Saturday, 29 May 2010

Removal of website photos

You may notice some of the website photos have been removed, as these are copyright to Mr Bob Naylor. We apologise for placing them on the website, which were removed yesterday.

We will endeavor to visit the attractions and trip boats within the next month to photograph them. However, if you have a photograph you would like to send in, along with your name, please feel free to email them to:

we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Many Thanks


Thursday, 27 May 2010

The British Waterways Advisory Forum New Chairman

Clive Henderson APPOINTED chairman of BRITISH wATERWAYS advisory forum

The British Waterways Advisory Forum (BWAF) has elected Clive Henderson as its new chairman from 3 November 2010.

Mr Henderson, also national chairman of the Inland Waterways Association and a keen narrowboat owner since 1984, takes over the role from the incumbent BWAF chairman Nigel Stevens.

Run by its members, BWAF represents all national waterways interest groups and has a remit to debate and advise BW on strategic issues. It holds two general meetings each year, attended by senior BW managers.
Clive Henderson says of his appointment: “I am looking forward to chairing the advisory forum at this crucial time for British Waterways as it seeks greater independence from Government and new levels of engagement with traditional waterway stakeholders, as well as with others dependent upon their future wellbeing. I hope that my time as chairman will allow the many waterway supporter and user groups represented on BWAF to influence the agenda and ensure that our combined voice is one that is both respected and listened to.”

Simon Salem, marketing director of British Waterways, says: “I am delighted that Clive has been elected to this role. BWAF provides BW with wide-ranging advice, including most recently on our proposed move to the third sector. I am confident that Clive will be instrumental in helping us shape the future of Britain’s waterways.”

Elections for vice chair will be held in November with a view to handover in Spring 2011.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

British Waterways and the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust pilot the third sector

25 May 2010

British Waterways and the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust pilot the third sector

As part of its plans to establish a ‘national trust’ for the nation’s canals and rivers, British Waterways (BW) together with the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust (KACT) are piloting an innovative approach to managing the 200-year old Kennet & Avon Canal. The launch of the initiative will give the people that use and waterway and the communities that live alongside it a much greater say in how the canal is managed.

Following discussions, which also included representatives from the Inland Waterways Association (IWA), the KACT and BW will work together in setting up a Waterways Partnership Board for the canal. Members will be drawn from the highest level from the five local authorities and other key stakeholders who came together and led on the canal’s restoration.

The pilot includes reviewing the current plans of both organisations including development, operations, funding requirements etc. and by September agree and produce a combined Waterway Area Plan for the canal corridor which can be implemented by all partners.

It is hoped that the pilot will provide BW with valuable information and experience on how to put waterways on a 'more sustainable footing' and ensure the lessons are incorporated into the consultation on the setting up of a new third sector body.

Commenting on the pilot David Rees chair of the KACT said: “To ensure and safeguard the future of the Kennet & Avon Canal, and as a model to be considered for other waterways, it is essential that decision making and engagement comes closer to the people and organisations which it serves and is more integrated into local communities. A key feature will be the drive to attract more volunteers to the canal. We can achieve this by offering new opportunities and demonstrating that it's worth getting involved because there is a real chance to make a difference.”

Simon Salem, marketing director at British Waterways, said: “Local communities are crucial to the sustainability of their waterways. We hope we will learn a lot from this pilot and that it will inform further discussions on British Waterways' proposed move to the third sector.”

Clive Henderson IWA national chairman said: “We are delighted that this approach is being looked at as a model for ensuring firm local partnerships, as we want more local accountability. We are pleased to be part of that development process and will continue to help support it.”

Monday, 24 May 2010

Bradford on Avon Exhibition

The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust in partnership withThe Bradford on Avon Preservation Trust present an exhibition to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the K & A canal.

in the picturesque West Barn

On the 31 May, 1st and 2nd June, opening times 10 till 4

The exhibition then transfers to the

Bradford on Avon Museum from 4th June until 17th June

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Community Involvement in Managing Local Moorings

Community Involvement in Managing Local Moorings
Devizes Corn Exchange
1st June 2010
6.30pm - 8.30pm

British Waterways will be presenting their recommendations following a national and local consultation asking for comments on the management of canal moorings.
Please contact Margaret Tipper to book a place on this event by emailing or calling 01225 718441.
Please could confirm your attendance by the 26th May.

Click here for the flyer

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

An Easter 'Break'

A report from Dale Marshall from BW

I was the Duty Supervisor for the Easter week, covering the K&A and B&T canals.
Starting on Good Friday Morning, it was a reasonably quiet start, with just a few calls, which were from people requiring information.
By mid morning I had reports of flooding in the Crofton area, where it appears some boaters had inadvertently left a paddle raised. I contacted Simon Kirby, our duty water controller, who attended the site. He spent an hour or so running water to get the levels back to normal.
At approx 7.30pm, I had a call from a boater moored at Semington, reporting a badly damaged lock gate, and boat stuck in lock 16.
I sent the on call crew out to site, who reported back the problem was quite serious, and a quick repair was not possible.

I attended the site, where I organised the securing of the site, with the erection of fencing to keep the public out, and the closing of locks 15 & 16 to prevent boat traffic entering the area. We then removed the craft from the lock by carefully opening the offside gate. By this time it was pretty dark, and I suspended work until the morning.
I then spent two hours on the phone contacting hire boat companies, to alert them to the problem, and the subsequent closure of the lock.
Returning to site on the Saturday morning, measurements were taken of the broken anchor plate, and calls were made to the Caen Hill lock keepers, with a request to search our small stock of spares in the yard, in the hope of finding a suitable replacement. We were extremely fortunate to find one that would fit. This leaves us with just one spare original web style anchor plate for the whole of the K&A.
Due to the damage to the anchor plate, and the position of the gate, this was clearly not going to be a straight forward repair.
I began making plans for the repair. We would need permission of the land owner for access across his field, freshly planted with crops !
A crane, steel trackway, and potentially a dive team to assess damage to the pin, cup and cill.
Trying to contact people on an Easter weekend was problematic to say the least, and proved to be impossible in the land owner's case. I therefore decided to postpone the works until the following Tuesday.
This was communicated to the hire boat fleets and Freephone canal. Arrangements were made to help the fleets turn round at other locations, such as Seend, where we provided access down our trackway opposite the Barge Inn.
Next up was a call regarding the B&T canal, where a fence that surrounds a culvert, and siphon was stolen overnight, leaving us with a very unsafe exposed excavation. The B&T on call team were on the spot within the hour, and erected a temporary fence to secure the area.
On Easter Sunday the first call of the day, was for a loose craft floating down stream in the Greenham area, the East end crew were dispatched to moor the craft back to the bank.
The second call of the day was back to the B&T where a craft had rammed the floating landing stage in the docks, snapping the bolts that secure one of the finger platforms to main walkway. This meant the two craft moored to this section were almost set adrift, and listing with the platform. The B&T lads moved the effected craft to another part of the dock, and safely tied them up. The broken finger platform was temporarily secured, and plans made for a permanent repair later in the week.
Easter Monday brought about a quieter day, with the only call requiring our attendance was to broken paddle gearing at Hungerford Lock, which was preventing the lock from filling enough to allow the gates to open. The team repaired the gearing, and the craft were soon moving again.
Back to the day job on Tuesday and Wednesday, organising the repairs to Lock 16.

On Thursday night, I had a call from Wiltshire Fire Brigade. A Narrowboat was reported as on fire at Newtown swingbridge. I attended site to find the craft almost gutted, and the fire brigade still pouring on water. Luckily there were no persons on board. I asked if they could pump out some of the water at the same time as pouring it on, if it was safe for them to do so. The last thing I needed was a sunken craft to deal with !
I organised for the lads to fit some anti pollution booms across the canal, to stop the debris floating upstream towards Seend. Then had Semington Back pump turned off, as this would push the debris upstream. We then had a reasonably small containment area. The fire was largely out by 10.30pm, and we could leave the fire brigade to the damping down process. I endeavoured to contact the owners of the craft without success, and passed on the craft details to the enforcement team to follow up the following morning.
8am Friday morning the end of my 7 day duty period. Handed over the pager and began looking forward to a quieter weekend.
Dale Marshall

Glastonbury Festival

British Waterways is working with the Glastonbury Festival to recycle the old lock gates from the Kennet & Avon Canal.

The lock gates that were taken out of the Caen Hill Flight earlier this year as part of a half-a-million pound maintenance programme, are being reused and recycled at the Glastonbury Festival this year. They will be creating a bridge with some of the old gates. The bridge is in memory of Bella Churchill, the grand-daughter of Sir Winston Churchill, a glamorous debutante who very publicly dropped out of high society to run the Glastonbury festival.

A set of gates (2 lock gates) are going to be loaded onto a lorry and transported to Worthy Farm, site of the Festival this Thursday, 20th May

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

BW Boat Owners Survey and update on the 2009 NABO Condition Survey

Click here to view

Richard Benyon confirmed as new Waterway Minister

Richard Benyon has been appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Defra.

Richard Benyon has been MP for Newbury since May 2005. Before coming to government Mr Benyon served as a Shadow Minister for the Environment, Fisheries and Wildlife. Prior to this appointment he was a Party Whip. He has also served on the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Growing up in Reading, Richard attended the Royal Agricultural College. He is a riparian landowner and farmer on the Kennett & Avon Canal, and a former soldier and founder of the charity help for heroes.

He is a vice president of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust and a keen angling supporter.

Mr Benyon said he was very pleased to join the government and looked forward to meeting Mrs Spelman. "When we were in opposition there were a lot of things we wanted to do and couldn't achieve, but now we can move forward," he said.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

BBC Radio Wiltshire 24th -28th May

As part of the K&A200 celebrations, BBC Radio Wiltshire are going to Broadcast their morning Show with Mark O'Donnell, from the 24th May for a full week at various points along the canal.

Currently the proposed points are as follows (subject to broadcast tests)

24th May Bradford on Avon 9am-12noon
25th May Semington 9am-12noon
26th May Barge Inn Seend Cleeve 9am-12noon
27th May Ascending Devizes Flight 9am-12noon
28th May Devizes Wharf 9am-12noon

Mark O'Donnell will be travelling with the Narrowboat each afternoon to the next destination to assist in promoting the Kennet and Avon Canal

If you wish to discuss any project/History/Wildlife etc relating to the canal during the broadcasts, please contact Mike Rodd at the Trust office or Alan Whitewick (The Butty) via email at

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Crews for cruises?

The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust is seeking additional volunteers to help crew and run its trip boat “Jubilee”, which operates from Brassknocker Basin, located between Claverton and Limpley Stoke, just off the A36, East of Bath. The boat does regular public trips on Sundays (12.00 & 14.30) and on Bank Holidays (12.00 & 14.30), with additional trips on Tuesdays (14.30) in July and August. The boat is also available for charter trips and undertakes many trips for schools.

The K & A Canal Trust operates 4 such boats, the others operating from Bradford-on-Avon, Devizes and Hungerford. The boats are all run by volunteer Trust members, acting in a range of roles -- as boat skippers, boat and booking managers, helmspersons (steerers), bow person (front lookout) boat crew, bar attendants, etc. Full training is provided by the Trust.

The K & A Canal Trust invites anyone who is interesting in helping to come and find out more by experiencing a free trip on Jubilee on Saturday 8th May, leaving Brassknocker Basin at 2.30 (14.30).

If you have any queries, please contact Gordon Lane on 0800 121 4682

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Devizes Boat Club May Bank Holiday Boat Gathering

Winner of the Scrape Boat Challenge.
Every year on the Bank Holiday Sunday the scrape boats made out of bits and pieces (no motors) are built, scrutinised and entered along with a £5.00 fee to the challenge. They are launched together and race along a prescribed length of canal cheered on by everyone. The winning amount always £50.00 at least is given to a Charity chosen by the builder of the winning boat. This years winner was John Arthurs, past Trust council member for Newbury Branch, past Newbury Water Festival Harbour Master, previous chair of the DBC boat club and Trust volunteer especially at Crofton. He and his wife Val are off on a trip round the system for the summer and joining the club again at the IWA Festival Beale Park. At our dinner that evening he was presented with his winners cheque, which he promptly passed over to the person sat opposite him, who just happened to be the Treasurer of the Avon Vale Group. What a wonderful gesture from a boat made out of scrape a donation to a boat basically rescued from the scrape, thank you John.

Elaine Kirby

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Caen Hill Locks CLOSED

Caen Hill locks are closed today (04 May 2010) and possibly tomorrow (05 May 2010) to an emergency repair of a broken Lock Chamber Wall.