by the last sences) who has put in so many extra hours Saturday the whole lot had been dismantled and helped to raise volunteer canal restoraready for re assembly back on other side. tion to a new semi-professional level. A short diversion off into social activiNow - over to you son for a report on ties. A note for next year’s camp planners the sequel... don’t allow me to plan any social events! The Bill Nicholson skittles night planned for Tuesday turned out NWPG Camp Leader to be on Thursday - fortunately I found out before we trooped off to Wonersh. The Wednesday night boat trip was ominously short of a boat and crew until Chairman Sally, Captain Julian and crew man Richard turned up to rescue us and we set sail for Southlands Lock half an hour late. Apparently two boats had been booked for Rob’s camp the following week and none for ours! It was fortuitous that skittles was not on Tuesday the 104 tons of concrete arrived but as usual with ready mix it was late, and the job was only finished at around 6pm. We did have the services of an elaborate concrete mixer/pump with an enormous long boom and pipe extensions to reach both into the hole and George’s retaining wall. Everyone was ****ered and the most that could be reasonably asked of the team was to get back to hall, eat food, open a beer and collapse. So that’s what we did. So we got safely to the end of week. The weather on the whole (given the record so Completing the reinforcing ready for the big concrete pour far this summer) wasn’t bad
Camp Reports Monmouthshire Canal Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal Camp 201610 at Ty Coch There has come a moment on each of the canal camps that I have led, when the final hugs and handshakes have been made and the last volunteer has left, when the washing has been collected from the launderette, the van keys have been handed to the leaders of the following week and a hush has descended over the now-deserted church hall. Although this moment is tinged with slight melancholy at the seventeen or so farewells I have just taken part in, it is overwhelmingly a few quiet minutes of supreme pleasure. There is of course an element of a considerable load of responsibility being lifted from my shoulders, mixed with the satisfaction that the first aid kit was only raided for a couple of band-aids and some sun-block. I’ve managed to get everyone to the end of the week in one piece, with all 72 limbs still connected and fully functional. It sounds quite daunting when you put it like that… phew!
Ty Coch Locks are almost finished, and gearing up for an opening later this year. Ralph Mills reports from the last camp on a favourite site of recent times But there are two significant measures of my week that I take note of and (hopefully) revel in. The first is the succession of departing volunteer smiles and the repeated assurances of “see you next year!” as they head off to the railway station, are retrieved by relieved-looking parents or duck into their cars. The second barometer of my week’s activities is the height of reaction of the ‘locals’ – Richard Dommett and Heidi Carey, representing the Monmouthshire Brecon & Abergavenny Canal Trust and Torfaen County Borough Council respectively, as they survey what my ad hoc team of people, most of whom met for the first time just a week ago, have achieved. Well, the quote I shall take away with me after this week was “There’s no way we could have done what you’ve done!” In a way it was a strange week. As it nears the end of a three-year Lottery-funded scheme, the project at Ty Coch combines satisfaction at what has been achieved with anxiety at what still remains to be done before the coffers ring hollow. For those who Navigable to Brecon 35 miles
Mon & Brec Fact File
Length under restoration: 15 miles Locks: 50 Date closed: 1930-1962 The Canal Camp project: Building a new access pathway to a visitor site at the Ty-Coch lock flight.
Crumlin Arm above Cwmcarn buried under new road Cwmcarn
Why? The locks have been the subject of a restoration project. They are almost complete, and this year’s work anticipates the site beoming a major attraction.
Cr um lin
Five Locks 3 3 Cwmbran 4 Road built on canal line Canal Camp site: Ty-Coch New link proposed
r Usk Rive
The wider picture: There are proposals to reopen Ar south from the navigable limit at Five Locks into Malpas m Fourteen Cwmbran town centre. Opening that length as well as Ty-Coch Locks locks will bring pressure to bear on the authorities to reinstate Newport the intervening (very.tricky) one mile section where a road was Original route through built on the route. This in turn would make the case for opening the Crumlin Arm and a new route to the River Usk. Newport obliterated To the Bristol Channel
across the timber-strewn site, much sawing and trimming, and the barrowing of chips from one far end of the work site to the other. My watch-words became ‘sinuous’, ‘sinuosity’, ‘sinuousness’, as the path snaked sensuously and seductively amongst the trees beside the lock. The great thing about this activity was that it could involve everyone in one big, merrily chatting group. I’m not sure how much path the locals had expected us to create, but I have a feeling that we exceeded their targets! I’m also not sure about the looks of grim anticipation on the faces of the young women who were expertly wielding machetes as they busily sharpened stakes suitable for any number of episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My memories of the week include having a miserable cold for several days and probably infecting everyone else (sorry!). Approximately half the camp also suffered from hayfever, so it was a week filled with the sound of snuffles. I established an officecum-boudoir in a cupboard crammed to the ceiling with brightly-coloured plastic playgroup toys, a peculiar environment to wake up to as the sunlight poured through the Crosskeys Methodist church hall windows. We’d returned to Crosskeys after an absence of a couple of years, much to the delight of the church: it offers cosier accommodation
have seen the locks and pounds progress from a muddy jungle to almost boat-readiness it was great to see the canal in water, with ducks swimming where just last year we were dragging out rubble and old bricks. Indeed, just a week or so before we arrived this year, a boat passed through Brake Lock. Admittedly it didn’t get very far either up- or down-stream, but the public relations point had been made. This meant that, unusually we didn’t spend much time actually in the canal. Yes, we slaughtered plenty of undergrowth, hauled all sorts of tangled rubbish from long-neglected hedgerows, and managed to exercise some newly-learned pointing skills, but there wasn’t any slurping around in that wonderful goo that lurks at the bottoms of locks, the hauling about of impossibly large chunks of limestone or the extracting of vast tree stumps. The one lock that we might have attacked was being hung with Richard’s patent steel ‘flat-packed’ lock gates, and we wouldn’t want to get in the way… Instead, we did something completely different. The canal is already seen as a valuable community amenity, and is much used by walkers, fishers and cyclists (the latter, who achieve supersonic speeds as they pass the site, are the biggest hazard on this stretch). The area to the east of the lower locks is to become a picnic spot, and we were tasked with creating a pathway that will give access to a scatter of seats and benches. So, in just a few days, the team excavated over 100 metres of pathway, laid weedcontrol fabric, edged it with pegged-down timbers and covered it with wood chips. Although this sounds reasonably simple, it involved a lot of heavy digging, the hunting out of Pegged-down suitable wood
timbers for the edge of the pathway
Scott who were just as energetic and useful this year as last; Joe Atwill and Laura Gilmore, without whom a canal camp wouldn’t be complete; Huw Stenner, who was always to be found hard at work in the thick of the team; our ‘spy’ from IWA head office, Sarah Frayne, who threw herself into her first-ever canal camp with admirable gusto; Frenchman Romain Uzureau, who overcame the defeat of his home country in the football to prove himself an absolutely valuable member of the team, although I never did get to pronounce his surname correctly; and finally, but not least, our visitors from Birmingham via the Midwestern US, Pooja and Meghna Vaida, who enthusiastically and happily joined in the fun, whatever tasks came their way. My final feelings, as I handed the keys to Steve and Chris for week two, was of gratitude to everyone who took part in my camp, sadness at the end of an era at Ty Coch – who knows what will happen there next – but also excitement and anticipation at the prospect of new adventures somewhere on the Mon&Brec, starting in 2017, and of sharing them with superb people! Ralph Mills
plus proximity to The Philanthropic Inn just down the road. Entertainment for the week was handily provided by the football on the pub TV. As usual, my wonderful Assistant Leader, Ayushi Vyas, worked tirelessly amongst the volunteers, while I merely lounged in the sunshine, barking orders. I owe her many thanks for being a perfect right-hand person. This year I was lucky enough to have two fantastic and lovely cooks – Tanvi Vyas and Kavita Purohit – who cheerfully and creatively invented great meals throughout the week and met the challenge of having two vegans on the camp without batting an eyelid (the vegan food was so good that we had to fight to keep the others from eating it before we reached the serving hatch). In a sense I had life easy – with Bob Coles and Ben Thompson on my camp I was guaranteed reliable helping hands at every turn. In truth, it was a dream team. A couple of superb DoE candidates, Daniel Pocock and Stefan Zaqueu, who definitely earned gold stars; Colin Fisher was back again, and was always quietly and busily at the centre of things; other returnees Todd Elliott and Jim
Laying the path: note the restored lock complete with gates in the background
“Don’t forget that for most people attending a canal camp, this is a weeks holiday” - are being we welcoming enough to our young volunteers?
