Friday, 24 December 2010

Happy Christmas

The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust would like to wish all its members and supporters a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Waterways funding announced

20th Dec 2010

Defra has today (20 December 2010) announced that its grant to British Waterways next year will be £41.5m. This is a reduction of £9.8m (or 19%) from the 2010/11 baseline grant of £51.3m. Given that Government funding makes up approximately half of the net spend on the waterways, this will translate into an effective cut of resource available of about 12% in 2011/12.

The settlement represents the last annual grant to British Waterways in England and Wales before a longer term contract comes into place in April 2012 when the canals, rivers and docks in its care are expected to be transferred into a new charity.

Defra has also announced indicative funding from 2012/13 to 2014/15 will be an annual £39m, with a long-term commitment that a funding contract running up to at least 2022/23 will not fall below this level.

British Waterways’ chairman, Tony Hales, commented: “In the current climate it would be unrealistic to expect British Waterways to be exempt from cuts in public spending and we will have to make difficult decisions to ensure the continued maintenance of the historic canals and rivers in our care. The Government’s commitment to the first ever long-term public funding settlement for the waterways is, however, a good step forward and I have been heartened by ministers' continued commitment to this ‘Big Society’ flagship.

“Security of funding is fundamental to achieving the Government’s objective of establishing a new ‘national trust’ for the waterways. The challenge now is to develop a funding plan which gives confidence to the incoming trustees of the new charity and retains the support of waterway stakeholders. I firmly believe this can be achieved and, while we would all have hoped for a larger settlement, we are one step closer to turning the long-held vision of a waterways charity into reality.”

Friday, 17 December 2010

Amended Stoppages

Wootton Rivers Locks 51 to 54

Monday 1 November 2010 - Friday 7 January 2011
UPDATE (17 December 2010): Due to the prolonged period of sub-zero temperatures, brick repair work at Wootton Rivers, Heathy Close and Cadley has taken longer than anticipated.

As a result, the planned stoppage Period will be extended into the New Year, to allow the completed brickwork time to set and strengthen.

Every effort has been made to recover lost time; the Heathy Close and Wootton Rivers lock chambers have been filled to workable capacity with bricklayers who have worked through the weekends. The locks have been tented and heaters installed that raise the ambient temperature sufficiently to allow the use of lime mortar (lime mortar is particularly sensitive to low temperatures).

The bricklaying work will be completed before Xmas. I am however reluctant to open the canal to craft before the mortar has gained further strength. Following helpful consultation with the Kennet and Avon Trade Association I have decided that the canal will not reopen until 7th January 2011.

The start of the Dun mill lock stoppage(75), will be delayed by one week to the 17th January, to allow delayed craft time to transit through.

I apologise for any inconvenience that this decision may cause.

Seasonal greetings to all supporters of the canal.
Best Regards,

Mark Stephens
Waterway Manager


Dunmill Lock Stoppage

Monday 17 January 2011 - Friday 11 March 2011
UPDATE (17 December 2010): The start of Dunmill lock stoppage has been delayed by one week, to the 17th January 2011, to allow the completion of the dredging works, and transit of delayed craft from the Wootton Rivers stoppage.
British waterways apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Stoppage history:
Replacement Gates to Dunmill lock 75
Enquiries: 07920790694

Monday, 6 December 2010

Butty Stuffers and Snow

A huge thank you to over 20 volunteers who took part in the Butty Stuffing event - the Buttys were packed in record time before 1pm. A wonderful hot lunch was also on offer on the day to keep the snow at bay.

Pictures by Helen Brooks

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Anniversary Oak Trees Planted

Above from left:Mark Stephens Waterways Manager, Terry Mundy K&ACT museum curator, James Young BW Regeneration Manager South, Mike Rodd K&ACT General Manager, David Inight chairman of the K&ACT's BoA Branch

To mark the 200th anniversary of the Kennet & Avon Canal, British Waterways have planted 29 oak trees on land alongside the historic Caen Hill Flight in Devizes.

