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KEEPING OUR WATERWAYS ALIVE

waterways

www.watterways www.waterways.org.uk

Spring 2009 | ISSUE 223

THE CHELMER & BLACKWATER REVISITED

‌ a progress report from Essex

BROADS, LAKES, RIVERS & CANALS

Our diverse waterway network The Interview

News & Views

New Chairman Clive Henderson

All the latest developments

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NATIONAL CHAIRMAN’S COLUMN

IWA WATERWAYS SPRING 2009 ISSUE

AS THE FIRST WATERWAYS with me as your Chairman hits your mat I would like to say how honoured I am to be chairman of this great Association. I took over from John Fletcher at the November meeting of the Board of Trustees and I must pay tribute to all that he achieved during his six years in the role. He raised our profile in Westminster and in the wider inland waterways scene. He initiated a review of the role and function of our trustee board and the way that our subcommittees operate. When I first arrived as a new trustee he was in the chair so I have known no other at that level, but it is clear that his commitment to the role and the challenges we have faced was exemplary and he will be a hard act to follow. You can find out more about me elsewhere in this issue but I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at forthcoming events. I would like to start by telling you how wonderful the waterways will become in the future with adequate funding and increased awareness and participation by a wider range of stakeholders across the country. Sadly, the reality is different to this vision and we must face the impact of a UK economy facing possibly the worst recession since our founding in 1946. As the first National Chairman born after that event I have, like many, only experienced times when things got progressively better and any setbacks were temporary. I fear that the good times I describe above are now over. With so many demands on funding at national and local government levels, the reality is that simply asking for more money and support for a treasured national asset is not going to work. It needs a new approach. We must widen the base of people and organisations that appreciate and support the waterways. We need your help to do this. I ask every member to spend time spreading the message about what is good about the waterways and how they contribute to the health and wellbeing of our nation, particularly in these difficult times. There are many organisations supporting their own particular interests in the waterways, many loosely joined by common membership of various consultation and co-ordinating groups and the IWA acts in this role for many canal societies and restoration groups. I have been impressed in my few months in this role how all such groups seem to be working together with a common purpose towards the greater awareness and support that is needed. The project to refresh the Waterways for Tomorrow document has served to bond this wider group of interested parties. It presents an opportunity to give the waterways a secure and improved future. I will update you in future editions.

Contents

SPRING 2009

8 16

NEWS News and views from around the waterway network

RESTORATION UPDATE From the Sleaford Navigation, the Uttoxeter Canal, the Cotswold Canals and the Wey & Arun

20

38

WATERWAY CUTTINGS What the press have had to say about the world of the waterways

44

INBOX

47

DIRECTORY

Readers’ letters

Who’s who at the Inland Waterways Association

HOW TO RUN A WATERWAY? A progress report from the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

24

BROADS, LAKES, RIVERS & CANALS 20 HOW TO RUN A WATERWAY?

A tour of our diverse waterway network

32

THE INTERVIEW We talk to new IWA Chairman Clive Henderson

Where a photo credit includes a note such as ‘CC-BY’, the image is made available under that Creative Commons licence: full details at www.creativecommons.org.

CLIVE HENDERSON

WATERWAYS EDITOR: Keith Goss Tel: 01283 742951 E-mail: k.goss@wwonline.co.uk

ADVERTISING DESIGN: Jill Brown E-mail: jill.brown@wwonline.co.uk ADVERTISING PRODUCTION: Samantha Lloyd E-mail: s.lloyd@wwonline.co.uk EDITORIAL BOARD: Gillian Smith, Jo Gillbertson, Neil Edwards, Keith Goss, Peter Johns REPROGRAPHICS: Waterways World Ltd, 151 Station Street, Burton-onTrent, Staffordshire, DE14 1BG. Printed in England by Warners (Midlands) PLC, Bourne, Lincs M Articles may be reproduced provided permission is obtained and acknowledgement made. ISSN 0969-0654

A non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee (612245), Registered as a Charity (No. 212342)

Founded: 1946, Incorporated 1958 Registered Office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA Tel: 01494 783453 E-mail: iwa@waterways.org.uk Web site: www.waterways.org.uk

Chief Executive – Neil Edwards, Operations & Information Systems Manager – David Forrester Finance Manager – Helen Elliott-Adams M

IWA may not agree with opinions expressed in Waterways but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless stated, otherwise the Association accepts no liability for any matter in the magazine. Although every care is taken with advertising matters no responsibility whatsoever can be accepted for any matter advertised.

Chris Herring Photography

ART EDITOR: Liane Hunt ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER: Tony Preston Tel: 01283 742965 E-mail: tony.preston@wwonline.co.uk

COVER PICTURE: Perfect reflections at Horsey Staithe and Mill on the Norfolk Broads – one of the ports of call on our tour of the waterway network in this issue.

IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009 / 01

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www.rose-narrowboats.co.uk 6 / IWA WATERWAYS / Spring 2009

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IWA WATERWAYS / Spring 2009 / 7

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NEWS

GOOD NEWS AT STOURBRIDGE

BRECON & ABERGAVENNY ON SCHEDULE TOO

Robin Smithett

BW chairman Tony Hales and Stourbridge MP Linda Waltho declare the Stourbridge Canal open.

THE FULL TOWPATH of the Brecon & Abergavenny Canal was reopened just before Christmas, although the canal is not due to be reopened to boats until just before Easter. The canal has been closed at Gilwern since 16th October 2007 when there was a major breach resulting in eight people requiring rescue and the A4077

side of the breach gap; 80 cubic metres of concrete block installed at the bottom of the embankment; Geotextile lining and 3,000 tonnes of fill installed behind the concrete to build up the embankment; the canal re-built and re-lined along the new embankment; canal wall repaired from Stourton Locks to Wordsley Aqueduct. IWA has congratulated BW on the speed of repairs to a very substantial breach.

Lining and reproofing at the breach site in mid October.

DROP IN LICENCE EVASION BRITISH WATERWAYS has announced that, following its annual National Boat Count, which took place over two weeks during November, the number of unidentified or unlicensed boats on the waterways it manages has reduced from 10.4% to 6.8%. During 2008, more than 140 unlicensed boats have been seized and Section 8 enforcement proceedings are currently underway on more than 300 craft. The biggest falls in evasion rates were in the West Midlands, London and the South West, although there were also reductions in evasion rates in seven out of BW’s eight administrative areas in England and Wales. The lowest evasion rate is in BW’s Yorkshire area, which saw a small increase in the rate to 5.2%. From the beginning of April, boat owners who have an unlicensed boat by more than one month out of date, including all those identified as part of the National Boat Count, are to face an additional charge of £150 surcharge on their overdue licence fees. The charge is intended to reflect BW’s extra costs incurred in chasing up overdue payments.

between Crickhowell and Gilwern being closed for a week. Following an engineering assessment of the whole canal, a 16-mile stretch of the canal was taken out of use, and £7.5 million allocated for repairs. Much of the canal has now been re-watered, with just the breach site at Gilwern to be refilled within the next few weeks.

BRITISH WATERWAYS PROPERTY SALES Photos: Graham Booth

BRITISH WATERWAYS fully reopened the Stourbridge Canal on 19th December when Tony Hales, chairman of BW, and Lynda Waltho, MP for Stourbridge, led an official ribbon-cutting ceremony. The reopening was carried out three and a half months after the breach took place in the early hours of 7th September, as a result of extreme weather conditions that caused the River Stour to flood in the area of the Stourbridge Town Arm terminus. Surges in water levels caused 20 metres of bank to give way and a two-mile stretch of canal to be de-watered from Stourbridge Locks, to the top of Stourton and the Stourbridge Town Arm. Repair works cost about £650,000 and were undertaken by BW’s contractor Morrison Construction, who delivered the project ahead of schedule. The works included: two clay dams installed and the canal re-watered either side of the breach; the canal re-profiled back to its original shape, and relined with clay 20 metres either

NOTWITHSTANDING CURRENT concerns that HM Treasury may force the sale of all or part of British Waterways’ commercial property portfolio, BW regularly reviews its property holdings, both waterside and otherwise. Surplus property is then either sold or held, pending an opportunity to maximise proceeds when an appropriate chance arises. Following a Freedom of Information question, BW has provided IWA with a full list of over 70 waterside properties sold during the 12 months to 30th September 2008, along with more details about the properties over and above the legal minimum. Property sales during the period include those that have already been well-reported in the press, such as the sale of its former Head Office building at Willow Grange in Watford. Other sales include the 50 acre Makins Fisheries site off the Trent & Mersey Canal, Tower Wharf development site at Chester, substantial land holdings in Brentford (to BW’s joint venture company), the remaining parts of the Rosebank Distillery site in Falkirk (part was sold in 2004), Wharf House at Gailey (Staffs & Worcs Canal), Llanthony lock houses and land (sold to Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust), cottages alongside the Caledonian Canal formerly used by BW staff, Outram House at Whaley Bridge Wharf (Peak Forest Canal), Toll Office at Gas Street Basin (Birmingham), The Old Toll House at Norton Junction, Wood Wharf business park in London’s Docklands (to BW’s joint venture company) and lock cottages at Long Buckby, Batchworth, Cowroast and Marsworth (Grand Union Canal), Little Bourton (Oxford Canal), Tardebigge (Worcester & Birmingham Canal), Lapworth (Stratford-upon-Avon Canal), Loughborough (Soar Navigation) and Enfield (Lee Navigation). A full list is available at www.waterways.org.uk/News/ OtherWaterwaysNews/BWPropertySales.

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spring NEWS TOWPATH TIDY 2009 TAKING PLACE at the end of March, ‘Towpath Tidy’ will be a series of projects around the waterways targeting ‘hotspots’ for litter and vandalism. Building on such ventures in previous years, including the BCN Spring Clean featuring Waterway Recovery Group and the West Midlands Region of IWA, there will be even more activity this year spread throughout

the waterway network. These projects will focus on litter picking, vegetation clearance and minor environmental improvements. British Waterways’ nine local offices around the country will co-ordinate this activity. Individual volunteers and volunteer groups will work with BW staff who will supply all the appropriate support required. BW’s office-based personnel will

Area Scotland North West Yorkshire Wales & Border Counties West Midlands West Midlands - Droitwich Restoration East Midlands South West South East London

Contact Phil Martin Sarah Lalieu Gavin Beat Stephen Bicknell Jessica Black John Brownbridge Kevin Howe Alison Colebrook Chris Stanley Andy Downie

have the opportunity to work closely with engineering and maintenance staff, as well as with teams of volunteers. As was highlighted at last year’s BW General Meeting, volunteers are perceived as being vital to the long term future of the waterways. ‘Towpath Tidy’ is seen as an excellent way of demonstrating BW’s support for the principle of

Role Customer Operations Manager External Funding Manager Waste Management Surveyor Customer Operations Supervisor Volunteer & Community Involvement Co-ordinator Volunteer Team Leader Volunteer Co-ordinator Volunteer Co-ordinator External Funding Co-ordinator Operations Supervisor

THAMES NEWS WELCOMED IWA HAS WELCOMED the announcement by the Environment Agency that it has scrapped plans to sell or let one third of its lock-keepers’ cottages on the Thames, announced at the beginning of December. Earlier in 2008, IWA and other Thames interests protested against the plans to sell 10 riverside lock cottages and to let a further 12 to cut costs. MPs were lobbied and waterways stakeholders alerted. This led to criticism of the Agency by MPs, councillors and other waterways user groups. An Early Day Motion was tabled in Parliament and the Agency suspended its proposals pending further review. The Agency has announced that it had listened carefully to the objections, and that concerns about flood risk were central to its decision to abandon the sell-off. It has now made a commitment to ensure that there are resident lock-keepers at each of the 45

locks along the Thames. There are, however, still plans to sell five relief cottages, which are not on the river, and to relocate the current residents, but the Agency has guaranteed that no lock and weir personnel are to be made homeless or redundant. This decision has been welcomed by lock-keepers and their supporters.

MARINE LICENSING UNDER THE MARINE and Coastal Access Bill, the marine licensing system will consolidate and modernise the two existing Acts which set the framework for the current system – the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 and the Coast Protection Act 1949. In future, a single Marine Licence is to replace both the existing licence under the 1985 Act and the consent required under the 1949 Act. In England and relevant UK offshore areas, responsibility for licensing and enforcement is to pass from the Secretary of State for Environment,

Food and Rural Affairs, along with some functions of the Secretaries of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Department for Transport, to the newly formed Marine Management Organisation. The new licensing regime is likely to impact mostly upon offshore marinas, coastal developments and dredging activities and the development of off-shore wind farms, but is likely to have some impact on estuarial inland waters. A booklet provides greater detail on the changes at www.defra.gov.uk/marine/index.htm.

volunteer labour, especially that provided by IWA, WRG and other waterway trusts and societies. The specific dates for ‘Towpath Tidy’ are 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th March. All volunteers and volunteer groups are welcome and further details will be available on www. waterscape.com. Alternatively, contact should be made with the relevant BW office as shown below. Telephone 0141 354 7518 01942 405714 0113 281 6806 07736 330 288 01827 252090 0771 017 5297 01636 675748 01452 318062 01908 302 586 020 7985 7701

ALREWAS WEIR REPAIRS BRITISH WATERWAYS has completely rebuilt the safety boom protecting Alrewas weir where the Trent & Mersey Canal crosses the River Trent. The old boom, which had been in a poor condition for some time, was lifted out for repair by BW’s contractors Morrison Construction. New bank anchors were also installed as part of the repair. Additional bank protection work has been part funded by National Power, which owns the gas pipeline that passes under the navigation at this point. (Photo & report by Harry Arnold)

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NEWS

NEW STRATEGY FOR THE WEAVER VALLEY IN JANUARY 2008, British Waterways commissioned consultants to undertake a Waterspace Strategy for the Weaver Valley Regional Park - one of a number of studies aimed at regeneration and growth covering an area from Audlem to Frodsham. The waterways covered are the Shropshire Union Canal from Audlem to Barbridge Junction and the Middlewich Branch, the Trent & Mersey Canal north of Sandbach, and the Weaver Navigation and Winsford Flashes, which effectively form a head of navigation for the Weaver. The work was undertaken with a steering group comprising representatives of BW, local authorities, the Environment Agency and IWA, to whom the final report was submitted in September 2008. Key findings of the report are: there is currently an emphasis on use of the waterways as access to Llangollen Canal, rather than destinations in themselves; this gives consequent

pressure on lengths between marinas and the Llangollen Canal - the Middlewich Branch in particular - at peak times; there is underuse of the ‘dead end’ and relatively inaccessible Weaver Navigation, exacerbated by poor amenities and signage, as well as the need for supervision through locks; there are access and amenity deficiencies on the Middlewich Branch; there is a lack of awareness of potential for the waterways, and lack of willingness to engage, particularly from local businesses. Possible solutions, some of which are already under consideration, include: restoration of Frodsham Cut, on the Weaver, to navigation; waterfront developments in Northwich, Winnington, Winsford, Middlewich and Nantwich Snow Hill; redevelopment of Lion Salt Works in Middlewich; a new Thomas Telford museum at Audlem; a trip boat between Anderton and Northwich; various towpath and access initiatives at local authority and Weaver Valley

Regional Park levels; new marinas (eg at Church Minshull and on northern edges of Middlewich); a new navigable link from Winsford to the Middlewich Branch, making the Weaver a through route. A separate study has been undertaken on the feasibility of a new link between the Middlewich Branch and Winsford Flashes, incorporating an inclined plane or similar, but this is not covered in the Waterspace Strategy. The report concludes that investment could make a positive financial return within 15 years, and that funding would largely need to come from North West Development Agency, European funds etc. The Weaver Navigation offers by far the biggest potential for growth. The report suggests that a few small ‘quick wins’ be secured to retain support of stakeholders and that possible difficult issues, such as limited access from the Manchester Ship Canal, should be tackled early on.

