TOWPATH TELEGRAPH IWA Milton Keynes Branch Journal
Spring Cleanup report CanalFILE part 8 BCS, B B--MKWT and WAT news WAT Grand Draw tickets inside The Canal & River Trustâ€™s dredger lifts a large tree into the hopper during the Branchâ€™s Spring Canal Cleanup on 31 March and 1 April. Philip Strangeway (foreground), who has organised the Cleanups for some time, has stepped down from the job. The future of these highly regarded events is in doubt unless we can recruit a successor. See report on Page 4. Photo: James Griffin. IWA (registered charity no. 212342) is the leading membership charity that works to resurrect and protect the waterways as a vital leisure facility for everyone to enjoy, and campaigns for their sensitive development 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 listed on Page 16; * contact IWA Head Office on 01494 783453, or visit the web site: https://www.waterways.org.uk
Welcome to May 2017 Towpath Telegraph There is something of a wildlife theme to this edition. Jane Bidgood has turned to waterway wildlife in her CanalFILE series, and Libby Culshaw continues with her notes on canalside trees. Also, check out the Exbury Egg (see Page 13). The Diary page is packed with ideas for getting out and about this summer, and we give you advance notice of a special Christmas event. We hope you enjoy this edition.
Chairman’s Column New Members MK’s waterway gets its spring clean Light up for Christmas! Fenny Lock work party Guiding hand Buckingham Canal Society news IWA Historic structures and buildings review WAT and CRT continue work on Lottery bid Diary Theatre on the Cut CanalFILE—part 8 Fire and carbon monoxide safety on boats Seen from the Tiller: The Noble Poplar Three Locks Pumphouse development The Exbury Egg What’s in a name? B-MKWT news Getting in touch with MK Branch
2-3 3 4 5 5 5 6 6 7 8-9 9 10-11 11 12 13 13 14 15 16
Our season of Branch meetings has continued with generally good attendances. In January, it gave me great pleasure to bring together Robin Garrett and John Woods, who had played key roles in the reconstruction of Blisworth Tunnel, but who had not met each other for many years. My thanks to both of them for an enthralling evening. After the Branch AGM in February, Athina Beckett and Jonathan Brown gave an excellent presentation on the Buckingham Arm restoration, illustrating the impressive progress now being made, and the plans for the future. For the March meeting, when once again we had to decamp to the nearby Dolphin, Alan Stewart gave some useful hints on preparing for the Boat Safety Examination, and told some fascinating stories of his life afloat. During the meeting, the subject of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms came up, and we give some pointers about this on Page 11. Please read and follow the links—it may save your life! In April, we look forward to hearing Tony Conder with his talk “Canals in the Landscape”. For the Spring Cleanup, we were joined by volunteers from the Parks Trust, who also carried out separate litter-picks on their own. A big thank-you to all who helped tidy up MK’s waterway for the summer. See the report on Page 4. We now look forward to our summer activities: the Lock Help weekend at Three Locks, and taking the Branch stall out and about (see Diary). Any help you can give for these events will be most gratefully received—please contact me or Philip. IWA continues with its campaign for the Environment Agency’s waterways to be taken over by the Canal & River Trust; concern was heightened by news that EA is considering closing some East Anglian waterways through lack of funds. IWA also continues to work to-
Chairman’s Column—continued. wards resolving the waterway issues raised by the plans for HS2 Phase 2. In March, responding to CRT's Licence Fee Structure review, IWA has put forward its proposals for a balanced, fair and enforceable licensing and moorings policy. The submission is well worth reading, and can be found by clicking the top link in the centre of this page: https://www.waterways.org.uk/news_campaigns/campaigns/consultation_responses/ IWA will submit a response to the Government consultation on the use of red diesel, to ensure that its use on the inland waterways is fully represented. All boaters, boatyards and other red diesel users and retailers are invited to respond directly to the consultation and let IWA have their observations by the end of May. View the consultation at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/red-diesel-call-for-evidence/ On the local scene, we have put in a proposal to CRT for a memorial to John and Olive Herrick. We have also written to the Trust’s Chief Executive, Richard Parry, expressing concern at several aspects of the its management of the towpath hedges in our area. Finally, may I leave you with a slight adaptation and update of the appeal I made to those attending the AGM in February. Despite losing several experienced people from the Committee over the last few years, we have up to now maintained Business as Usual by some of us doing more than one job, in the hope that some of the membership would come forward, learn the ropes, and share some of this load. As you know, I will retire from the Committee next February, when I will have served three years as Chairman (I am willing to continue with two Branch jobs off the Committee). Philip Strangeway, who has been organising the Cleanups on a standin basis for two years, has now relinquished this role. May I thank Philip for doing such an excellent job for the past two years, continuing and building upon the high reputation that our Cleanups have earned. Once again, I ask YOU to consider joining the Committee and helping us organise and run the Branch and its activities. We are always grateful for the one-off and day-to-day help we receive from non-Committee Branch members, but we very much need new blood on the Committee itself to help us make the decisions at the centre.
Gill Porter Gill, wife of Committee member Dave Porter, died on 12 February, after a short battle against cancer. IWA Milton Keynes Branch was well represented at her funeral at Crownhill Crematorium on 2 March. We send our sincere condolences to Dave and his family. Dave retired by rotation at February’s AGM but, according to his wishes, he was re-elected for another term.
We extend a warm welcome to these members who have joined the Branch since the last edition. We hope to see you at our summer activiCan we maintain Business as Usual into the Branch's fifth dec- ties or meetings—please ade? The answer is that the Branch WILL continue to flourish introduce yourselves to a IF its members wish it to do so, and IF they act upon that wish. Committee member.
Its future is in the hands of its membership.
I look forward to meeting you at our outside events over the coming months, and wish you a very pleasant summer. Les Franklin, Branch Chairman.
Mr S Curtis and Miss L Roberts, New Bradwell, MK Mr A and Mrs J Higgins, Leeds Mr A Savory, Peartree Bridge, MK Mr M and Mrs H Taylor, Luton.
MK’s waterway gets its Spring Clean Branch members were joined by volunteers from Canal & River Trust and The Parks Trust for our Canal Cleanup from Fenny Stratford to Old Wolverton on 31 March - 1 April. On hand were CRT staff Miriam Linforth, Lucy Shakeshaft, and Ian and Jamie on the dredger. As usual, the hopper was towed by James Griffin on Ocean Princess, and Jonathan Brown and Athina Beckett on Brown Trout were in charge of the pan. Volunteers paused at Mount Farm to clear a long-standing litter hotspot beyond the towpath hedge. Separate litter-picks by Parks Trust volunteers tackled hotspots at Stanton Low Park, Joan’s Piece woodland and near the Galleon pub. That evening, around twenty volunteers and friends enjoyed a meal at the Giffard Park pub. Thanks go to Athina Beckett and Diane Witts for organising this.
The hopper arrives at Galleon Bridge.
Items recovered were much the usual mix: bicycles, motorbike, tyres, a Playstation and a computer, a trampoline, a child's swing, and around a dozen supermarket trolleys. At several points, dog-walkers had rightly picked up and bagged their pets' excrement but had then tied dozens of these bags to the canalside trees! These were all removed, hopefully discouraging this bizarre habit. As compensation, many passers-by thanked the volunteers for their efforts in tidying up the canal. An estimated total of around four tonnes of rubbish was collected, and this will be disposed of by Canal & River Trust’s contractors. Carla Boswell, Volunteer Co-ordinator for The Parks Trust, commented: “It’s been great to partner with the Inland Waterways Association and Canal & River Trust on these events. We’d like to thank our Volunteers and Youth Rangers for giving up their time to help clear the litter. The canals will now be looking their best for the summer months!” The Branch is grateful to Canal & River Trust for its support with staff, workboats, dredger and safety equipment, to Wyvern Shipping Co Ltd for sponsorship, and for providing the hopper tug, support staff, and the specialist grappling hooks used on the hopper, and to The Parks Trust for volunteers at our own Cleanup and for organising its allied litter-picks near the canal. Thanks go to all who took part, leaving the canal, one of the city's most attractive features, as it should look if everyone would dispose of their unwanted rubbish properly. In all, 33 volunteers put in a total of 310 hours over the two days. To this must be added the time spent by Branch members in organising the event. Special thanks are due to Philip Strangeway, who has supervised and planned our Cleanups for several years in default of anyone taking the post formally. He has now indicated that he no longer wishes to take this task, so we need someone else to take it on. The next Cleanup is scheduled for 13-14 October but, unless someone comes forward, the future of the MK Branch Cleanups, which are highly regarded as a model of how they should be done, is in doubt. Text and picture: Les Franklin. Page 4
Light up for Christmas! Canal & River Trust is planning a Festival of Illuminated Boats on Saturday 2 December (5pm till late) in Milton Keynes. The event will build on the success of their previous events at Stoke Bruerne and Foxton, with their mix of waterway and Christmassy attractions. It is likely that the venue will be Campbell Park. We are keeping a watching brief, and will pass on details when confirmed. Meanwhile, start thinking about how you can dress up YOUR boat! Illuminated boats at a previous event at Stoke Bruerne. Photo: Les Franklin.
Fenny Lock work party
A Fenny Lock Adoption Scheme work party was held on Boat painter Colin Dun27 February, with the aim of replacing the rotten post-and das is changing his work focus following the retire-rail fence immediately north of the Pumphouse. The old fence and most of its concrete foundations were removed, and re-usable materials were salvaged. Unfortunately it was not possible to rebuild the fence, as Canal & River Trust staff arrived with incorrect timber and an inadequate quantity of concrete. However, the gardens were weeded and rubbish was collected. Rebuilding of the fence is now down to CRT; Rodney will organise a further work party to paint it when completed.
ment of his colleague Kevin Humphrey.
Colin, who lives in Loughton, MK, plans to continue boat painting, but one of his ideas is to develop teaching days with a DIY approach. "I shall get people to do it under my Before then, Rodney had cut back the worst top growth on a guidance, so that they 200-metre stretch of towpath hedge that was not included in the can do some of it and annual cut by CRTâ€™s contractors. Since the work party, Rodney maybe I can finish off the challenging aspects." has painted the swingbridge railings.
At the time of writing, the fence has yet to be rebuilt, and anoth- Contact Colin at: firstname.lastname@example.org er work party is scheduled for late April to carry out other tasks. or on 07802 784901.
Boat Safety Certification Alan Stewart
Lloyds Academy Diploma in Small Craft Surveying Ex-Merchant Marine Engineer
Authorised Boat Safety Scheme Examiner Visit my website: http://www.boat-safetyexaminer.co.uk Contact me by phone on 01234 767156 or mobile 07976 900113 Alternatively e-mail me at: email@example.com Page 5
Buckingham Canal Society news The Buckingham Canal Society held a very successful AGM on 18 March at Buckingham Community Centre with 58 people attending. Terry Cavender gave an update on the Buckingham Canal. Then our guest speaker, Dr Susan Fern, gave a very enjoyable talk "Anglo Saxon Treasure: Discovering the Lenborough Hoard", which was very well received, as people could then visit the Old Gaol Museum in Buckingham and see part of the hoard of coins found in Lenborough. Northampton IWA are in receipt of a large legacy from John Faulkner who was a Branch Committee member for over 20 years. The Branch was looking for waterways projects in Northamptonshire to support, and the BCS was chosen as one of them. At our AGM, Bernard Morton, Chairman of Northants IWA, presented a cheque to Terry Cavender for the sum of £10,000 to help cover the cost of restoring Bridge 1 on the Buckingham Canal. On 9 March, supported by Buckingham Town Council, we took part in the Great British Spring Clean, litter picking the BCS volunteers on the Great British Spring towpath and the surrounding area. Clean. Photo: Buckingham Canal Society. Over 303,000 volunteers took part in this nationwide event and collected 513,060 bags of rubbish. Two of our members will be attending an event at Westminster on 2 May to celebrate the success of the Spring Clean. With a grant from MKHA the BCS has been able to produce a walks leaflet called ‘The Ouse Valley Way’, and this is now available in local libraries and Tourist Information centres in the area. If anyone wants leaflets for their local library please contact me. Future events include taking part in the MK50 celebrations with a stall at the History Festival over the weekend of 17-18 June at Campbell Park. Please come and visit our stall. A month later, our annual festival at Cosgrove takes place over the weekend of 22-23 July, with trade boats along the towpath and a Craft Fair in Cosgrove Village Hall. Athina Beckett, Buckingham Canal Society.
Historic structures and buildings review
IWA Navigation Committee wants members’ help in compiling a database of historic canalside buildings and structures that may be at risk from decay, demolition or inappropriate development, in order to assess how to assist Branches in ensuring that as much as possible of this heritage is conserved. The most vulnerable buildings are those that no longer serve their original purpose, or are neglected by their owners, or whose owners are unknown. Examples in our patch are the Wolverton Railway Works and the Train Mural wall. If you know of any building or structure that is at risk, or if you would be prepared to take on a section of our canal length to survey, please contact Les Franklin. Page 6
WAT and CRT continue work on Lottery bid Since the New Year, Wendover Arm Trust and Canal & River Trust have been progressing with Stage 2 of the Lottery bid. This involves pushing the pre-lottery restoration work of lining the canal bed towards Whitehouses, and detailed work on boundary surveys, ecological issues and outline engineering specifications. Consultants have been engaged to produce plans for community engagement an essential ingredient of the bid. WAT GRAND DRAW The £300k set aside for match funding will not be touched, as this will be the key that unlocks £1.9 million if the bid is successful. The two Trusts are therefore urgently seeking funds to allow continuation of restoration work not covered by the bid. The weather during January and February prevented any profiling or lining work, but spoil from rough excavation work went for back-filling over completed pipe capping. The final 6 metres of pipe capping to Whitehouses was prepared for concreting. A start was made in clearing the area around the old swing bridge abutments near Bridge 4. These abutments will have to be completely removed, as they obstruct the canal line. This work can be done as opportunities arise, after Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society has surveyed the abutments. In a repeat of an exercise originally begun in 2008 but halted by British Waterways over fears of flood damage claims, CRT has begun to insert stop planks at strategic points at Drayton Beauchamp, to carefully raise water levels back to Wendover, so as to check on weak or low spots, or potential leaks in this stretch. CRT has also allocated £280k for dredging, weed clearance and tree root removal toward Wendover. Silt samples will be taken to test for contaminants. CRT intends to dredge a 3 sq m channel in 2018-19 from Wendover to the pipe entrance, not only for future navigation, but in order to improve water flow.
Paraphrased from WAT News, Spring 2017, and WAT web site.
TICKETS—A book of tickets is enclosed with the printed edition of TPT. We hope that MK Branch members will again give the magnificent support you have for the past few years—the Draw provides an essential regular income for the Trust.
Top prize is a week’s boat hire from Wyvern Shipping—see the WAT web site for the full list.. For more tickets, please call me on 01727 860137. Please return your counterfoils and payment by 22 August (cheques payable to Wendover Arm Trust, and your address on the back, please). The draw takes place at the Restoration Open Day on 4 September. Good Luck! Michael Wright, Promoter, WAT.
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Rothschild Road, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, Beds, LU7 2TF Tel: 01525 372355 Fax: 01525 852308 http://www.canalholidays.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org Members of IWA, APCO, BMF, B&MK Waterway Trust, Wendover Arm Trust, Buckingham Canal Society, Aylesbury Canal Society
nd ks a re a e r i rt b eekly h o h S w Page 7
Diary There’s lots to do around MK this summer, as the city is celebrating its 50th birthday. We will be out enjoying the summer too, with our own events. Here are just some of the waterway events to choose from—ours are shown in bold type. Look forward to seeing you there! 6-7 May Roses and Castles Weekend Painting Course, an Introduction 9.30am-4.30pm to traditional painting techniques. All materials provided. £90 per person; info and booking, 01604 862229. Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne, NN12 7SE 13 - 14 May
Milton Keynes Walking Festival. Info at: http://www.theparkstrust.com/whats-on/event-details/1667
19 - 21 May
IWA Northampton Branch Boat Gathering. Quizzes, music, cask ales, trade boats. Details and boat entry form at: https://www.waterways.org.uk/northampton/
20-21 May Rickmansworth Festival - Boats, boat trips, music, drama, Sat 10.30am - 10.30pm trade, craft and charity stalls, kids' things to do. Sun 10.30am - 5.30pm Events at Batchworth Lock, canal towpath and Aquadrome. More info: http://www.rwt.org.uk/festival/visiting-the-festival/ 26-28 May (also 29 May subject to weather, manpower and traffic)
MK Branch Lock Help Weekend, Three Locks. Sat evening (weather permitting): Bring-your-own barbecue. Our major fundraising event for waterway causes. Coincides with Three Locks “Rock the Locks” Beer Festival - many beers and ciders to try! If you can help, please contact Les Franklin or Athina Beckett.