The avenue of 29 oak trees will provide a lasting legacy for the local community and visitors alike. They will also celebrate the two hundred years worth of craftsmanship, engineering, materials and man-power which built, and has preserved, this well-loved piece of working heritage. The lock gates for the inland waterway network are still made by hand at British Waterways’ workshops in Yorkshire and the Midlands.

Still standing in another 200 years

Sarah Brice, project manager for British Waterways said: “These trees will be planted to mark the bicentenary of the canal and will, we hope, still be standing to celebrate it in another 200 years. Oak lock gates, painted black and white, are one of the most iconic features of British Waterways’ 2,000-mile national network.

"While this project celebrates the heritage of our navigations, today the Kennet & Avon Canal and other waterways are as much loved as leisure spaces and green corridors through our towns and cities as for their historic legacy. By creating this avenue of trees for, and with, the help of the local community, this bicentenary project will celebrate both the canal’s past and its future.”

British Waterways’ waterway manager for the Kennet & Avon Canal, Mark Stephens said: “Throughout this bicentenary year, projects around the Kennet & Avon have not only celebrated the navigation itself, but also the role that those who live and work on and alongside it play in maintaining the canal, and securing its future. This planting will enrich the environment around the waterway for future generations as well as marking the fascinating history of the navigation.”

article from

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Towpath Tidy Bradford on Avon December 5th

Our next working party is this Sunday from 10.00 till 12.30. We have a busy programme planned continuing the clearance of the Picnic site area and the area below the Lock. If you would like to help us tidy up Bradford on Avon Wharf please join us on Sunday. All tools are provided, just come with warm clothes and sturdy boots. Hot drinks will be available from the Tea Shop.
Meet at the Wharf Tea Shop , the work party organiser Derrick Hunt will be pleased to meet you there.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Devizes Lantern Parade

Great photos from last night's parade in the snow - appropriate timing for the Christmas atmosphere!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Bradford on Avon lock

This stoppage has been cancelled

Monday 29 November 2010 - Wednesday 1 December 2010
UPDATE (25 November 2010): This stoppage has been postponed, and will be carried out in January / February 2011

Stoppage history:
UPDATE (18 November 2010): This stoppage has been cancelled. It will be rescheduled, and take place in 2011.

Bradford on Avon lock will be closed from 8am on Monday 29th November to 4pm on Wednesday 1st December. This is to enable urgent repairs to be carried out to the lock structure and sluices.
British Waterways apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Enquiries: 01380 722859

More stoppages on this waterway:

You can find all stoppages at the url below:

Thursday, 25 November 2010


British Waterways (BW) is due to make changes to boat licensing in 2011. Straightforward price changes will take effect from April 2011. The timing of other changes, subject to consultation, will be implemented as soon as our IT systems can be amended, which will not be before April.

The standard, 12 month pleasure boat licence fee will increase by 5.1% from April 2011 (before VAT). This represents a 2% increase above the current value of the government’s consumer price index (CPI) and is expected to generate additional waterway maintenance budget of c. £0.85 million for 2011/12. The Gold Licence fee will increase by 2.5% (before VAT). This is the weighted average of the increases pending for normal licences on BW and EA waters.

Sally Ash, BW’s head of boating, explains: “While BW’s grant settlement for 2011 is still to be announced, we have certainty that it will be at a substantially reduced level – DEFRA’s reduction is c. 30% over four years and this would translate to an annual cut for BW (England & Wales) of more than £3 million for 2011/12 with further reductions in the following years.

“We are often asked by boat owners for some longer term indication of increases, however, given current uncertainty about the economic situation, it is not easy to make firm predictions. However, I can say that our business plan for 2012 and 2013 projects licence price increases of 2% plus inflation in each year.”

BW is also proposing other changes to licensing. There has been an increasing trend in recent years where some boaters are purchasing shorter period licences consecutively rather than buying 12 month licences. Three month licences are currently priced at 35% of the 12 month fee, and six month licences at 60%. It is now proposed to revert to the 60% and 85% ratios from April 2011 in order to reduce licence evasion and therefore the cost of enforcement.

