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SOUTH WEST REGION COMMITTEES South West Region Committee: Chairman: Roger Holmes Hon. Secretary: Ray Alexander Sou'Wester Editor Peter Kelly Tops’l, 25 Essa Road, Saltash, Cornwall, PL12 4EE 01752 843556 Committee Members Geoff Harman Lynda Martin. Branch Chairmen: ex officio Avon & Wilts Branch Committee: President: Fred Blampied Chairman: John Gornall & Membership: Vice-Chairman & Events: Geoff Harman, Hon. Secretary: Hon. Treasurer: Committee: Salisbury Group: 0117 3296470 0117 9623812 Jeanne Aldous 0117 9324889 David Chalmers 0117 9720423 Tim Wheeldon John Lewis. Ron & Myra Glover 01722 710322 Jon Van de Geer 01722 412841

Gloucestershire & Herefordshire Branch Committee: Chairman & Publicity Roger Holmes Hon. Secretary: Susan Holmes Hon. Treasurer: Martin Phillips Committee: Chris Hanscombe Maggie Jones David Ramsey Belinda Sprigg Martin Turner Gordon Horrower gordon South Wales Branch Committee: Chairman: Margaret Gwalter Hon. Secretary: Pat Cleary Hon. Treasurer: Henry Brown Membership Tony Pugh Committee: Jude Biss Bill Hockey Mike Synan West Country Branch Committee: Chairman: Bob Abbott Hon. Secretary: Peter Kelly Hon Treasurer Mike Moore Committee: Chris Jewell Ray Alexander Hilary Wills Adrian Wills

The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association or of the South West Region. They are, however, published as being of interest to our members and readers.


Message from the Region Chairman I have been regional chairman for 4 months now and am now beginning to appreciate the many duties of the role. I was pleased to meet some of you at the recent round of AGM’s I particularly enjoyed my visit to the West Country Branch at Bude where as well as the AGM we had a guided tour of the Bude Canal. I had never visited there before and I was very impressed with the work done. At the Avon and Wilts AGM my team won the skittles after the meeting!!!!!! . I was sorry to miss the opening of the visitor centre at Tiverton. The IWA Trailboat Festival is being held on the Grand Western Canal next year. This is the third time in four years this region has hosted it so we must be doing something right. The IWA are still grappling with the problem of continuous moorers. In this area there is a problem at the bottom of the Kennet and Avon. Canal and Rivers Trust are attempting to solve the situation but it is proving very costly and time consuming. Nationally they have allocated £500,000 in an attempt to rectify the situation. There has been a serious breach on the Great Western canal and everybody has been pleased by the sum of £2m which Devon Council is putting into the canal in anticipation of the trail boat festival. In the north of the region freight is returning to the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal which is a good us of a commercial waterway. Long may this trend continue. If any member wishes to contact me please do so my details are on the inside cover of this edition and I would be pleased to help if I can.

Roger Holmes 2

Gloucestershire and Herefordshire Branch The AGM held recently was very well attended mainly because that day the branch chair had appeared on Radio Gloucestershire and also the replacement by CRT of user forums with one to one surgeries which has not proved popular. The formal proceeding did not take long but I was pleased to welcome Gordon Harrower onto the branch committee. I am sure he will be a worthwhile addition as he is chair of the National Finance Committee. After the formal proceeding there was an address by Jack Hegarty the chair of the South Wales and Severn Waterways Partnership (CRT locally). The main points of his interesting presentation were: CRT is making efforts to solve the problem of continuous moorers. There is a need for volunteers both locally and nationally to help run the system. They will be talking to large business to obtain sponsorship There is a 10 year vision for the waterways, IWA was invited to give a presentation at the next partnership meeting. Attempt to encourage more interest in waterways by younger persons. At present boat owners are older due to costs and lifestyle decisions. The replacement of User Forums by surgeries. Locally to attempt to control the flood risks of the Severn and to find a way of increasing the opening times of bridges and locks. Visitors should be encouraged to visit Gloucester Docks and more should be made of their heritage. He hoped to work with IWA locally to mutual advantage.

