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Issue 465 - October 2011

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Chairman's Column

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October Meeting

On behalf of the society I am delighted to welcome back Pete and Jane Marshall and the crew of "Day-Star Theatre".

We are being taken away on a "Long Weekend." Enjoy yourselves and the American Supper to follow. Thank you to all for bringing food to share.

November Meeting

On 3rd November Paul Barnett from the "Friends of Purton" is returning to give a presentation on "Lydney's Lost Fleet". This is situated on the other side of the Severn Estuary from the Purton Hulks. This will be a very enthusiastic and informative evening. Do come along.

Future Events

Maureen Greenham has arranged two treats for us!

Another popular Skittles evening at the Phoenix, Twyford on Friday 18th November. Price £10.50 to include a hot meal. Please give your names to Maureen. See Waterways Diary for contact details.

The Society's Christmas Lunch Saturday 14th January 2012 at The Blue Hayes Restaurant. Fuller details will appear in a later edition of the Newsletter.

December Meeting

Our annual Inter-Society Waterways Quiz will be held on Thursday 1st December. This will, as usual, be hosted by Southampton Canal Society on behalf of last year's winners IWA Guildford & Reading.

The quiz will be followed as usual by an American Supper.

Congratulations to Salisbury IWA

16th October is the 21st Birthday of the Salisbury Group of the IWA Avon and Wilts Branch.

On behalf of the Southampton Canal Society members we hope they enjoy their celebrations at their meeting on 20th October (see Waterways Diary for details of meeting).

Alan Rose

Contract for construction of world's largest lock

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The Municipal Port Authority of Antwerp has let a contract to construct a second lock in the Waaslandhaven on the left bank of the River Scheldt. The contract value is in excess of €272 million, excluding VAT.

The construction of a new lock in the Waaslandhaven will be one of the largest infrastructure projects in Flanders during the next few years. At present, the Waaslandhaven is only accessible for shipping via the Kallosluis lock, which has more or less reached its maximum capacity. A second lock is needed in the Waaslandhaven in order to allow shipping traffic there to continue to expand.

The second lock in the Waaslandhaven will be a sea lock, with the same dimensions as the Berendrechtsluis lock, currently the largest in the world - 68 metres (223ft) wide, and 500 metres (1640ft) long. The new lock will be deeper than the Berendrechtsluis, thereby making it the world's largest once it is completed.

Construction work will start on 24 October 2011. The project is expected to take 53 months, during which time 800,000 m³ of concrete will be poured, 55,000 tons of reinforcing steel put in place, and 12,000 tons of steel used for building the lock gates and bridges. - 15 September 2011

Editor's note: To give some idea of the size of this lock, you would be able to fit around 700 full size, working narrow boats (71ft 6in by 7ft) into the chamber. On second thoughts, it isn't easy to imagine 700 boats all together!

IWA highlights '£40m funding gap'

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The Inland Waterways Association has issued a briefing paper for MPs and local politicians, identifying a massive £40 million 'gap' in funding the waterways. The paper is a result of the public consultation on the Government's plans to move the waterways to a new waterways charity (NWC), and comes as a six-week further consultation on way in which the move takes place.

IWA says that to make the move to a charity a success, it is critical that the NWC is properly funded from the start, and makes several practical suggestions on how to fill the gap.

The briefing paper calls Defra's plans 'a fragile entity', and identifies five key issues it believes the government should fund, namely:

Clive Henderson, IWA National Chairman, said: "The All-Party Parliamentary Waterways Group has supported the IWA's concerns over insufficient funding, the consensus being that we are at least £40 million a year short. We are pleased that there now seems to be an acknowledgement from Government that this is still open for negotiation with the new trustees."

Andrew Denny - - 16 September 2011

Out to Lunch

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When Willow Wren ceased trading commercially in the early Sixties, member Colin Huggins took groups of teenagers 'camping' on their converted narrow boats - he has photos of our own STANTON with butty BELMONT still working the main line. Fifty years later he explores local rivers and creeks in his old fishing boat, and Maureen Greenham's account of the Society's recent outing prompted this description of the upper reaches of Beaulieu River.

Bucklers Hard marina

It's not surprising that the peace and tranquillity attracts boaters to this delightful spot, but don't stop at the crowded pontoons of Bucklers Hard, keep going upriver until the moorings finally end after several wooded bends and long catwalks joining private landings to green lawns with mini-mansions peeking out between the trees.

A mini-mansion

The last curve opens up to reveal the limit of navigation where a sluice controls runoff from the millpond; on the left Whimbrells Quay sometimes sees a group of shallow-draft yachts rallying for a barbecue.

Limit of navigation

But I prefer the wall opposite under the walls of Beaulieu Palace, driving mooring stakes into the grass where New Forest ponies and donkeys graze.

Under the walls of Beaulieu Palace

Nobody has ever demanded payment for berthing here so with that saving I usually splash out on a drink and a meal in the village where the half-timbered Montagu Arms offers a quality but pricey welcome.

The Montagu Arms

Extravagant? With bangers 'n mash costing £10.50 you might just settle for a quick half and eat on board!

But the nearby attractions of Abbey, Palace and Motor Museum certainly justify the adventure for those of us with families to entertain.

* * * * *

Thank you Colin for sending in this item on a local waterway.

More of Colin's creek-crawling can be found in the Out to Lunch series on Tightwad Sailor:

September Meeting

'The Caldon Canal, Bridgnorth & Bewdley, etc' - Brian Evans

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28 members attended this meeting plus two visitors who saw the Society advertisement in the Herald publication.

Brian, Annegret with their son and family were shown on holiday slides enjoying a very relaxing week in the Old Flint Mill near Consall Forge on the Caldon Canal. With Brian's narrative and tales we visited Froghall Wharf & Railway Station, Cheddleton working flint mill and the Churnet Valley Steam Railway. Brian also showed other slides of interesting relics that we sometimes walk past not noticing their history and purpose.

We then moved on to older slides of the Droitwich Canal restoration and a Society trip on the barge Sabrina. Whilst in the area, we saw shots of the River Severn at Bewdley and, something I had never seen, the Castle Hill Railway at Bridgnorth.

Brian then took us to the River Saar in Germany with slides of Fumay (Annegret's home town) and also Montherme on the River Meuse in France. These small towns have grown up within the "loops" of the rivers. Brian had climbed and scrambled up the hillsides to take really good panoramic views. In the Stuttgart area we saw pictures of rusted steam, electric, diesel locos and other rolling stock standing and awaiting restoration!

We then came back "home" with slides from 30 years ago, showing the River Itchen below Mansbridge. A taster of the IWA's Jubilee jigsaw on the Itchen Navigation. Maybe to be comprehensively shown at a later date.

Many thanks Brian for such an interesting evening which I am sure we all enjoyed, not only the slides but your tales as well.

Angela Rose

Defra announces charity consultation results

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Defra has published the summary of responses to its consultation about transferring the waterways from public ownership to the new waterways charity, called 'A new era for the waterways'.

The three-month consultation, which ended on 30th June, was to take into account the public's views on how the new charity should manage the English and Welsh waterways, and particularly in gaining new ideas on how to secure their financial stability in the wake of all the funding cutback of the last few years.

Defra said over 350 responses were received on the consultation, from individuals, charities and the main associations connected with the waterways.

Many of the familiar demands by waterways users were addressed, including a key one that canal towpaths would be opened up as rights of way (currently towpaths are only available for public use at 'the discretion of' BW. )

A clear majority of replies favoured the merger of EA navigations into the new charity, and Defra said this is now likely to happen, possibly by 2014 rather than the original target of 2015, "subject to affordability and the agreement of the NWC Trustees at that time".

The original consultation proposed a series of region-sized 'Local Partnerships', and while the proposal is likely to go ahead, there was criticism that their name belied their large size and that there should be more 'localism' in the partnerships. Defra has agreed, and is renaming them 'Waterways Partnerships', with an instruction that they should develop 'localism strategies' that allow a greater involvement from local communities.

The current plan is for 13 Partnerships. Eleven would be based on waterway management boundaries, one for museums and one 'All-Wales Partnership'. But the proposal should not prevent the Partnerships from evolving into the future.

The shape of the new charity Council was also unveiled. This will initially consist of 35 members. Boaters will be pleased that five of these will come from their ranks, and others taken from various other interests - including two from boating businesses and one from employees of the charity. Four of them will come from the various other interests, such as cyclists, anglers, ramblers, etc. These interests will comprise half the Council, and they will elect their members, while the other half will be appointed, including heritage and environmental appointees, and one each from the 13 Waterways Partnerships.

The name of the new charity is still under discussion. "The Government and Trustees recognise that the name of the charity must accurately represent its scope", said the report.

"Furthermore, in addition to the word 'waterways' (well understood by enthusiasts), consideration also needs to be given to words more familiar to the wider public (including 'canal' and 'river') if the name is to have the widest possible appeal.

The results of the consultation can be downloaded on

As it published the report, Defra also launched another six-week consultation about the proposed 'Transfer Order'. This will run until 24th October, and sets out the legal framework for transfer of the waterways and associated powers and responsibilities from BW to the new charity.

Details of this supplementary consultation can be seen on

Andrew Denny - - 16 September 2011

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