Letters ...to the editor
Dear Martin Deirdre raised the subject [Navvies 277, p50], and indeed pointed out that our Duke of Edinburgh’s Award volunteers have an obvious reason for coming as they are there for that last signature. However if we look after them they’ll come back. And not to put to fine a point on it (just look: consider the average age of your canal camp - and then consider the drop in it the DoE’ers have brought about) without new blood we will simply die out. Every Volunteer organisation is struggling for numbers, and we have a direct route that throws new people at us. Why do some see this as problem? Sure: some are hard work, at least on day one, but that can be true of every volunteer that turns up. It has nothing to do with age. All to do with attitude. I would suggest the ‘old hands’ have a duty to be welcoming to all, after all there will be plenty of time to catch up and talk over past glories. There are plenty of trite sayings, but teams don’t just happen. They require work from every member, but some may just need a little encouragement to enable them to give their share over the week. Don’t forget for most people attending a canal camp, this is a week’s holiday. Having a good time is important. And looking back on the Friday night surrounded by friends, new and old, with the knowledge of work done should send everyone home on a high. Any signature is a bonus. Gavin Darby As I’m sure Gavin and almost all of our readers realise, Deirdre’s column is largely tonguein-cheek - and in this case the mickey-taking was aimed not at the DoE volunteers but primarily at the ‘old hands’ - and at the attitudes of a handful of them to younger volunteers. I agree entirely with Gavin’s comments about being welcoming to new volunteers - and I feel the majority of WRG’s volunteers of all ages and levels of experience do too (however much leg-pulling might go on) - but I think it’s worth repeating, as a reminder to everyone. Note the reference to leg-pulling and ‘almost all our readers’ - we did also have a communication from somebody not directly involved in WRG who had taken the piece by Deirdre rather more at its face value and was suitably unimpressed by our attitude. We replied putting the record straight, but I did wonder about how to avoid such misunderstandings... Now you’ll be relieved that I’m not about to tell contributors to drop the piss-taking and parodies and write plain English. Self-deprecating humour is part of the essence of WRG and Navvies; it can be a good way of putting serious points across as well as entertaining readers; I couldn’t bring myself to edit such a dull magazine if we cut it all out; and Deirdre would probably tell me to get stuffed before going off to write a hilarious column for Undertakers’ Monthly. However, whilst as editor I accept that ‘the buck stops here’ and Navvies is my responsibility, I will suggest to contributors that (especially in spring editions when we often have a fair number of new readers) they consider the possibility that somebody who isn’t up-tospeed on WRG humour might read it. If necessary, do just a tiny bit more to make it a little more blindingly obvious (as it might seem to the initiated) that you’re having a laugh. And that might even mean making the parodies more extreme! [Editor stands back and waits for a flood of camp reports comparing WRG with the Spanish Inquisition / Gestapo / Al Qaeda] Finally, on the idea that ‘this is a week’s holiday’. Having been on a worksite where the H&S induction included a ban on shorts, short sleeves, and mobile phones on site (thereby removing two traditional holiday objectives of getting a tan and some photos), I couldn’t help wondering how long it will be before a ban on speaking to work-mates disposes of the third objective of getting some new friends. Am I in danger of becoming a “We never needed hard hats in my day” type grumpy old man, or have I got a point? Discuss. The Editor
Dig Report London WRG on the S&N
Featuring “Pete’s clever method of hanging the bentonite roll from a scaffolding pole off a digger and unrolling it like loo roll“
was accomplished by some diplomatic Shrewsbury & Newport canals London WRG weekend, 18-19 June WRGies negotiating with local car drivers.
Pictures by Martin Ludgate
A team also set to work excavating a Thanks to an astonishing turnout of volunFrench drain. [Fun fact! French drains aren’t teers, London WRG got a ton of work done so named because they were invented in on the Shrewsbury & Newport canal this France – they are named after Henry Flagg June. 25 of us, plus some locals, turned out French, an American, who popularized them for the weekend and we had a lot of heavy in his 1859 book Farm Drainage]. The idea machinery to help us. We worked at such a was to excavate a trench to the brook, lay pace that I couldn’t believe how much we’d pea shingle and then run a narrow pipe already got done by first tea break. through the channel for drainage. The trench The site at Forton, just east of Newport, needed to be dug to a depth that was greater was chiefly characterized by the number of than the reach of the available diggers. We hazards it appeared on first impressions to solved this problem by digging twice: first a present. Volunteers had access to a wide broad trench to gain access for the digger array of dangers including death from above, and then a much more narrow trench for the death by heavy plant, death by fire [I was pipe itself. With a keen machine operator there, and can reassure you that Sophie’s behind the wheel, this task was accomplished exaggerating ...Ed], as well as many other very quickly. ways to injure themselves using hazardous We’d laid several rolls of bentonite substances and pointy tools, plus an alarmmatting (to make the waterproof lining for ing number of stinging insects including the restored canal channel) at our dig the bees, horseflies and a wasp the size of a previous October but one of these subseman’s thumb. In the end, not a single mishap occurred despite the rather cramped site layout and multiple risks. A visiting tree surgeon brought down an enormous elm without incident and the stump was very quickly removed using a digger. We burnt the branches and root crown as best we could and whisked the logs off site. This manoeuvre was complicated by the need to close the road during the Preparing to unroll the waterproof bentonite matting operation, which
quently proved to have been faulty, and the matting in one particular section had slipped down the slope. We managed to repair this section using Pete’s clever method of hanging the bentonite roll from a scaffolding pole off a digger and unrolling it like loo roll down the slope. At the same time, an industrious team of workers braved nettles and angry bees to repoint large sections of the bridge. As a bonus, we also managed to complete some repair work on the coping bricks that had shifted forward and needed mortaring back into place. We were joined for dinner on the Saturday night by some of the locals, who very kindly put £100 behind the bar of local pub ‘The Phez’ for us to enjoy. Dinner was notable for an experiment where we made garlic bread using massive thick round loaves instead of the usual French sticks. Everyone seemed to agree it was an improvement on the usual way of doing things with a more slender loaf. Foodwise, the weekend was also characterized by an abunRe-pointing stonework on the towpath under the skew bridge dance of ‘And’ cake. These included: rhubarb and custard cake, cardamom and orange cake, that it took some of us nearly 7 hours to get chocolate and raisin flapjack, and date and home. ginger cake. The latter was kindly donated We enjoyed the weekend so much that by the locals. we agreed to try to come back in the auOne Sunday we made a short expeditumn, so look out for London WRG dates in tion to the other end of site to find the hidOctober and November [It’s provisionally den aqueduct/viaduct. It’s an impressive scheduled for 15-16 Oct ...Ed]. The S&N has piece of historic architecture, incorporating always proved to be an enjoyable canal for three tunnels and allowing both a road and us to work on and well worth the long jourthe canal itself to pass over a slow flowing ney from London. river. It’s also a very picturesque little spot Sophie Smith with a lazy pool of water, wild roses and water lilies. It’s very easy to overlook this New volunteers are always welcome on curiosity even if you’re working on the site at London WRG digs, and you don’t have to Forton for an extended period of time, so come from London or anywhere near (most volunteers are advised to seek it out. of us don’t). See the Navvies dates list, folThe weather held out until the minute low the links to regional groups and London we were packing away. It was just as well we WRG from wrg.org.uk, or look at the London got away in good time – rotten traffic meant WRG Facebook group for more details.
