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May 2012


Journal of the IWA’s Milton Keynes Branch

Startopsend Reservoir, Grand Union Canal South. Main picture taken by the Editor on 18 April from the same viewpoint as Tony Collins’October picture (inset) as published in January’s TPT. As can be seen, the reservoir’s level has recovered only slightly over the winter. Read Waterway Manager Jeff Whyatt’s appraisal of the local water supply position on Page 10.

The Inland Waterways Association

The IWA (registered charity no. 212342) campaigns for the restoration, conservation and sensitive development of the waterways, and for their fullest commercial and recreational use consistent with safeguarding their historic and natural environment. If you are not a member and would like to find out more: contact any of the Branch Committee members listed on Page 16; contact IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA, telephone 01494 783453; visit the IWAweb site at:

Welcome to May 2012 Towpath Telegraph . . . The process of turning British Waterways into a Charity grinds on. By the time the next edition of TPT appears, it may all be over, and BW will be consigned to history in England and Wales at least. Meanwhile, the Diary pages in this edition are packed with ideas for spending summer days on or near the cut provided that all the recent rain ends up where it’s desperately needed - in the reservoirs! We hope you enjoy this edition.

Chairman's column 2-3 Region news 3 £500 grant from Police 3 “Throw-away” citizens of MK beginning to learn? 4 Wendover Festival cancelled 5 New members 6 Buckingham Canal Society news 6 Branch “adopts” Fenny Lock 6 Iron Trunk spruced up for its bi-centenary 7 Diary Pages 8-9 Water supply: “a long way to go before . . . easing restrictions” 10 - 11 British Waterways reduces licence evasion 11 Save the Branch money - read TPT on-line 12 Canal & River Trust appoints Heritage Committee 13 Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway news 14 The Editor’s Page 15 Canal & River Trust now registered as a Charity 15 Getting in touch with MK Branch 16

Chairman’s Column

I expect most of you can recall the drought of 1976 when the slogan "Save water - bath with a friend" was prominent. A Minister for Drought - Denis Howell - was appointed and nicknamed "Minister for Rain". In June 1976 only 0.3mm had fallen, but days after his appointment widespread flooding occurred, and Howell was named Minister for Floods. Have a look at this table: Approximate Rainfall (figures from the Met Office for Cambridge) Month February June

Total for 12 months








1962 1976 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

11.4 14.4 25.2 50.1 12.8 47.9 70.6 28.2 8.6

0.4 0.6 1.0 2.0 0.5 1.9 2.8 1.1 0.3

0.1 8.3 18.9 59.0 34.6 40.8 25.4 53.0 ---

0.0 0.3 0.7 2.3 1.4 1.6 1.0 2.1 ---

471.8 498.3 521.7 598.7 610.6 527.6 481.5 347.2 ---

18.6 19.6 20.5 23.6 24.0 20.8 19.0 13.7 ---

The records for past years show dry months being compensated by very wet months, but that is not the current trend - in 2011 Cambridge only received 57% of the rainfall it had in 2008. So it is good to see BW and the water utility companies being pro-active in taking measures to conserve water now rather than later in the year when all the reservoirs are dried up. All boaters will have to plan trips very carefully to take account of lock opening times, particularly hirers who are only boating for Page 2

Chairman’s Column - continued.


a limited time. Of course all boaters will be showing good etiquette at locks, sharing them, waiting for a fellow-traveller to lock with, or for a Trustees have approved that boat to come in the opposite direction to save turning a lock around. Jeff Northampton Branch move Whyatt’s latest update on the water reserves can be found on Page 10. Another splendid effort during the clean up! It was good to see so many volunteers, particularly the Scouts who now attend regularly. We had good coverage on Three Counties Radio; an interview with David King was played several times during Friday and Saturday. The usual amount of rubbish was collected. Thanks to Wyvern Shipping for their continued sponsorship, to BW for supplying protective equipment and a dredger with crew (for the really big stuff), and of course to all those who gave up their weekend to help. See Page 4 for a more detailed report.

from East Midlands Region to Eastern Region, following a request by the branch and representations from neighbouring branches. Trustees have also agreed that the name of Cambridge Branch be changed to Great Ouse Branch to reflect the wide area, from Kings Lynn to Bedford, that the branch covers. Both these changes take effect immediately.