Sunday 4 June Wendover Arm Restoration Open Day. Church of St Mary the 12.30pm - 4pm Virgin, Drayton Beauchamp, HP22 5L View volunteers at work. Sideshows, tea & cakes. Parking at the church. Saturday 8 July Canal Wildlife Challenge. Join Canal & River Trust and help 11am - 2pm build a "bug hotel", or go on a wildlife walk. Walks leave at 11am, 12 noon and 1pm. Free; all ages welcome. Meet at Bridge 78, MK14 5QN 22-23 July Branch stall (Sat only) at Buckingham Canal Society’s Cosgrove Canal Festival. Historic boats, stalls, amusements, craft fair (in Cosgrove Village Hall. If you can help, please contact Les Franklin. More info at: http://www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk/event/cosgrove-canal-festival-craft-fair/
Saturday 29 July Branch stall at Linslade Canal Festival. Tiddenfoot Waterside Park, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard. Help us fly the flag at this busy event. If you can help, please contact Jane Bidgood, Les Franklin or Philip Strangeway. More info at: http://www.leightonlinslade-tc.gov.uk/canal-festival/ Page 8
Diaryâ€”continued. 5-6 August Fenny Stratford Canal Festival. Details yet to be announced. 11am - 7pm Info from Rosemary Smith on 01908 477095. 2-3 September Roses and Castles Weekend Painting Course. 9.30am-4.30pm For details, please see 6-7 May opposite. Sunday 3 September Wendover Arm Restoration Open Day. (subject to confirmation) For details, please see 4 June opposite, or visit: http://www.wendoverarmtrust.co.uk/events.html 9-10 September Stoke Bruerne Village at War Weekend. All the usual forties fun and frolic! For details, go to: http://www.friendsofcanalmuseum.org.uk/ 10 September Two Arms on Two Legs Running Festival. Half-marathon and 10am-4pm a 10km run along the Wendover and Aylesbury Arms. More info: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/ Thursday 21 September IWA MK Branch meeting: 7.45 for 8pm Horse-boating videos, and Noggin & Natter evening. Royal British Legion, Melrose Avenue, Bletchley, MK3 6PU
Theatre on the Cut This year, two theatre companies will be touring their shows on the Grand Union: the Mikron Theatre Company aboard their narrowboat Tyseley, and the Alarum Theatre, alias Kate and Heather Wastie, aboard narrowboat Tench, The Mikron Theatre Company presents two shows: Best Foot Forward (BFF) is a hike through the history of youth hostelling - with harmonies, hills and humour. In at the Deep End (IaDE) tells the story of the Royal National Lifeboats Institution - 200 years of saving lives at sea - marvellous maritime music and fathoms of fun. Local performances are: Thursday 8 June, 7.30pm - BFF, Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne, NN12 7SE Saturday 10 June, 7.30pm - IaDE, Lionhearts Cruising Club, Milton Keynes, MK14 5EL Sunday 11 June, 2.00pm - BFF, Parkside House Hotel, Milton Keynes, MK6 3LR Tuesday 13 June, 7.30pm - IaDE, Globe Inn, Linslade, LU7 2TA Wednesday 14 June, 7.00pm - BFF, Lindengate, Wendover, HP22 6BD Thursday 15 June, 7.30pm - BFF, Grand Junction Arms, Tring, HP23 5QE. Alarum Theatre offers drama, poetry and music in a show that celebrates the 75th anniversary of when the Idle Women began their wartime work as boatwomen on the waterways. Local performances are: Saturday 6 May, 5pm, Batchworth Canal Centre, WD3 1JJ Thursday 11 May, 7.30pm, Globe Inn, Linslade, LU7 2TA Saturday 13 May, 7pm, Lionhearts Cruising Club, Milton Keynes, MK14 5EL Saturday 20 and Sun 21 May, 2.30pm, Stoke Bruerne, NN12 7SE Page 9