Navvies diary WRG and mobile groups Your guide to all forthcoming work parties Aug 20-27 Camp 201630 Aug 27-Sep 3Camp 201631 Sep 1 Navvies Sep 2-8 WAT Sep 3/4 Essex WRG Sep 3/4 KESCRG Sep 3 Sat wrgNW Sep 3-10 Camp 201632 Sep 10/11 London WRG Sep 10-17 Camp 201633 Sep 17/18 NWPG Sep 17/18 wrgBITM Sep 18 Sun WRG Sep 21 Wed wrgNW Sep 24/25 London WRG Sep 24/25 wrgFT Sep 24/25 wrgNW Sep 30-Oct 6WAT Oct 1/2 KESCRG Oct 8/9 NWPG Oct 8 Sat wrgNW Oct 15/16 London WRG Oct 15/16 wrgBITM Oct 15/16 wrgNW Oct 21-29 WRGFT2016 Oct 22-29 Camp 201634 Nov 1 Navvies Nov 4-10 WAT Nov 5-6 BB2016 Nov 5/6 wrgFT Nov 5 Sun WRG Nov 12/13 NWPG Nov 12 Sat wrgNW Nov 19/20 London WRG Nov 19/20 wrgBITM Dec 2-8 WAT Dec 3/4 Essex WRG Dec 3/4 KESCRG Dec 3/4 London WRG
Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Lock Press date for issue 279 Wendover Arm: Pipe capping & bank shaping, and profiling & lining Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Lock ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Lock Basingstoke Canal Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Lock Wey & Arun Canal: Dunsfold Summit Wey & Arun Canal: Sidney Wood towpath Committee & Board Meetings: Rowington Village Hall Ad Hoc Meeting Lichfield Canal: To be confirmed Cotswold Canals Lichfield Canal: Joint dig with London WRG Wendover Arm: Seven day weekend Fri-Thu To be arranged Cotswold Canals: Lower Wallbridge Lock ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Shrewsbury & Newport Canals: To be confirmed Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation: Accom on Haybay Montgomery Canal: To be confirmed Uttoxeter Canal Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Press date for issue 280 Wendover Arm: Seven day weekend Fri-Thu Bonfire Bash: Venue to be arranged Bonfire Bash Committee & Board Meetings: at Bonfire Bash Wey & Arun Canal: Dunsfold Summit ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Blists Hill Museum: Ironbridge, Shropshire Grantham Canal Wendover Arm: Seven day weekend Fri-Thu Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Wey & Arun Canal: KESCRG/London WRG Xmas Party Wey & Arun Canal: KESCRG/London WRG Xmas Party
For details of diary dates beyond the end of this list ple
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firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
01422-820693 01442-874536 07971-814986 01844-343369 0161-681-7237 07802-518094 07816-175454 01422-820693 01494-783453 01494-783453 07779-478629 01442-874536 01494-783453
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
01564-785293 01844-343369 0161-681-7237 07802-518094 07816-175454 01442-874536 01376-334896 07971-814986 07802-518094
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
ease contact diary compiler Dave Wedd: see top of page
canal society regulars
Canal societiesâ€™ regular working parties Every Sunday if required Every Tuesday
Bugsworth Basin Basingstoke Canal
Ian Edgar Chris Healy
0161-427 7402 01252-370073
Once per month: pls check BCNS 2nd & 4th w/e of month BCS
BCN waterways Basingstoke Canal
Mike Rolfe Duncan Paine
Thursdays Sep-Apr 2nd Sun & alternate Thu
Aqueduct section Buckingham area
Tim Dingle Athina Beckett
Every Mon and Wed Every mon am Thu pm
Cotswold (W depot) Ron Kerby Cotswold (E end) John Maxted
Various dates Every Sunday
Cotswold Phase 1a Chesterfield Canal
Every Tue and Thu Every Tue & Wed
Chichester Canal Malcolm Maddison 01243-775201 Chelmer & Blackwater John Gale 01376-334896
Every Friday Second Sun of month
Langley Mill John Baylis Foxton Inclined Plane Mike Beech
Thu and last Sat of month GCS Tuesdays H&GCT Weekends H&GCT
Grantham Canal Oxenhall Over Wharf House
Ian Wakefield Brian Fox Maggie Jones
0115-989-2128 01432 358628 01452 618010
Over / Vineyard Hill Herefordshire
Ted Beagles Wilf Jones
01452 522648 01452 413888
Every weekday 2nd Sunday of month
Bradford on Avon Derrick Hunt Lancaster N. Reaches Keith Tassart
Every Wed/Thu/Sat/Sun 3rd Sunday of month
Hugh Millington Denis Cooper
Last weekend of month Two Sundays per month
Creams Paper Mill N Walsham Canal
Steve Dent David Revill
Weekly Every Wed and 1st Sat
Pocklington Canal Dick Watson Stowmarket Navigtn. Martin Bird
2nd Sunday of month 1st Sunday of month
Sankey Canal Combe Hay Locks
John Hughes Derrick Hunt
Last weekend of month 2nd Sunday of month
Stover Canal Sleaford Navigation
George Whitehead 01626-775498 Mel Sowerby 01522-856810
Every Thu and Sat 1st weekend of month
Sussex Ouse Montgomery Canal
Ted Lintott David Carter
Jon Pontefract Mick Hodgetts
Every Tuesday morning TMCA Most days, please contact WACT
Thames & Medway C Les Schwieso Wey & Arun Canal Northern office
1st w/e of month (Fri-Thu) WAT
Drayton Beauchamp Roger Leishman
If you have any additions / corrections / deletions to this list, please send them to Navvies diary compiler Dave Wedd (see previous page)
CRT towpath taskforce
Canal & River Trust ‘Towpath Taskforce’ maintenance working parties 1st Wednesday of month Anderton Lift Weaver Glenn Young see below 2nd Saturday of month Audlem Shropshire Union Glenn Young see below 2nd Saturday of month Aylesbury Grand Union Jacqui Flint 07584-156424 4th Thursday of month Bath Kennet & Avon Steve Manzi 07710-175278 Alternate Thursdays Blackburn Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 Every Thursday Brighouse Calder & Hebble Becca Dent 07717-618850 Last Sunday of month Burnley Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Thursday of month Cheshire T&M/Macclesfield Steve O’Sullivan 07887-684707 Last Saturday of month Chester Shropshire Union Glenn Young see below 3rd Thursday of month Devizes Kennet & Avon Steve Manzi 07710-175278 1st Saturday of month Fradley Trent & Mersey Steve O’Sullivan 07887-684707 4th Thursday of month Gailey Staffs & Worcs Sue Blocksidge 07917-585838 Every Tue or Wed Gloucester Glouc & Sharpness Caroline Kendall 01452-318023 1st Wed & Fri of month Hatton Grand Union Canal Sue Blocksidge 07917-585838 Last Sunday of month Hawkesbury Coventry/Oxford Sue Blocksidge 07917-585838 1st Saturday of month Hemel Hempst’d Grand Union Canal Jacqui Flint 07584-156424 2nd Friday of month Huddersfield Huddersfield Broad Becca Dent 07717-618850 1st Thursday of month Knottingley Aire & Calder Nav Becca Dent 07717-618850 Alternate Thursdays Lancaster Lancaster Canal Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Thu & Sat of monthLapworth Stratford Canal Sue Blocksidge 07917-585838 Alternate Tuesdays Leicester Grand Union/Soar Wayne Ball 07766-577947 1st & 3rd Sat of month London central Various Nadia Payne 07468-716075 3rd Thursday of month London East Lee Navigation Nadia Payne 07468-716075 3rd Tuesday of month London West various Nadia Payne 07468-716075 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 Thursdays North Warks Ashby Sue Blocksidge 07917-585838 Alternate Wednesdays Preston Lancaster Canal Matt Taylor 07780-222977 Alternate Fridays Sefton Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Saturday of month near Selby Selby Canal Becca Dent 07717-618850 Weds every 4 weeks Skipton Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 Alternate Fridays Stoke Caldon / T&M Steve O’Sullivan 07887-684707 Every other Wednesday Tamworth Coventry Canal Sue Blocksidge 07917-585838 4th Saturday of month Tipton BCN Sue Blocksidge 07917-585838 Every Friday Todmorden Rochdale Canal Steve O’Sullivan 07887-684707 Every Monday Walsden Rochdale Canal Steve O’Sullivan 07887-684707 Every Tuesday Wigan Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 Contact details: All CRT co-ordinators can be emailed at email@example.com, eg firstname.lastname@example.org 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 H&GCT IWPS KACT KESCRG
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 Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust Inland Waterways Protection Society Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Kent & E Sussex Canal Rest. Group
LCT LHCRT MBBCS NWPG NWDCT PCAS RGT SCARS SCCS SCS SNT SORT SUCS TMCA WACT WAT WBCT
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
Inland Waterways Association and other one-day working parties Aug 20 Sat Aug 20 Sat Aug 23 Tue Aug 23 Tue Aug 23 Tue Aug 24 Wed Aug 25 Thu Aug 27 Sat Sep 3 Sat Sep 3 Sat Sep 4 Sun Every Wed Sep 8 Thu Sep 10 Sat Sep 10/11 Sep 11 Sun Sep 14 Wed Sep 15 Thu Sep 17 Sat Sep 20 Tue Sep 20 Tue Sep 22 Thu Sep 24 Sat Sep 27 Tue Sep 27 Tue Oct 1 Sat Oct 8 Sat Oct 9 Sun Oct 9 Sun Oct 12 Wed Oct 13 Thu Oct 14/15 Oct 15 Sat
IWA Lancs&Cumb Lancaster Canal: Himalayan Balsam Bash, Haslam Park IWA Manchester Venue to be confirmed, Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. BCP/IWA Oxford Oxford Canal: Banbury Canal Partnership, meet 9am-1pm IWA Northants Northampton Arm: Painting, veg clearance & litter picking 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. 10amIWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10amIWA ChelmsfordChelmer & Blackwater Navigation IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm IWA Northants Northampton Arm: Painting, veg clearance & litter picking RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Work party at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. 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 Lincs/SNT Sleaford Navigation: Various work on navigable section IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Painting, tidying & veg clearance IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance. 10amIWA Manchester Venue T.B.C.: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. 10amBCP/IWA Oxford Oxford Canal: Banbury Canal Partnership, meet 9am-1pm IWA Northants Northampton Arm: Painting, veg clearance & litter picking IWA NSSC Macclesfield Canal: Congleton Station project. Veg clearance. 10amIWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10amBCP/IWA Oxford Oxford Canal: Banbury Canal Partnership, meet 9am-1pm IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm 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 IWA Lincs/SNT Sleaford Navigation: Various work on navigable section IWA Northants Northampton Arm: Painting, veg clearance & litter picking IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Painting, tidying & veg clearance IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Work party at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. 10am-3pm IWA Milton KeynesGrand Union Canal: 6-monthly Clean Up, Fri and Sat IWA Manchester Venue To be confirmed, Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc.