I usually agree with much that Steve Haywood says in his Canal Boat column, but not on his current topic (May edition). He is "unhappy" that for the four places available to represent boaters, three of those elected were IWA Trustees. I would remind him that without the IWA there would be no canals, and hence no need for CRT. So Steve, my opinion is that it is fitting that these places went to representatives who serve the Last year, former Branch IWA and the general interest of boaters. Chairman Tony Collins ap-

£500 grant from Police

plied on our behalf to Thames Valley Police for a grant from the Police Properties Act fund, which is derived from the sale of unclaimed items including stolen property. In January, we heard that a £500 grant had been approved. At April's Committee meeting, several suggestions were made for its use; a final decision will be made subject Our major fund raising event of the year - the Lock Ransom - scheduled to the grant provisions. for 25 to 27 May - is looking uncertain at present, as we do not have Thanks to Tony for securing enough volunteers to man all the locks and provide cover for breaks etc. this grant for us.

On 30 April, huge postal price increases take effect. If we continue to send out as many Towpath Telegraph copies by post as we do at present this will severely affect Branch finances - and hence how much we are able to pass on to waterway good causes. I therefore urge everyone who is able to receive their TPT electronically to do so. The electronic TPT comes in glorious colour, and to dangle an extra carrot, I will put the names of all those who switch to electronic TPT from now until the end of August 2012 into a hat. I will present the first drawn out with a bottle of wine at the September meeting. For full details, please see Page 12.

If I have not already contacted you personally regarding volunteering for this event and you were not at the April Branch meeting, please contact me or any other Committee member to let us know if you can help. There Peter Caswell has a spare Virgis CH-11958 air filter, will be the usual ‘Bring Your Own’barbecue on Saturday evening.


Wherever you may be taking a holiday or a break - afloat or on land - I wish you all well and a safe outward and return journey. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the recommencement of our education/social evenings in September. Peter Caswell, Branch Chairman.

used on 28 to 50HP Beta engines (but not all). Fits type of can with wing nut. New, supplied by Beta, available in exchange for donation to Branch. Please contact Peter if interested. Page 3

“Throw-away� citizens of MK beginning to learn? On 23-25 March, the Branch once again did its bit to counter the "throwaway" habits of those Milton Keynes citizens who still see the canal as a dump for their rubbish.

Above: the BW hopper and dredger. Left: a break at Wolverton Park. Photos: Vernon Draper. Among the items recovered were supermarket trolleys, bicycles, motorbikes, road signs, and traffic cones, tools and implements including a ladder, lawnmower, plastic hose, buckets, spades and a wheelbarrow, building sundries including scaffold poles, plywood, tarpaulins, and wire fencing, and domestic items such as TVs, chairs, wheelie-bins, and a sledge, all amounting to over 10 tons. This is slightly less than on past clean-ups, so perhaps the anti-social dumpers are beginning to learn at last. Supported by British Waterways and sponsored by Wyvern Shipping Co, the Clean-up involved some 40 people over the three days, including local residents, members of the Leighton Buzzard and Linslade Scout Troops and Swimming Club, as well as Branch members. Once again, BW provided a 70ft hopper, a 40ft pan, and a dredger and crew. The young participants enjoyed themselves hugely, and all received Certificates of Achievement signed by Branch Chairman Peter Caswell, Wyvern Shipping Director James Griffin, and BW Waterway Manager Jeff Whyatt, Thanks to all who took part. Our next Clean-up takes place on 20-21 October, working southwards from Fenny Stratford to Grove. Our base at Linslade is within weekend reach of the Waterways Museum at Stoke Bruerne, or the Chiltern Hills and Aylesbury. Choice of exciting one or two week cruises including the Thames. 28 luxury boats, 2-8 berth. Boat builders. Repairs. Dry dock. Waterside holiday cottage.

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Members of IWA, Blue Riband, BMF and B&MK Waterway Trust

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WENDOVER FESTIVAL CANCELLED - but here’s how you can support the Trust this year . . . The Wendover Arm Trust has regretfully decided to cancel this year’s Canal Festival, which was due to take place at Boxmoor on 3 -5 June. Competing events on the Jubilee weekend are diverting trade and craft providers, and the continuing water shortage has led to slow boat bookings. The Trust hopes to stage the Festival as usual in 2013. But here are two other ways to help the Trust. First: support their annual Grand Draw. Bob Wheal, Fundraising Director, writes: “In previous years we’ve sold over 2,500 tickets, with a small but consistent proportion going to IWA MK Branch members. With most of the prizes donated, that means a healthy contribution to Trust restoration funds, and there are 10 lucky winners benefitting as well!

Restoration . . .

“Please buy as many tickets as you wish, and sell them to partners, sons, daughters, grannies, whoever! All proceeds go towards our restoration, and the Draw will take place at the ‘Walk an Arm’s Length’ event on 2 I n January, work conSeptember (see below). All we need back are the stubs (each with name centrated on bank clearance at Whitehouses, where a and contact number) together with the money. Good Luck!” On-line TPT subscribers: to obtain Draw tickets, email your name, address and quantity required to: Alternatively, send a cheque (payable to Wendover Arm Trust) together with a note of your name and phone number, to Bob Wheal at 467 Bideford Green, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 2TZ. He will fill in the ticket stubs for you and enter them in the Draw.

bulge in the towpath bank has been removed. This was thought to have been built to protect the bank from the discharge from the old pumping station, but turned out to contain rubble from demolition that took place after the pumping station closed. During this clearance, a Grand Junction boundary marker was discovered, and a former well was located.

Second: support the Trust’s sponsored walk “Walk an Arm’s Length”, taking place on Sunday 2 September, by walking yourself (with or without seeking sponsorship), or by sponsoring a walker. And here we’ve made it really easy for you, because your own - your very own - Les Franklin is taking part! Yes, Sheila will drag me from my computer into the sunlight (or downpour), and get me to the start line for the 6 3/4- During the February working mile walk - and she’s agreed to walk too. - Ed. You can register as a party, a path was cleared through the wood between walker or donate now. Here’s what to do: * For general information about “Walk an arm’s Length”, go to: * To register as a walker, click “Register”, or to find out about raising sponsorship yourself, click “Raising Sponsorship”. * To sponsor Les Franklin, please contact him direct (see Page 16), or you can donate online at his own Mydonate page: In a year when Wendover Arm Trust will lack its usual major source of income, we hope that Branch members and waterway friends will help the Trust by supporting one of these fundraising efforts.

Whitehouses and Bridge 4, for future water control access and as a nature trail. The ground was levelled behind the mooring wall at Bridge 4, and the security of the diesel store was improved following break-in attempts. Essex WRG visited, and worked on removal of new growth on the banks between Little Tring and Bridge 4. Wendover Arm News, Spring 2012.

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One of our Committee members attended a Planning meeting at Aylesbury Vale District Council and was delighted to discover that their Planning Office is very keen to have the canal included in the current plans being drawn up, and discussions are taking place to secure the line of the canal. Stop Press: The Society's planning application to re-water the Bourton Meadow site at the Buckingham end has been approved. - Ed.

Following their whirlwind romance that began at the Simpson Road bus stop, Roy Cleverly (Branch Committee member and former Branch Chairman) and Evita Holloway were married on 17 March at Bletchley Registry Office, with a reception afterwards at the Swan Hotel, Fenny Stratford. We send best wishes to Roy and Evita for every happiness. Photo: Rodney Evans.

New members The following members have recently joined MK Branch. We hope to see you at our meetings or other activities please introduce yourselves to a Committee member. Mr M & Mrs J Annan, Bletchley, MK Mr A J & Mrs J M Bambridge, Kempston Mr M & Mrs P Boyden, Heath and Reach Mr P & Mrs K Brooks, Hitchin Mr A Dawe, Bletchley, MK Mr M & Mrs J M Dovey, Bradwell Common, MK Mr & Mrs M Kennedy, Flitwick Mr M Evans, Grand Union Diesel Services, Olney Mr A Harries, Dunstable Mr P Savage & Miss H Gallen, Simpson, MK Mr P Wilkinson, Bletchley, MK

Page 6

We had a very productive meeting with Jeff Whyatt of British Waterways. The re-watering of the canal at Cosgrove must wait until we are out of the drought conditions, but they are very keen for us to go ahead with building earth bunds at 100-metre intervals ready for the rewatering. Permission has also been given for an ex-builder volunteer to re-build a flood sluice facing wall at the end of the canal near theA5. At present there is a small fence blocking the towpath which means all equipment has to be carried over it, but BW has given permission for us to install a gate. This will make life easier for both volunteers and walkers. After one more work party our volunteers will have completed the work at Cosgrove, and will move to the Nature Reserve where most of the work will be to install the set of lock gates from the Northampton Arm we recently received from BW. Other tasks include removing the excess of reeds that are growing in the canal bed. We plan to spend most of the summer working at this site with occasional diversions to our other two sites at Bourton Meadow and Little Hill Farm. April was an important month for us, as our open day took place on Sunday 22 April at Cosgrove Village Hall. Residents of Cosgrove and the surrounding villages were invited to come and discuss our plans to restore the canal. This event was held at BW’s suggestion, and allowed us to explain our future restoration plans to the local people. Our annual festival at Cosgrove takes place over the weekend of 21 - 22 July, and we hope to make it a bigger and better event than last year! Athina Beckett.

Branch “adopts” Fenny Lock

Discussions have taken place with British Waterways regarding the Branch taking on some routine maintenance tasks at Fenny Lock and its surroundings, under BW's Adoption Scheme. Tasks would include painting around the lock and adjacent fencing, litter collecting, and tidiness of the boaters’ facilities, Pump House and surroundings. The Committee sees this as a further chance for both existing and potential new members of all ages to get involved. If you (or someone you know) would like to help, please contact Rodney Evans (see Page 16).

Iron Trunk spruced up for its bi-centenary

On a sunny Sunday 26 February, a low-key but enjoyable event was staged to celebrate the work being done on the Iron Trunk Aqueduct at Wolverton. Well-wishers and passers-by gathered below the aqueduct to hear James Clifton of British Waterways tell something of how it came to be built and of its subsequent history. James told how the route had first been opened using temporary flights of locks down to the River Ouse, while the first aqueduct - of brick, designed by William Jessop - was being built. This was shortlived, collapsing in 1808. The present castiron aqueduct, designed by local engineer Benjamin Bevan, was completed in 1811 at a cost of ÂŁ3,667. It has been dewatered only twice in its history: first in 1921, and then in 1986. On that occasion, one of the original elm bungs (used to let water out of the trough) was found to be leaking. One of the workers was prevailed upon to sacrifice a welly-boot to provide a strip of rubber to make an effective seal. That bit of welly is still there! James summarised progress on the refurbishment work. The brick abutments had been cleaned and vegetation cleared. The aqueduct was being re-painted according to the original colour scheme as revealed by paint samples taken from the structure. This was being done by abseilers, as the river - liable to sudden flooding - makes it impractical to use either cherry-pickers or scaffolding. (The painting work should be complete by the time you read this.) Future work includes the creation of a vista towards the aqueduct from Old Wolverton by removing selected trees, removal of the redundant gas pipe adjacent to the aqueduct, and possible cosmetic refurbishment of the diesel-driven pump that used to lift water from the river to the canal. James thanked all those who had contributed funding or volunteer effort towards the refurbishment (MK Branch donated ÂŁ300). Story and picture: Les Franklin.

A warm welcome from Gregg, Angela and the team at Grove Lock. Pop in for a drink of one of our outstanding cask conditioned ales or wines from around the world, or perhaps stay a little longer and enjoy some of our excellent home-cooked food.

We look forward to seeing you soon. Grove Lock: Grove, nr Leighton Buzzard, LU7 0QU Tel: 01525 380940. Email: Page 7

Diary Page All canal-based events below were checked on 15 April as going ahead, but the continuing critical water supply situation may lead to events being cancelled - please check before setting out. Our own events are in bold type; selected events held by others are in regular type. For more information on our own events, please contact Rodney Evans unless other Committee members are named (contact details on back page). For other events, contact details or other sources of information are given where known. 4 - 7 May

Northampton Branch Annual Boat Gathering, Beckett's Park, Northampton. Boat handling, entertainment, barbecue, real ale. Details: Eric Young, 01624 862988 or

Saturday 19 May

Where the Working Boats Went - an evening of music and drama, with “Life and Times” about the waterways past and present. St Andrew's Parish Church, Langford, Beds. Tickets £8 (incl. refreshments) from Jim Dickson (01462 700355).

19 - 20 May

Rickmansworth Festival, Rickmansworth Aquadrome, GU. Boats, music, entertainment, amusements.

25 - 27 May

Branch Lock Ransom, Three Locks, Soulbury. If you can offer help for this, please contact Peter Caswell. 10% discount on meals at the Grand Union for boaters please contact James Griffin for details; Sat evening: Bring-your-own barbecue, weather permitting; Sun: Finish time depending on boat traffic.

2 - 5 June

Crick Boat Show & Waterway Festival, Crick Marina, GU Leicester Line. Diamond Jubilee event, free boat trips, children's entertainment, trade stands, seminars. Adults £12, children £7, conc. £10. Ticket hotline 01283 742972.

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Authorised Boat Safety Scheme Examiner Visit my website: Contact me by phone on 01234 767156 or mobile 07976 900113 Alternatively e-mail me at: Page 8

Diary Page - continued. Sunday 3 June

Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, River Thames, London. A day-long programme of Jubilee-themed entertainment. River Pageant takes place during afternoon.

3 - 5 June

Wendover Festival CANCELLED - see Page 5 and below.

7 - 14 June

Local performances by the Mikron Theatre Company. This year’s shows: Can you keep a Secret (CYKAS) - story of the Luddites who strove to preserve their jobs in the face of the new machines that threatened them; and Losing the Plot (LTP) - the gardeners of Thistledale Allotments band together to save their patch. Thurs 7: Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne, 7.30pm (LTP) Fri 8: Black Horse, Gt Linford, 7.30 (LTP) Sat 9: The Well at Willen, 7.30 (CYKAS) Sun 10: Inter-Action, Peartree Bridge, MK, 2pm (LTP) Wed 13: Anglers’ Retreat, Startopsend, 7.30 (LTP) Thurs 14: Grand Junction Arms, Bulbourne, 7.30 (KYKAS)

8 - 10 June

Stoke Bruerne Gala Weekend. Canal Museum. Boat trips, trade stands, crafts, live music, heritage walks, blacksmith demonstrations.

23 - 24 June

Braunston Historic Boat Gathering, Braunston Marina, GU.

21-22 July Sat 10-6, Sun 10-4

Buckingham Canal Society Annual Festival at Cosgrove Lock Historic boats, entertainments, refreshments, stalls. See poster at:

Saturday 28 July

Linslade Canal Festival, Tiddenfoot Waterside Park, GU. Branch will attend if sufficient help is offered. If you can help, please contact any Committee member (see Page 16).

11 - 12 August

Blisworth Canal Festival. Walks, talks, and other attractions.

Sun 2 September

Walk an Arm's Length - support the Wendover Arm Trust by walking the 6 ¾ mile Arm from Wendover to Bulbourne. Free parking at Wendover or Tring, free shuttle bus, refreshments along the route. General info at:

Monday 24 September 8pm

MK Branch meeting: The River Lea or Lee, from Source to Olympics, with Richard Thomas, renowned IWA speaker. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Avenue, Middleton, MK. Page 9

WATER SUPPLY: “a long way to go before reservoir holdings allow any significant easing of restrictions!” On 25 April, the following update was issued by Jeff Whyatt, Waterway Manager, Grand Union South. There are no changes to the restrictions that have been in place over the last few weeks. The one exception is an additional opening weekend for the Northampton Arm on 1 - 6 June (see below, left). These restrictions are in force until the next update, due to be published around 21 May, when we must assume that they will be extended. Reservoirs: The recent rainfall has been welcomed and has had a positive effect. In the Oxford/Grand Union area (everything north of Stoke Bruerne in SE), 8% of holding was added in one week alone (16 22 April). The Leicester line group of reservoirs is at 49% holding overall (vs 73% last year); South Oxford group holds 69% (vs 84% last year); Braunston group is at 77% capacity (vs 69% last year).


NorthamptonArm: Locks 1 - 17: Full closure, except 3 - 6 May: 10am - 3pm; 1 - 6 June: booked passages only. Email requests to enqu iries.southeast@ b r i t i s h w a t e rw a y s . c o . u k with required date and time of passage, and entry point. Stoke Bruerne: Locks 16 - 20: open 10am 3pm daily. Last entry to flight: 2pm. No overnight mooring in flight. AylesburyArm: Full closure at Lock 1. Will open to traffic at specified weekends to be agreed with Ayesbury Canal Society. Tring Summit: Locks 39 - 45 and 46: open 10am - 3pm daily. Last entry to flight at Lock 46 (Cowroast): 3pm. Last entry to (Marsworth 7) flight at Locks 39 and 45: 1.30pm. Mooring overnight only on summit, where levels are being held 300mm below normal.

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For the Grand Union South reservoirs, there has been no net uplift due to losses and a recent weekend opening of the Aylesbury Arm. Current holding is 61% (vs 89% last year). With further rainfall occurring this week (23 - 29 April) the situation is certainly turning a little more positive - but there is a long way to go before our reservoir holdings allow any significant easing of restrictions! Lockage volumes: Overall lockage volumes have been significantly reduced. A huge thank you to those boaters who have given careful thought to their journeys and certainly boated less over the last few weeks. Last spring, the weather was extremely good, but comparing the last two weeks with the ‘like for like’ two-week period last year, we find that for the Oxford / Grand Union area, lockage is 40% down on last year. For Grand Union South, lockage overall is 70% down on last year, with Tring summit lockage 67% down. Positive effect from water schemes: Most of the winter additional investment schemes are now nearing completion. We know these have made and will make a big difference. For example: * Feeder clearance at four reservoir locations is maximising flows into reservoirs; * Backpumping into reservoirs – Wormleighton reservoir is now full; Welford has recovered to 30% and we are still pumping here; * Acceleration of permanent equipment at Braunston to backpump and aid water transfer; * Investment in monitoring/backpump automation on Grand Union South ‘Northern engines is improving water transfer between Milton Keynes and Tring summit; * Dredging of selected areas on Radford-Calcutt section, to be completed

British Waterways reduces licence evasion

WATER - continued.

According to the latest check for 2012, licence evasion across BW over the next few weeks, canals and rivers in England and Wales is at a record low, with plus efficiency improvements in backpumps here; 96.6% of boats holding up-to-date licences.

* We are also undertaking The check, conducted in March 2012, shows that every region has five gate relines in the improved its evasion rate by at least 1%; the rates for the Midlands and Calcutt/Napton area South are down by 2.4% and 2.3% respectively. In 2007, the evasion rate completion is due by 3 May. was over 10%, but since March 2010 it has been consistently below 5%. The next update will cover The next national boat check, due in March 2013, is likely to be the last to early June to early July. I take place over a two-week period. Instead, monthly data collecting and expect to send this during the week commencing 21 enforcement processes will be used to identify licence evaders. May. Where appropriate, any amendments will also Evasion Mar 11 Mar 12 Change appear on Waterscape then. North 5.2% 4.2% -1.0% Many thanks for all your Midlands 5.1% 2.7% -2.4% continued support during Wales & West 5.0% 3.6% -1.4% this challenging water South East 3.0% 1.9% -1.1% situation we are in. South (London and K&A) 7.2% 4.9% -2.3% Jeff Whyatt. TOTAL 4.9% 3.4% -1.5% IWA web site, April 2012. Editor’s comment: Page 15.

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Save the Branch money - read TPT on-line

With the rise in postage rates that came in on 30 April (up 14p for 2nd Class), costs for getting TPT to you are going to increase sharply. Pete Bickers has bought a stock of stamps at the old rate, but when these are used up it is going to cost us £400 - £450 per year in postage! Printing currently costs us just under £300 per year. These expenses are partly offset by our capitation allowance from Head Office and donations from our advertisers, but anything we can do to limit our costs is worthwhile. That’s why we are asking those of you with internet access to seriously consider receiving TPT electronically. The on-line version is in full colour, and what’s more Peter Caswell is offering an extra incentive - see his Chairman’s Column! You have two choices for getting TPT electronically: The page on the IWA central site (link below) presents TPT in an on-screen viewer that is fine if you are content to read on-screen.

Click on the edition you want to view. It is possible to print off TPT from this viewer, but you need to go through a sign-up process and you need Acrobat Reader installed on your PC. To get TPT from Vernon Draper's standalone site (link below) you need Acrobat Reader to view and to print, but there is no sign-up process.

Click on the edition you want to view or print. If you haven't viewed the online edition yet, why not try it out now! Further guidance on each of the above options is available on request from the Editor. If you don't have Acrobat Reader installed (it’s free, by the way), go to: How TPT looks on the IWA central site viewer - sorry we can’t show it in colour To switch to receiving TPT on-line, please email Pete in the printed edition! Bickers (see Page 16) with your name, postal address and IWA membership number. He'll remove you from the postal list. From then on, you’ll receive email reminders when new editions are available for download, and information such as AGM notices as required by IWAByelaws. Thank you to those Branch members who have already switched!

In June, the IWA's Trustees are due to consider a proposal for a new membership category for those prepared to receive all IWA communications electronically, with a modest discount on the membership fee. This may take some time to bring in, but there is nothing to stop you switching before that happens. Many other IWApublications such as Waterways are also available on-line. Incidentally, another new membership category is already being introduced. The new Junior membership, for those under 18, is expected to be at a very attractive rate, payable by Direct Debit only, and all communications electronic. Page 12

Canal & River Trust appoints Heritage Committee The Canal & River Trust has confirmed appointments to a new committee that will help to protect the heritage of the waterways. The committee of nine people, chaired by former Chairman of English Heritage Sir Neil Cossons, will provide valuable advice and support on heritage and conservation issues. The other committee members are: Alan Baxter, Consulting Engineer to St Paul’s Cathedral and member of the London Advisory Committee of English Heritage; Peter Brown, a member of the Council of the Canal & River Trust (nominated by the Railway & Canal Historical Society); Nigel Crowe, Head of Heritage for the Canal & River Trust; Edward Holland, a Senior Projects Advisor at The Prince's Regeneration Trust; Stephen Hughes, Director of Projects, Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Wales; Jane Kennedy, narrowboat owner and architect to the cathedrals of Ely, Newcastle and Christ Church, Oxford; Laurence Newman, Chairman of the Museums Partnership of the Canal and River Trust and a member of the Trust’s Council; and John Yates, architect, historic boat specialist, Chairman of the Boat Museum Trust and Vice-chairman of the Boat Museum Society. The committee will play an important role in influencing the heritage policies and procedures of the Trust and shaping innovative approaches to managing the heritage of the waterways. Its members will bring a wide range of individual specialisms that can be called upon when required. The committee will meet for the first time at the end of May, and at least twice yearly from then. Membership of the committee, which is unpaid, will last for a term of three years with an option to continue beyond that should members wish to do so. The committee will replace the former BWAF News release, Waterscape web site, April 2012. Heritage subgroup.


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For Moorings Availability and Prices, visit us at Page 13


Just over 200 years ago Samuel Whitbread, MP for Bedford, was the driving force behind the plan to create a waterway linking the Grand Junction Canal (now the Grand Union) with the Great Ouse at Bedford. In April, Sir Samuel Whitbread, his great-great-great grandson, was named as the first Patron of the Trust. Sir Samuel is former Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire.

Sir Samuel commented: “Two hundred years ago, a fourteen-mile long canal linking Bedford with the then Grand Junction Canal was proposed at a cost of over £100,000. In spite of the support of the Duke of Bedford and Samuel Whitbread, there was some doubt as to whether the amount of traffic could justify the expense, and the canal never materialised. At that time, income would have come from the transport of corn to Birmingham and Manchester, with the ‘back carriage’ bringing coal, iron and manufactured goods. Today, canals depend on leisure, sport and recreation, and home-buyers are often keen to acquire waterside properties. I very much hope that the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust will be able to complete what my ancestor supported but failed to bring to fruition. It is indeed a very exciting project which I am glad to support.” B&MK Trust Director John Best has been appointed as Chair of the South-East Region Partnership. He will also sit on the Canal &River Trust’s National Council and will represent local groups interested in waterways including boaters, other waterway users and businesses. He is a former Chief Executive of Milton Keynes Council. He was formerly secretary of the Lee Valley Association which promoted community activity on and around the waterway. In January, a Planning application by Persimmon Homes for over 600 houses and local facilities at Fields Road, Wootton, on the Waterway route, was approved by Bedford Borough Council. The key outcome was a requirement that:

Bring & Buy? The Committee has discussed the idea of a Bring and Buy table to raise Branch funds other Branches have tried this with some success. We think that it needs a volunteer to run it, and that there should be s afe gu ar ds aga i n st t he accumulation of unsaleable items, including, perhaps, that unsold items are removed at the end of the meeting by those who offered them. If you would like to take this on, or have ideas about it, please contact Peter Caswell. Page 14

* Persimmon Homes must transfer the Waterway land to the Borough Council including funding for the management of the land as open space. * Persimmon Homes is required to offer to install the cycleway/towpath parallel to the waterway cut when the development reaches a certain stage (or make a financial contribution to the Council instead). * The Council will be responsible for making the full waterway cut. * The contractors for the A6/A428 link of the Bedford Western Bypass will be required to make the full waterway cut and use the clay/soil as fill for the road works - this should happen in 2013. The Council also secured significant provision for expanding the Forest of Marston Vale, through which the Waterway will pass. Contractual and timing issues remain to be resolved, but this Planning decision opens up the possibility that this site (together with the Marston Vale Innovation Park site) can provide most of the clay fill for the A6/A428 Link. This would be through excavation of a series of linear ponds along the line of From B&MKWT newsletter, April 2012. the Waterway.