Robin Smithett

LEFT: The Weaver Navigation suffers from poor amenities and signage. BELOW: Audlem on the Shropshire Union Canal has been identified as a possible location for a new Thomas Telford museum.

HERITAGE PROTECTION BILL ON HOLD THE PREVIOUSLY announced Heritage Protection Bill was not amongst those included in the Queen’s Speech on 3rd December. A joint ministerial statement from Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Barbara Follett, Minister for Culture and Baroness Kay Andrews, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government confirmed that the Queen’s Speech reflected the Government’s ‘immediate priorities in these difficult times’. The Heritage Protection Bill was dropped with five other Bills. The Bill is, however, only ‘on hold’ and not abandoned, and in the meantime, ministers have promised to take work forward on a range of fronts, including (a) the development of a new Planning Policy Statement – a draft will be out for consultation by Easter; (b) a clear statement of the Government’s vision and priorities for the historic environment; (c) consultation on the English Heritage Strategic Designation Programme; and (d) the continuation of the English Heritage programme of training and capacity building for local historic environment staff. The statement can be found on the Department for Culture Media and Sport’s website at www.culture.gov.uk/ what_we_do/historic_ environment/5644.aspx.

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SPRING NEWS K&A GRANT KENNET DISTRICT Council has offered a grant of £75,000 to Kennet & Avon Canal Trust to partfinance the three-year employment costs of a General Manager for the Trust. The Trust expects the post to be sustainable from funds raised internally after the three-year funding. The post-holder will co-ordinate and manage the Trust’s professional and volunteering activities along the waterway, including two days each week to manage its trading arm and staff. The Trust currently runs Claverton Pumping Station, Crofton

Beam Engines and the Museum and Visitor Centre at Devizes Wharf, along with shops and visitor centres at Bradford-on-Avon, Newbury and Aldermaston. It also operates three large passenger-carrying trip boats, based near Bath, Bradford-on-Avon and Hungerford. Kennet District Council currently also contributes £65,000 per annum to British Waterways towards the cost of maintaining the canal under a longterm agreement negotiated at the time of the major Heritage Lottery Fund upgrade of the waterway.

The Museum and visitor Centre at Devizes Wharf.

IN BRIEF As announced at the Association’s Annual General Meeting in September 2008, IWA has undertaken a review of audit arrangements. Five firms, including Baker Tilly, the Association’s auditors for many years, were invited to make presentations at the beginning of November, from which a recommendation was made to trustees. Trustees have now appointed Saffery Champness as the Association’s new auditors, and the boards of IWA’s two subsidiary companies, Inland Waterways Enterprises Ltd and Essex Waterways Ltd, have done likewise. In line with many other retailers, IWA’s mail-order trading business is holding a sale from 5th January. Items on offer include waterway books, guides, chandlery, gifts, DVDs and videos. Full details are available at www.iwashop.com. In contrast to some other retailers, iwashop.com has reported healthy Christmas sales and expects an improved result on 2007, and to contribute a significant surplus as part of the Association’s trading company Inland Waterways Enterprises Ltd. Overall, however, the company is likely to make a loss for 2008 owing to the poor financial result from the National Festival at Wolverhampton and losses on sales and activities at shows and events. On 8th December, the Broads Authority moved offices to: Dragonfly House, 2 Gilders Way, Norwich, NR3 1UB, retaining its existing telephone line 01603 610734. The new building, beside the River Wensum, is said to be the ‘greenest’ office in Norwich, and is shared with the Environment Agency and Natural England. A mooring is to be built alongside in due course, so that visitors can arrive by boat. The move has been funded by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, which purchased the building and paid for removal costs.

LUNE AQUEDUCT REPAIRS

dpicker at flickr.com CC-BY

BRITISH WATERWAYS closed Lune Aqueduct on the Lancaster Canal for detailed inspection and repairs on 9th December following the discovery of a pronounced leak at the southern end. Dams were installed to allow the water in the aqueduct to be lowered so that closer inspection of the leak could take place to enable a programme of repairs to be established. The Glasson flight of locks was also closed shortly afterwards to maintain water levels on the main line of the canal. With the aqueduct re-watered for testing purposes, the locks were reopened on 24th December.

The 200-year-old Lune Aqueduct has a recent history of leakage from the bed of the canal – particularly at each end where the aqueduct joins the soil embankment. A three-month programme of repairs was carried out to the structure in March 2006. If it had been allowed to persist, the current water leakage could have threatened the stability of the aqueduct. The Grade I listed Lune Aqueduct was originally built by canal engineer John Rennie between 1794 and 1797, and is said to be architecturally the finest aqueduct in North West England, carrying the canal over the River Lune on five semi-circular arches each of 70ft span.

Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council has announced its strategy and master-plan for the second phase of its Waterfront Project for regenerating a 15-hectare site of previously developed land to the north of the town centre into a mixed use development on the canalside location. The first phase of the Waterfront Project was completed in 2006, with the construction of the Doncaster Education City Hub building. Preparatory works for the second phase completed so far include filling in of the Gas House Bight, the relocation of the on-site water pumping station, land remediation and sheet piling to make the site safe for heavy development. Following heavy rain over the weekend 13th & 14th December an exceptional amount of silt washed into the Worcester & Birmingham Canal from surrounding fields reducing the draft to an un-navigable depth in places. The navigation was closed from Tardebigge to Alvechurch Marina for a few days whilst some emergency dredging work was undertaken to reopen the canal, but it is likely that as a consequence the canal may now be shallower in places until full dredging takes place. It’s not all doom and gloom – UK Boat Hire, part of the ABC Leisure Group, reported record bookings for the last week of December. On 1st January the company also enjoyed a record booking day, the best since the company was formed almost 15 years ago. UK Boat Hire operates 200 narrowboats from 11 different bases around the country and the surge in bookings has been attributed to a combination of early booking offers coming to an end and others starting. The weakness of the pound against the euro is also resulting in people choosing UK holidays for 2009.

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NEWS

HISTORIC BOATS HANDOVER ON 5th DECEMBER, British Waterways handed over two of its historic heritage working boats, Atlas and Malus, to the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society and Coombeswood Canal Trust. The two societies have jointly leased the boats from BW with the aim of using them for the future promotion of the waterways. The boats formed part of the British Waterways ‘Heritage Working Boats Project’, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project began in 1999 with a fleet of 10 boats

that were restored to their original appearance. With the agreement of the Heritage Lottery Fund, BW recently decided to rationalise the fleet of boats to ensure the project’s future sustainability, and consequently Atlas and Malus were offered to waterway-related organisations who could continue to care and use the boats in a similar fashion. The societies are to maintain both the engine-powered Atlas and the butty boat Malus at Coombeswood Canal Trust’s base at Hawne Basin, Halesowen.

COLD WEATHER SAFETY

Andy Tidy

COLD WEATHER in December prompted the usual cautionary notices from British Waterways and others for waterway users to take particular care during icy conditions, which IWA entirely endorses. It is sometimes said that property owners should do nothing to clear away snow and ice for fear that they might make themselves liable for a claim of negligence, in the event that someone was to suffer an injury on the property where efforts were made to improve the surface. IWA’s insurers have, however, expressly dismissed this myth, and have strongly recommended that property owners and managers should make reasonable efforts to ensure their property is safe for visitors in so far as is practicable. In the event that someone does suffer an injury at the property and negligence is shown, then insurers should pick up the claim under the public liability insurance that all commercial property owners should hold. This advice may be particularly relevant for boat clubs and property managers.

GOING GREEN ON THE GU THE PHARMACEUTICAL company GlaxoSmithKline, whose Head Office is adjacent to the Grand Union Canal in West London, has arranged with British Waterways to use water from the canal and heat exchange technology to provide a more sustainable alternative to traditional air conditioning – with a target of reducing the building’s carbon dioxide emissions by 920 tonnes per annum, and lowering its energy bills. BW estimates that a further 1,000 waterside businesses nationwide could follow the company’s lead by using canal water for heating or cooling although there are a few other businesses around the UK that already cool their waterside buildings using adjacent waterways, including a university, a shopping centre and a hotel. GlaxoSmithKline is to pay BW an annual sum for the use of the canal water. The initiative in West London replaces a traditional air conditioning system and uses recyclable water from the Grand Union Canal to primarily cool GSK’s computer data centre via heat exchangers and a water-cooled chiller. The process works in a similar way to a car radiator where cool air passes through the hot engine to lower its temperature. Because this results in water being returned to the canal slightly warmer, it has required an environmental analysis and consent from the Environment Agency. On financial grounds, GSK estimates it will achieve a five-year pay back of more than £100,000 of annual energy savings, as well as being less harmful to the environment.

GOVERNMENT POLICY ON INLAND WATERWAYS IWA HAS SUBMITTED its initial views on what it would like to see from a new Waterways for Tomorrow policy document to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. This document, originally published in 2000, set out the Government’s policy vision for the inland waterways. It was widely welcomed at the time, but it is now eight years old. The Department has announced that it intends to produce a revision of the document, and has said it will consult with stakeholders early in 2009, with the aim of publishing the revised document later in the year. IWA has submitted its initial views to the Department. IWA’s submission embraces issues such as: the contribution the waterways make to life in Britain, as a whole and regionally; the benefits that restoration and regeneration convey for communities; how planning, at national and regional levels, must recognise the inland waterways; the efficiencies that greater navigation authority collaboration could deliver;

boaters’ charges; funding of the waterways; and the greater contribution that the waterways can make to freight movements and climate change. IWA has welcomed the decision to renew Waterways for Tomorrow. Whilst IWA believes it was an excellent document in its time, new issues have arisen, not least the need to address climate change was much less recognised in 2000, health issues are changing with a greater emphasis on preventative action, and the waterways have much to offer in these spheres and in delivering a wider range of public benefits, such as social cohesion and affordable recreation. A disappointment of Waterways for Tomorrow was, however, its failure to address funding. IWA believes that this has become critical. British Waterways has an annual £30 million funding gap between its resources and that needed to properly maintain its network, and the Environment Agency also has a gap amounting to £8 million to £12 million.

12 / IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009

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spring NEWS BOAT LICENCE FEES BRITISH WATERWAYS announced boat licence fee increases of about 8% to apply in England & Wales from 1st April 2009. BW’s decision followed a consultation, including recommendations from the British Waterways Advisory Forum. The great majority of those responding to the consultation (primarily national boating organisations) were opposed to any redistribution of licence fee increases between wide and narrow boats or between those with home moorings and those without. BW therefore decided not to accept in their entirety the BWAF proposals. BW says its decision also has regard to the deteriorating economic climate which could weaken demand for boat licences in 2009; it had originally proposed a rise of 11.2% for most boat owners. The net (ex VAT) price of BW’s boat licences in England and Wales is to increase by the following amounts: Leisure business licences 7.5% Gold licences 8.2% (5.9% after taking into account the VAT reduction) All other licences 8.5% (6.2% after taking into account the VAT reduction) BW has also said that it is considering policies to implement during the next two years that would encourage the proportion of boaters without a home mooring (ie continuous cruisers) but who wish to remain within a specific area of the waterways to choose a mooring option that might include a ‘roving mooring permit’. This would cater for those who like to have no fixed base and cruise short distances between temporary moorings within easy reach of their work or other land-based commitment. However, by purchasing such a permit, they would no longer be classified as ‘continuous cruisers’. BW also says that it intends to examine alternative options relating to the structure and pricing of continuous cruising licences whilst seeking to avoid penalising those who genuinely cruise extensively around the network. Boat licence fees for Scotland are currently being consulted upon with a proposed 6.3% licence fee increase from 1st April 2009. Transit licences are due to be held at 2008 prices. IWA had, earlier in November, responded to BW’s consultation on boat licensing by rejecting BW’s proposals, and suggesting an alternative

course of action. IWA was originally involved in the British Waterways Advisory Forum consultation process that led to BW’s proposals on boat licensing but was not willing to sign up to the Forum’s recommendations, as IWA felt them to be artificially divisive and failed to fully address the fundamental issue, namely, a problem with overstaying boats of all types and kinds. IWA also felt that BW was seeking to bridge a funding gap by attempting to levy differential charges on categories of boater where BW felt there may be a greater propensity to pay, or where there was less likely to be a backlash of popular opinion, and that that approach was morally wrong. For those reasons, IWA felt that the subsequent recommendations and arguments for the approaches made by BW in the consultation were inappropriate. IWA had alternatively suggested that: the current rivers only discount be retained; boaters be subject to a flat increase in all categories, restricted to inflation only; prompt payment discounts be retained; and assertive enforcement action be taken to discourage overstaying boats of all types at moorings.

OTHER NAVIGATION AUTHORITY FEES THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY has also agreed to increase its licence fees by a lower rate than it had originally proposed after lobbying by IWA and other waterway interests. The Agency had originally said it intended to put fees up by 11.8% from 1st January 2009, but after strong protests at user meetings, the rate of increase was reduced to 7.8%. Mooring fees on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation rose by 3.5% on 1st January. Essex Waterways Ltd, IWA’s subsidiary, has undertaken to keep fee increases down to about the level of inflation, notwithstanding continued improvements along the navigation at its mooring sites. There is no separate licence fee for use of the Navigation. Meanwhile, the Broads Authority has agreed to implement a 6% rise in licence fees – it had originally intended to implement a 9% increase.

Licence fees for boats on BW waterways, such as the Trent & Mersey seen here at Great Haywood, are to increase by around 8%.

Chris Herring Photography

RIGHT: Meanwhile licence fees on the Broads are set to rise by 6%.

IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009 / 13

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IWA FREIGHT NEWS

BCN CHALLENGE

CLUB 500

THE BIRMINGHAM CANAL Navigations Society is resurrecting the BCN Marathon Challenge, last held in 2002. The event will be staged over the weekend of 30th-31st May and will be open to anyone with a boat licensed for use on British Waterways’ canals; historic working boats and pairs are welcome. Boats can start at any point on the BCN, but should finish in the basin at the end of the Walsall Town Arm. The challenge will start at 9am on Saturday and finish at 3am on Sunday. Participants are allowed to navigate for as long as they like during the 30-hour period, up to a maximum of 24 hours. The winner will be the boat crew which amasses the greatest number of

COULD YOU BE ONE OF THE NEXT WINNERS? 2008 SAW A PLEASING INCREASE IN SUBSCRIPTIONS. As a result of the new leaflet insertion in Waterways magazine last year the number of subscriptions increased to 891 for the June Draw. During the year members have been contacted and asked to consider changing their method of payment to the Direct Debit system. The response has been favourable, resulting in a decrease of paperwork and administration costs. Thank you for subscribing to Club 500 your support is not just welcome, it is needed. To obtain a Club 500 membership subscription form contact IWA Head Office.

IWA REGIONS REVIEW

PRIZE DRAW RESULTS FOR 2008: February/March 562 R.Jacques - York 936 Mr & Mrs Cakebread – Sleaford 551 P N Jones – Birmingham 599 A D Hooper – Milton Keynes 853 Ms S Middleton – Gloucester 517 G K Lane – Holmfirth June 126 D C Pinnock – Gloucester 152 D W Archibald – Banbury 773 M K Small – Pudsey 650 P Garner – Shrewsbury 715 A J Hollis – Northants 327 Mrs P C Ahl – Warwick September 418 P M Tarry – Kidlington 609 Dr G T Whitfield – Scarborough 193 P Fletcher – Ipswich 112 F J Sarre – Tamworth 311 A J W Price – London 783 M J C Taylor – Reading Income & Expenditure for 2008: Subscriptions Interest earned Donations Total receipts Less Prizes paid Postage Refunds Leaflet printing

TO IWA (To the nearest whole pound)

points during the challenge, and additional points will be awarded for those navigating the lesser used parts of the BCN. The entry fee will be £15 per boat, or £25 for a working pair, and all boat entries will receive a commemorative plaque. Non BCNS members entering will be entitled to a year’s free membership. The overall winning boat crew will also receive a shield. An entry pack, which includes route planning sheets, the rules of the Marathon Challenge, and a sealed envelope containing the cruising log for use during the challenge, is available from Mr R. Kenn, 14 Hollemeadow Avenue, Walsall, West Midlands WS3 1JQ (Tel: 01922 428644).

£ 686.00 £ 274.00 £ 137.00 £ 69.00 £ 69.00 £ 69.00 £1,486.00 £ 373.00 £ 225.00 £ 146.00 £ 146.00 £ 146.00 £ 738.00 £ 295.00 £ 147.00 £ 74.00 £ 74.00 £ 74.00

£11,044.00 £ 74.61 £ 158.00 £11,276.61 £ 5,228.00 £ 192.75 £ 108.00 £ 736.00 £ 6,264.75 £ 5,011.00 ========

AT THEIR MEETING on 15th November, IWA’s trustees considered the responses of the recent members’ consultation regarding the proposal for the reduction and realignment of IWA’s regions. The comments from members and branch committees indicated that they had overwhelmingly accepted the proposals to reduce the number of IWA regions, and that the greatest number of members had suggested seven regions. However, trustees took note of concerns that a proposed joint London & South East Region might be too large and that branch committees had generally favoured eight regions to take account of this. Trustees also took particular notice of the strategic need to ensure that IWA was prepared as far as possible to take advantage of the role that government was outlining for Regional Development Agencies and regional government in providing future sources of funding for restoration and development of the waterways. Trustees felt that the eight region option would also assist IWA in developing these improved links with regional government. The trustees therefore considered eight regions to be the best option, and have formally approved that the number of IWA regions should be reduced to eight. The new regions will be: North West (including North Wales) North East and Yorkshire East Midlands West Midlands South West (including South Wales) London (including some northern Home Counties) South East (largely comprising the existing Central Southern Region) Eastern IWA’s activities in Wales are co-ordinated by the Committee for Wales, and this committee maintains IWA’s relationships with Welsh national bodies. IWA is not registered as a charity in Scotland, but most IWA members who live north of the border are members of IWA’s North Lancs & Cumbria Branch, part of North West Region. The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland covers both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. To create these new regions, the current Grand Junction, South East and Western regions will close from 30th April. These regions (due to close) will therefore need to wind up their affairs over the next few months and arrange for the re-allocation of any assets and funds.

14 / IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009

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RESTORATION UPDATE GOOD NEWS FOR COTSWOLD CANALS

WRG CANAL CAMPS 2009 WRG HAS ANNOUNCED its schedule of Canal Camps for 2009, which features heavy concentration on both the Cotswolds and Wilts & Berks canals. One of the major commitments is a series of Camps at Gough’s Orchard Lock on the Cotswolds Canals. This work is to benefit from the Elsie May Watson bequest, which has been earmarked for work to progress the Cotswold Canals. The first two Camps of the year, at Easter, are to continue working on Steppingstones Bridge, near Shrivenham on the Wilts & Berks Canal. In the last few years volunteers have rebuilt the collapsed arch; in 2009 WRG plans to complete the rest of the structure and undertake landscaping. WRG also plans to return to Seven Locks, near Chippenham, to continue the restoration of the brick-built locks that carried the canal up a hillside west of Wootton Bassett; and in the summer WRG aims to start work at a new site at Pewsham Lock, including a lock clearance and rebuilding of a culvert under the canal. The full schedule is available at www.wrg.org.uk and a printed brochure is available by post from Jenny Black at Head Office – address on page 47.

STROUD DISTRICT COUNCIL has confirmed that it is to invest a further £2.3 million into restoration of the Cotswold Canals and has formally accepted the funding offer from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Cash from the sale of two Stroud District Council sites will be used to press on with the restoration of the Stroudwater Navigation and Thames & Severn Canal between Saul and Brimscombe. The Council has become the lead partner in the restoration project following British Waterways’ withdrawal from the restoration of the canal earlier in 2008, and is to invest a total £3.8 million.

LIVERPOOL LINK TRANSFORMATION AFTER MONTHS OF construction work in front of Liverpool’s iconic ‘Three Graces’ buildings, contractor’s site barriers came down on Tuesday, 28th October. The public were then quick to explore the regained access to a totally transformed Pier Head riverfront area. Without doubt, the Liverpool Link Canal has now become a main feature of this well known focal point in the city. The southern end of the new canal channel, and the grassed central section of the new waterway, is now open. However, although structurally complete, the remaining channel still has landscaping work to be finished off, and the new Mersey Ferry building is still under construction, and this area remains closed off.

KELPIES

was decided at an extraordinary meeting of the Council on 16th December. The total restoration costs are expected to be £17.5 million, with £11.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £800,000 from Cotswold Canal Trust, £469,000 from The Waterways Trust, £286,000 in the value of the land from Gloucestershire County Council, a £225,000 grant from Sport England, as well as the already committed funds of £1.5million and the extra £2.3 million from Stroud District Council. Full papers for the Council meeting are available at www. strouddc.ukcouncil.net/document/ Canal_Restoration_Project_final.pdf.

GRANT FOR THE DROITWICH CANALS ADVANTAGE WEST MIDLANDS, the regional development agency, has provided a further £300,000 grant towards the restoration of the Droitwich Canals. This means that of the £1 million outstanding to fund the full restoration when work began, about £700,000 has now been raised, leaving a further £300,000 needed. The other £400,000 raised includes just over £100,000 from a public appeal led by The Waterways Trust and supported by IWA.

Mike Haddon

TAKING SHAPE WORK HAS started on the creation of the two huge horses heads sculptures that have been commissioned to be the centrepiece of a £49 million eco-park near Edinburgh to guard the entrance to the Forth & Clyde Canal. Each will weigh about 400 tonnes and be 35 metres high: the height of a 10-storey building, and a third taller than the Angel of the North. The sculptures, known as the Kelpies, are named after the mythical water horses in Scottish lochs and rivers, and will be functional as well as aesthetic, operating the first lock at the eastern end of the Forth & Clyde Canal near Falkirk.

The Council has decided, however, that the £7 million cost of restoring the canal at Brimscombe Port will have to be met by commercial developers interested in the site as a condition of its sale. Although earmarked for industrial use, housing developers understood to be interested have backed off, given the current economic position. Although the future of the site is now uncertain, the district council believes 300 new jobs could be created by a commercial development at Brimscombe Port. The additional £2.3 million is to come from the sale of the Dursley town centre site to Sainsbury’s and of a former Dudbridge depot; this

IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009 / 15

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RESTORATION

Wey & Arun Canal in Focus THE WEY & ARUN CANAL is one of Britain’s most ambitious canal restorations but excellent progress is being made on the 23 mile waterway which once ran from the River Wey at Shalford, just south of Guildford, to the River Arun at Pallingham, to the north-west of

Pulborough. The Wey & Arun Canal Trust, boasting no less than 2,500 members, has already restored 11 locks, 24 bridges and two aqueducts and there is much to see and enjoy, as this photo-tour of the waterway illustrates. (All photos by Hugh Potter unless otherwise credited)

Haybarn Bridge – a former Leeds & Liverpool swing bridge – was restored and installed by WRG in 2004/5.

Orfold Bridge and flood gates. The new Drungewick Aqueduct.

The newly built Loxwood Bridge.

Janet Phillips/WACT

The trip boat Zachariah Keppel leaving Brewhurst Lock.

16 / IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009

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RESTORATION UPDATE PROGRESS ON THE SLEAFORD ON 29TH DECEMBER, a new lifting footbridge was lowered into place across the Sleaford Navigation in the town centre between New Street and Eastgate car park. Although this part of the Navigation is isolated from the currently navigable section by five locks in need of restoration, the middle of the bridge lifts to allow boat traffic to pass through, ready for when the restoration reaches the town. The new bridge replaces a previous 17 ton narrow bridge, which was hoisted away. Work had started in early November to build abutments for the new bridge and there is further work to be done in January to complete the ramps and paths up to the bridge. The work has been managed by Lincolnshire County Council at a cost of about £160,000 - partly funded by a £50,000 grant from Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd, plus money from Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership and IWA in liaison with Sleaford Navigation Trust. A slipway for launching trail-boats and a winding hole are also to be constructed shortly. In 2008, the Trust also arranged the £105,000 refurbishment of Lower Kyme Lock at South Kyme. The Trust had previously restored and reopened this lock in 1986.

FENS LINK NEWS WORK ON THE NEW £8m lock, which will connect the South Forty Foot Drain to the Haven in Boston, was entering its final stages in mid December. Once open, the lock will allow boats to use the navigation for the first time in 40 years. The old timber gates, installed in 1988 as a flood defence measure, were removed in early November. New steel top gates were then installed by the Environment Agency on 12th November. They will also serve as part of Boston’s tidal flood defence. Concrete works at the lock are now complete, allowing the mechanical and electrical elements to be put in place. The landing stage for entry to the lock from

the Haven has been installed, whilst the upper landing stage is awaiting the fitting of a bridge. The formal opening ceremony for the lock is scheduled for 20th March. Work is due to start in the spring on the feasibility of the next phase of the Fens Waterway Link. This is known as the ‘Boston-Spalding Link’ and will comprise several works which together will allow navigation from Donnington Bridge on the South Forty Foot Drain to Crowland, via the rivers Glen and Welland. This will create a waterway link between Boston and Spalding by the connection of around 30 miles of existing waterway.

John Sully

The new Boston Lock and attendant control building.

IWA has offered a grant of £5,000 to the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust towards the cost of a feasibility study into the restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal. The study is to investigate how to restore the 13-mile canal between Froghall and Uttoxeter via Oakamoor, Alton, Denstone and Rocester, which closed in 1849 but is considered practicable to restore as much of the line was protected by an adjacent, but now largely abandoned, railway line. A positive outcome of the feasibility study should enable the Trust to press for the restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal to be formally included in the Local Development Framework documentation for the canal’s various local authorities, including Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, and East Staffordshire Borough Council. This would enable the route to be protected and encourage its inclusion in future development planning.

Photos: John Sully

IWA GRANT FOR UTTOXETER CANAL

Nearing completion but awaiting bottom gates.

IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009 / 17

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IWA FREIGHT

2009 – A HAPPY NEW YEAR FOR WATERBORNE FREIGHT ? in fact allow the fullest possible attention to the integration of water transport with other modes in the logistics perspective and that the relaunched Sea & Water, now Freight by Water, will be a major contributor to this. The Thames Gateway Economic Development Investment Plan emphasises the need to shift freight movement from road to rail and water transport and every effort must be made to see that water does play its part – initial reactions from Dubai Port World with respect to the Gateway Port have not been too encouraging. Water transport has been used in the movement of demolition material from sites on the

Paddington Arm of the GU and Convoys Wharf on the Thames but there are still too many sites where water transport could be used effectively but where local authorities fail to recognise its potential role and do not build the necessary conditions into planning approval. Land & Water, involved in the Denham aggregates traffic, is introducing 60ft x 14ft beam, 75 tonne capacity hopper barges, already being used for spoil for recycling at Powerday’s wharf, and with a potential use implied in their name – Olympic class. On the Severn, Thompson River Transport has been involved in moving blue clay from Upton to Worcester for which a former

mud hopper has been motorised and provided with cabin facilities. It must also be the hope that the long delayed movement of aggregates down river from Ryall to Gloucester will commence in the near future. On the Trent the Rampton wharf has been used to handle gypsum which derives from the desulphurisation process employed at the Cottam power station. This is destined for Lafarge’s Ferrybridge plasterboard factory and it is the hope that there will be a long-term contract which will lead to the reopening of the Ferrybridge wharf and the lengthening of the Humber Barges’ Fusedale H . All in all, we live in hope for 2009!

L&W

John Sully

WAY BACK EARLY in the 20th century a supporter of waterborne freight was accused of trying to galvanise a corpse and one-hundred years later we are still at it – we are nothing if not eternal optimists. There are indicators that 2009 could be a significant year for freight traffic. Freight is already starting to move through Prescott Lock to the Olympic site and this should, indeed must, be in ever increasing tonnages, and of greater variety, if investment in the lock is to be justified and a water transport legacy demonstrated. It is to be hoped that DfT’s recent discussion document on ‘Delivering a Sustainable Transport System’ will

ABOVE LEFT: BW chief executive Robin Evans, Waterways Minister Huw Irranca-Davies and BW project minister Carl Ainley on a visit to Prescott Lock. ABOVE; Land & Water’s Olympic class dumb barge unloading spoil for recycling at the Powerday Wharf, Park Royal.

TRT

LEFT: Thompson River Transport’s newly converted Elver propelling a loaded dumb barge en route to Worcester with clay.