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 'Rose & Crown' Colombo Street, London NWPG: 7:30pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading.
...and other one-day work
For WRG canal camps and working parties see pages 20-21 Wendy Humphries 10am-4pm
Colin Garnham-Edge Geoff Wood Steve Wood Bill Lambert Bob Luscombe Mike Carter Chris Chandler Steve Wood Geoff Wood Martin Bird Robert Frost Martin Bird Bill Lambert Chris or Steve Hayes David Struckett John Brighouse Colin Garnham-Edge Geoff Wood Bob Luscombe Mike Carter Colin Garnham-Edge Steve Wood Steve Wood Martin Bird Chris or Steve Hayes Geoff Wood David Struckett Robert Frost Philip Strangeway
07976-805858 02476-726924 07710-054848 07795-617803 01245-223732 07976-805858 01394-380765 07743-628091 01394-380765 02476-726924 01522-689460 07976-746225 07808-878317 07710-554602
07710-054848 07795-617803 07976-805858 07976-805858 01394-380765 01522-689460 07976-746225 07743-628091 07710-554602
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Mcr= Manchester; NSSC = North Staffs & South Cheshire RGT= River Gipping Trust; SNT = Sleaford Navigation Trust; TMCS = Trent & Mersey Canal Society;
Please phone to confirm dates and times
Contact Tim Lewis 07802-518094 Contact Phil Dray 07956-185305
Di Smurthwaite reports on a dig with a bit of a difference - an archaeological excavation of the Stover Canal and its unique feeder, the granite tramway
Stover archaeological dig Archaeological Dig, Stover Canal
they will quickly disintegrate now it has been uncovered, and will have to be discarded, but at least we have stunning photographs to preserve for posterity. The other thing of interest that was uncovered was an area of granite tramway rails that were used to bring granite from Dartmoor down to the head basin. We knew that there were some rails on the offside of the canal leading to a large crane, but these are now underneath a railway. During the past year, Devon County Council have been constructing a cycleway alongside the canal, and fortunately for us they contacted the Stover Canal Trust to tell us that they seemed to have uncovered some lines of granite. They then agreed to move the cycleway over to allow us to reveal quite a considerable length, with four sidings. Presumably these were needed to park some of the 1 ton trucks while others were being unloaded into the barges. Are granite ‘rails’ for a tramway unique in canals? [I’ve never heard of another one example anywhere
Two years ago, I wrote an article for Navvies on an archaeological dig held on the Stover Canal in South Devon. We have just completed our third – and final – dig, and at last uncovered all the barge that had been abandoned in around 1900, and I thought the resultant photograph merited another brief report. At around 50 ft long and 14 ft wide, the barges were quite big, and carried 20 tons of freight, and looking at the photograph it seems even more astonishing that they were sailed down the canal with a square viking-type sail (or bow hauled). We are only just starting to restore the upper part of the canal, and one imagines that the area must have been much less wooded than it is now to get any wind into the sails! Did any other canal have boats that were propelled by this method, and would it perhaps work better with a wide barge than with a narrowboat? [As I understand it, the Stroudwater and the Droitwich Barge Canal were both used in the early days by barges travelling under sail when possible - and I think they would have been square sails in those days; can anyone confirm this and/or suggest any others? Incidentally I don’t think the Chesterfield ‘cuckoo’ narrow boats would count, as I think they only used sails when they went out onto the River Trent ...Ed] Unfortunately, it would be very expensive to do a Mary Rose type preservation on the The granite ‘rails’ uncovered at Ventiford, including a set of points barge timbers, so
...Ed] - These are “L” shaped to guide the truck wheels. We also found the foundations for a long wall of one side of a clay cellar, a stone building in which the ball clay was stored before shipment. We are very lucky in that the local clay works, Sibelco, have agreed now to come and dredge the basin and the winding hole where the barge had been abandoned, and to take the dredgings away to fill one of their old quarries, all at no cost to ourselves. We can then get our first stretch in water by building a dam below the winding hole, and lining the base of the canal, but we have to rely on winter floods as the EA won’t allow us to take much from the brook which used to feed the canal. Di Smurthwaite
The barge, completely excavated
Clearing silt from Ventiford Basin
Tra mw ay Teigngrace Lock Ventiford Graving Dock Lock Teignbridge Lock Teignmouth Jetty Marsh Locks al an rc ve Sto
Stover Canal and Haytor Granite Tramway
Ha yto rG ran ite
Teign estuary R. Teign
Progress Wey & Arun
A forthcoming bridge opening and anniversary celebration, progress on the next lock rebuild, and a dilemma about how to take the canal back through Bramley
is the Trust’s largest restoration scheme so far in Surrey (the restored length through With volunteers busy on the final stages of Loxwood being in Sussex). A special working construction work at the new Compasses party was set up for the task, with huge and Bridge in Alfold, Wey & Arun Canal Trust has continuing support from WRG teams. launched a ‘last push’ appeal for funds to The bridge will be officially opened by finish the project. The Trust is seeking to local actor Penelope Keith on Sunday 2 Octoraise £120,000 from its members, supportber, as part of a weekend of celebrations ers and the general public to complete a marking the Wey & Arun Canal’s bicentenary. scheme which will allow a significant section Events begin at Pallingham, West Sussex, at of the canal to be opened for navigation by the canal’s junction with the River Arun, the small boats. day before, when a baton relay – carrying a Apart from facing brickwork and trainscrolled copy of an original canal company ing walls, work still to be done includes share certificate – sets off to follow the route landscaping and building a public viewing of the waterway. A small boats rally will be platform, at a project that will raise WACT’s held on the Saturday at Loxwood, where profile along the northern stretch of the horse-drawn barrage excursions and chilwaterway in Surrey. dren’s entertainments are planned, with a Situated on the canal’s Summit Level at historical display staged in the Canal Centre. one of the entrances to the Dunsfold Park Small boats and canoes will also be aerodrome and business complex, the bridge plying the newly navigable stretch of the waterway at Compasses when the ‘baton’ arrives on the Sunday. The formal bridge opening, at the site of the combined Arun Navigation and Wey & Arun Junction Canal being declared open in 1816, is at noon, followed by refreshments for all. In the afternoon, celebrations move on to the canal’s junction with the Wey Navigation at Gun’s Mouth in WACT volunteer removing the old concrete causeway by the new Compasses Bridge Shalford. Small Pictures by WACT
Wey & Arun Canal
boats will be travelling up through Guildford as the bells of Shalford and St Nicolas churches ring out to replicate the commemorative peals of 200 years ago. The celebrations conclude at Dapdune Wharf in Guildford with a traditional English tea for WACT members at the Sea Cadet Hall, replicating the meal held at that location WACT volunteers pouring concrete for the top cill of the new Gennets Bridge Lock for canal company directors in 1816. canal around Bramley village in the Cranleigh Apart from the Compasses project, Waters river and following the route of WACT’s three-sites strategy continues apace Downs Link path, the line of the defunct at Gennets Bridge Lock, on the West Sussex- Guildford to Horsham railway. Surrey border and on Phase 1 of the Bramley If the Downs Link route is chosen, the Link restoration. aqueduct will have to be completely rebuilt, Thursday and Sunday Group volunteers as the canal will be routed across it. The are laying facing bricks on the concrete shell river route will have a good water supply, be of Gennets Bridge Lock, completing attractive to boat owners and have the poblockwork, working on the cills and contential to provide flood alleviation measures structing a new bridleway bridge. The work- in the area. But there are multiple land owners are also assiduously checking and repair- ers, some of whom are against the canal ing the fence which is excluding great crested following the river. There would be restricted newts from the lock. public access, so no towpath, and working in The Environmental Impact Assessment water would make construction more costly for the first phase of the Bramley Link, and riskier. The Downs Link route has just Shalford to Gosden Meadow, has been comone owner – Surrey County Council – conpleted, with no unpleasant surprises, but the struction would take place in the dry and Civil Engineering Design Study has exposed there are fewer environmental constraints. a potential problem with a gas main crossing However, the canal construction would the proposed line of the canal. Land acquisi- be complex, some sections would have to be tion and lease negotiations are continuing for single width, it would be difficult to maintain the re-creation of the waterway, including the public access to the popular long-distance entire Gosden Aqueduct, and flood study path during construction and crossing Station work is now being completed. Road, Bramley could present problems. Decisions on how the canal will be The estimated cost of building Phase 1 routed along Gosden Meadow will be afof the Bramley Link is £2.9million, around fected by the choice of the Phase 2 route, for half of which will be sought through an which there are two options – taking the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Progress Wooden Canal Boats Wooden Canal Boat Society Hazel: She is up and running as a wellbeing boat, providing time on the waterways for people with stress, depression and related problems. So far she has mostly done day trips but she visited Ellesmere Port at Easter and made a journey to Middlewich for the Folk and Boat festival. More crew are needed and particularly people to promote and fundraise for the project. Forget me Not: This 1927 Lees & Atkins boat is providing all the motive power for both recycling trips and Hazel trips. She was docked at Ashton Packet boats in December and January to have her bottom recaulked and skeg refitted etc. Southam: Feeling neglected she decided to sink recently. Now floating again and with the engine cleaned out Southam is likely to be the focus of much work in the autumn to get her up and running as an alternative tug to Forget me Not. Apart from essential work on the hull, including replacing some planks, work will focus on completing the interior fit out and improving the engine room. We’re particularly keen to find someone to complete the re-assembly of her big ex-army range. At present the gearbox is out awaiting attention. Lilith: Likely to be the next candidate for major work at the heritage boatyard, though at present we don’t know when. It’s now 41 years since her restoration started and the stern end needs doing again. For the time being, CRT bureaucracy is getting in the way of using the boatyard. So she soldiers on, aged 114, carrying goods on the recycling trips. Queen and Elton: Waiting their turns for restoration. Recycling trips: These take place on the first Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of each month except when these coincide with a
bank holiday. Volunteers meet at Portland basin at 9.30 AM for the Sunday trips and 6 PM for the weekday trips, summer and winter. After about an hour’s boat trip volunteers collect clothes, bric à brac etc. from houses, before enjoying the return boat ride. Currently these are worked by Forget me Not and Lilith. Canal clean ups: Using Forget me Not as a work platform and transport for recovered rubbish WCBS and CRT volunteers have worked together to clear central Stalybridge of shopping trollies, bikes etc. There’s currently a lull in this because of a change round of personnel in CRT but more work of this nature is likely to take place before too soon. The Bolinder engine: This is currently in bits at Tameside College but changes there make it unlikely that they will complete its restoration. Offers of help invited from vintage engine enthusiasts. The Charity Shop: Poor takings as a result of the decline of Ashton Town Centre had put the future of this in doubt. Things have picked up lately though and we’re looking at ways of developing the business which creates an income stream that is vital to keeping the boats going. The shop always needs more responsible, reliable volunteers for jobs like sorting and pricing donations, serving customers and particularly driving the van for furniture collections and deliveries. Making Craft Items: Most of the wood removed from Hazel during her rejuvenation has been saved and is being cut into small sections, cleaned up then painted and sold as genuine fragments of Hazel. These have gone very well and the funds raised have helped towards the running of Hazel. We’re now running out of completed items, but we have a huge stack of wood. Imaginative solutions invited. Selling stuff online: This seems to be the favorite route for our re-usable goods business to take. Lots of items that get collected on recycling trips or donated to the shop won’t sell in the shop, but almost anything will sell online. We’ve been doing this successfully for several years but to expand it we need more volunteers. The great thing is that you don’t necessarily have to live near
Tameside to do it, just have the use of a computer and a little bit of knowledge. If you can’t collect things to sell locally we can probably arrange to get them dropped off. Promoting the WCBS at Waterway Events etc: Hazel has been to a couple of events this year and has met with a good reception. There are lots more events. We can’t take a boat to everyone but the more that we attend, even just as an information stall and to sell Hazel sponsorships, the better known the project becomes. We just need to find more people able and willing to take on organising this. Give us your boat! A few times over the years we’ve been given unwanted boats to sell to raise funds (the first one back in 1992 paid for Southam, at £525 our most expensive boat, purchased from BW of course). In the last couple of years these have kept our accounts in the black. While it’s unlikely that anyone will give us their £100,000 gin palace, there are sometimes circumstances where someone just wants a boat taken off their hands without them having to bother with the hassle of selling it. We can do that wherever it is on the waterways. Sorry though, we can’t take on any more knackered wooden boats! Planting trees: The post-industrial landscape around the Ashton Canal summit is gradually being transformed into oak woodland thanks to WCBS volunteers. 2014 was a good year for acorns and the ones that we collected then have now become little oaks ready for planting out. This will take place during next winter. As well as looking beautiful, capturing carbon and providing habitat for a huge range of wildlife these trees will be around to provide wood for future generations of wooden boats in the 22nd and 23rd centuries. You have to think long term with wooden boats! Stay on Hazel: Hazel’s main job is to provide time travelling in the canal environment for people facing mental health issues. So far the feedback that we have received for doing this has been brilliant. The biggest challenge that we face is that many of the people who we want to help are stony broke. Unfortunately, even with volunteers, running Hazel costs money. That’s why, in between trips, we’re making her available as self-catering accommodation for up to 10 people. She can
be towed to a range of different locations on the Ashton, Peak Forest or Huddersfield Narrow canals to suit your requirements. So, if you need to stay somewhere nice but in easy reach of central Manchester, get in touch. Heritage Boatyard: Without the Heritage Boatyard at Knowl St, Stalybridge we couldn’t have rejuvenated Hazel for her new role as a well-being boat. Each of the five other boats will need to go to the yard for major work in the next few decades, though minor dockings are currently undertaken at Ashton Packet Boat Co in Guide Bridge. For this reason we need to ensure its long term survival and development. At the moment we’re facing challenges from CRT bureaucrats, who currently won’t even let us moor there for cabin repairs, and from local government cuts. The long term vision is to turn it into a place where people can be trained in the skills of wooden boatbuilding and the public can view the work in progress. The current work is mainly a post-Hazel sort out which involves cutting up all the unwanted wood, ready to return it to the atmosphere via various stoves, and clearing out surplus tools and materials mainly, you guessed it, to be sold online. The situation for wooden boats around the system is getting pretty dire. We frequently get requests to take on and save more boats. It’s very tempting, but, sadly we have to say ‘no’. Six wooden narrow boats is quite enough, thank you. Unfortunately this response usually spells doom for the boat in question as there are so few people who are able and willing to put in the time and money needed to reverse the decline. In the Wooden Canal Boat Society we’re tackling that problem and finding new roles for the old boats. What we need is more people able and willing to take on little bits of the task in hand. The rejuvenation of Hazel has shown what is possible. Without the WCBS it’s unlikely that any of the six craft would still survive today. Contact: General enquiries: email@example.com Hazel enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org 07860 944 969 Volunteer enquiries: email@example.com 07872 073 071 Other enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org 07931 952 037
On the Wendover Arm, theyâ€™re pressing on with installing concrete pipecapping... and finding bottles of mysterious substances...