The late payment charge has been very effective in reducing the number of customers leaving their licence renewal until more than a month after expiry, but one in eight of all renewals are still left until after the expiry date. It is now proposed to extend its application so that more customers renew on time. In making this change, the qualifying date for the prompt payment discount rate will also be brought forward and its description changed to ‘early payment’.

Finally, the price of a replacement index plate will also rise to £20 (inc VAT) from April 2011 to reflect the true cost of this service, which has remained fixed for the past ten years.

All comments should be submitted to BW by 31 January 2011. The full consulation paper, including all the details of the licence fee increases, the proposed changes and how you can respond are available to download from

Friday, 19 November 2010

Caen Hill Christmas Opening Times

Caen Hill Flight

Saturday 25 December 2010 - Monday 3 January 2011
Christmas period opening hours for the Caen Hill Flight lock 28 to 44 as follows.
20th to 24th December - Open as normal (8am to 4pm)
25th to 28th December - Closed.
29th to 31st December - Open as normal (8am to 4pm)
1st January to 3rd January - Closed.
4th January to 9th January Open as normal (8am to 4pm)

Enquiries: 01380 722859

Thursday, 11 November 2010


Above: Nick Lewis at Wootton Rivers

British Waterways is delivering a one million pound lock gate replacement and maintenance programme along the length of the Kennet & Avon Canal this winter, 200 years since the waterway was first built.

The Kennet & Avon Canal celebrates its bicentenary this year, and as 2010 draws to a close a series of much-needed maintenance projects will be undertaken by British Waterways to ensure that the canal, which so many people enjoy today, can be protected for future generations to experience.

British Waterways will be replacing 12 sets of lock gates along the canal, including seven sets of gates at Caen Hill, where the flight of locks are listed as a scheduled ancient monument. Gates will also be replaced at Wootton Rivers, Heathy Close, Dunmill and Cadley Lock.

Each gate is hand crafted at one of British Waterways’ lock gate workshops and when the lock gates are craned into position on-site, the local British Waterways team will install them, making final adjustments to ensure they fit perfectly.

These works are part of a national £50 million vital makeover of dozens of historic locks, bridges and aqueducts which includes the replacement of over 100 handcrafted oak lock gates.

British Waterways looks after one of the finest examples of working industrial heritage in the world, including the third largest collection of listed structures in the UK, and the winter programme is part of the vital maintenance carried out throughout the year to keep the network in working order.

This year a programme of open days happening at sites across the country, including Caen Hill Locks, will provide a unique opportunity to take a closer look at the hidden workings of the waterways, as the water is drained away, and to see the massive task required to keep the canals shipshape.

Vince Moran, British Waterways’ operations director, said: “The recent announcement that England and Wales’ canals and rivers are to become part of a new ‘national trust’ for the waterways will give the public a much greater role in looking after this important part of the nation’s heritage. I hope opening up some of our lock gate replacements and other repairs will give people along the Kennet & Avon Canal a chance to see the scale of the work we do to ensure that the waterways are preserved for today’s users and future generations, as well as gain an appreciation for the magnificent industrial heritage in our care.”

British Waterways spends c.£100 million each year maintaining its 2,200-mile inland waterway network, work that is funded through a combination of Government grants and income from commercial activities such as property and boat licenses. When British Waterways transfers to a charity, expected to take place in April 2012, funding will come through a long-term contract from Government, commercial revenue and growing charitable income.

Lantern Making Workshop Success

The Lantern Making workshop at the Trust Headquarters on Tuesday 9th November was a big success, with many exciting creations that will be displayed on 26th November at the Devizes Christmas Festival & Lantern Parade which this year is being redirected to the waterside to help celebrate the K&A 200

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


Oakhill Down Lock 68

Wednesday 3 November 2010 until further notice
Due to severe damage to top towpath gate, the lock is closed until further notice.
British waterways apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Enquiries: 01380 722859


Bradford on Avon lock

Monday 29 November 2010 - Wednesday 1 December 2010
Bradford on Avon lock will be closed from 8am on Monday 29th November to 4pm on Wednesday 1st December. This is to enable urgent repairs to be carried out to the lock structure and sluices.
British Waterways apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Enquiries: 01380 722859

Monday, 1 November 2010


Have you lost a camera?