18 / IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009

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INL AND WATERWAYS FREIGHT PLEASE SEND ANY NEWS AND VIEWS ON INLAND WATERWAYS FREIGHT TO DAVID HILLING C/O IWA HEAD OFFICE

SEA-RIVER OR NEW WATER FREIGHT STATISTICS RIVER-SEA ? THE OFFICIAL WATERBORNE freight statistics for 2007 were published in November 2008 (Statistics Bulletin, SB(08)24). Overall, inland waterways traffic increased by 2% on the previous year but this was accounted for by growth in foreign and one-port traffic and internal, barge traffic, suffered a marginal decline from 3.6 to 3.4 million tonnes. The Thames/Medway (2.18 million tonnes) was down slightly but the Severn (0.24 million) was up and at 0.3 million tones, the Manchester Ship Canal held steady. The Humber, Ouse, Aire & Calder and Trent showed drops on the previous year. No dramatic changes therefore but certainly not the marked resurgence we would like to see and for which Freight by Water and the IWA’s Freight Group strive. In the past, waterways carried a vast array of commodities (read Colin Green’s ‘Severn Traders’) but a main problem now is the restricted range of cargo types – 2.6 of the 3.4 million tonnes being dry or liquid bulks, the former largely related to demand in the construction industry. The current economic crisis and its impact on the construction industry could have serious consequences for water freight and hence the need to diversify traffic far more than at present to cushion against fluctuations.

MANCHESTER ON DVD RARE ARCHIVE FILM featuring one of Britain’s busiest ports has been found and its images restored and put onto DVD. Producer Des Cox a former seafarer turned actor, has recreated the sounds of Manchester Docks to add authenticity to the hour-long film, some of which is almost 100 years old. It tells the story of the days when Manchester was the fourth busiest port in the land.

Unloading maize at Kelloggs, Manchester in the late 1960s.

Cotton for the mills, iron ore for Irlam steel works, timber and maize for Kellogg’s cornflakes, were all transhipped at the docks. Coal and salt were among the many items brought by canal to be exported. The gradual modernisation of the docks is also shown on the DVD, which is priced at £18.95 including postage and packing. For further details telephone 01273 585391.

TAKE YOUR PICK. In October as a part of the French presidency of the EU, their Short Sea Promotion Group organised the first European ‘SeaRiver Shipping Day’ – and both titles were in evidence. Held in Paris this attracted over 180 delegates for 13 papers on various aspects of the subject – geographical, economic, technical and regulatory (papers can be accessed on www.shortsea@shortsea.fr). Two aspects of river-sea transport could be identified in conference presentations. Over the centuries and still at the present time riverine lands have been connected across maritime space by a variety of usually smaller sea-going craft – what might be termed a geographical interpretation. More recently there has been a technological approach with the design of specific craft with full sea-going capability but on dimensions, especially low profile and shallow draught, which maximise the potential for penetration of specific inland waterways – hence the contrast between West European and Russian river-sea ships. River-sea ships of all types have become a significant feature at many ports - large and small, coastal and inland, and in a great variety of trades. In Britain they can be seen at Trent, Nene and MSC wharves, as well as at Perth, Rochester, Neath, Southampton, London and numerous other ports. What the river-sea ship can do is serve smaller regional ports and in this way reduce the demand for road haulage over longer distances from a few main coastal ports - and this should be a central concern in any sustainable transport policy. A number of the conference papers pointed to the corollary – planners must preserve inland ports and wharves and regional coastal ports because without them there is little hope that waterborne freight can play a role of any significance. It follows that there is a need to combat widespread negativity with respect to waterborne freight – we try!

REBRANDING OF SEA & WATER FOLLOWING A recommendation of the Freight Study Group, Sea & Water was created in 2003 with government support and with the aim of providing an umbrella organisation for water freight promotion – seagoing (coastal and short-sea) and inland. Sea & Water was never quite the title that expressed its purpose with clarity and not surprisingly there has been the search for something more appropriate – the facilitation of transport by water in and around the UK. As of November 2008, Sea & Water became Freight by Water, a title which expresses its functions with less ambiguity. There is to be a new website and an improved

water freight transport data base. Since 2003 Sea & Water has undoubtedly contributed to a better understanding of water transport in the wider transport context and also at government level. IWA has been involved with Sea & Water since it was only an idea and the change of the Inland Shipping Group to the Inland Waterways Freight Group was a response to the existence of the new national water freight promotion group. We hope that Freight by Water will now get on with solid promotion with a clear focus on the encouragement of policy initiatives by all concerned – government, planners, industry and water freight interests.

IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009 / 19

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C&B REPORT

HOW TO RUN A WATERWAY ?

A progress report from the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

E

yebrows were raised in many quarters in November 2005 when The Inland Waterways Association – through its subsidiary company Essex Waterways Ltd - took over the management of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation in Essex. It was the waterway that no-one seemed to want, its owners, The Company of Proprietors of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, having been taken into administration in August 2003. British Waterways was approached about taking over responsibility for the C&B but eventually rejected the suggestion. Just over three years on from November 2005, eyebrows are still being raised - but this time in surprised admiration at just how well the navigation is being run.

A CATALOGUE OF IMPROVEMENTS It is widely accepted that the navigation was in a poor state of upkeep at the time Essex Waterways Ltd took over. In just three years much has been achieved to address the maintenance backlog, including major improvements at four locks: Springfield, Sandford, Cuton and Heybridge Basin Sea Lock. Repairs are currently underway at Stoneham’s Lock, where both pairs of gates are being replaced and improvements made to the banks and landing stages, this work being undertaken by private contractors. Footbridge redecking has been carried out at Barnes Mill (funded by Essex County Council) and at Paper Mill Lock a new footbridge has been built (utilising grants from British Airports Authority, Communities Trust and Essex County Council). At Little Baddow, sluices

have been overhauled and gearing replaced, and dredging undertaken by the Environment Agency as contractors to Essex Waterways Ltd. Improvements have been made to moorings at Paper Mill and Sandford, with additional permanent moorings provided at the latter. Springfield Basin has seen a pump out unit and electricity bollards installed. Much work has been carried out at Hoe Mill, where there are extensive moorings for private boaters. A new sewage plant has been installed, an electric and water trench dug out and electricity and water bollards provided. Heybridge Basin has been the site of much activity over the past three years. As well as works carried out to the sea lock, the lock-keeper’s house has been refurbished and wholesale improvements made to boaters’ facilities. These include

ABOVE: The sea lock at Heybridge Basin at the eastern end of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation.

20 / IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009

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THE BONFIRE BASH The Chelmer & Blackwater was the venue for Waterway Recovery Group’s annual Bonfire Bash in early November when over 100 WRGies from around the country descended on the Essex navigation. They displayed their skill and enthusiasm at four sites: Heybridge Basin where they relaid paths, provided a new electric conduit and water pipe and installed a new boundary fence around the craning area; Elms Farm (just west of Heybridge) where trees and shrubs were cleared from the towpath; Beeleigh where they were involved in tree cutting and shrub clearance; and Sandford, where the excavation of an electric and water trench was undertaken. Like every Bonfire Bash, the 2009 event on the Chelmer & Blackwater was a mixture of lots of fun...

...and hard and productive work. Here the WRGies are seen relaying a path at Heybridge Basin.

the underpinning of the toilets and showers for visiting boaters, an elsan disposal unit and pump out trailer (part funded by European Union grant), a dinghy rack and boaters’ barbecues. The parking area alongside the lock has been resurfaced and footpaths redressed. With almost 500 visiting boats last year passing through the sea lock, the improvements have served to give visitors – many of them from the near Continent - a much improved first impression of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation. In addition to the above, routine works have included weed cutting, clearing feeder ditches, paddle repairs, improvements to landing stages at a number of locks, grass cutting, bank repairs and clap gate installation at various points along the towpath. Scheduled projects for 2009 include work on the weir banks at Paper Mill and major improvements to Beeleigh Lock and Hall Bridge at Heybridge.

Meanwhile, Essex Waterways Ltd continues to manage and harvest the willow trees which grow alongside the navigation for much of its length between Chelmsford and Heybridge Basin. The willow is sold to merchants who then export it in cricket bat size pieces, mainly to India, before the finished products are sold worldwide – many of them returning to the UK for use in first class cricket matches. The willow trade is flourishing and this source of income, at £20,000 annually, represents 71/2% of Essex Waterways Ltd’s total turnover.

ABOVE: Springfield Lock at Chelmsford has undergone major improvement work. BELOW: The Chelmer Canal Trust workboat.

THE SECRETS OF SUCCESS How then have the fortunes of this previously ailing waterway been turned around so comprehensively in such a relatively short time? The main factors can perhaps best be summarised as follows: enthusiastic and knowledgeable management; prudent use of volunteer labour; and regular consultation with the IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009 / 21

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C&B REPORT

VISITING THE CHELMER & BLACKWATER

ABOVE: Improved mooring facilities at Paper Mill.

A full report detailing the attractions of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation was published in the Spring 2008 issue of Waterways. If you want to come down to Essex and explore this beautiful waterway for yourself, weekly and weekend narrowboat hire is available from Paper Mill Lock Narrow Boat Hire (Tel: 01245 225520, www.papermilllock.co.uk). Also based at Paper Mill Lock are the charter boat Victoria and the public trip boat Caffel (contact details as above). At Heybridge Basin, day trips and sunset cruises are operated by Basin Pleasure Boats aboard The Elver (Tel: 07835 657462, www.basinpleasureboats.co.uk). At Sandford, the Blackwater Rose is available for charter from Blackwater Boats (Tel: 01206 853282, www.blackwaterboats.freeserve.co.uk). Alternatively, if you are a keen walker the 131/2 miles between Chelmsford and Heybridge Basin represent a superb towpath walk. There’s even a cosy tearoom for refreshments right by the lock at Paper Mill, roughly half way along the navigation.

BELOW: Improvements being carried out at Stoneham’s Lock.

Enjoying tea and cakes at Paper Mill Lock.

navigation’s users – primarily, but not exclusively, boaters. Essex Waterways Ltd functions with just two full time employees: navigation manager Colin Edmond and Martin Maudsley, the lockkeeper at Heybridge Basin. They are assisted by a part time moorings and fisheries manager, Hugh Turner, a part time administration assistant at Head Office and six parttime residential caretakers, based at Sandford, Hoe Mill and Paper Mill. But these key workers are greatly assisted by the extensive and intelligent use made of volunteer labour, adequately instructed and supervised. Parties from Waterway Recovery Group – especially Essex and London WRG – attend regularly, but equally important are the teams of ‘weekday volunteers’, drawn from the local IWA branch, from Essex WRG, even local boaters and walkers, who are to be seen out on the waterway throughout the year. These teams of volunteers undertake all manner of work, and training in safe operating techniques is provided, including to RYA Level 1 standard to enable them to use the workboats.

Meanwhile, Chelmer Canal Trust regularly monitors and removes the invasive floating pennywort weed. Furthermore, considerable grant assistance has been received, in particular from Essex Environment Trust and Essex County Council, towards the major repair work, as well as other funding sources for various projects. Finally, regular consultation meetings are held with the boaters, walkers and anglers who use the navigation. These have proven useful on both sides and have resulted in support and encouragement for the improvements being made to the waterway. Indeed, some boaters have professed absolute amazement at the transformation in the navigation’s fortunes! Whilst it would be naïve to suggest that Essex Waterways Ltd has hit upon the panacea for dealing with all the problems associated with running a navigation, it is clear that something is being done right in this far outpost of the inland waterway system. British Waterways, the Environment Agency and other navigation authorities could perhaps do worse than take a look at what is happening on the Chelmer & Blackwater.

ABOVE: Willow trees line the navigation for much of its length. BELOW: The weir at Little Baddow where sluices have been overhauled and gearing replaced.

22 / IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009

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Website: www.colecraft.co.uk IWA WATERWAYS / Spring 2009 / 23

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BROADS, LAKES, RIVERS & CANALS

Broads, Lakes, Rivers & Canals There’s more to Britain’s inland waterways than just canals. KEITH GOSS takes a tour of some of the highlights

Idyllic sailing on the Norfolk Broads.

M

ention the words inland waterways and most people’s thoughts turn to the canals of England and Wales, especially the busy holiday waterways of the Midlands and North Wales. But these man-made ‘cuts’ – built as arteries of commerce primarily during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries – represent but a tiny percentage (less than 1%) of Britain’s inland waterway space. The remaining 99% comprises a diverse range of lakes, broads, rivers and streams, which serve as both a haven for wildlife and a vital recreational resource on this densely populated island. Over the next few pages we take a tour of just a few of the nation’s waterway highlights.

THE NORFOLK BROADS And where better to start than on the Norfolk Broads, which along with the River Thames, is where pleasure boating for the ‘masses’ began in earnest in the 19th century. The Broads comprise a series of shallow lakes, many thought to have resulted from peat extraction in the 13th and 14th centuries, linked by five rivers: the Ant, Bure, Thurne, Waveney and Yare. The northern rivers (Ant, Bure and Thurne) are much the busiest, with the main centres of Wroxham, Horning and Potter Heigham bustling with holidaymakers in the summer months. But even on these waterways there are plenty of places to escape the crowds and Hickling Broad – one of the largest expanses of water in Broadland – is a good example. Horsey Mere

and Martham Broad are especially attractive and from the latter there is a bracing walk to the North Sea coast at Winterton. When crossing from the northern to the southern Broads it is necessary to navigate Breydon Water, which represents a memorable experience for experienced and novice boaters alike. Great care is required, however, to avoid stranding at low water. The Waveney and the Yare are delightful rivers; the former offers the opportunity to visit the lovely town of Beccles, whilst the latter takes the boater (via the River Wensum) to the beautiful cathedral city of Norwich. No-one should miss the last few navigable miles of the Waveney up to Geldeston, a sleepy village which perfectly exemplifies the charm of the remote corners of Broadland.

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As well as being a playground for boaters, the Broads offer prolific wildlife and a wealth of fascinating local architecture. The importance of this unique area was recognised in 1988 when it was designated as the marine equivalent of a national park.

Chris Herring Photography

THE LAKE DISTRICT

Andy Burnett

Contrasting craft on Lake Coniston.

Designated a National Park in 1951, the Lake District is a uniquely beautiful region of lakes and mountains. Beloved of poets (Wordsworth ‘wandered lonely as a cloud’ here), mountaineers (Chris Bonnington trained for Everest on some of the higher peaks), ramblers and more general tourists just seeking to escape town and city life for a while, it also offers splendid opportunities to spend some time afloat. The largest expanse of water is Windermere, over ten miles in length and more than a mile wide. It is a popular boating centre: there are trips boats galore, as well as motor launches, small sailing craft and rowing boats for hire. The recent imposition of a 10mph speed limit caused much local controversy (not least among water skiers) but has, by general consensus, led to a more welcoming environment, especially for novice boaters. Ullswater – at seven miles by two miles – is the second largest of the lakes and is utilised for sailing, windsurfing, angling, rowing and motor cruising. Exploration of the lake is perhaps best undertaken aboard the vessels of Ullswater Steamers, whose vessels operate throughout the year from Glenridding to Pooley Bridge. Island-strewn Derwent Water has its devotees, but arguably the most picturesque of all the lakes is Coniston. Some five miles long but only half a mile in width, it runs almost parallel to Windermere but is much quieter. The inspiration for Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, the lake is overlooked by the 2,635ft Old Man of Coniston, which is an eternally popular fell with hill walkers. A good way of exploring Coniston is aboard the steam yacht Gondola, which operates daily trips from March to October. In addition to the major lakes, there are more than a dozen others over a mile in length. Many can be cruised, and virtually all can be appreciated on foot – ideally from the picturesque fells which tower above them. IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009 / 25

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BROADS, LAKES, RIVERS & CANALS

Robin Smithett

Cruising past Newark Castle on the Trent.