groove when lining. The galvanised stop plank grooves were cast into the walls when I am very pleased to report that good the narrows was constructed. We will be progress has been made by Wendover Arm using the usual 150mm/6" of concrete Trustâ€™s volunteers on the Stage 4 pipe capthrough the bridge narrows as at Bridge 4A. ping (casting a concrete cover over the canal Lining at Whitehouses: After discuswater supply pipe buried in the dry canal sion with CRT it is agreed that the towpath bed, prior to reconstructing the channel side of the lining through Whitehouses will above it) between Whitehouses and Bridge 4 be standard other than the 300mm/12" spoil during May and June and is rapidly apover the Bentomat will be replaced by proaching Bridge 4 from where the photo 150mm/6" concrete for the length of the was taken. wharf wall, and the pipe capping will be At the June working party we received 150mm/6" higher than normal (as for bridge a delivery of 18 rolls of Bentomat waternarrows). On the offside/wharf side we have proof bentonite lining material, the first been concerned that there is not navigable delivery since 2008! depth over the brick foundation that extends On the Saturday and Sunday of the May under the settling tank behind the wharf working party we were joined by KESCRG. wall. CRT have come up with a very practical They excavated the underground chambers solution; it is to build a pseudo weir along recently found at the back of the site during the edge of the shallow water that will prowhich they uncovered many bottles etc. that trude above water level and prevent craft contained unknown substances. It transpired grounding and also include some screened that a former occupant of Whitehouses Cotapertures in the weir wall for the water to tages was a chemist and when the contents pass through into the three culverts and of one bottle fizzed on the floor it was deprevent debris entering the culverts and cided to treat this as hazardous. settling tank. At a meeting with the Canal & River Roger Leishman, Restoration Director Trust they said that they would arrange for a 01442 874536, specialist contractor to test the contents of email@example.com the various containers and dispose of them accordingly. They asked the Trust to take them all to our site at Little Tring which we did in June in plastic containers specially bought for the purpose Bridge 4 lining and stop planks: I recently met CRT civil engineers to discuss the restoration and, on requesting details of the king post slot for the stop planks, was told that a slot is no longer required. Hence we will only have to ensure that there is a horizontal bed level concrete strip from stop View from Bridge 4, with new pipe capping visible not far away now plank groove to stop plank WAT
Grand Union Wendover Arm
So you’re leading a two site canal camp? It happens: a month or so before the start of your camp, and you’re suddenly working on two sites separated by ten miles of road / two miles of towpath / a Welsh valley – here are a few tips that have helped me over the years... Leader: Find a good assistant leader or MUP (‘Most Useful Person’ - typically an experienced ‘old hand’ willing and able to help the leaders out) who you can trust one of the sites to. The camp will work a lot better if you’re not bouncing between both sites as it’s guaranteed you’ll be on the wrong one at the wrong time. Drinks: Beg / borrow / hire another gas Burco – you’re going to be having separate tea breaks and lunch all week, so you’re going to need a second one. While on that subject you will obviously need two brew kits and more (possibly smaller) containers of milk/tea etc than are present in the standard camp kit. Minibuses: Assign a vehicle to each site for the week – this means the tools for the site can stay in the van and people know which van to get in each day. I find an A4 label on the dashboard with the site name on it works well. Tools: Some thought is required in advance here. Have you got enough tools for both sites to work? Do you need another mixer / more barrows / a second First Aid kit / another generator? Sorting the kit across the two vans on the Saturday afternoon works well as you can start quickly on the Sunday. A bit of forward planning will stop most of the “all the buckets are on the other site” problem. An extension to this is the “wrong plant keys on site problem” – best way of sorting this is to store the keys in the site specific van. WRG does have a central stock of more tools, kit and specialist equipment if you need anything over and above the normal camp kit but it can be more convenient to use the canal society’s tools or hire in locally as it may make the logistics easier. Confirm this with your local contact and your duty director/head office if needed. Food: Plan your lunch – depending on how you run your camp and where the sites are in relation to each other it may be worth one site taking lunch with them in the morning to save the cook going round both sites to deliver. If one site has a significant longer ‘commute’, then further planning around site leaving times, showers, dinner and evening activities will be required. Transport: A third vehicle – with a van on each site you will need a third vehicle around to do kit & materials pickup/drop off or to stand in as the emergency vehicle on site while a van is off on runs. People: it’s worth trying to prevent a ‘your
Leaders Leading multi-site camps site, our site’ mentality. Best ways of doing this are to make sure you update the whole camp on how both sites are doing (‘parish notices’ in the evening?) and move volunteers between the sites so everyone has buy-in on all the jobs. More thought may be required about volunteer numbers on each site depending on the amount of work each day, and you may need to hunt out more ‘useful people’ to do all the training you may need. Remember, it is a requirement of the DofE scheme that groups of friends are split up – multiple sites gives you an ideal opportunity to do this but can complicate your personnel issues. On plant-heavy sites you will obviously have to spend more time doing training if you do move volunteers around - limiting the changes to one person per day can optimise the training-to-work ratio. Communication: make sure you have phones with reception on both sites (and a good number of the volunteers have phone numbers for the other site!) or WRG radios if the range is low enough (<1 mile). Paperwork: you (or the locals) will need to generate two sets of project plans and other paperwork, probably with two completely different sets of directions to A&E, emergency contacts and risk assessments. Remember to keep your duty director and head office in the loop as to the plans, particularly if they have changed from what was originally intended, as they may think of something you have missed or may be able to help with the planning if needed. Overall, running a multi-site camp is perfectly possible but more planning than usual is required, the key to success (as ever with canal camps) is to delegate! Ed Walker with additions by Gordon Brown & Richard Worthington This is an updated version of an article that first appeared in Navvies in 2013. For more information and assistance for leaders and would-be leaders, there will be another Leader Training Day in spring 2017. Contact Ed (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information and with any requests for topics that you would like to see covered.
Directory Canal Society and WRG contacts ASHBY CANAL ASSOC Cyril Blackford 48 The Ridgeway, Burbage Hinckley LE10 2NR Tel: 01455 614816 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk BUGSWORTH BASIN HERITAGE TRUST Ian Edgar Top Lock House, Lime Kiln Lane, Marple SK6 6BX. 0161 427 7402 firstname.lastname@example.org www.brocross.com/iwps/ index.htm
CALDON & UTTOXETER CANALS TRUST Alison Smedley Hazelhurst Cottage Denford, Leek ST13 7JT 01538-385388 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cotswoldcanals.com FRIENDS OF THE CROMFORD CANAL George Rogers 28 Drury Avenue Spondon DE21 7FZ email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.dig-deep.org.uk DORSET & SOMERSET CANAL SOCIETY Derrick Hunt 43 Greenland Mills Bradford on Avon BA15 1BL 01225 863066 email@example.com www.dorandsomcanal.org EAST ANGLIAN WATERWAYS ASSOC David Revill 43 Kings Road Coltishall, Norfolk NR12 7DX 01603 738648 firstname.lastname@example.org EREWASH CANAL P&DA John Baylis 215 Clipstone Rd. West Forest Town, Mansfield Notts NG19 0HJ 01623 621208 email@example.com ESSEX WATERWAYS LTD Graham Brown Paper Mill Lock North Hill Little Baddow Essex CM3 4BT 07966 375351 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com www.mbact.org.uk NWPG Bill Nicholson, 17 Clifford Rd Princes Risborough HP27 0DU 01844 343369 / 0779 1097773 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com www.therollecanal.co.uk
SALTISFORD CT Budbrooke Road Warwick CV34 5RJ 01926 490 006 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com www.sncanal.org.uk SHROPSHIRE UNION CS David Carter 01244 661440 firstname.lastname@example.org www.shropshireunion.org.uk SLEAFORD NAV TRUST Steve Hayes 10 Chelmer Close N Hykeham Lincs LN8 8TH 01522-689460 email: email@example.com www.sleafordnavigation.co.uk SOMERSETSHIRE COAL CANAL SOCIETY Derrick Hunt 43 Greenland Mills Bradford on Avon BA15 1BL 01225-863066 firstname.lastname@example.org www.coalcanal.org RIVER STOUR TRUST John Morris 2 Stockton Close Hadleigh Ipswich IP7 5SH email@example.com www.riverstourtrust.org
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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.weyandarun.co.uk
STRATFORD ON AVON CANAL SOCIETY Clive Henderson The Bridge House Church Lane, Lapworth Solihull B94 5NU 01564 783672 email@example.com www.stratfordcanalsociety.org.uk
WILTS & BERKS CT George Eycott Knowle House 1 Ham Road, Wanborough Wiltshire SN4 0DF 07771 775745 firstname.lastname@example.org www.wbct.org.uk
SUSSEX OUSE RESTORATION TRUST Ted Lintott 4 Farm Cottages Parkfield Way Haywards Heath RH16 4TB 01444 414413 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.thamesmedway.co.uk WELL CREEK TRUST Mrs C Mansell, 1 Tramways Outwell PE14 8PZ email@example.com WENDOVER ARM TRUST Roger Leishman 7 Hall Park Berkhamsted HP4 2NU 01442 874536 firstname.lastname@example.org www.wendoverarmtrust.co.uk
WOODEN CANAL BOAT SOCIETY 173 Stamford St Central Ashton under Lyne OL6 7PS 0161-330-8422 email@example.com www.wcbs.org.uk WORCESTER, Bâ€™HAM & DROITWICH CANALS SOC Bill Lambert firstname.lastname@example.org
WRG CONTACTS WRG ENQUIRIES, BOOKINGS, DRIVER AUTHORISATION, Jenny Morris, IWA Island House, Moor Road Chesham HP5 1WA 01494 783453 email@example.com www.wrg.org.uk WRG NORTH WEST Malcolm Bridge 89 Rishworth Mill, Rishworth Sowerby Bridge HX6 4RZ 01422-820693 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com www.wrgbitm.org.uk LONDON WRG Tim Lewis 5 Herongate Road, Wanstead London E12 5EJ 07802 518094 firstname.lastname@example.org www.wrg.org.uk WRG EAST MIDLANDS John Baylis 215 Clipstone Rd. West Forest Town Mansfield Notts NG19 0HJ 01623 633895 email@example.com ESSEX WRG John Gale 24 Longleaf Drive Braintree Essex CM17 1XS 01376-334896 firstname.lastname@example.org www.wrg.org.uk WRG FORESTRY Clive Alderman 30 Primley Lane Sheering Bishops Stortford CM22 7NJ 07973 877380 email@example.com IWA/WRG STAMP BANK Steve & Mandy Morley 33 Hambleton Grove Emerson valley Milton Keynes MK4 2JS 01908 520090 firstname.lastname@example.org
Canal & River Trust volunteer coordinators East Midlands Kennet & Avon Manchester & Pennine North East N Wales & Borders North West London South East S Wales & Severn West Midlands
Wayne Ball Steve Manzi Steve Oâ€™Sullivan Becca Dent Glenn Young Matt Taylor Nadia Payne Jacqui Flint Caroline Kendall Sue Blocksidge
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) email@example.com 'WRGWEAR' CLOTHING Helen Gardner 27 Broadacre Comberbach CW9 6QD 07989 425346 firstname.lastname@example.org WRG BOAT CLUB Sadie Heritage 236 Station Rd. Whittlesey Peterborough PE7 2HA 01733 204505 07748 186867 (mobile) email@example.com WRG DIRECTORS CHAIRMAN Mike Palmer 3 Finwood Road Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 firstname.lastname@example.org WRG PLANT George Eycott Knowle House 1 Ham Road, Wanborough Wiltshire SN4 0DF 07771 775745 email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
PUBLICITY Judith Palmer 3 Finwood Rd, Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 firstname.lastname@example.org WRGPRINT John Hawkins 4 Links Way, Croxley Grn Rickmansworth WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
OTHER DIRECTORS Rick Barnes 11 Lawns Park North Woodchester Stroud GL5 5PP 07976 748345 email@example.com John Baylis (see above) Harry Watts 18 Furneaux Avenue London SE27 0EG 07889 237834 firstname.lastname@example.org Helen Gardner (see above) Dave Hearnden Chellowdene Outwell Wisbech PR14 8TL 07961 922153 email@example.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 281, but any corrections received before then will also be included as a news item in the first available issue. Thank you for your assistance.