CanalFILE . . . . . . . . . . Welcome to CanalFILE! For this and the next two editions, we will be looking out for wildlife along the canal. I have been out and about to see what is happening on the canal near where I live, so here are some ideas of the things you are most likely to see. THE CANAL HABITAT A canal provides many wonderful habitats where a great variety of species can live and breed. The canal itself is a string of aquatic habitat that allows wildlife a corridor in which to live or travel from one place to another. Alongside the canal are other habitats - some of these provide additional living space, and some function independently of the canal. For example, ponds along the side of the canal can provide additional hunting grounds for species such as kingfishers, whilst the sparrows that live in hedges and canalside scrub areas do not need the canal to survive.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN SPRING The good thing about wildlife watching along the canal is that you don’t really need any special equipment. While a pair of binoculars might be helpful it is often possible to get quite close to birds before they take flight because they are used to people moving up and down the waterway.
Birds: At this time of year, birds will be starting to build nests and raise young. On the water the three species you are most likely to spot are the mallard, the moorhen and the swan. Swans are herbivores. They use their long necks to graze the weed other birds with shorter necks can’t reach. Those necks are really handy for canal swans; it means they can graze grass and other vegetation on the canal banks without having to leave the water.
Go to: https://www.waterways.org.uk/blog/10_birds_look_out_for_around_waterways for photos of baby moorhens with their untidy feathers and their bright red and yellow beaks. There is also a photo of a swan family with two parents and their cygnets. Mammals: Bats are awakening from their winter hibernation and hunting around the waterways, including up and down the canals. It is possible to see a number of different species of bats near canals but one of the most interesting to find is the Daubenton’s. Known as the ‘Water bat’ they are distinguishable by their pale underparts and hunt by plucking insects from the surface of the water. Page 10
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Daubentonâ€™s bats like to roost in damp places. The undersides of bridges and tunnels over canals are ideal for them. Daubentonâ€™s are known to roost under bridges along the Grand Union in Milton Keynes. Visit your local canal around dusk and see if you can spot bats hunting up and down the waterway. For more information go to: http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/uk_bats.html Plants: Hawthorn is a common tree found along the canal banks. It has distinctively shaped leaves and, in late spring, is covered with white blossom. Hawthorn is commonly known as May because it was in this month that the highly scented white flowers used to appear. Due to climate change the flowers now more often appear in April. Other trees to look out for are crab apples (which also have white blossoms in spring), willows which are starting to be covered in their new leaves, and poplars - see Libby Culshaw's article on Page 12.
Hawthorn blossom For more information go to:
The canal banks are also home to many wild flowers. Daisies and dandelions are already out in bloom and others will soon follow. THINGS TO DO Go on a walk (or boat) along a stretch of canal. Take a guide book with you to help identify what you see. Make a note of all the wildlife you spot, and take pictures too. When snapping a bird, it may take flight if it hears your phone or camera operating, but often you will still get the shot! Tell us what you find, and send us your pictures. See you in the next edition.
Text and bird pictures: Jane Bidgood. Hawthorn picture: Pixabay.
Fire and carbon monoxide safety on boats During Alan Stewart's talk on 16 March, the subject of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms came up. If you were at the meeting, you may have picked up the safety leaflets that Alan had with him. If not, the following links may be useful if you are in any doubt about these aspects of your boat's safety. https://www.boatsafetyscheme.org/stay-safe/fire-safety-for-boats/ https://www.boatsafetyscheme.org/stay-safe/carbon-monoxide-(co)/ James Griffin of Wyvern Shipping writes: We use the approved smoke alarm Fire Angel SI - 610 which has a ten year life. This is the only one we have found suitable for boats. The Carbon Monoxide alarm we use is the Fire Angel CO - 9X with a seven year life. Both are available from Amazon. Page 11
Seen from the Tiller - The Noble Poplar One of the great features of Milton Keynes is the Broadwalk. This avenue of poplar trees runs beside most of the towpath from Bridge 99 in the south near Willowbridge, to Bridges 78 and 79 in the north near Lionhearts Cruising Club. This inspirational landscaping idea is practical as well as aesthetic: it is used by walkers, cyclists, anglers, runners, birdwatchers, squirrels, birds and insects to name but a few. It doesn't matter what time of year you happen along, there is always something beautiful to admire. Of the ten or so types of poplar, ours is the Lombardy Poplar (populus nigra 'Italica'). It was originally propagated from a male tree in Lombardy early in the 18th century, and grown in Europe for shelter and ornament. Its shape is its most distinctive feature. The flowers open in March and the fruits that are formed contain seeds tufted with cottony down. It is this down that often covers the surface of the canal and our boat roofs in late summer. Lombardy poplars can reach heights of 30 metres (100 feet). I am sure that the ones that adorn our canal have reached that height already. Text and picture: Libby Culshaw.
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Three Locks Pumping Station development In 2015, Canal & River Trust was awarded an initial £8,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to develop a scheme for restoring the Pumping Station at Three Locks. A successful bid followed, and work on the £700,000 scheme started in March, with £391,100 contributed by the Heritage Lottery Fund. .Built
in 1838 for a steamdriven pump (one of the socalled Northern Engines that returned water to the Tring summit level), and now Listed Grade II, the building has been in a neglected state for some years. When completed, it will provide business workspace as well as housing the electric pump that replaced the steam plant. The work is being carried out Work underway in mid-April. Photo: Les Franklin. by a specialist heritage team from CRT, including heritage apprentices taking up opportunities to learn new skills in the areas of historic carpentry, lime mortars, stone masonry and historic brickwork. Work includes repairing and rebuilding the roof and brick walls, replacing guttering and underpinning the rear wall. New doors and windows, in keeping with the character of the building, will also be installed. Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this piece of canal heritage will be restored for generations to come. Once finished, the building will provide a base for a local craftsman, giving it a new lease of life, after being empty for so many years.”
From CRT press release, March 2017.
The Exbury Egg What must be the most unusual craft ever to float on Grand Union waters is the Exbury Egg. An egg-shaped cabin made of Western Red Cedar, it is the creation of artist Stephen Turner, and began life as a studio/laboratory to study the life of the tidal Beaulieu River on the Exbury Estate, Hampshire. Since April 2016, it has been Stephen's base for a touring exhibition of artworks on the theme of "everything comes from the egg", which encourages communities to help produce new art exploring life and the renewal of life. Since it was built, the Egg has acquired a patina of weathering, algae and barnacles that reflects this theme. The exhibition is financially supported by Canal & River Trust and Milton Keynes Council amongst other sponsors, and public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The Egg has been moored at Stanton Low Park throughout April, but will move to Milton Keynes Arts Centre, Great Linford Park, in early May. It leaves on 14 May for the next stage of its tour. Find out more about the Exbury Egg, including video clips, pictures and interviews, at: http://exburyeggtour.com/index.html
From exburyeggtour.com press release.
Whatâ€™s in a name? Libby Culshaw has reluctantly sold her narrowboat Pendragon, which has been a familiar sight on MKâ€™s waters since she and her late husband Peter had her built in the early 1980s. She writes: Peter and I were living at 16,000 feet in the Andes in North West Argentina, in the late 1970s, when we decided to get a narrowboat. A bit tricky as where we lived lacked telephone and other forms of communication, but we did have a postal service of sorts. After a lot of research and cogitation, we decided to have a narrowboat by Peter Nicholls Steel Boats as we particularly liked the tugstyle boat he had just built, named Merlin. The deal was done and our boat was due to be collected in June 1982. The Falklands War popped up that very year, so we arrived in UK earlier than anticipated. Peter Nicholls finished the boat so that we had somewhere to live. As Merlin was King Arthurâ€™s magician we decided to name her Pendragon. We cruised the northern canals for a couple of months, then Peter found work in London and returned to Argentina to pack up. I found a house within commuting distance and a mooring in Milton Keynes. And the rest is history! If you have an interesting story about your boat, do let us share it. It makes it more interesting when you cruise by. Photo: Libby Culshaw.
Willowbridge Marina http://www.willowbridgemarina.co.uk Willowbridge Marina is a working boatyard specialising in lifting boats in and out of the water, as well as on and off transport. We are a family-run business, working hard to provide services to canal boat owners and users in the Milton Keynes area. We offer the following services: - Well-stocked chandlery, including stainless steel fastenings and Calor Gas fittings; - Red diesel; - All boat services, including coal, LPG and pump-out; - All mooring services, including limited linear moorings, wireless internet and power, toilets, showers, laundry and extensive storage ashore. We offer a 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard to IWA members. Page 14
01908 643242 email@example.com
At the Members' Evening on 22 February, Trust Chairman Jane Hamilton explained how the Trust is developing its case for the Waterway Park in the context of the National Infrastructure Commissionâ€™s report on the Oxford-Cambridge corridor, published last November. The Waterway Park can help boost economic growth by providing a pleasant and ecologically diverse environment for planned new settlements, improving water management, and of course increasing tourism by forging the missing link between the Grand Union Canal and the Anglian waterways.
Work continues on proposals for the waterway route. The culvert under the Photo: Les Franklin. proposed dual A421 between Milton Keynes and Junction 13 is stalled due to lack of funding, but the Trust is pressing the case for it as a pedestrian and cycling link between the communities each side of the dual road. Proposals for extending the head of navigation on the Great Ouse are being developed with the idea that Kempston can benefit economically. Work also continues towards marking the route with sculptures, benches or waymarks. The Trust is keen to ensure that its membership represents as wide a cross-section of society as possible, to avoid the risk of being seen as simply a group of self-interested boaters. Walkers, runners, cyclists, horse-riders, paddleboarders, wildlife enthusiasts and community groups keen to speed the arrival of the waterway - all stand to benefit from the Trust's vision. The Trust's Information Evening and AGM will take place at 7.30pm on Tuesday 27 June, at the United Reform Church, High Street, Newport Pagnell, MK16 0FH.
THE JOHN BUNYAN BOAT has earned sufficient funds to allow all the loans on the purchase of the vessel to be paid off. It was thought that this could take up to ten years, but it has been achieved in five years. The project has turned around the Trust's finances, and from now on is expected to contribute about ÂŁ25,000 per year. Public cruises are expected to start at Easter.
Articles condensed from B&MK News, March 2017.
THE THREE LOCKS TEL: 01525 270214
A very traditional canalside pub . . . Dating from the early 1900s, the Three Locks is full of character, with the added appeal of wide country views, and of course the passing boats. The Three Locks is now family-run by Michael and Susan Schwartz. Our focus is on customer service, with high standards in our beers, wines and soft drinks, and in the quality of our food - locally sourced and freshly prepared. We are open daily from 12 noon, and our friendly and efficient staff look forward to welcoming you.
10% discount on food for IWA members - please show your membership card. Page 15
Getting in touch with MK Branch The Branch AGM in February brought no changes to the Committee, so the list is as before. We are still looking for help in taking on some Committee jobs to ensure the continuing survival of the Branch. If you can help, please come and talk to us.
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Get the latest waterway news at these web sites. Addresses change frequently, but these were correct on 30 March 2017.
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IWA homepage: https://www.waterways.org.uk MK Branch pages: at above address, under “IWA Local”, select “Milton Keynes”. Canal and River Trust: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Trust: http://www.b-mkwaterway.org.uk Buckingham Canal Society: http:www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk Wendover Arm Trust: http://www.wendoverarmtrust.co.uk Friends of the Canal Museum: http://www.friendsofcanalmuseum.org.uk Leighton Buzzard Canal Society: https://www.facebook.com/LeightonBuzzardCanalSociety/
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 members and readers. Page 16
The newsletter of the Milton Keynes branch of the Inland Waterways Association