A Camera has been found at the Trust Tea Rooms, Bradford on Avon. If you think it might be yours please ring David Inight 01249 712977

Friday, 29 October 2010

Latest Stoppages

Crofton Locks 55 to 60

Friday 29 October 2010 - Saturday 30 October 2010
Crofton Flight Locks 55 to 60 is closed to boat traffic on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th October 2010.
This is due to severe low water levels in the area. The Wilton water supply for the K&A canal is now exhausted.
Should levels recover sufficiently by Sunday 31st October, the locks will be opened to allow traffic to pass before the winter stoppage programme begins at locks 51 to 54 on the 1st November.
British Waterways wish to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Enquiries: 01380 722859


Lock 50 Devizes

Friday 29 October 2010 - Friday 29 October 2010
Due to extremely low levels, there is restricted passage through the Caen Hill Flight today.
Craft are asked to double up through the locks.
Single boats will be allowed through on the hour, every hour, with the last passage at 3pm.
British waterways apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Enquiries: 01380 722859

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Towpath Tidy, 13th November Help Requested


We plan to do another boaters' towpath and water clean-up between Bath and Bradford on Avon on Saturday 13th November. We have a work boat (Ishtar) available that day. We need some people to help organise it. Please get back to me if you want to help, and let me know if you can get to the Canal Tavern on Monday 1st November at 8pm so we can make some plans and divvy up the organising tasks.

The last clean-up we did went well, and this one will be easier - less vegetation to hide the rubbish, and no sunstroke. As before, all are welcome to take part.


Friday, 22 October 2010

Stoppage Updates

Crofton flight

Thursday 16 September 2010 - Thursday 21 October 2010

Stoppage history:
UPDATE (21 October 2010):

The length between Crofton Crossing Lock 61, and Crofton Lock 55 will be shut between the hours of 16.30pm to 09.00 am.
This will help to save water and allow the pumps to replenish supplies. Please ensure you have One and a half hours to Two hours to clear the flight before entering.
This restriciton has now been lifted
Enquiries: 01380 722859


Crofton flight

Thursday 16 September 2010 - Thursday 21 October 2010

Stoppage history:
UPDATE (21 October 2010):

The length between Crofton Crossing Lock 61, and Crofton Lock 55 will be shut between the hours of 16.30pm to 09.00 am.
This will help to save water and allow the pumps to replenish supplies. Please ensure you have One and a half hours to Two hours to clear the flight before entering.
This restriciton has now been lifted
Enquiries: 01380 722859



Sunday 19 September 2010 - Thursday 21 October 2010

Stoppage history:
UPDATE (21 October 2010):

Due to very low water levels in the area. Locks 64 to 67 will operate under restricted opening hours 9.00am to 4.30pm until further notice.
Please help to conserve water by sharing locks.
This restriction has now been lifted
Enquiries: 01380 722859


Saturday, 16 October 2010

Seend Locks Update

Seend Locks have now re-opened and the pumps are fixed. Waterscape will be updated on Monday.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Seend Locks 17 to 21

Seend Locks 17 to 21

Friday 15 October 2010 until further notice
Seend Lock Flight (Lock 17 to 20) will be closed from 1600hrs on Friday 15 October 2010 in order to undertake essential repairs to the Seend Pumping Main.

Work is in progress to repair the pipeline. An update will be posted on Waterscape on Monday 18th October 2010, advising when the canal is expected to reopen.

The locks must remain closed for the duration of the works in order to prevent upstream pounds from draining.