Good news for Chesterfield?
By the time you read this, the summer canal camps programme will be almost at an end, but it’s only a few weeks until the Autumn Camp on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation on 22-29 October. The work will involve lots of scrub-bashing to keep the towpath clear, and once again we will have our favourite floating (well, at high tide) accommodation the Haybay barge, complete with beds and showers. Please book via the WRG website or Head Office. Then it’s really not very long until the festive season kicks off with the London WRG and KESCRG Christmas Party dig, which this year is on the Wey & Arun Canal on 3-4 December. This is followed on 26 Dec - 1 Jan by the New Year Camp. We’ll have more information about both of these (and any other festive camps and weekends) in the next issue of Navvies.
Tony Harrison legacy You may recall a couple of years ago Mike Palmer reported the sad news of the death of Tony Harrison, former Inland Waterways Association Restoration Committee Chairman, honorary hydrology consultant, and provider of useful technical advice to canal restoration projects all over the country. Tony bequeathed £200,000 to the waterways, and IWA is inviting organisations to put forward projects for consideration. They needn’t be for canal restoration projects - they just need to be “consistent with IWA’s charitable objectives”, with the winner(s) being decided based on the most good that they will do for the inland waterways. If your canal society or other group is interested, please apply by email before 31 October to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’ve been following the Chesterfield Canal restoration over the last few years, you’ll probably be aware that it’s been under What, no reunion / Bonfire Bash? threat from the new HS2 high speed railway. In particular, for five miles from Staveley to Killamarsh its route runs along or close to I’m sure you’ll have been wondering if we the length of the canal currently under restowere ever going to announce where this ration, and it looked like it would obliterate autumn’s Bonfire Bash / Reunion major getthe canal and undo a lot of our good work. together and working party would be. Well, The Chesterfield Canal Trust and our I’m afraid the bad news is that despite lookparent body the Inland Waterways Associaing at various possible sites, WRG has unfortion have been putting a lot of effort into tunately struggled to find anywhere with enough of the right kind of work and suitable getting either the railway plans changed to protect the canal, or a replacement canal accommodation for the number of people route built as part of the railway work. These that it would be likely to attract. efforts look likely to have been rewarded, The good news is that rather than because (as part of a possible change to the simply scrapping it, WRG is looking at the alternative of holding a final major ‘big push’ way that the new line will serve Sheffield), a new route for HS2 is proposed which would fundraising weekend which could bring in bypass this section of canal entirely. the rest of the money needed for the Van It still crosses the canal once - where Appeal to hit its target - probably combining the canal is in Norwood Tunnel, so HS2 Ltd a sponsored walk with a Saturday evening say this won’t be a problem. In fact the canal event, on the weekend of 5-6 November. If we have the information in time there restoration won’t be using the tunnel at this point (because it’s been destroyed by coal will be an insert in this issue - and if we don’t, it will be publicised via wrg.org.uk and mining) so some kind of new crossing will be needed, but shouldn’t be too difficult. also via the WRG Facebook page. Fingers crossed the new route is adopted, and well done to all who supported the canal. Coming soon...
Tom Jeffries has moved to Lower Farmhouse, Newbold Grounds, near Staverton NN11 6JZ.
...to Helena and Krzysiek Rosiecki on the arrival of Maryla Phyllis on 2 August.
All hands to the pump! Remember Bungle’s advert for assorted ancient plant free to a good home? Well here’s one pump that obviously found a very good home. My thanks to Terry Cavender of the Buckingham Canal Society for these pics of a 3” Johnson diaphragm pump with Lister engine before, during and after its rebuild by their plant guru Alan Mynard.
Navvies 50th anniversary quiz: the answers 2015: He got an MBE 2014: The WRG North West sales stand 2013: Manchester’s canals 2012: Hereford & Gloucester Canal 2011: Droitwich 2010: Worst ever accommodation 2009: Montgomery 2008: Brick 2007: One wall 2006: Abingdon 2005: Froghall 2004: The WRG Calendar 2003: Hollinwood 2002: Ribble Link 2001: Anderton Lift 2000: Lichfield Canal 1999: Stover 1998: Melton & Oakham 1997: the ‘Severn Wharfs’ in the WRG Panto 1996: Rudyard feeder 1995: Graham Palmer 1994: Ireland (Ulster Canal) 1993: London Canal Museum 1992: Dig Deep 1991: Wantage Big Dig, Wilts & Berks Canal
1990: Tapton 1989: Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade 1988: Nature conservation stopping restoration 1987: Frankton 1986: WRG BITM 1985: Yorkshire Derwent 1984: Stratford 1983: ‘The New Navvies’ 1982: Wey & Arun 1981: Market Weighton 1980: Williams Bridge, Montgomery Canal 1979: Basingstoke 1978: Wilts & Berks 1977: Basingstoke 1976: Ellesmere Port 1975: Well Creek 1974: Upper Avon 1973: Droitwich 1972: Ashtac 1971: The word ‘Notebook’ 1970: ‘waterway recovery group’ first appeared 1969: Basingstoke 1968: Operation Ashton 1967: Stourbridge 1966: River Stour
PS if you missed the quiz in the last issue, you could try guessing the questions from the answers...
Head of the household David McCarthy (“Mr. Mac”) was employed in the banking sector, which was considered a laudable profession, rather than now, as a laudable criminal activity. It was not, therefore, long before he realised that Tom had unwittingly stumbled on a useful source of income generation for the embryonic WRG(NW). Initially the collection of paper was on a piecemeal, word of mouth basis but then, for Thirty Odd Years possibly the only time in the group’s history, Brian Lomas reflects on a wild Paper Chase... they made a clear and unambivalent decision when they agreed to formalise the process. The announcement that The Independent Thus the unsuspecting residents of and The Independent on Sunday would no Crumpsall wore informed, through the distrilonger be producing print editions was rebution of 1,700 leaflets, that once a month ceived by myself, as someone who still enthey would be greeted by an assortment of joys reading a paper paper, with resigned street urchins demanding waste paper at a disappointment. godforsaken hour. Newspaper sales over the last twenty The date set for the first collection was years have plummeted, which makes the fund in January 1978. As I then didn’t know the raising efforts of Waterway Recovery Group location o’f Woodstock I agreed to meet the (North West) through the recycling of old other volunteers, who had been cajoled into newspapers all the more remarkable, especially helping out with the promise of a free fish and since Councils are now in on the act. chip dinner, outside the nearby Labour Club. A In 2015 WRG(NW)were awarded the long wait on a very cold Saturday morning John Heap salver from the Inland Waterways then ensued. By the time the van arrived even Association (WRG’s parent body and a prime my boots had turned blue. A vaguely apolomover in the restoration of our waterways) getic looking Mr Mac got out of the van and for their outstanding contribution to fund just said, “l know, I know. Jump in.” raising for the Association. Whilst readers The van, which was known as the might recall a previous article which ap“Black Pig” because it was black and was a peared in these pages which loosely acpig to drive, had been playing up. Little did I knowledged the role played by the WRG(NW) know that would become a trait synonymous sales stand in fund raising, and the ad hoc with WRG vehicles for many years to come. provision of refreshments, the horrible hisFortunately on that first morning the tory of the Paper Chase has yet to be told. cantankerous Black Pig and I soon warmed So, for those not already in the know here is up and within a few hours we were done and a brief résumé. dusted. As we surveyed a great mound of The Paper Chase was the brainchild (or paper in the back yard of Woodstock, which curse, depending on your point of view) of awaited transhipment to a nearby paper Tom Cook, one of the founding members of yard, a boisterous contentment was evident. WRG(NW) in 1977 - a group formed in the But I don’t think any of us thought that we afterglow of the restoration and reopening of would still be at it nearly 40 years later, or the Peak Forest and Ashton Canals in 1974. that we would have shifted 4,000 tons of the Tom, whose bedroom apparently constuff in that time. tained more magazines than bed, decided to During that time the price of paper has pacify a concerned mother by disposing of gone up and down like a yo-yo and there is the magazines before the magazines disno longer such a thing as a free lunch (now posed of the joists. Much to Tom’s surprise £2 a go). Nor do we still barricade the the local paper yard who relieved him of the McCarthy household with paper. We now magazines also paid him for the privilege. have a more civilised alternative whereby we News of Tom’s unexpected windfall soon fill a conveniently placed skip with more reached the hierarchy of WRG(NW) and an idea paper than it should reasonably hold. began to germinate in the halls of power, i.e. There have, of course, been a few Woodstock, home of the McCarthy family in the hiccups along the way: the odd skip that North Manchester suburb of Crumpsall.
The Paper Chase story
failed to turn up; the odd house that has disappeared (RlP 115 - 117 Chudleigh Road - demolished when they were in danger of following their gardens down Bowker Bank); and the odd mass desertion of volunteers at lunchtime (which in the days of old meant a late finish and afternoon tea at Woodstock for those remaining). But how do you sum up something which has gone on almost as long as my working life? If I had to describe the Paper Chase in one phrase it would be “always the same; always different”. It still begins and finishes in much the same place in Crumpsall, but the route taken between the two has remained as nebulous as ever, and still gives rise to arguments in which people are often heard asking “has anyone done...?” Indeed, many a good fish and chip lunch at Woodstock has in the past been interrupted by a telephone call from a local informing us that we had “missed number...” But these are minor gripes and over the years the funds raised (£100,000 and counting) have been used in activities which in the North West alone has seen the reopening of the Rochdale and Huddersfield canals and the restoration of Bugsworth Basin. More recently WRG has joined forces with the Hollinwood Canal Society to assist in the upkeep of the canal. But, aside from being a means to an end, the Paper Chase has also become an important social event for those involved in WRG(NW) particularly those who, for whatever reason, do not attend working parties. It has remained a constant, a social glue with greater adhesive qualities than Mike Chase’s porridge. Yet I would guess, for many of those involved in the Paper Chase, it just kind of happens ... a vague idea that it is approaching confirmed by a telephone call from Mr Mac, who would euphemistically invite potential volunteers for a fish and chip dinner. But behind the scenes liaisons were being made to ensure when we turn up there is somewhere to put the paper (the skip), somewhere to put the skip (the pub car park), somewhere to eat our fish and chips (the church hall), and somewhere to dunk our biscuits (an assortment of mugs that have somehow eluded
the clutches of Antiques Roadshow). All this is apart from special provisions that are made for the Christmas Paper Chase (mince pies, etc.) and any co-incidental birthdays (more confectionery). Sadly, I have to report that the culinary delights of 400 paper collections have taken their toll, and many of the WRG(NW)stalwarts now have waist measurements that resemble their age. More worrying, most of us have cholesterol levels that would be the envy of any fried Mars bar eating Glaswegian. Possibly worried that the health time bomb he had unintentionally created would at some point place unbearable demands on the A&E Department at Crumpsall Hospital, Mr Mac stood down in 2015 as Paper Chase co-ordinator. A typing error then resulted in Barry McGuinness (the other Mr Mac) assuming the role. Whilst Barry was still trying to work out how this had happened, and why, given that the position comes with a mandatory 35 year term, he would not now be able to retire until 2050, Mr Mac quietly slipped away and moved to a luxury bungalow in Rossendale. Stories that the auditors are still poring over the accounts of WRG(NW) are greatly exaggerated. Mr Mac still graces us with his presence at the Paper Chase, directing operations from his camper van and pointing out what we have done wrong - comments we willingly accept, and ignore. As the great jazz musician Sun Ra once said, “lf you can’t get it perfectly right, get it perfectly wrong.” Brian Lomas In compiling this piece Brian is grateful for the additional information provided by Mr Mac.
Infill Deirdre’s back, in slightly more serious mood... Dear Deirdre Perhaps you can help me out with a philosophical question. If we take out every single brick in a horribly derelict lock, can we really say it’s a ‘restoration’? Surely it becomes a complete rebuild? J.T., Frome
Deirdre writes I’m generally hostile to philosophical questions as they tend to distract people from getting on with site work, but I suppose it’s worth clarifying. WRG’s approach generally is to conserve, which means to hang on to as much original material as possible. That’s why there’s so much bloody brick cleaning! Strictly speaking, a restoration would involve restoring your lock to its original condition. If you were really purist, that probably means laying each brick one at a time with lime mortar just like the original navvies would have done. But that would often be almost impossible for volunteers to achieve within a reasonable timeframe. Depending on the project it’s likely that the site director will advise you to backfill using concrete and other materials such as plastic water pipes may also be used during the build. As it’s a lock intended for modern use there will also be a few changes to bring it up to standard. For safety reasons and practicality, this will include adding a ladder into the lock chamber where there probably wasn’t one before. That’s what makes WRG a bit different from, say, the National Trust. Their mission is to preserve. That means trying to stop their structures decaying any further, rather than restoring them to their original state and working use. If the bricks on your lock are too decayed to reuse, then we will replace with new brick as part of the restoration. We’ll also reuse the old brick where we can and not just to save money on materials – it also preserves the character of the original lock. Tempting though it is, we’ll stop short of replacing the whole lot with cement blocks even though this would save a lot of time! That’s what makes these kinds of projects a restoration rather than a rebuild, even though we might not get to reuse much of the original material.
Attention, balsam bashers! With the onset of the annual balsam-bashing season in early summer, our parent body the Inland Waterways Association was once again leading volunteer working parties all over the country’s canals and rivers, pulling up thousands of the dreaded invasive Himalayan Balsam plants which threaten to drive out our native species and then die back in winter, leaving the banks of the waterways exposed and weak. But this year there’s a difference: rather than just leave the plants to rot down, they’ve come up with a recipe for turning them into wine! Balsam wine recipe: Take a litre of balsam petals and 250g chopped raisins, put them in a suitable fermenting vessel (home brew bin, domestic bucket etc), add juice and zest of two lemons, and just enough boiling water to cover them. Add 1kg sugar, and when it’s cool add wine yeast and yeast nutrient. Cover and leave for two days. Strain into one-gallon demijohn, top up with cold pre-boiled water, add an airlock and leave it until fermentation has ceased (this could be three months). When clear, rack (syphon) into a clean demijohn, taking care not to disturb sediment. After another three months bottle it. It will improve for six months, so should be ready for drinking during the next balsam-bashing season.
Outro Inglesham progress Meanwhile Meanwhile at at Inglesham Inglesham there’s been there’s been some some good good progress progress on on the the early early stages stages of of rebuilding rebuilding the the lock lock where where the the Cotswold Cotswold Canals Canals meet meet the the Thames. Thames. This is how it looked before 2016’s This is how it looked before 2016’s camps... camps...
Jet-washing Jet-washing the the walls walls
All All scaffolded scaffolded out... out... The scaffolding crew
Coping Coping stones stones are are numbered numbered and and removed removed
...ready for pointing to start
WRG's magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways. August-September 2016.