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MAJOR NAVIGABLE RIVERS Some of Britain’s major rivers have been navigable since ancient times. Prehistoric vessels have been recovered from the bed of the upper Thames, whilst another example, the Avon, was made fully navigable around the middle of the 17th century. With just a few exceptions, the nation’s rivers are largely devoid of commercial traffic today, but many play an important role as leisure waterways. The Thames is clearly Britain’s best known river, being quaintly described as ‘liquid history’ in recognition of its rich historical associations. It has a long tradition of pleasure boating, dating back to the 19th century. Flowing through superb scenery on its navigable length between Lechlade and Teddington (a distance of some 124 miles), it links London, Windsor, Hampton Court and Oxford and is regarded as a must see attraction by most inland waterway enthusiasts. Walkers are well-served by the Thames Path National Trail, which runs for 180 miles from the river’s source at Kemble, Gloucestershire to the flood barrier at Woolwich in south-east London.

Second only to the Thames in terms of literary and historical associations, the Warwickshire Avon is famous for the Shakespeare connection, as well as the quality of the scenery encountered along the route from Stratford to Tewkesbury. A popular cruising waterway, it forms part of the ‘Avon Ring’ circuit along with the River Severn, Stratford Canal and Worcester & Birmingham Canal. The Severn is seldom cruised for its own sake, not least because in many sections it is contained within high banks as a defence against flooding. Nevertheless, it is a wild and attractive river which, along its navigable section between Gloucester and Stourport, provides an important link between a number of canals: the Gloucester & Sharpness, Worcester & Birmingham and Staffs & Worcester. The Trent is unique among English rivers in that it flows south, east and then finally north on a journey from its source near Stoke-on-Trent to its meeting with the Humber at Trent Falls. Still moderately busy with commercial traffic in its lower reaches, it cannot claim to be the most picturesque

of rivers. But the sections around Nottingham and Newark are interesting, and pleasure craft use the river to reach the Fossdyke Navigation at Torksey Junction and the short navigable section of the Chesterfield Canal at West Stockwith. Quiet countryside and beautiful villages characterise the Nene on its 91 mile route from Northampton to the Wash. It’s all very English, as the river flows through a succession of watermeadows and past ancient mills. To moor for the night at Fotheringhay, in the shadow of the former castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned and executed, is one of the most memorable experiences imaginable. The Great Ouse river system – featuring the Cam, Lark, Little Ouse and Wissey tributaries – is a popular cruising area. The scenery is archetypal Fenland, whilst attractive towns such as St Ives, Ely, Huntingdon and Godmanchester add further interest; not to mention the wonderful university city of Cambridge where it’s possible to hire skiffs and punts to explore the ‘Backs’ and observe at close hand the lawns and willows of the various colleges.

The majestic Thames at Marlow.

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BROADS, LAKES, RIVERS & CANALS

UNSUNG HEROES For every well known river, as detailed here, there are numerous other lesser navigations dotted around Britain, where people enjoy their leisure time aboard small motor cruisers and sailing craft, or find peace and serenity walking alongside the water on a Sunday afternoon. It’s clearly impossible to detail them all within this article, so we’ve selected five interesting examples. The Medway is navigable from Tonbridge to the Thames Estuary at Sheerness, a distance of 43 miles; it is tidal below Allington Lock. Go back 30 years or so and the Medway was far busier with pleasure craft than it is today, even boasting a handful of hire bases. Nowadays the river is utilised by a number of privately owned cruisers based at Maidstone, East Farleigh etc and their owners get to enjoy some splendid Kentish scenery, as well as several superb medieval bridges. Public trips operate from Maidstone during the summer months. Another Kentish river is the Rother, which flows from Bodiam to the south coast at the gorgeously unspoilt little town of Rye. Popular with walkers and small boat sailors, the Rother traverses pleasant countryside in the south-eastern corner of the county. Motor boats and small sailing craft are a regular sight on the Arun, which threads its way through the Sussex countryside from Pallingham to enter the English Channel at Littlehampton. Sizeable vessels can reach as far upstream as Arundel, a most pleasant town boasting a famous castle, home to the Duke of Norfolk, and antique shops by the score. Good paths follow the river, families come to picnic by the water and there is a pleasing buzz of activity here on fine summer days. The tidal Tamar forms the boundary between Devon and Cornwall for much of its 17 mile length between Morwelham and Plymouth. It was once busy with commercial traffic but is today the haunt of small cruisers and sailing craft, as well as a number of trip boats. The scenery is quite delectable. The Ancholme was made navigable by John Rennie between South Ferriby Sluice on the Humber to Bishopbridge in Lincolnshire – a distance of some 19 miles. Humber keels once traded on the waterway which, despite a certain lack of scenic splendour, is popular with owners of motor cruisers today.

A number of medieval bridges enhance the Medway in Kent.

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Canoeing is an increasingly popular pastime and whilst many protagonists are content with a gentle paddle along the Kennet & Avon or Coventry Canal, the more dare-devil performers head for the upland regions of Britain to find some ‘white water’ in which to display their skills. One of the finest canoeing rivers is the Dee and many canal enthusiasts, having pottered gently along the Llangollen Canal to its terminus high above the town, have watched in awe as white water experts perform on the river’s renowned championship slalom course. It makes narrowboating seem so tame!

COMMERCIAL WATERWAYS

The historic town of Arundel on the Arun in West Sussex.

Although the volume of freight carried on Britain’s inland waterways is minute compared to our neighbours on the Continent, there are still a number of canals where a degree of commercial traffic may be observed. The Manchester Ship Canal was completed in 1894 to provide Manchester with a link to the sea. For years it thrived, its prosperity linked to the growth of Manchester as an inland port. Decline set in, however, and today it is comparatively rare to observe much shipping on the 36 mile route between Eastham and Manchester Docks. Pleasure

IN CONSTABLE COUNTRY The Suffolk Stour flows from Sudbury to the Orwell Estuary at Harwich – a distance of some 35 miles. It was once fully navigable with 15 locks. The River Stour Trust is working slowly towards full restoration and has constructed a new lock at Great Cornard using Millennium Lottery funding; it operates electric trip boats from Quay Basin, Sudbury. This is, of course, the river of John Constable, who immortalised through his paintings the landscape around his home at Dedham. The Stour is arguably the most beautiful of all Britain’s small rivers and it is a matter of some regret that it is not fully navigable. Less well known, but also traversing beautiful East Anglian countryside, is the Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation, which was built by making the River Gipping navigable between the two towns – a distance of 17 miles. IWA’s Ipswich Branch proposes full restoration and has already completed rebuilding Bosmere Lock at Needham Market; work is virtually completed at Creeting Lock further downstream and underway at Baylham Lock. In 2007 the River Gipping Trust was launched to further the restoration project. A good path follows the River Gipping between Ipswich and Stowmarket allowing visitors to view the progress of the restoration work and enjoy the lovely Suffolk scenery.

craft – suitably equipped – are allowed to use the canal and trip boats operate from time to time. The main line of the Aire & Calder Navigation runs from Goole Docks to Castleford, where it divides into two sections: one leading to the Calder & Hebble at Wakefield and the other to Leeds. Long synonymous with trains of coal-carrying compartment boats (Tom Puddings) and larger coal boat trains serving Ferrybridge power station, the Aire & Calder still carries a reasonable degree of barge traffic today. The Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation was the subject of a major modernisation programme in the 1980s, when locks between Bramwith Junction and Rotherham were enlarged to accommodate vessels up to 230ft by 20ft. The hoped for expansion in commercial traffic never quite came to pass but a measure of freight traffic still uses the waterway today. Elsewhere on the canal system, commercial traffic is limited and relatively small scale, although the Lee Navigation in East London is receiving considerable investment to encourage the transportation by water of materials being brought in for the London Olympics of 2012. There are other encouraging initiatives too, transferring goods from overcrowded roads to waterways.

BELOW: The Manchester Ship Canal - seen here at Ellesmere Port - is not as busy with commercial shipping as formerly. Robin Smithett

Jim Linwood at flickr.com CC-BY

WHITE WATER RIVERS

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BROADS, LAKES, RIVERS & CANALS

SCOTLAND’S INLAND WATERWAYS As befits the most beautiful part of the UK, Scotland’s inland waterways possess a grandeur unsurpassed elsewhere in these islands. Spectacular sea lochs are a feature of the west coast; of the myriad of inland lochs, two stand out above all others: Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine. Britain’s second largest lake, Loch Lomond is 24 miles long and up to 5 miles wide. Exploration of the loch may be undertaken by driving along the A82 which follows its western shore or, far better, by taking a cruise aboard one of the trip boats that operate from Balloch. With over 30 wooded islands and overlooked by the towering peak of Ben Lomond (3,192ft), Loch Lomond is one of the prize jewels in Scotland’s tourist crown.

Not far behind is Loch Katrine in the heart of the Trossachs. The shapely loch offers wonderful sightseeing opportunities for walkers and cyclists, as well as the chance to take a cruise aboard the veteran steamship Sir Walter Scott. The Caledonian is indisputably Scotland’s premier canal. Its majestic route through the Great Glen represents an epic canal journey to rival any in Europe. In fact the Caledonian comprises a series of man made cuts built to link lochs Ness, Oich, Lochy and Linhe, all set against the splendour of the Western Highlands. There are few inland waterway experiences which can rival cruising across Loch Ness or mooring at Banavie within the shadow of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. Cruisers are available for weekly hire or the waterway may be enjoyed on

foot or by bike by following the Great Glen long distance trail. Another coast to coast waterway, albeit on a smaller scale, is the Crinal Canal. It runs for nine miles from Crinan to Adrishaig and is used primarily by seagoing pleasure craft seeking to avoid the potentially stormy passage around the Mull of Kintyre. A good towpath accompanies the canal throughout its length offering one of the most invigorating walks imaginable. The comparatively recent restoration of the Forth & Clyde and Union canals in the Lowlands of Scotland has provided a boost to an area not normally noted for its tourism. The waterways both traverse some surprisingly attractive countryside and are linked by the unique Falkirk Wheel, a most popular attraction in its own right.

Passing through the spectacular flight of locks at Banavie – known as Neptune’s Staircase - on the Caledonian Canal.

Robin Smithett

SCOTLAND’S INLAND WATERWAYS POSSESS A GRANDEUR UNSURPASSED ELSEWHERE

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THE MAIN CANAL NETWORK RESTORATION PROJECTS Credit crunch not withstanding, the canal network referred to in this article is set for expansion in the years to come. Here are ten of the major schemes expected to come to fruition in the years ahead, adding hundreds more navigable miles to the system: ASHBY CANAL Mining induced subsidence resulted in the closure of the northernmost eight miles of this waterway but the Ashby Canal Association is promoting full restoration from the present terminus at Snarestone through to Moira. Target date for completion is 2012. COTSWOLD CANALS The Cotswold Canals comprise the Stroudwater Navigation and the Thames & Severn Canal linking the tidal Severn at Framilode with the River Thames at Lechlade. Despite the withdrawal of financial and other support from British Waterways (covered in recent issues of Waterways) and formidable engineering challenges, there are optimistic ambitions to complete the entire project by 2018. DROITWICH CANALS Full restoration of the Droitwich Junction Canal and the Droitwich Barge Canal is tantalisingly close to completion. It is hoped that boats will be cruising between the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Hanbury and the River Severn at Hawford by early 2010. FENS WATERWAY LINK This is not so much a restoration project, more the creation of a brand new waterway. It will link the cathedral cities of Lincoln, Peterborough and Ely with the market towns of Boston, Spalding, Crowland and Ramsey. Work has already begun.

The Kennet & Avon Canal – seen here at Little Bedwyn - is one of England’s two coast-to-coast waterways.

A PRECIOUS AMENITY The diversity, then, of the nation’s inland waterways is quite remarkable and statistics reveal (although quite how they are arrived at is anyone’s guess!) that no-one in Britain lives further than five miles from a water space amenity, whether it be a navigable canal or just a pond or lake used mainly for fishing, feeding the ducks or strolling by on a summer’s evening. All such water space is precious and deserves the protection of all who are able to provide it – whether that be central government, local authorities or enthusiast groups such as angling clubs, canal societies or the Inland Waterways Association.

MONTGOMERY CANAL Once running for 35 miles from Frankton Junction on the Llangollen Canal to Newtown in mid Wales, the Montgomery Canal was abandoned in 1936 following a serious breach. Restoration work has been underway for over 30 years and an isolated 11-mile section centred on Welshpool is open to navigation. Several blocked road crossings and a number of environmental issues still stand in the way of complete restoration of this beautiful canal. WEY & ARUN CANAL Referred to as ‘London’s lost route to the sea’, the Wey & Arun Canal once ran for 23 miles from the River Wey at Shalford, near Guildford, to the River Arun at Pallingham. The Wey & Arun Canal Trust has already reopened 11 locks, rebuilt 24 bridges and restored two of the waterway’s three aqueducts, but much work remains to be done before boats can once more navigate this lovely canal in its entirety. WILTS & BERKS CANAL This is arguably the most ambitious restoration project of them all. The waterway once linked the Kennet & Avon Canal near Trowbridge with the River Thames near Abingdon but was officially closed in 1914. Numerous obstacles stand in the way of restoration, not least because the canal has largely been infilled and built over in parts of Swindon, Melksham and Abingdon. Nevertheless, the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust aims to have a major part of the canal restored by 2014. Countless other schemes, some minor, others not so minor, are underway up and down the country. Exclusion from this brief resume is not intended as a slight to the dedicated volunteers, from Waterway Recovery Group, IWA branches and other organisations, hard at work elsewhere.

LICHFIELD & HATHERTON CANALS This high profile project aims to provide a link between the Coventry Canal at Huddlesford and the Staffs & Worcs Canal near Calf Heath. Much work remains to be done and many obstacles need to be overcome but, with supporters such as actor David Suchet on the team, there is optimism that a target date of around 2030 can be met. MANCHESTER BOLTON & BURY CANAL The Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal ran from the River Irwell in Salford to Bolton and Bury – a distance of some 15 miles. Abandoned in 1961, the waterway’s restoration is proceeding well and in Winter 2008 Waterways we reported on the opening of the first section at Middlewood, Salford.

Bob Williams

The main canal network of England and Wales – primarily thought of as leisure waterways today – shows a diversity to match that already outlined above. These canals range from the major broad beam coast-to -coast waterways – the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in the north and the Kennet & Canal in the south – to the isolated Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal in Wales and the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation in Essex. The Grand Union Canal journeys some 158 miles from London to Birmingham through 178 wide locks and 5 tunnels; the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal, by contrast, runs for just 16 miles and is lockless. Some waterways, like the Trent & Mersey and Oxford canals, are busy in the extreme at certain times of the year and queueing for locks is accepted as par for the course; visit the Ashby or Lancaster canals, however, and it’s frequently possible to enjoy them in splendid isolation. Some, like the Ashton are exclusively urban, others like the Llangollen are almost entirely rural. But the unifying factor is their undoubted value, both to committed waterway enthusiasts and to the communities through which they pass.

ABOVE: WRG volunteers at work on the Lichfield Canal. BELOW: Still to be restored – one of the locks on the Droitwich Barge Canal.

MONMOUTHSHIRE CANAL This project calls for the restoration of the main line of the Monmouthshire Canal from Cwmbran through to a proposed new connection with the River Usk near the M4 motorway near Newport; the Crumlin Arm is also undergoing restoration. Very much a long term prospect, the most optimistic target date for completion is around 2020.

IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009 / 31

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THE INTERVIEW

The

Interview

KEITH GOSS TALKS TO NEW IWA CHAIRMAN CLIVE HENDERSON

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Keith Goss: How did you first become involved with inland waterways? Clive Henderson: Through the Scouts as, despite being in a land locked part of Kent, my local troop were Sea Scouts so our uniforms had white caps, lanyards and boson’s whistles to make us stand out in the crowd. As well as under canvas camping we could spend time away on the Medway learning to row heavy wooden whalers. By the time I became a Senior Scout we had abandoned the sea and become khaki so we went off camping by the Wye and canoed down it one summer. Summer holidays would see me set off with a Red Rover bus pass to travel back and forth on the Woolwich ferry so I guess those early waterway experiences were consolidated by choosing Birmingham University where, by chance, they put me in a Hall of Residence right beside the Worcester & Birmingham Canal with a view of it from my room. However, I do not recall ever seeing a passing boat either because of my nocturnal habits or because the vegetation was, as now, so thick that students miss out on this view. I did climb a wall to gain illegal access to the towing path one weekend and with Helen, my then girlfriend who is now my wife, we walked as far as Gas Street but didn’t spot the exit doorway so turned back to escape elsewhere. KG: What did you like about the canals? CH: Their uniqueness and, especially in the late 1960s, their remoteness and inaccessibility. Nowadays that same stretch of towing path is busy all day with students and commuters walking and cycling to work so it impacts and enhances the lives of thousands each day who, in previous generations, were denied that pleasurable facility. KG: Tell us about your first ever boat trip. CH: I’ve mentioned my early river trips so my first canal boat trip was on the Oxford Canal from Thrupp in the early 1970s on my sister’s first boat. My first trip should have been with my fellow final year University department who took a very drunken trip from Gas Street to Kings Norton as part of their rite of passage, but I missed it; perhaps that was just as well as it may have put me off, but they still speak fondly of it.

My sister and brother in-law were by now hooked on the canals and with them I visited the 1st Titford Pools National Rally in 1978. I walked around that area last summer on the BCN Challenge Cruise and it is difficult to believe that two Nationals were held there as it is so silted now from motorway rainwater runoff. KG: So is that what made you decide to buy your own boat? CH: In 1983 my sister kindly loaned us her second canal boat, a Les Allen built 43 footer, to holiday from Thrupp to Leamington Spa in the days when the Oxford Canal had very little water on the summit. Despite that our two sons under five both seemed to enjoy it so we borrowed it again the following year for a trip on the Grand Union from Berkhamsted to Knowle, where we lived. We enjoyed the carnival atmosphere on 22nd August of waiting in the queue of boats celebrating the reopening of the Blisworth Tunnel, many of them en route north for the first time in four years to attend the IWA National Rally at Hawkesbury. We were hooked so we bought our own boat in April 1985. We took her out to Trent Lock from Castle Marina, the weekend after she became ours, in a blizzard at the end of April. KG: Can you remember what kind of boat it was? CH: She was about five years old, a self fit out of an unusual ‘v’ bottomed hull built at Pocklington Airfield by Leigh Grange Boats. She was very suitable for shallow bank mooring. She had a very quiet BMC 1.5 engine that needed a full rebuild after one year, but we loved her and travelled many miles in the next five years of ownership. KG: When did you first join the IWA? CH: When we bought a boat, as we thought everyone did! We’d bought a boat, we needed to insure her and we saw adverts offering cheaper insurance to IWA members so we joined. We also joined the Black Buoy Cruising Club in Knowle, an AWCC affiliated club. We underwent a rigorous interview before being allowed to join which was along the lines of ‘Are you mad? Do you have more money than sense if you’ve bought a boat? Would you take pleasure from setting light to £5 notes one after

another? That’s what boat owning is about’ they said. I hate to think what they would say today. KG: Can you remember the first meeting you went to? CH: Yes, I was warmly welcomed by the branch secretary who spent time finding out about me. On his later recommendation we both booked in for the Stoke-on-Trent Garden Festival Campaign Rally the following May and in subsequent years cruised extensively with them as their 19ft Dawncraft Dandy fitted well in a lock with our 45 foot boat. I can’t recall who spoke at that first meeting but I do recall many branch meetings and speakers over the years, in particular John Gagg and Christine Richardson whose talk and slides of the Chesterfield Canal inspired me to visit it the following year.

MAIN PICTURE: Clive Henderson relaxing beside the Stratford Canal, close to his home. INSET TOP: The Worcester & Birmingham Canal represented Clive’s first introduction to the world of canals. (Roger Butler)

INSET BOTTOM: Ascending Hatton Locks on the Grand Union Canal, where he holidayed in the early 1980s. (Waterway Images)

KG: What activities did you participate in during the early days? CH: The Warwickshire Branch was heavily involved in the preparation for and running of the 1987 Hawkesbury National Rally so I just got stuck in alongside them. Over the years we had regular work parties on the Saltisford Arm and at the Hawkesbury Engine House and on the Stratford Canal southern section, when the National Trust was running it. We erected two beautiful finger posts at Kingswood Junction and one at Napton Junction in 1989. KG: Can you trace your progression up the ‘greasy pole’ ie branch chairman, region chairman etc. CH: It was fairly traditional but affected several times by events outside my control. I became branch chairman when the then chairman took up a job abroad so it was at short notice after being membership secretary and minutes secretary for a few years. Within a year of attending my first region committee as a branch chairman we were all shocked, in August 2002, when the region chairman Nick Grazebrook suddenly died. We heard the news on our mobile from the Huddersfield National and then, on the Oxford on our way back from the Thames, from a passing boater who only days previously had cruised with Nick and Jane on the Worcester & Birmingham on the day he died. In April 2003, after much pressure from the region IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009 / 33

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THE INTERVIEW committee, I was persuaded to take on the region chair role and attended my first trustees meeting in May that year. I never thought then that I would end up as Chairman of the Trustee Board some five years later. KG: Was it a surprise when you were elected national chairman? CH: Yes. It came at a time when trustees had been debating our future structure for several years including radical proposals to do away with our regions altogether. It is no secret that having come up via that route, albeit rapidly, but having been exposed to my predecessors who included David Hutchings, Ron Pritchard, Eric Wood, Phil Sharpe and Nick, I was not going to let IWA abandon its regions without a fight. It was perhaps that fight that drew me some support from my fellow trustees as well as some who felt, wrongly, that I was opposed to progress and change. I wanted the right progress and change and I did not think that abandoning regions was the way to go. KG: Although it’s still very early days, have you any thoughts about how your approach may be different to that of your predecessor John Fletcher? CH: John had to deal with internal changes in the Association at a time of great personal upheaval with firstly his sight and the illness and eventual death of his wife just as we celebrated our ‘60 Jubilee’ in 2006 and just as the storm clouds of the cut backs in waterways funding were first gathering. He led us on a campaign to raise the waterways up the parliamentary agenda and in a variety of well supported protests. I hope that I never have to deal with such challenging issues in such a short space of time whilst I am chairman, but I hope to continue to build upon the excellent foundations he laid at Westminster and at the same time seek to use our retained regions to get more involved with local politicians and regional development agencies. More power and decision making is being passed down to that level and I believe it will continue to happen. People are increasingly interested in the local matters that affect their quality of life and if they are not happy they are taking matters up with those who represent them. We need our members to be out there actively

doing that, on matters that affect their local waterways and communities. KG: What would you regard as the major issue facing the waterways at this time, presumably it’s the DEFRA funding cuts? CH: Well guessed! It isn’t going to go away in the short term I fear. However, there is some good news in that DEFRA are refreshing the Waterways for Tomorrow report that was produced in 2000. IWAC and DEFRA have commissioned research to establish the benefits delivered by the inland waterways, and no doubt this report will influence the rewrite. We have input to both projects from which it is hoped to establish a cross department case on why and how the waterways should be funded. Many in IWA are involved in assisting with this rewrite. When it is completed, and assuming acceptable conclusions, we will need all members to advocate the case for it being acted upon. KG: How successful do you feel IWA has been in tackling this issue? CH: It is work in progress; the final outcome will be the testament to how well we tackled it. KG: What is the way forward for IWA in getting a fair deal for the waterways? CH: I think it involves using the membership to get involved in persuading everyone they come into contact with of the benefits of having a thriving waterway heritage network that is the envy of the world and is valued by the majority of UK citizens. KG: Have you met the new Waterways Minister Huw IrrancaDavies yet? CH: Yes, briefly. KG: What were your first impressions of him? CH: He has made an excellent start and is well briefed on the issues and seems willing to listen. He is however limited in having no access to further funding sources within DEFRA so limited funds must be spread very thinly. KG: With approximately 18,000 members of IWA at the present time, do you feel there’s scope for increasing this figure significantly? CH: When compared to the number of licensed boats there are clearly many boat owners who are not

members but beyond that group we know there are many waterway enthusiasts who buy items from our online shop who are not members either. Many of these will already belong to an affiliated canal or restoration society or a member of an AWCC boat club, and we would be delighted if they could increase their commitment to our campaign activities through taking out full individual membership; to speak for 60,000 rather than 18,000 would gain more attention I am sure. KG: How do you think that could be achieved? CH: It is a fact of life that a crisis will often awake the silent majority and we saw this effect with the 2006 protest cruises after a round of funding cut backs. We know that some who previously didn’t support a restoration project would now vigorously defend their local canal if it was ever proposed to fill it in and take it back to the way it was. In the current funding crisis we detect growing support for active coordinated campaigns by all interested parties and hope that the increased profile and awareness of IWA will bring new members. KG: Do you think IWA should be trying to broaden its membership base, to include more ramblers, cyclists and anglers? CH: Such groups have their own membership organisations and we try to work with them and we have members in common with them; it would obviously be good news if more waterway enthusiasts from these interest groups were to join us since we do look after their interests in that specific area. KG: Looking to the future, have you a ‘grand vision’ of how IWA should be developing and evolving as a campaigning association? CH: I have touched upon some of the elements already. Through increased membership our voice could be better heard. Success breeds success and if we can, with the help and support of other interested groups, get the message over that the waterways affect so many aspects of so many peoples lives, create demonstrable economic benefits far in excess of any funding given and so deserve to be adequately funded. This will ensure that future generations can continue

34 / IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009

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to enjoy them as we have. When we do that we will have evolved from our very modest start of a limited group of enthusiasts with vision in 1946, to a mature organisation but the original objectives they wrote in our Memorandum will never be complete since they are ongoing. KG: On a personal note, you clearly still love the waterways, living beside the Stratford Canal and still owning your own boat. Bearing in mind your IWA commitments, do you get much chance to go boating these days? CH: Whilst I accept that the extent of my personal boating will be reduced a little during my time as chairman, I still need to do some for the same reason as I took it up so many years ago, I find it a relaxing way to get away from it all. KG: What parts of the system have you visited so far – and what was your favourite waterway? CH: I have managed to cruise most of the connected system and there is much that I want to return to. My favourite waterways are too many to list, it is the variety between them that keeps them attractive and I hope that they all keep their individuality and that the ‘sameness’ that now ruins the high streets across the country does not happen on our waterways. KG: And where is left for you still to explore? CH: I have still to cruise the Huddersfield and Rochdale canals through the restored sections, much of the Fens and the Lancaster and Basingstoke, so there is much to plan for on the connected network. KG: Do you have time for any other hobbies outside of inland waterways? CH: I am trying to complete my family history but have yet to link when and where my Henderson Scottish roots may lie as I assume they do. MAIN PICTURE: ‘Fenny Tunnel’ on the delightful summit section of the southern Oxford Canal – where Clive took his first ever boating holiday in the early 1970s. INSET – A protest cruise against DEFRA funding cuts in January 2007. This is still perceived as the major issue for the waterway movement.

Robin Smithett

KG: And finally, how have you enjoyed your first couple of months as IWA National Chairman? CH: It has been very busy and I met a number of new people. There has been enough activity and challenge to keep me engaged and I expect this to continue.

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Waterway

WATERWAY CUTTINGS

DAVID BLAGROVE TAKES A LIGHT-HEARTED LOOK AT WHAT THE PAPERS HAVE HAD TO SAY

CUTTINGS

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT In the course of the last ‘Waterway Cuttings’ I appear to have caused great offence to some regarding my comments relating to community first aiders. I would like to take the opportunity to make it clear it was not my intention to do so and apologise for any offence my comments may have caused. I also mentioned the potential traffic in steel from

Goole to a waterside destination at Leeds. I made the point that British Waterways were apparently the owners of the site in question and implied that they might be more interested in redevelopment than transporting cargo to the site. I wrote that the site was owned by BW. Well, it isn’t! They own the site of the proposed container terminal further upstream.

REPORTS FROM THE K&A AND SO TO address this quarter’s paper mountain. Space prevents a full-scale quarrying, all I can do is to drive a small tunnel into the pile and hope that, as usual, a small sample can be taken for the edification of members. One pleasant thing about it is that, despite the unremitting tide of evil news that has poured out of every part of the media since the end of last summer, so far as the waterways are concerned the news is reasonably upbeat. Let’s hope it remains so. On a rather dismal note The Daily Telegraph’s regular Saturday columnist, Vicki Wood, had a holiday last autumn on the Kennet & Avon Canal and did not enjoy it very much. It poured with rain most of the time and when she and her husband were “in the twenty eight locks [sic] at Devizes” she became involved at long range in what she termed “a local riot” over the ownership of her local pub, which is in North Hampshire, not a million miles from the K&A at Newbury. Anyway, the good lady is now part of her local pub management team, so it can’t be all bad. And while we are in that part of the world, what are we to make of a query in The Reading Chronicle from the local borough librarian? About twenty years ago the library had acquired a set of historic postcard

views of Reading and environs by the well-known Friths of Reigate, most of which have been put on their website, and a fascinating collection it is too. The library has been painstakingly identifying the views and adding details. However, there was one that had defeated them, which the paper published in its column called “Notes from the Strongroom” showing what was evidently a canal bridge, tall, like some Shropshire Union main line bridges, but across a broad canal. “Where is this?” asked the subeditor, while the borough librarian himself commented “Usually they were very good about writing on the back where the photograph was taken, but in this case, I think they must have got it wrong. The picture is supposed to show Monkey Island, the island in the Thames near Maidenhead.” It was certainly not anywhere in the Kennet or Thames valleys. It turned out that it was in fact Bridge 62 of the Warwick & Birmingham Canal near Rowington in far-off Warwickshire, taken circa 1890, but still recognisable (I should know, having spent two days there once with a loaded pair when the ten-mile pound was down). The mystery remains as to exactly how such a picture ended up in Reading of all places.

GOOLE DEVELOPMENT PLANS I HAVE MENTIONED before the recently rediscovered murals in the Lowther Hotel at Goole. For the benefit of members whose memory may, like mine, be somewhat unreliable, these date from the early days of Goole and line the walls of three of the first floor rooms in the hotel, which itself dates from the 1820s. They are an amazing historic record of the early days of the town and port. Although the Lowther Hotel has come down in the world from its early days when it was a state-ofthe-art hotel, it is now being transformed, according to the Commercial Property section of the Yorkshire Post. The present owners hope to “transform the

building into a 14-bedroom wedding and conference venue, complete with a rear courtyard area.” I am sure we all wish them the best of luck. Goole is not exactly the number one priority for fashionable wedding receptions and, to be quite serious for a moment, badly needs something that will bring in visitors. “Now that the murals and original period features in these rooms are looking as they would have done originally” commented one of the partners, “it has created a totally unique and stunning setting for special occasions”. Let’s also hope it will complement the existing, but lesser known, waterways museum at Goole.

Boating on the Kennet & Avon Canal near Devizes. Hard to believe it may be, but Daily Telegraph columnist Vicki Wood did not much enjoy her holiday on this lovely waterway.

38 / IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009

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CUTTINGS PLEASE Send all your waterway cuttings to David Blagrove at IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA

FENLAND CHALLENGE 19TH CENTURY LIVEABOARDS THE SPALDING NEWS printed a rather good map showing the proposed link across the Fens from below St Ives on the Great Ouse to the Witham at Boston, and announced that “The Environment Agency is calling a public meeting, possibly in January, to present the project and invite feedback. The Waterways Link is being created to establish a cruising channel through the Fens between the cathedral cities of Lincoln and Ely.” The article went on to say “The importance of Spalding in the Link will be established by a marina that will encourage the stopover

of cruising vessels and provide a catalyst for more waterway activities within the South Holland fens [according to an Environment Agency spokesman.] “The lock between The Haven and the Forty Foot is going full pelt at the moment [October 2008] and will be completed by the end of December. There will be a bit of commissioning to do but boats will be able to get through…though the practical use of the lock won’t really start until the summer season because of the winter conditions”. Well, you members who are boaters, there’s a challenge for you in 2009!

AMBITIOUS PLANS AT WHITCHURCH

ANOTHER PLACE where what one hopes are recession-busting plans are afoot is Whitchurch in Shropshire, or at least they were at the beginning of last autumn. One has to remember that you could buy things at Woolworths then. Not only did the Shropshire Star announce that Shropshire County Council were to be asked at their October meeting to pledge support for the restoration of the Montgomery Canal under the headline “Canal project hailed as a tourist boost”, and print some rather nice pictures of the Monty 08 Festival in spite of the then current deluge, but the same paper a few days later told the world that “An ambitious £1 million project to restore Whitchurch’s canal with a new waterpark could soon be under way”. The plan has in fact originated from The Whitchurch Waterways Trust. The plan is “estimated to cost more than £1 million and would involve building new locks for the canal, to link the new lakes with the current waterway.”

OTHER NEWS comes from varied sources, including Practical Family History, December 2008 edition, which ran an article entitled “Canal and River People”. This explained how it was that many of us could be related in some way to inland waterway workers: “The census for 1881 shows that 8,978 people were enumerated as living aboard barges and boats in the various harbours, rivers, creeks and canals in England and Wales”, a statement that would indicate that liveaboards are no new phenomenon. A useful list of contacts and websites was

FROM ACROSS THE POND JUST TO SHOW that we are nothing if not un-parochial in our purview of the media, as well as not being alone in recognising the existence of a super highway when we see one, about the time that Barack Obama became the President Elect of the USA, the following article appeared in the New York Times suggesting that perhaps the US really is renewing itself. Under the heading, “Hints of Comeback for Nation’s First Superhighway”, which was accompanied by pictures both historic and modern, the paper reported as follows: “LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. — Most people do not believe that Tim Dufel can push 2,000 tons of steel all the way across New York State. Isn’t the old Erie Canal dried up, they ask him, its locks broken, its ditch filled in and forgotten? After decades of decline, commercial shipping has returned to the Erie Canal, though it is a far cry from the canal’s heyday. The number of shipments rose to 42 so far this year during the season the canal is open, from 15 during last year’s season, which lasts from May 1 to Nov. 15.” Once nearly forgotten, the relic of history has shown signs of life as higher fuel prices have made barges an attractive alternative to trucks. So there really does seem to be some optimism about, somewhere.

NORTHERN DEVELOPMENTS

AS RECENTLY as early December the Yorkshire Post contained an upbeat article about the redevelopment of Doncaster’s waterfront. “Planners said the site was one of the largest of its type in the country and offered real potential to transform a run down and under-used resource for the community”. In spite of the gloomy financial situation “Funding for the early stages of the project has already been secured from regional development agency Yorkshire Forward and the European Union under the Objective One programme.” According to the paper this project has not been received with 100% enthusiasm by Doncastrians, who seem to be divided over the matter: “Rival councillors have said that the ideas

are ‘too expensive’ and called for public money to be saved in the face of a possible extended economic downturn”. Still in the North, the Post also gave us news of a heartening development at Halifax. Members may recall the Rochdale Canal workshops at Callis Mill that did sterling work at the time of the restoration of that canal and which were forced to close in 2007. The Post’s Deputy Business Editor told us last November that “Canals, the super highways of the 18th century, are being revived by bands of hardy enthusiasts. In a sign of the times, two of Britain’s best-known names in waterways restoration have joined forces to establish a specialist lock-gate manufacturing and installation

given. Quarry Management Magazine had a well-informed article about inland water carrying in the same month, while the Daily Express in November reflected gloomily on the implications of how the Government’s current spending spree is to be paid for. The paper suggested we might have a fire sale of public assets such as the Royal Mint, Land registry, Ordnance Survey and British Waterways. “More concrete plans” muttered the paper, “to be put forward in next year’s budget.” Well, we shall no doubt soon see.

company. They have the backing of one of Yorkshire’s oldest familyrun iron foundries.” Indeed, what the story was about was the welcome partnership between what were once the Rochdale Canal workshops at Callis Mill and the Hargreaves foundry in Halifax under the name of Hargreaves Lock Gates. “The Hargreaves Lock Gates team has completed it’s first contract – installing four pairs of lock gates at Middlewood Locks, which is part of the £600 million restoration of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal… Other projects in the pipeline include new tailgates for Wansford Lock, which is part of the restoration of the 11-mile Driffield Navigation in East Yorkshire”.

The entrance lock at Middlewood on the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal – the gates were built by the Hargreaves Lock Gate team at Halifax, as reported by the Yorkshire Post.

IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009 / 39

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LETTERS

SPREADING THE WORD I wanted to write and say just how much I enjoyed the article entitled ‘Waterways for All’ in the Winter 08 edition of Waterways. Not only was it superbly illustrated, but it got right to the heart of the issue of just how many diverse groups of people benefit from and enjoy the waterways. In my own area (Stone) I observe them all: dog walkers, serious hikers, runners, joggers, all out on the Trent & Mersey Canal towpath in all weathers and in all seasons; not to mention anglers too. There’s a restaurant boat, canalside pub and just opposite a posh Italian restaurant, where the diners sit and watch the passing boat traffic.

Just up the canal there is a nice block of apartments with canalside balconies and the latest development is a sheltered housing complex for the retired, once again with superb views of the waterway and all the activity it brings. The challenge then, as the article states, is for IWA members (and others) to get all these people to acknowledge what a priceless asset they have on their doorstep – and perhaps get more involved in working for and protecting the waterways as a whole. After all, Stone without the Trent & Mersey Canal is a bit like Paris without the Eiffel Tower – unthinkable! Name and address supplied

HIERARCHY OF THE WATERWAYS With regard to recent correspondence in Waterways concerning attitudes and behaviour on the canals, I would like to make some observations. I suggest that from my own experiences the hierarchy among the boating fraternity looks something like this (along the lines of the famous ‘I look up-to him but down-on him’ sketch featuring John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett). From the top down: ex-working boats (they are what the canals were built for and they still seem to think they own them); 60ft plus highly polished ‘gin palaces’ (after all they have the real money and are usually frosty in attitude); highly polished gin palaces under 60ft. (they would like us to think they have the money and are always frosty in attitude); 60ft plus smart but hand-painted boats (aspirational and usually friendly); smart but hand-painted boats under 60ft (not usually aspirational and always friendly); liveaboards with a mooring (we know our place and some of us do cruise the network); liveaboards without a mooring (continuous cruisers getting more for their money – disgraceful! I wish we could do it but we have to work); any boat without a licence; any boat without a licence and overstaying a mooring; all hire boats (trespassers on ‘our’ waterways!).

In fact I have found hire boaters at locks to be not a problem, they usually have either done it before and know what they are doing; if not they are grateful for any advice and help. I put the above forward in a light-hearted spirit although I do think a kind of hierarchy exists. Having been a liveaboard with a mooring and a 60ft boat for nearly eight years I have noticed a difference now that we have moved back into the house and

IWA ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION RATES Adult, single Joint/Family

£27.00 £34.00

Details of all other rates are available from IWA Head Office – see the Directory on page 47.

MORE RESTORATION PLEASE I enjoyed the last issue of Waterways, particularly the Restoration Update feature. It was especially good to see, courtesy of Mike Haddon’s excellent photographs, what has been going on along the Cotswold Canals. Let’s have more of these items in future please. James Thomas, via email Your wish is our command Mr Thomas, see pages 15-17- Ed.

have replaced the 60ft with a 36ft trad (smart but hand-painted - we’ve moved up one place in status). Perhaps people are people wherever they are and some folk will always want to be more equal than everyone else. Happy cruising everyone and stay relaxed. Chris Durham, via e-mail BELOW: ‘Liveaboards’ at Bath Top Lock on the Kennet & Avon Canal.

Robert Coles

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Do you have something to say about IWA or Waterways? It’s your magazine so please write and tell us your views. We will aim to publish responses to any that ask questions about any aspect of IWA policy or decision-making. Please write to The Editor, Waterways, c/o IWA, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA or e-mail k.goss@wwonline.co.uk

44 / IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009

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OUR WATERWAYS NEED YOU I wanted to draw other readers attention to the marvellous work that IWA has done on the Grantham Canal in helping to save Woolsthorpe Top Lock from closure, made possible as the result of a generous legacy left to IWA by Mr Charles Woodman. This act of generosity has left a lasting benefit for all and I hope that the restored lock will be seen as a permanent and fitting monument to Mr Woodman.

As a result of reading about this, I have been prompted to add IWA as a beneficiary in my will, and would urge other readers to do the same and make 2009 a year in which we look for ways to continue to support waterways restoration and the work of the IWA in whatever way we can. Keep up the good work – our waterways and IWA need our continued support! Name and address supplied

Repairs underway at Woolsthorpe Top Lock on the Grantham Canal – thanks to Charles Woodman’s legacy to IWA.

COMMUNITY FIRST RESPONDERS With regard to the item in ‘Cuttings’ in Winter 08 Waterways, you should really be more careful when you comment on matters outside your expertise. A term of which you are ignorant becomes gobbledegook. In making this comment you have probably upset the thousands of volunteers across the country who are Community First Responders (CFRs), a few of whom are also IWA members. CFRs are trained in dealing with medical incidents and have volunteered to be alerted by the ambulance service to attend to such incidents in their own local area (that is in their community) so that the appropriate treatment can be started before the arrival of the professionals. They are trained to a higher level than ‘First Aiders’ and act on behalf of the ambulance service until they arrive ‘on scene’. In rural areas their efforts can and do save lives. First Aid is the initial assistance or treatment given to a person who is injured

or suddenly taken ill. The First Responder is the first trained person to arrive at the scene after a call for help – it can be ambulance crew, a doctor, nurse or CFR. The term Community First Responder is plain English. They are of the community and respond; they can be the first trained person to arrive at an incident. I hope that if you need emergency medical help your local CFR will get to you in time to help, if for any reason the professionals are delayed. If you or anyone else wishes to help in this life saving activity, I am sure the local ambulance service will point you in the right direction. Tony Hinsley, via e-mail This is one of a number of letters we have received in response to this item in ‘Cuttings’. There was no intention to belittle the work of Community First Responders and we apologise for any offence that may have been caused - Ed.

A BIG THANK YOU As reported in the Winter issue of Waterways, I had the honour of being included among members receiving awards at the AGM in September. I must confess that this came as rather a surprise as my contribution to IWA’s affairs is not a patch on what many others have done. I particularly admire people who have served on committees. This is something that I always avoid when I can, as it is too much like the work that I used to do. I suppose that my main contribution has been helping with canal restoration, and giving talks to all kinds of groups ranging from WI types to societies of collectors, such as numismatists. Talks of this kind have taken me far afield. Now such talks are probably a thing of the past, as I am no longer safe driving at night, so this restricts my ability to travel quite considerably. And so does increasing decrepitude. Indeed, the time may not be far off when I have to shuffle off this mortal coil altogether. But before I go, I have to say that it has all been immensely enjoyable, and I have got to know a lot of delightful people. I particularly enjoyed Ron Oakley’s overseas trips, as these took me to all sorts of places I might otherwise never have visited. Sadly, Ron is no longer around to be thanked, so I would like to send a general “Thank you” to all the friends I have made through my membership of the IWA. I hope to see you around occasionally for a bit longer yet! Stan Holland, via e-mail

The Summer 2009 issue of Waterways will be published in May 2009. Editorial copy closing date is 31st March 2009.

IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009 / 45

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Back in stock

Introducing the new book published by Waterways World

Windlass in My Belt John Thorpe

Waterside Pubs

An autobiographical and evocative tale of a young boy’s journey into manhood set against the background of the Midland canal system in the 1950s and 60s. An enduring passion begins with early family trips and his parent’s purchase of a canalside cottage at Stoke Bruerne. It tells of his acceptance into the canal community and gives a vivid account on life on and journeys in, a working boat. An eulogy to friendship and the lost world of working boats

- The best pubs on the inland waterways

This book contains 150 of the best waterside pubs in England and Wales. Most of these can be reached by car but if you can, visit by boat or canoe, or walk or cycle along the towpath to them. However you get there, enjoy! Other main features of this book include - detailed maps to locate pubs, other pubs worth trying and pub facts. 160 pages 147 colour photos 26 maps £14.99

PRACTICAL BOOKS by Graham Booth

NEW!

Narrowboat Planning This clearly laid out book provides ideas, inspiration, technical solutions and photographs to help you make the best use of the space in your boat. Includes 18 case studies of boats from 35 to 70ft 112 pages Pbk £14.99

The Last Number Ones Edited By Hugh Potter

An inspiring, historic read, encapsulating the working lives of two charming, unforgettable characters. The ‘Number Ones’ were the proud elite of boat people who owned and operated their own cargo-carrying narrowboats. The term probably originated from boat gauging registers where there was a column for ‘fleet number’. 100 pages, pbk £19.99 + Free CD ROM of original BBC interviews

296 pages, pbk £14.99

The Inland Boat Owner’s Book

The Narrowboat Builder’s Book This complete guide explains every stage of fitting out a narrowboat and includes comprehensive lists of shell builders, diesel engine manufacturers and an extensive supplier list. 136 pages 180 colour photos Pbk £14.99

3rd Edition All you need to know about boat ownership on the inland waterways 136 pages 180 colour photos Pbk £14.99

HISTORY BOOKS THE REGENT’S CANAL London’s Hidden Waterway Alan Faulkner A meticulously detailed history of this once commercially important waterway which served the industries and businesses in north London for 150 years. 184 pages hbk 96 b/w photos 14 colour photos 6 maps £24.99

JAMES BRINDLEY Canal Pioneer Christine Richardson Following the events that shaped Brindley’s life and career, we see the millwright’s apprentice develop into the nationally renowned engineer, who created the pioneering canals that form the heart of today’s network. 136 pages hbk /pbk 40 maps 36 b/w illustrations Hardback £29.95 Paperback £14.99

PRECIOUS CARGO Fifty Years of Hotel Boats Robin Smithett From tentative beginnings in the late 1950s to a thriving industry today. 128 pages hbk 18 b/w photos 23 colour photos £19.99

Order from The Inland Waterways Association Bookshop Call 01923 711114 or visit www.iwashop.com

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DIRECTORY HEAD OFFICE Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA . Tel: 01494 783453 e-mail: iwa@waterways.org.uk Website: www.waterways.org.uk Vice Presidents: Harry Arnold, David Blagrove, Chris Coburn MBE, David Court OBE, Brian Dice OBE, David Fletcher CBE, Illtyd Harrington JP, David Hilling MBE, Tony Hirst OBE, James Hoseason OBE, John Humphries OBE, The Viscountess Knollys DL OBE, The Earl of Shannon, Sonia Rolt, Audrey Smith OBE, David Suchet OBE, Sheila Suchet, Paul Wagstaffe MBE, David Wain OBE All Trustees and National Committees can be contacted via Head Office. Board of Trustees: Clive Henderson (Chairman), John Baylis, Doug Beard, Peter Bolt, Derek Bradley, Ray Carter, Les Etheridge (Deputy Chairman), John Fletcher, Bill Joyce, Peter Kelly, Mike Palmer, John Pomfret, John Reeve, Alison Smedley, Gillian Smith, Roger Squires (Deputy Chairman), Paul Strudwick, Frank Wallder, Vaughan Welch (Deputy Chairman), Ian West Finance and General Purposes Committee: Les Etheridge (Chairman). contact via Head Office. John Fletcher, Tony Harrison, Mike Palmer, Gillian Smith, Ian West, Alan Wiffen Navigation Committee: Roger Squires (Chairman). Tel: 0207 232 0987. roger.squires@waterways.org.uk John Baylis (Deputy Chairman), Peter Bolt, Derek Bradley, Ian Fletcher, Steve Connolly, Bill Joyce, Peter Kelly, John Pomfret, John Reeve, Frank Wallder, Vaughan Welch Restoration Committee: Vaughan Welch (Chairman). Tel: 0121 477 9782. vaughan.welch@waterways.org.uk Chris Birks, Stuart Burt, Geraint Coles, Tony Harrison, Tony Hinsley, Martin Ludgate, Keith Noble (Deputy Chairman), Paul Roper, Andy Screen (Deputy Chairman), Luke Walker Promotions and Communications Committee: Gillian Smith (Chairman). Tel: 01257 463485. gillian.smith@waterways.org.uk Julie Arnold, Helen Bedingfield, John Bedingfield, Ray Carter, Madeline Dean, Elizabeth Payne, Jerry Sanders, Jim Shead, Frank Wallder, Vaughan Welch, Helen Whitehouse Waterway Recovery Group: Mike Palmer (Chairman). Tel: 01564 785293. mike.palmer@waterways.org.uk Inland Waterways Enterprises Limited Board of Directors: Les Etheridge (Chairman). Contact via Head Office Neil Edwards, John Fletcher, Ian West IWA Festivals Division: Ian West (Chairman). Tel: 01564 230104. ian.west@waterways.org.uk Inland Waterways Freight Group: John Pomfret (Chairman). Tel: 01788 891027. john.pomfret@waterways.org.uk Hon. Consultant Engineers: Roy Sutton, BA Hons MICE, Tony Harrison, BSc (Hons), DHE, MICE. Tel: 01491 872380 Hon. Consultant Planner: Bob Dewey BA (Hons) MBA, MRTPI IWA Committee for Wales: General secretary, Gerallt Hughes. Tel: 01341 250631. Essex Waterways Limited Board of Directors: Roy Chandler (Chairman), Colin Davis, Neil Edwards, Jim Jenkins, John Pomfret. Navigation Manager: Colin Edmond REGIONAL CONTACTS Central Southern Chairman: Vacant East Midlands Chairman: John Baylis. Tel: 01623 621208. john.baylis@waterways.org.uk Eastern Chairman: Derek Bradley. Tel: 01353 661601. derek.bradley@waterways.org.uk Grand Junction Chairman: Bill Joyce. Tel: 01536 724337. bill.joyce@waterways.org.uk London Chairman: Roger Squires. Tel: 020 72320987. roger.squires@waterways.org.uk North East Chairman: John Reeve. Tel: 01642 580350. john.reeve@waterways.org.uk North West Chairman: Gillian Smith. Tel: 01257 463485. gillian.smith@waterways.org.uk South East Chairman: Frank Wallder. Tel: 01992 636164. frank.wallder@waterways.org.uk

DIRECTORY South West Chairman: Peter Kelly. Tel: 01752 843556. peter.kelly@waterways.org.uk West Midlands Chairman: Clive Henderson. Tel: 01564 783672. clive.henderson@waterways.org.uk Western Chairman: Alison Smedley. Tel: 01538 385388. alison.smedley@waterways.org.uk BRANCH CONTACTS Avon & Wiltshire John Webb. Tel: 01225 836137. avonandwilts@waterways.org.uk Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Vaughan Welch. Tel: 0121 4779782. vaughan.welch@waterways.org.uk Cambridge Stephen Foote. Tel: 01763 838936. cambridge@waterways.org.uk Chelmsford Stuart Thurston. Tel:01702 529553. chelmsford@waterways.org.uk Chester & District Margaret Pitney. Tel: 0151 6086487. chesteranddistrict@waterways.org.uk Chiltern Peter Winter. Tel: 01494 813338. chiltern@waterways.org.uk East Yorkshire Mrs Chris Stones. Tel: 01482 875894. eastyorkshire@waterways.org.uk Glouc & Hereford Martin Turner. Tel: 01291 650605. gloucandhereford@waterways.org.uk Guildford & Reading Mike Adams. Tel: 01483 773512. guildford@waterways.org.uk Hertfordshire Peter Williamson. Tel: 07817 217116. hertfordshire@waterways.org.uk Ipswich Charles Stride. Tel: 01728 831061. ipswich@waterways.org.uk Kent & East Sussex Roy Sutton. Tel: 01342 317569. Lee & Stort John Shacklock. Tel: 01992 465643. leeandstort@waterways.org.uk Leicestershire David Hastie. Tel: 0116 2608027. leicestershire@waterways.org.uk Lichfield Phil Sharpe. Tel: 01889 583330. lichfield@waterways.org.uk Lincolnshire Penny Carnell. Tel: 01469 530138. lincolnshire@waterways.org.uk Manchester Steve Connolly. Tel: 01942 679310. manchester@waterways.org.uk Merseyside & West Lancs Andrew Lawton. Tel: 01695 572389. merseyside@waterways.org.uk Middlesex Robin Bishop. Tel: 020 8452 2632. middlesex@waterways.org.uk Milton Keynes Peter Caswell. Tel: 07702 668924. miltonkeynes@waterways.org.uk North & East London Roger Wilkinson. Tel: 0208 4589476. northandeastlondon@waterways.org.uk North Lancashire & Cumbria Madeline Dean. Tel: 01257 231861. lancsandcumbria@waterways.org.uk Northampton Jan Andrews. Tel: 01604 858023. northampton@waterways.org.uk Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Vacant Oxfordshire Brian Saunders. Tel: 01869 337227. oxfordshire@waterways.org.uk Peterborough Nigel Long. Tel: 01733 553782. peterborough@waterways.org.uk Shrewsbury District & N Wales Dawn Aylwin. Tel: 01691 830403. shrewsandnwales@waterways.org.uk Solent & Arun Brendan Whelan. Tel: 01903 816012. solentandarun@waterways.org.uk South London Lesley Pryde. Tel: 07787 360957. southlondon@waterways.org.uk South Wales Jeff Roberts. Tel: 01225 872095. southwales@waterways.org.uk South Yorkshire & Dukeries Mavis Paul. Tel:0114 2683927. southyorks@waterways.org.uk Stoke on Trent Alison Smedley. Tel: 01538 385388. stokeontrent@waterways.org.uk Warwickshire Sue Roy. Tel: 01926 497845. warwickshire@waterways.org.uk West Country Chris Jewell. Tel: 01288 352298. westcountry@waterways.org.uk West Riding Ian Moore. Telephone Alastair Furniss: 0113 2539401. westriding@waterways.org.uk

IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2009 / 47 pg 047 Directory.indd 47

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WATERWAYS ADVERTISING Spring 2009 Waterways is distributed free to all members of the Association with a total readership of over 20,000. We offer a first class service to advertisers in every field connected with inland waterways, such as boating, hiring, insurance, building, publishing, catering chandlery or brokerage. To advertise in IWA Waterways please contact Tony Preston, Advertising Manager, 151 Station Street, Burton-Upon-Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 1BG. 01283 742 965 or tony.preston@wwonline.co.uk

Index to Advertisers A & K Insulation ........................................................... 36 AB Tuckey ...................................................................... 36 ABC Leisure Group ........................................................7 Adverc Battery Management ........................................5 Arlen Hire Boats .......................................................... 43 Bargee Bill ....................................................................... 48 Blisworth Marina .......................................................... 36 Botany Bay ..................................................................... 23 Braunston Marina ......................................................... 41 British Waterways ...........................................................4 Caldwells ........................................................................ 40 Canal Cruising Co ........................................................ 40 Canal Junction ............................................................... 48 Castle Narrowboats .......................................................6 Channelglaze .....................................................................4 Church Minshull ...............................................................3 Church Minshull ............................................................ 36 Colecraft Engineering .................................................. 23 Elite Furnishings ............................................................ 43 Fox’s Marina ......................................................................6

GJP Marina Developments Ltd ................................... 37 Heating South West .......................................................4 Kingdom Tours ............................................................. 37 Kingsground Narrowboats ............................................4 Land & Water ................................................................ 23 Lee Sanitation ................................................................ 48 M & R Controls ...............................................................6 Maestermyn Group ...................................................... 48 Mel Davis ........................................................................ 43 Mercia Marina ..............................................................IBC Narrowboat Buyers ..................................................... 40 Nottingham Boat Sales ...................................................3 Orchard Marina ...............................................................7 Pennine Cruisers .......................................................... 36 Power Master Systems ...................................................4 Reeves Boatbuilders ..................................................... 40 Richard’s Narrowboats ............................................... 48 Riversdale Barge Holidays .......................................... 41 Rose Narrowboats ..........................................................6 Safeshore Marine .......................................................... 23

Shobnall Boat Services ...................................................6 Stephen Goldsbrough Boats ...................................... 40 Swanley Bridge Marina ................................................ 43 Teddlesley Boat Co ..................................................... 43 The Boat Shop .............................................................. 43 The New Boat Co .................................................. OBC The New Boat Co/Mercia Marina ...............................7 Tingdene Marina ..............................................................2 Towergate Mardon ...................................................... 23 TR Boat Handling ......................................................... 36 VideoActive .................................................................... 36 Waterside Canal Craft ................................................ 23 Websters Insulation ........................................................6 Wharf House Narrowboats ...................................... 40 Whilton Marina ........................................................... IFC Wigrams Turn Marina ....................................................4 Worcester Marine Windows .................................... 41

48 / IWA WATERWAYS / Spring 2009

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Conveniently located on the Trent and Mersey Canal and close to the junction of the A38 and A50 in Derbyshire, Mercia Marina is set in 74 acres of unspoilt countryside. The Marina has been designed and built to offer boaters first-class facilities for your enjoyment and recreations. By retaining the natural profile of Willington Lake and adding islands and promontories, the design deliberately creates a number of small marinas within the larger waterscape thereby providing moorers with the ambience of a small marina but with all the facilities and benefits of a large marina. ■ Extra-wide pontoons with full length jetties for you comfort and safety ■ 240V/16A individually metered electricity to each berth, water to all berths ■ Car parking close to all pontoons ■ 25 super berths with pontoons on each side ■ CCTV and electrically operated security gates ■ Three amenity buildings with showers, toilers and laundry facilities ■ Chandlery/Shop, Workshop, Brokerage, Tea Rooms and Gastro Pub (planned) ■ Covered double dry dock available to DIYers ■ Fuelling quay, pump out, Elsan disposal, etc. ■ Independent Repair and maintenance workshop ■ Wireless internet throughout the site ■ Natural setting and a nature reserve lake ■ Easy walking distance of Willington and Findern, 10 minutes drive to Derby, 15 minutes to M1, 25 minutes to Nottingham ■ Near to Peak District Natural Park

Reservations now being taken, call 01283 703332 or email info@merciamarina.co.uk

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Waterways Spring Issue  

The magazine of the Inland Waterways Association

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