Roger Holmes


A Day as A Radio Star Recently I was given an insight into how local radio works. The Gloucestershire and Herefordshire produce a newsletter which it sends by post to all members. The latest edition had an article about Saul Junction. Somehow Radio Gloucestershire picked this up and I was most surprised to receive a phone call asking if I would be prepared to be interviewed on their breakfast programme the next day. They then recorded over the phone a very short piece which was to be used as an introduction the next day and I needed to be available at 7pam. I set my alarm clock as that was very early for me I actually got up at 6 30 am switched on the radio only to be surprised by hearing myself speak I then realised how awful my voice sounds. When they got to their news slot this item was the first even before the very important events worldwide. They had also previously sent a reporter to Saul to get the reactions of passers by. At 7 am the phone rang and I was told I was connected to the studio I listened intently to the news bulletin, the weather, and the travel and all of a sudden I was on. The interview lasted about ten minutes and I was asked some very probing questions to the extent that I felt the presenter was very anti my point of view. For the next hour every few minute’s parts of my interviews were broadcast. After the 8am news a CRT spokesman was interviewed and it was at that point that I realised that the presenter had not been that hard on me he was playing devil’s advocate. They continued the item until the end of the programme. To my surprise it then appeared on the internet and the BBC red button service. In the evening I switched on my car radio and it was still being broadcast A Very interesting day Roger Holmes


Presentation by Martin Philips, Gloucester & Herefordshire Branch, of a cheque for £250 for the Inglesham Appeal, to Mike Guest, Chairman, Cotswold Canals Trust

.A ‘Rea Plea’ from the Friends of the Leominster Canal PLEASE - CAN YOU HELP US - ? No - we don’t mean the usual kind of canal working party! Nothing strenuous is required and it’s by no means time consuming, because what we’re asking for is simply publicity. Lots and lots of publicity is required; and so, if you possibly can, then please spread the word about the Rea Aqueduct’s demise. Yes, demise is the right word here, because it’s too far gone for restoration or any sort of repair; in fact, the aqueduct is in a dangerous condition and will need to be demolished. Although demolition is inevitable, there is need for great care with this, because archaeological recording should be a high priority. We also believe that as much of the abutments as is practicable should be preserved, but most of all, we shall need a replacement footbridge and the footpath leading down from Southnett Wharf house is in considerable disarray.

Please SPREAD THE WORD, and thank you! 5

Avon & Wilts Branch Notes on the Branch AGM, held at the Friends Life Sports Club, Henbury st 21 March 2013 A very small attendance out of the total Branch membership of several hundred: 16 members attended, including the Region Chairman, Roger Holmes and his wife Sue, the Branch Chairman, John Gornall, Branch Secretary, Jeanne Aldous, and Branch Treasurer David Chalmers. There were half-a-dozen apologies for absence. After the Minutes of the 2012 AGM were agreed, the Branch Chairman reported on the meetings and activities of the Branch committee, and its composition, in the past year. He reported on the strength of the Branch membership, which had decreased slightly in the previous twelve months, and urged every effort to recruit members. He highlighted the changes to availability of membership, namely monthly payments and electronic membership. The Chairman’s report covered the social meetings and activities of the Branch, at the new venue of “Sabrina VI”, the headquarters vessel of Bristol Cruising Club in Bristol’s Floating Harbour, as well as a summer cruise on board PS Waverley in the Bristol Channel, and a Sunday lunch meeting at a local golf club. John reported on restoration, conservation and volunteer maintenance opportunities, primarily connected with the Wilts & Berks Canal, the Somersetshire Coal Canal, and the River Avon. As well as thanking the rest of the Branch committee for their support, and also other members for their contributions, the Branch Chairman concluded his report by calling for support for the Region AGM weekend at Royal Wootton Bassett, as this year the Branch had taken responsibility for organising the programme. Roger Holmes, the new Chairman of South West Region, introduced himself, and took up threads of the Branch Chairman’s Report, particularly in relation to membership matters and the forthcoming Region AGM; he spoke of the IWA relationship with Canal & River Trust, and publicised the next two National Festivals. David Chalmers, the Branch Treasurer, reported on the financial affairs of the Branch in 2012. The income and expenditure during the year had more or less balanced out, and there had been sufficient funds to make donations to the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust in relation to the Melksham Link project, and to the Somersetshire Coal Canal Society to finance arrangements for WRG work parties. All members of the current committee were due for re-election, and being willing to stand again, were re-elected by the meeting en bloc, nem.con. Following the close of the business meeting, those present enjoyed the buffet supper laid on by the venue, and continued the remainder of the evening in the adjacent skittle alley, where a team led by the Region Chairman narrowly defeated the team led by the Branch Chairman. 6

West Country Branch AGM 9th March 2013 The day commenced at 10am with a guided walk from the Bude Sea Lock to Helebridge Basin on the in-water broad section of the canal. The guide being Chris Jewell, who as well as being a long standing member of the West Country Branch Committee, is also a Trustee of the Chris Jewell, Bob Abbott & Bude Canal and Roger Holmes at Sea Lock Harbour Society.