Enquiries: 01380 722859 / 0800 4799947

Thursday, 14 October 2010


British Waterways welcomes the UK Government’s announcement today (14/10/10) of its intention to transfer British Waterways’ inland waterways in England and Wales into a new charitable body. The move, promoted by British Waterways for the last 18 months, will be the biggest shake up of the waterways since nationalisation in 1948. It will attract new investment, secure jobs and give the public greater involvement in the running of Wiltshire and Berkshire’s local canals and rivers.

The announcement by the Cabinet Office that British Waterways will be replaced with a new civil society body builds on recommendations by British Waterways for the establishment of a ‘national trust’ for the waterways, as waterway minister, Richard Benyon MP, explains:

“Our waterways are a cherished feature of the British landscape and a source of joy to many. Transferring British Waterways from Government to a charitable body will give users of the waterways a greater say in their future management and help to ensure they remain a wonderful part of our natural and cultural heritage of value to society and the economy. This change reflects the confidence we have that the engagement of local communities and interest groups will ensure the success of this transfer to civil society, building on the good work of British Waterways and countless waterways enthusiasts. It’s a great example of Government giving power back to the people.”

Welcoming the announcement, British Waterways’ chairman Tony Hales, said: “This is excellent news and something we have been urging all political parties to support since last year. The waterways have been utterly transformed for the better in the time since British Waterways was established in 1962 and are now used in ways in which their original builders could never have imagined. That transformation has owed much to the enthusiastic staff and stakeholders who love the waterways passionately. Moving the waterways from public ownership into a charitable body recognises the need to build on that enthusiasm and marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in their 250-year history.”

In the 50 years since British Waterways was established, the waterways have evolved from a moribund industrial transport system into a thriving environmental and leisure resource. British Waterways’ 2,200-mile network of historic canals, rivers and docks is visited by 13 million people a year and now delivers an annual £½ billion in benefits to the nation, from amenity, flood relief and employment to green infrastructure, neighbourhood renewal and wildlife corridors.

Caring for this 250-year old working heritage requires intense management and significant funding, some of which are restricted by British Waterways’ 50-year old governance structures. Last year therefore (May 2009) British Waterways put forward radical proposals for a rethink of how the nation cares for its historic canals and rivers, taking British Waterways out of direct state control and into the third sector.

The Government responded on 21 June 2010 by announcing that it would explore the potential for transferring British Waterways and the Environment Agency’s canals and rivers into a new charitable body as part of a coherent vision for the Government grant-aided inland waterways of England and Wales.

As well as increasing stakeholder and public engagement, moving the waterways into the charitable sector creates greater opportunities to put them on a firmer financial footing. Future funding will come from a combination of: a guaranteed, long-term contract from Government; commercial income (such as receipts from a charity-locked property endowment, boat licences and utilities), and growing charitable income (e.g. donations and legacies).

Allowing for due diligence, the Government intends to have the new body up and running by April 2012. Work will now continue to develop the governance model, funding contract and transitional arrangements of the new body. Defra will further explore whether the Environment Agency’s navigations should be included and will discuss with the Scottish Government the options around the Scottish waterways, which are devolved to Scotland, including their potential inclusion in the new charity. British Waterways will work with Defra officials and waterway stakeholders to ensure good continuity, a smooth transition and a successful launch for the new body.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Can you handle the Media?

Can you handle the media?

Do the words spin, copy, embargo and multi-channel comms mean anything to you?

The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust [KACT] is seeking to recruit a professional to manage publicity, news and information emanating from and relating to the Kennet and Avon Canal throughout its 87-miles length from Bristol to Reading.

The KACT has five objectives:

· support and increase Trust membership, canal volunteering and canal community networking

· protect, maintain and enhance the waterway through positive involvement and partnership with the canal management, local government and others

· protect and enhance the waterway through fund raising, campaigning, funding and resource provision

· protect, enhance and promote the waterway and its story through the Trust museum, pumping stations, shops, boats and branch networks

· raise awareness of the canal and its potential.

You can see that each one of these objectives carries opportunities to create publicity, news and information. In addition, the internal communication needs of the KACT and its thousands of members and its different geographical branches have to be satisfied with timely and concise news, publicity and information services.