The Editor’s Page

As can be seen from our front cover pictures, the Grand Union South reservoirs are still way below normal. When Tony Collins took his picture (inset, front cover) in October, total GU South holdings stood at 35% of maximum. Jeff Whyatt reports that holdings now stand at 61% (as compared with 89% this time last year). We might have seen a greater apparent recovery but for continuing losses and the recent weekend opening of theAylesburyArm. It’s clear that closures and restrictions have the desired effect, concentrating demand and ensuring best use of the limited water supplies, and that BW has no option but to maintain them for the time being. It was raining as Peter Caswell wrote his Chairman’s Column, and it’s still raining as I write this. Jeff has welcomed this recent rainfall, but we need a lot more of it yet! The water supply position was not the only thing that prompted the Wendover Arm Trust to cancel this year’s Festival, but it was a contributing factor. They will lose tens of thousands of pounds of income that they need to keep the restoration work going. I hope that all members will support the Trust in their other fundraising efforts this year - see Page 5. Please use the Grand Draw tickets enclosed with this edition, or consider supporting me for my participation in the “Walk an Arm’s Length” event in September. If you do decide to sponsor me, would you consider giving what you might have spent on a day out at the Festival? The Canal & River Trust’s web site at carries the strapline “Keeping people, nature & history connected”. In this spirit, volunteers are already involved, both in the higher echelons and at the grass-roots. Volunteer lock-keepers are being recruited, and our own Branch has undertaken to do some maintenance work at Fenny Lock. We hope that Branch members and others will make the most of this opportunity to make a difference on our patch.

C&RT now re gi s tered as a Charity

The Charity Commission has confirmed the registration of the Canal & River Trust under registration number 1146792. The news means that the fledgling Trust, which already has a Board of Trustees, a governing Council and a Royal Patron (HRH The Prince of Wales), is now legally permitted and will soon be ready to raise charitable income to support its objectives.

If you don’t fancy this, there are the usual chances to help the Branch this summer. We’re looking for help at our annual Lock Ransom weekend on For more information about 25 - 27 May, and we will attend the Linslade Canal Festival if sufficient the Canal & River Trust, help is offered. See the Diary on Pages 8 and 9. including its charitable objects, you can now visit:

What’s more, we’re still looking for two stalwarts to take on the roles of Branch Secretary and Education Officer. If you want to consider either role, talk to any Committee member, or see the “job descriptions” at: This site now includes copies of the minutes of meetings of its trustees, agenda papers, Under "Eastern Region", click Secretary - Milton Keynes Branch, or the Trust's new Articles of Education Officer - Milton Keynes Branch. Anyone who is up for either Association and a copy of its of these jobs will be welcomed - especially by our Chairman - and there is registration application to the plenty of experience on hand to help you. Please do think about it. Charity Commission.

IWA HO Bulletin, April 2012.

Meanwhile, have a great summer! Les Franklin, Editor.

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Getting in touch with MK Branch The Branch Committee is still working without a Vice-Chairman or Secretary. If you feel you could take on either role, please contact any Committee member. Meanwhile we welcome your waterway news, views and comments. CHAIRMAN: PETER CASWELL Email: VICE-CHAIRMAN: VACANT SECRETARY: VACANT MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: PETE BICKERS Email: TREASURER: DAVE ROBERTS SOCIAL / PUBLICITY, & B-MKWT REPORTER: RODNEY EVANS Email: BUCKINGHAM C.S. REPRESENTATIVE: ATHINA BECKETT Email:

A DVE RTIS E MENT S are welcomed to assist Branch funds. Suggested donations as below (payable to IWA Milton Keynes Branch) are requested before copy date above. Whole page Half page Qutr page Back page Inserts

Per issue: £32.50 £20.00 £12.50 £45.00 £15.00

3 issues: £65.00 £40.00 £25.00 £90.00 -


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association or of the Milton Keynes Branch. They are however published as being of interest to our members and readers. Get the latest waterway news at these web sites (addresses change frequently, but these were correct on 15.4.2012):

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PLANNING (non-C’tee): TONY BIRCH Contact via Les Franklin. INSURANCE / RISK ASSESSMENTS (non-C’tee): MICHAEL WEINBERG Contact via David King. WEBMASTER (non-C’tee): VERNON DRAPER Email: IWA homepage: MK Branch central site: at above address, under “IWALocal”, select Milton Keynes MK Branch standalone site: BW: (corporate); (leisure) The Waterways Trust: Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Trust: Buckingham Canal Society: WendoverArm Trust Friends of the Canal Museum:

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Towpath Telegraph May 2012  

The journal of the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association

Towpath Telegraph May 2012  

The journal of the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association