At the Sea Lock a potted history of how, who, why and canal was given along the canal Helebridge. The members, 9 in total, along the canal.

Boats in the Sea Lock

the wherefore of the before the walk started towards select band of hardy then moved off

There is still a lot of evidence in the first half mile of previous structures and functions of the canal, including the sand railway, company premises and boundary walls, the 1st lifeboat station beside the canal, as well as former wharfs and warehouses, many of which have 21st century uses now. After this concentrated area, the canal opens out into the pleasant Bude Valley of the River Strat, which is very green and mellow and popular with residents and tourists alike and a valuable asset for humans and all manner of wildlife. 7

After a mile or so, Rodds Bridge is reached. This is the low level bridge which prevents the 2 mile section of waterway from becoming navigable and which, despite being part of the regeneration project in 2008/9, has still not been replaced to allow passage up and down the canal. Part of the reason was due to the removal of funding which has been compounded by the now owners, Cornwall Council, flatly refusing to complete the project and allow the waterway to develop other tourist activities. After the bridge is Rodds Bridge Lock and then Whalesborough Lock, both fully restored to working locks. Both languishing, awaiting usage by boats. After Whalesborough Lock is the new Whalesborough Farm Bridge, constructed with a 7’ clearance to allow navigation and a very fine bridge it is Continuing past Whalesborough Weir, where you pass the River Strat descends to wander down the valley to Bude and the Atlantic Ocean, under the A39, via the pedestrian underpass, constructed as part of the Regeneration Project and a most welcome asset. Approximately at this point is where the railway into Bude crossed the canal and River Strat on a fine brick viaduct. Moving on, there is the Helebridge Basin and former wharf, the end of the broad canal and the start of the narrower, shallower Tub Boat Canal with its wheeled tub boats and inclined planes powered by water driven machines. At the end of the wharf is the former warehouse and Barge Workshop, now owned by Bude Stratton Town Council and used as the resting place for a recovered Bude Canal wooden tub boat as well as the myriad of other local heritage artefacts. Including timbers recovered from the River Strat in 1995, which are believed to be remnants of an ancient causeway at the site of the Bude Canal wooden Tub Boat footbridge, known as in Helebridge Workshop Nanny Moores Bridge. 8

These timbers are due to be dated to establish their age. The intention was to walk back to Bude in time for lunch, but, as is often found, there is a lot to see and ponder and thus lifts were secured back to Bude in time for a tasty lunch and conviviality before the afternoon meeting. Bob Abbott Chairman, West Country Branch

West Country Branch Branch Report Our AGM went off smoothly on 9 March at Bude, albeit with low numbers, but the weather was kind which enabled our group to visit the unique Sea Lock. We received a guided walk and talk from our member Chris Jewell for about 2 miles along the picturesque Bude Canal up to, and beyond, Rodds Bridge. What a shame Cornwall County Council won’t stump up the monies from their bulging coffers to raise the fixed road bridge (or even build a lift bridge?) to allow full navigation for all water traffic to utilise these 2 miles! What a big boost to tourism and boating that could be to the area! The Branch is still seeking to strengthen and broaden its committee structure and we urgently seek two additional members who (ideally but not necessarily) have either marketing/publicity interest or another who is keen to promote events/fundraising activities. Phone or email me anytime to discuss these roles and I can send a brief description of the responsibilities by post or email. We also welcome Ray Alexander as an additional committee member. Ever important finances remain strong and over the year we have agreed to grant over £2600 to various waterways projects for which we are justifiably proud. We also hold £1500 of pre allocated funds for both the Bude Canal and the aforementioned Rodds Bridge project. Committee members are aiming to hold committee and open meetings nearer our membership groupings but with West Country Branch’s four counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset being over 100 plus miles across and over 200 miles long it causes a major logistical hurdle.


Any deas for meetings/venues/subjects from our branch membership would be welcome by just phoning/emailing me.....please!! We were invited to place our IWA stand at the Somerset Waterways Development Trust’s Easter Egg Hunt at Taunton on 31 March which, though cold was at least sunny and they raised around £300 for their funds plus a lot of goodwill. I signed up 5 new IWA members and sales of our brochures etc. produced a net surplus of over £9. Plus we seemed to eat too many cream eggs! The electric 12 seat trip boat ‘Future Perfect’ based on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal is running out of steam! Well not quite “steam” but after nearly 3 years of operating and suffering from recurring charging system failures its Battery bank is producing less than the 100% needed for continuous daily cruising. South West Development Trust needs over £2000 to replace them. Ideas, suggestions, donations, (or batteries!) would be more than welcome. Any helpful thoughts then please contact their Boat Manager Ken Bussell’s email: Grand Western Canal at Tiverton formally opened its new Visitor Centre doors on 7 April and many local dignitaries and support group representatives were present. Both I and Les Etheridge were in attendance. A good day but again cold and sunny. I was talking too much and missed out on the horse drawn barge trip but I fully intend to revisit with family and friends. Its well “brown signed” and easy to find on the A361 4/5 miles from junction 27 off the M5. Well recommended! (A fuller report appears elsewhere in this Sou'Wester) Finally – many thanks to Roger Holmes for his interest and support in his new role as South West Regional Chairman when he attended both our last general committee meeting near Cheddar and our AGM at Bude with his wife....good company for my wife indeed! Also thanks to our own Peter Kelly for his ongoing battle to keep us all informed via these Sou’Westers. Bob Abbott Chairman, West Country Branch . 10

New Grand Western Canal Visitor Centre opens Four years since plans were first approved, and with a design that has challenged archaeologists and conservationists alike, Devon County Council’s Grand Western Canal visitor centre has now officially opened. The Chairman of Devon County Council, Cllr Jerry Brook was joined by local Olympic athlete, Jo Pavey, who regularly trains on the canal’s towpath. The canal, it’s said, is one of the attractions that led Jo to settle in Devon. The new visitors’ centre includes high-tech interactive touchscreen displays with information, film and photographs celebrating the canal’s history and local wildlife. Some older photographs of the canal have been donated to the centre by local people following an appeal last year. For the first time, visitors can now explore the canal using a series of 360 degree photographs, taken at points along its length. And with on screen controls, take in views all around, including local landmarks off the immediate tow-path. Designed by the Council’s property agents NPS South West Ltd, and built by Devon-based Skinner Construction, the visitor centre is elliptical, using natural and traditional materials including green oak cladding and terne-coated steel that will weather to look like lead; all helping the building to quickly settle into its landscape. Below ground, the centre is built on a subterranean Grade II-listed limekiln. Considerable archaeological excavation had to go into work to first pinpoint the exact location and size of the protected limekiln, and to ensure that the visitor centre’s foundations did not damage in any way the kiln beneath. 11

Twelve piles, driven 6 metres (almost 20 feet) into the ground provide foundations for the building with a sophisticated steel frame, sitting across the pile caps, that supports a substantial section of the building with a cantilever. The building above ground is environmentally designed and insulated in ways that mean no heating or air conditioning is required. A ‘green’ roof provides a habitat for a range of insects, and soaks up rainfall to feed it back into the canal. The £305,000 project has been funded by Devon County Council from proceeds of the sale of Exeter Interior view with Horse, cart and displays International Airport, including contributions from Tiverton Town Council and The Friends of the Grand Western Canal. The new centre has already been well received by local residents and visitors. The Council’s Chairman, Cllr Jerry Brook, said: “I am delighted to officially open this incredible building, from which the entire length of the Grand Western Canal can be enjoyed. It is packed full of information about the canal’s local environment, while being entertaining and educational for visitors of all ages” “Devon has a glorious heritage, and the Grand Western Canal has played, and still does play, a vital part of it.” “With this centre we are celebrating that heritage, and as we approach the canal’s 200th birthday, I am sure that people’s appreciation and love for it will continue for generations to come.” 12

Grand Western Canal Council approves ÂŁ3M to repair and restore Devon County Council has confirmed its decision to repair, restore and modernise part of the Grand Western Canal following extensive damage in November last year. The Devon County Council owned canal suffered a serious breach on 21 November 2012 at the Swing embankment which rises nearly 60 feet from surrounding fields at Halberton. This followed unprecedented rainfall of 38mm during the early hours coupled with the inflow of water into the canal from adjoining land. Water levels in the canal rose by 25cm within a matter of hours. The Canal is now dammed at Greenway Bridge and Rock Bridge. This mile section at Halberton is closed, as is the towpath between Swing Bridge and Rock Bridge. The rest of the canal remains open, with a towpath diversion in place between Swing Bridge and Battens Bridge The canal is an important tourist attraction in Mid Devon and receives around 250,000 visitors a year. In addition, between 60 and 120 full time jobs are directly related to the Canal and 25 businesses are linked to it in some way. 13

It is proposed that the embankment is restored in time for the Canal’s bicentenary celebrations in 2014. Work is due to commence in early June 2013 and be completed by the end of the year. In the meantime the Canal remains open to enjoy throughout its 11 mile length, except for a ¼ mile section, around which a short diversion has been set up. Cabinet Member for Environment and Communities Roger Croad says; “This is an important job and I’m pleased that we are able to provide this cash injection into the restoration work. The canal is a popular tourist attraction providing jobs and supporting businesses in the area. It is clearly a much used resource in the local community providing a range of leisure opportunities and recreation. The feeling amongst all members is one of overwhelming support for this project and I look forward to seeing it progress.” Local member for Tiverton, Des Hannon said; “This is fabulous news for Halberton, Tiverton and Mid Devon. Our canal is the heart of the community and is a ‘green lung’ for the local community. It’s a catalyst for our local economy and is a great symbol of our long heritage. It’s good to see the County Council matching the community’s enthusiasm for this project with hard cash.” To restore the canal embankment together with works and studies to improve the canal’s infrastructure, an overall cost of 3 million has been estimated. (Repairs now underway and estimate revised downwards – Editor) Review of a recent book about a very tiny local waterway The River Isbourne by Mike Lovatt (Amberley Publishing, Stroud 2012). Sources of the River Isbourne's water are the many springs emerging on the Cotswold slopes north of Cheltenham, the resulting streams joining the river at various points, and finally running into the River Avon near Evesham. This absorbing book describes how throughout history, local communities have used this small country river. Watermills immediately spring to mind but their purpose was very wide-ranging: grinding corn of course, but also making paper, powering sawmills, spinning silk and many other uses. Many of the buildings mentioned can still be seen today, also the remains of millponds, sluices, sheep washes and so on. Copiously illustrated with photos old and new, this book provides a fascinating insight into the lives of country people in North Gloucestershire. Rosemary Phillips 14

Swansea Canal Society ‘Clear’ Winners. ‘ Clear Streams’, a new category, was introduced into the Sustainable Swansea Awards for 2012. The awards are held every two years so all the work that the Society has done since 2010 in improving the canal environment was considered by the judges.

This period coincided with several members of the Society becoming Keep Wales Tidy Litter Volunteers for the canal, a joint British Waterways and SCS Big Clean Up of the canal in April 2011, and the formation of a weekly SCS clean-up team in May 2011 that has worked on the canal each week in all weathers for the past two years. Members own three kayaks, a canoe, a small dinghy and a Dory which enable them to clear litter and vegetation from the channel and the off side banks. The removal of invasive plants, notably Himalayan Balsam, the planting of native species for the benefit of wildlife, and the work done in widening the channels were also considered by the judges. The Awards were made on March the 20th at the Marriott Hotel and in giving the first prize to Swansea Canal Society the judges’ spoke of the ‘inspiring nature’ of the Society’s work and its close links with the community. The picture shows, from left to right, John Gwalter, Treasurer and Trustee, Martin Davies, Maintenance Team Organiser, Meryl Hunt, Secretary and Trustee, and Jude Biss, Chairperson and Trustee with the award. Each award was made of recycled glass.

Martin Davies,



Reports 2013

JANUARY 2013 Ron and Myra Glover have cruised in the Burgundy area of France on several occasions, firstly in their trail boat,” Prinsesse Estrith”, and later in their Dutch steel cruiser “Elsa” Talking at the January meeting they described their journeys on the seven waterways that make up the Burgundy ring. During their talk they compared how the waterways have changed and developed since their first visit in their trail boat in 1992. Included in their talk were histories and details of the waterways together with information about specific points of interest. One of the aims of their first visit was to attend a rally organised by Les Amis du Canal du Nivernais at Clamecy, the Nivernais being twinned with the Kennet and Avon Canal. The Nivernais is one of the few canals that have not been enlarged to allow the use of larger modern cargo boats. The most historical structure shown was the staircase of seven locks at Rogny on the Briare Canal. Construction was started in 1610 and eventually they opened in 1642 and were in use for 245 years when the size of craft became too large to fit the staircase locks and a bypass canal had to be built. These lock chambers, now a historical monument, are in pristine condition due to the quality of their stone construction. Another interesting structure is the Briare aqueduct crossing the river Loire, built by M.Eiffel and opened in 1896. It was constructed to avoid having to lock down and travel along the River Loire, which is often in drought or flood, before locking back up onto the canal. It is interesting to see what changes have taken place over the years along these seven waterways. Originally almost all locks had their own individual lock keeper (eclusier). As time progressed one eclusier became responsible for a section of locks and they were issued with vans or mopeds to travel between locks. (The traditional job of lock keeping is now frequently carried out by students in the holiday season.) Communication between locks has now changed dramatically. Originally each lock keeper’s base would have a very tall aerial and a fixed radio, which had a distinctive musical chime, enabling the lock keeper to hear whilst outside working the lock. In more recent times mobile phones have totally taken over this task of communication. 16

At the present time the use of canals by commercial traffic is diminishing and they are now geared up to suit the leisure industry. Some locks are now automatic and controlled by the leisure boaters themselves. It should be remembered however, that a waterways official is always on call if any problems ever occur! FEBRUARY 2013. At the February meeting Peter Boyce gave us a fascinating account covering the restoration of the wooden narrow boat “Lucy” a butty originally launched at Braunston in 1952. His talk followed these eight points Why are there wooden narrow boats? Why do they need restoring? Why restore them? How do you start, rescue and recovery? Know your boat, record, research. Taking apart, photograph, measure, photograph. Putting back together. Traditional and modern tools and techniques. Peter introduced us to three wooden narrow boats. James Loader, 1946, a tug used for carrying coal. Clent, built at Rickmansworth in 1948 and Lucy. Peter explained that it is important to restore them as they are the last of their kind, important historically and it is important to keep them as a living record. Lucy was bought for £1 in 2009 in a very poor state. We saw how she had to be wrapped in a plastic nappy in order to be craned out on a metal frame to be transported to his yard. Peter virtually dismantled Lucy, carefully cataloguing each part. Many pieces have had to be replaced, in places using the advantage of modern materials such as stainless steel screws which won’t rust like the original iron ones. Some modern methods were utilised such as using wallpaper steamers to bend the planks into shape, easier and safer than the traditional steaming box! At the end we saw a short film entitled “The Plank” demonstrating how the enormous planks of wood were steamed, bent and attached to form the hull. Peter had a large number of items on display. This included old, rotten pieces of wood from Lucy and new cut pieces ready to install. Also on show were traditional tools including some that were actually used to build Lucy in 1952

MARCH 2013 At the March meeting we welcomed back Paul Barnett for the third instalment of his hulks trilogy. To begin with, Paul reminded us how in 1999 he wandered into Purton’s graveyard of ships and has now discovered 86 vessels at this site. Found on the opposite side of the River Severn we were again reminded about the history of the 1930s working dock at Lydney. 17

Tonight’s story took us down the River Severn from the round house of the old Severn and Wye Railway Bridge to Sharpness. On this journey we were shown the last resting places of various vessels that were beached in order to prevent erosion of the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal which runs very close to the River Severn. Paul showed us pictures of vessels in their final resting places often obscured by vegetation and years of silt. What is so fascinating is that Paul is able to recognise the remains of many of the craft and with his thorough research is able to show photographs of the vessels during their working lives. Included were fascinating pictures of Sharpness Docks in its heyday full of craft plying their trade. It is interesting to hear how, in his research, Paul was able to interview people who were involved with these working vessels before they were retired.

I am Roy Scrivens, owner of Narrowboat ‘BABUSKA’, Russian for old women. She is a .23 ft “Springer”, a pretty little boat. Moored on the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal - one of the forgotten canals; it might be short (15 miles long) and landlocked but what a beauty it is. Bridgwater is at one end, with its docks used to carry bricks everywhere. These bricks were made from Bridgwater clay which came from the Burnham on Sea area. These clay pits are now closed and the area turned into a country park. Burnham on Sea front is all worth a drive to have a look. At the other end is Taunton, Somerset’s county town and home of Somerset cricket ground, once graced by Ian Bothham .and Viv Richards, to name but two of their International stars. Taunton has a large town centre with a good selection of shops both modern and traditional. Both towns are on the M5. This is handy for canal countryside, walking, riding, cycling and wild life. Myra and Ron Glover

‘BABUSHKA’, my boat, is moored half way between Brigwater and Taunton at Mauncel Lock. Only 3 boats are moored above the lock and 4 club boats below. The Lock has everything; tearooms, .shower,. toilet, refuse, sanitation point and a car park. I have been on the B/F for two years with ‘BUBUSKA’. and before that, three years at Devizes Marina on ‘VICTORIA, a 30 ft GRP Dawncraft cruiser. Devizes has a 15 mile lock-free pound. I only did one lock in my three years there. The Bridgwater/Taunton Canal was originally built to run from Tiverton to Taunton and on to Bridgwater and then down to Poole linking Bristol Channel with The English Channel but that bloke Brunel messed up that little idea. Funny that both men’s name starts with a “B”; Brunel started the railway and Beeching finished it. The other forgotten canal down our way is the Grand Western out of Tiverton; .again landlocked but run by the local council as a nature walk with just a few boats but again worth a visit. Tiverton has a horse drawn trip boat, floating cafe and car park. Roy Scrivens, Crewkerne. (no canal, just a brook!)


2014 IWA National Trailboat Festival The 2014 IWA National Trailboat Festival is to be held at the Grand Western Canal Country Park. The festival will take place over the late May Bank Holiday weekend, 24th – 26th May in 2014. There will be a big public festival day held at the Mid-Devon Showground on Saturday 24th May, with a range of live music, performers and entertainments, all with a birthday party theme. There will also be a number of smaller satellite events happening at locations along the Canal on the other two days, including an illuminated night time parade in Tiverton and a fun day in Sampford Peverell. The event will form the main celebration of the Canal’s bicentenary year. Construction work began in 1810 and was completed in 1814. The event will also provide an opportunity to celebrate completion of repairs to the breached embankment at Halberton, and will enable the message to be spread nationally that the Canal is once again fully operational. The Canal remains open for all to enjoy with just a small diversion from Swing Bridge to Watton Bridge whilst those repairs are carried out. Works on repairing the embankment are due to commence in June and, all being well, should be completed by the end of this year. The festival will attract dozens of colourful trailboats from around the UK. Thousands of visitors enjoyed live music and entertainment at IWA's 2008 National Trailboat Festival, which was also held by the Grand Western Canal, and the 2014 festival aims to be even better. The 2014 IWA National Trailboat Festival will be organised and run by Devon County Council’s Grand Western Canal Ranger Service, under the direction of an organising committee which includes local Canal enthusiasts and councillors, on behalf of IWA.


Avon & Wiltshire IWA Branch Social Programme 2013-14 Our evening meetings are held afloat on board the Bristol Cruising Club`s Severn barge Sabrina VI, lying adjacent to Redliffe bridge (BS1 6LY) in Bristol City Docks. There is parking near St Mary Redcliffe and city buses 20, 24, 25, 52, 75, 76 and 90 pass. All other buses serve the Centre (500m). Temple Meads station is 600m away.

Sabrina VI


Thursday 10 October 2013 at 7.30pm “The History and Restoration of the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal” – an illustrated talk by Ted Beagles of the H & G Canal Trust.


Thursday 14 November 2013 at 7.30pm “The Kiel Canal and Beyond” – an illustrated talk by Vivienne Hook th

Thursday 12 December 2013 at 7.30pm A Christmas Beatle Drive with mince pies. £2.50 per person th

Sunday 19 January 2014, 12.30 for 1 pm Our annual Sunday Lunch get-together at the Bristol Golf Club, Blackhorse Hill, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS 10 7TP (close to J17 of the M5, on the B4055). A three course lunch with coffee £20. Members of other branches will be very welcome. th

Thursday 13 February 2014 at 7.30pm = Speaker to be announced Saturday 14th June 2014 - A towpath walk - details later.

For further information, and lunch booking contact Geoff Harman on: 0117 9623812 or 20

Gloucestershire and Herefordshire Branch Social Programme 2013-14 TALL SHIPS The Tall Ships Festival held in Gloucester Dock in May was as usual a huge success. The IWA arranged a boat gathering in the dock at the same time. The branch stall was also very popular with takings of nearly £400, which together with the moorings money meant that we were able to donate £375 each to Hereford and Gloucester Canal Trust- Land Fund and Cotswold Canal Trust- Bowbridge Lock Appeal two very worthwhile causes. During the event the Branch chair appeared on Radio Gloucester which helped raise the profile of the IWA Forthcoming events The Branch Social events commence again in September. As usual a full program of interesting speakers has been lined up. Meetings will be in Gloucester Yacht Club Gloucester Dock starting at 7.30pm.UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED. Everybody is welcome and admission is free! th _ September 5 The River Avon - Clive Mathews General Manager Avon Navigation Trust and member South Wales and Severn Waterways Partnership. October 3

rd _

Wilts and Berks Canal Trust-Chris Coyle

Special meeting th _

November 12 The Hereford and Gloucester Canal---Dick Skeet This meeting is a joint meeting between the IWA Cotswold Canals Trust and Hereford and Gloucester Canal Trust. It is being held at the Frome bridge Mill Whitminster at 7 30pm Please note that this is a change of venue from Whitminster Inn It is hoped that having a joint meeting sponsored by IWA will start a new era in relations between all the organisations. th

December 5 Branch Christmas Social with Food and entertainment at Gloucester Yacht Club. Admission will be by ticket - details to follow. st

January 21 2014 - The Cotswold Canals - Martin Turner - A joint meeting between IWA Cotswold Canal Trust and Hereford and Gloucester Canal Trust being held at the Royal Oak, Much Marcle at 8 pm. th 6 February 2014- It is hoped to have a talk on Somerset Coal Canal th 6 March 2014 – Branch AGM. This will be followed by a speaker T.B.A. rd 3 April 2014 – Last meeting before the summer break speaker T.B.A. 21

Editorial I must apologise for the late publication of this issue of Sou’Wester which was caused by medical problems on my part; I am pleased to report that one of them, my knee has been resolved by replacement of the joint which has plenty of miles to go so do not invite ne for a walk because I am raring to go. So on to business, we have plenty of interest in this issue with the most important the commencement or work on the Grand Western Canal after the breach which can be seen on the front cover. Much credit must go to Devon County Council for their belief in the importance of waterways in our Region and this is further illustrated by the building of the marvellous new Visitor Centre in Tiverton. Now it is up to you, the IWA membership to come along and support YOUR National Trailboat Festival on the Grand Western Canal 24 – 26 May 2014. Our region is often written off regarding working waterways. For instance, how many of you appreciate that there are over 30 in the West Country Branch area alone or where the nearest one are is. to you. This is our chance to tell the public our waterways are important to them and that is why we want to preserve them for all to see and appreciate. Now moving on to business and contributions to Sou’Wester; I work in Microsoft Word, Arial-type font on A5 paper with a 1 cm. Margin around it. Now, It is easy for me to talk about these specifications I work to but I do appreciate this can be Gobbledegook to some. Basically send articles to me, preferably in Microsoft Word, although I can work with other formats but some conversions are difficult; Photographs should be attached to the email NOT embedded in either the article nor email. This is very important as they are often difficult to extract and lose some of its sharpness at the end of the process. If you have a particular layout in mind for your article let me know and I will try and accommodate your wishes. If it helps, type “photograph XXX” in large letters where you want it and I will do the rest. That is it for this issue, enjoy the remainder of the summer and keep the contributions coming in, short or long (but not too long!) they are all welcome. Peter Kelly 22

Sou'wester - Summer 2013  

South West Regional Magazine, Summer 2013 edition

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