Here’s the catch. We’re looking for an unpaid volunteer to join us. While you won’t get paid and there may limited expenses available to support the activities you would need to undertake, you would be joining a fantastic organisation with many rewarding activities, people, infrastructure and events including historic buildings, boats and working steam machinery.

In time, you may be invited to become either a trustee of the KACT charity or a company director of its commercial arm, or even both – but you still won’t get paid for these honours.

Are you an information and news professional who has time on their hands or could devote some of their time to the KACT? With respect we don’t want a well-minded amateur to take on this role, it needs someone with the professional and political savvy needed to navigate the sometimes murky and turbulent waters of news and information management in a high profile and diverse organisation concerned with history, conservation, leisure activities and many, many other facets of its work.

If you are interested in this opportunity would you please send us an up to date CV to before 30th October 2010.

Important Latest News

Members step up to the mark to help lead the Trust forward

At last weeks Trust Council members were pleased to accept Neil Lethby's offer to become Chair of Trust Council until the end of the year, Neil will continue to be Treasurer and Company Secretary so will have plenty of time on his hands!
At the same meeting David Inight was co-opted on to the Trust Council, David is Chair of Bradford on Avon Branch.

Trust Council also approved the appointment of Alan Whitewick as Managing Director of our trading company K&ACT ( Enterprise) Ltd. Alan is Honorary Editor of 'The Butty'. David Inight was appointed as Director of boats. They join Neil Lethby, Mike Rodd and Tim Jones as the Board of Enterprise.

There are vacancies on both the Trust Council and the Board of Directors, if there is anyone who would like to know more about joining one of these bodies then please contact Mike Rodd or any Member of Trust Council for an informal chat. There is a particular need for people with expertise in retail, fund raising and public relations.
Please see attached document relating to communications and public relations.

Autumn Tints

On the 16th, 20th, and 23rd the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust are running a fantastic four hour cruise through the avon valley commencing each of the days at 2pm.
The trip starts from Bradford on Avon on the Barbara McLellan. Terrific value at £10 per person. Cameras at the ready for some wonderful photos of Autumn tints, and please send them in to the Butty, as we would love to publish some of them. Please see attached PDF file for all the information.
Telephone to Book a seat 0800 121 4679

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Charity Auction

Love Canal Books? We've got a special charity auction in aid of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust, with two books written by Clive Hackford. The Books are signed by the author and co-signed by Timothy West.

To find details of how to enter, click here.

Good Luck!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Pump Out Facility Status as of 01/10/10

Tyle Mill – Working correctly

Kintbury – Working correctly

Hungerford – Working Correctly

Gt Bedwyn – Broken – still got an out of order sign on it

Pewsey - Working correctly

Devizes Wharf - Working correctly

Devizes Office - Broken

Seend – Working correctly

Bradford On avon - Working correctly

Dundas - Working correctly

A contractor will be attending the Devizes Office site on Monday 4 October 2010.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

An apology

We apologise for a typo in the latest issue of the Butty – the Kenavon Venture’s phone number is in fact 0800 028 3707 – the zero was missing before the twenty eight.

Many thanks to those who pointed this out to us

Best regards

The Editors

Monday, 13 September 2010

Year Family Membership Winners

Joseph & Ben Chant were the lucky winners at Beale Park who came joint first with 100% of the questions correct, recieving a years family membership with the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust.

Well done!

Resignation of the Chairman of the Trust Council

At the Trust Council meeting held on Wednesday 8th September 2010, David Rees’ resignation was accepted with regret.

The Council wishes to thank David sincerely for his sterling efforts on behalf of the Trust over the past year, leaving us well-positioned in the pending Waterways reorganisation. The initiatives which he championed had the best interests of the Trust at heart, and we shall be sorry to lose him.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Duchess of Cornwall digs the first 'sod' of the Wilts and Berks Canal

We thought we'd treat you to some photos of this special event (See below).

You can also watch a video here:

Or visit the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust website to view even more photos here: