Wednesday, 21 December 2011

NAVIGATION CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE LOCK 61 TO LOCK 80

Thursday 17 November 2011 until further notice
UPDATE (20 December 2011): Stoppage Update, East of Crofton

(Crofton Locks, Beech Grove Lock, Hungerford Marsh Lock, Water Shortage)

Stoppage Works on the Crofton flight will be completed by 23 December 2011. However, due to an on-going water shortage the canal will remain closed until 4th January 2012 while empty pounds are filled.

The Crofton flight will be fully opened on 4th January 2012. Passage will not be possible prior to this date.

In order to provide an opportunity for boats to travel east from the summit, stoppage works at Beech Grove (Lock 63) have been deferred by a week to start on 9 January 2012. Beech Grove lock will be closed for one week.

Note that stoppage work at Hungerford Marsh Lock will commence, as planned, on 9th January 2012.

The on-going water related closure of the canal from Crofton to Copse Lock will be reviewed in January with a view to re-opening the canal in the sections between planned stoppages.

Thank you for your continued support of the Kennet and Avon Waterways.

Letter of Thanks

Bathampton Parish Council has asked me to express its thanks for work done on the canal towpath by the group of volunteers.

Individual councillors at the meeting of the Parish Council yesterday evening made comment that the towpath was now very clean and tidy and the laid hedge looked very neat. They are very pleased that, in this day and age, there are people willing to give up their spare time to improve the environment.

Please pass on the Council’s thanks to all those who took part.

Yours sincerely,

D.P.Smith
(Clerk to Bathampton Parish Council)

Monday, 28 November 2011

Boat Crew Wanted

Click image below for a larger view

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Record Crowds at the Devizes Lantern Parade

Record crowds attended the Devizes Lantern Parade on Friday November 25. The procession weaved its way towards the Devizes wharf K&ACT building where the Mayor of Devizes addressed the crowd, along with a special visit from Santa.
A huge thank you goes out to Sandra and Becky Wells and all the K&ACT volunteers for the organisation of this magical event.


Above: one of the largest lanterns on display


Above:the Mayor of Devizes


Above:crowds gather around the K&ACT building


Above: the wharf packed with lanterns


Above: Santa addresses the crowd


Above:the crowds move back towards the town centre


Above: the Kenavon Venture illuminates the wharf


Above: Santa and his jester wave from the grotto


Above: Ellie May Fry visits Santa


Above: the Avon Vale decorated in colourful lights


Above: the K&ACT HQ building ready for Christmas


Above: the Kenavon Venture

Monday, 21 November 2011

Monday, 7 November 2011

‘Jubilee’ : a new public trip boat for Newbury


In the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust is relaunching trip boat Jubilee in tribute to Her Majesty and as a permanent new attraction for Newbury.

The boat will be painted and decorated to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and will set out to bring the community in Newbury together both as volunteers running the boat and as groups and visitors enjoying the opportunity to get afloat on the Kennet & Avon Canal.

Public trips will commence at Easter leaving every weekend from Newbury Wharf. Jubilee will also be available for private charter throughout the summer. What better way to celebrate your own birthday or anniversary than a relaxed evening afloat? The Trust is also hoping to run floating street parties to enable groups of friends, neighbours and schools to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee in a unique way.

There will also be longer trips when Jubilee travels to Reading in mid-June for the annual Reading Waterfest. But she’ll be back in Newbury well before the Newbury Waterways Festival on 21/22 July.

It is especially appropriate to celebrate Her Majesty’s Jubilee in this way as the restoration of the canal really got under way 50 years ago after the Queen accepted a petition calling for its restoration. 30 years later Her Majesty returned to reopen the canal aboard another Trust trip boat, the Rose of Hungerford.

2012 is also an important land mark for the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust marking the 50th anniversary of our foundation in 1962.

The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust calls on all who love Newbury and its waterside to join in making the relaunch of Jubilee the centre of Newbury’s Jubilee celebrations.

Our first call is for those who would like to volunteer their services to be trained as boat crew for this exciting new venture. No qualifications are required as we will provide full training but we are looking for enthusiasm, commitment, a sense of teamwork and an ability to provide our passengers with a memorable experience.

We need crew to help handle the boat, operate the locks, run the bar, manage ticketing and keep Jubilee spick and span. Completely unpaid but a wonderful opportunity to have fun getting involved in this new venture that will help secure the future of the canal.

Interested? Come along to our public meeting at Newbury Town Hall Council Chamber on Friday 2nd December, at 7:00 pm to hear more about the type of person and commitment we are seeking. Or contact our Boat Manager, Ken Keegan, on 01264 337783 (evenings) or 07720 076693 (daytime), or email him at:
kenkeegan@talktalk.net .

Monday, 31 October 2011

Lantern Parade Workshop

The lantern parade making workshop is Friday 18th November at 7:00 PM. The lanterns that are made will stay at the Trust as this will help to decorate our Santa grotto. There are only 15 places left. If you are interested please call Becky Wells at the trust office on: 01380 721279.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Volunteers Needed

We looking for an adult volunteer to help a small group, to clear vegetation and fill pot holes on the towpath between Coate Bridge & Brickham Bridge, in Devizes.
This small project is part of the DCAP transport group's action, to increase cycling in Devizes by identifying & improving, safe cycle paths in the town.
Rob Labus, BW Volunteer leader, is coordinating the work & BW are providing the materials.
We would like to do this in November, this year, preferably on the most convenient Wednesday mornings, for the group.

If you are interested, please call the Trust office on: 01380 721279

Monday, 17 October 2011

Join the Big Point in!

You may have heard by now that we are not moving out of our Wharf HQ and will remain into the foreseeable future. We have to solve 4 major problems:

1.Heating
2.Gutters etc to stop water pouring down the wall and into the building.
3.Re pointing the rear stone wall.
4. Floor loadings etc. in the museum.

The first is already in hand – the plumbers are working now! The remainder are to be dealt with and we need your help. It is hoped that the gutters will be the next urgent repair, and then the big job is the rear wall and that’s where you can help.
We are appealing to our members including those who may already be part of the Branch working groups to join the BIG POINT IN.

This is to be organised over one weekend with the object of getting the whole wall repaired (stone acquired) and pointed from end to end in one big effort. If you feel able to help in actually pointing, mixing, labouring, etc particularly if you have some experience please contact:-
David Lamb: 01380 721562 email:david_lamb@talktalk.net
with details of what you can do.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

New guidance for continuous cruisers

12th Oct 2011

British Waterways is today publishing updated, more concise mooring guidance for boats without a home mooring.

The existing 2004 ‘mooring guidance for continuous cruisers’ has been refined to be more easily understood and to reflect the Judgment in the case of British Waterways v Davies, in which the Court found that moving up and down within a 10 mile stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal with no home mooring did not amount to bona fide navigation.

Bona fide navigation

British Waterways has drafted updated guidance, following professional legal advice, including from Leading Counsel, and also sought input from national boating organisations.

In particular the new, shorter, guidance explains what is meant by bona fide navigation and seeks to clarify the nature of the movement that must take place.

Sally Ash, head of boating at British Waterways, said; “The existing guidance needed updating in light of the increasing number of boats without a home mooring and to reflect the Judgment in the case of British Waterways v Davies, which was heard in Bristol County Court.
Input from boaters

“We welcome genuine continuous cruising on our canals and rivers and very much hope that the refined guidance will remove much of the confusion and ambiguity around this subject. Importantly, we’ve actively sought the views of leading organisations within the boating community and the National Association of Boat Owners in particular made several constructive suggestions which we have been pleased to incorporate.

The guidance is a schedule of the licence terms and conditions which have been updated accordingly. It can also be found at www.britishwaterways.co.uk/mooringguidance. For those without internet access, paper copies are available by calling BW Customer Services on 01923 201120.

Extract from Waterscape.com

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

NEWBURY WATERWAYS FESTIVAL 2012

Exciting news! At a recent Newbury Branch committee meeting we agreed that, after a break this year, the Newbury Waterways Festival will take place in 2012. Boats will start assembling from 20th July and the main Festival day will be on Sunday 22nd July when we open to the public. There will be stalls, entertainment, a wonderful display of decorated boats and, of course, the ever popular Duck Race. There is a lot of planning to do yet so further details to follow. Please put the date in your diary now!

Julie Dean

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Natwest Community Force project

Voting has now opened in the Natwest Community Force project to repair the towpath at Westleaze Swindon.

This essential piece of work will help to maintain the water level in the canal and help supply water to the wetland project at Rushey Platt via the spill weir.

You will need to register via the website before you can vote

All details are at :

http://communityforce.natwest.com/project/3910

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Chair persons sought for Waterways Partnerships

The New Waterways Charity that will become the guardian of the canals and rivers in England and Wales from April next year is recruiting people to chair the Waterways Partnerships that will help shape the future of the waterways in each of the partnership areas. The role of each Partnership is to give local people a greater say and role in how their canals and rivers are run, working with local managers to develop strategies and plans and to build local involvement and participation in the waterways.

Each of the eleven administrative areas of the waterways network will have a Chair and Partnership Board recruited and up and running by April 2012. There will be two further Partnerships for the waterways museums and All-Wales issue

Chairs are being recruited before Christmas for Manchester & Pennine, North Wales & Borders, South Wales & Severn, Kennet & Avon and the All Wales Partnerships. The Kennet and Avon Waterways Partnership (presently chaired by the K&A Canal Trust Council Chairman, Mike Rodd) is included in this first round to confirm the position of the Trial Partnership and bring this appointment into the recruitment process agreed by the Transition Appointments Committee. This round will also include a review of the Trial Partnerships in the West Midlands and North West with a view to releasing them from their “Trial” status, and arrangements will be made to set up the Museums Partnership as the successor to The Waterways Trust Museums Management Board.

Chairs for Local Partnerships in the North East, Central Shires, East Midlands, South East and London will be recruited in a second round starting in January.

The Transition Appointments Committee is recruiting the Chairs on behalf of the New Waterways Charity. The Committee comprises Roger Clarke and Dinah Nichols, who are members of the Defra Advisory Panel on First Appointments and Transition, and two transition trustees, Lynne Berry and Tom Franklin. They will be working with Roger Hanbury, Chief Executive of The Waterways Trust, and local waterway managers to recruit Chairs for the Local Partnerships.

Roger Hanbury comments: “The Waterways Partnerships are integral to the stewardship and development of the waterways within each Partnership area. They shape the strategies and plans for each waterway, guide decisions about spending, and help develop external funding and volunteering. They will champion the interests of the waterways at a political level, with business, and with the community and develop action plans for local engagement and participation.”

A written record of all meetings will be publically available on the web. All positions on the Partnerships will be un-remunerated, but agreed expenses will be reimbursed.

For further details, click these links:

Terms of Reference

Role Profile

Application Form


Interested parties can find role descriptions and application details at: www.britishwaterways.co.uk

and www.thewaterwaystrust.org.uk

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

K&A Towpath Tidy

Here is the first of 3 photos of last Fridays PWC workparty at Burghfield. 32 PWC staff took part (working in teams of 8 to 10 people) together with 3 KACT supervisors, 1 PWC supervisor and a PWC first aider (who had a quiet day). The weather was kind, all the planned work was completed and a safe, productive and very happy day was had by all.

Many thanks to Derrick for background safety and procedural advice, to all KACT people involved in getting equipment to the eastern end of the canal (and back again) and to Rob for supplying the painting materials and quietly checking that we had things properly in place to make the day work properly. Without your help and backing the day could not have taken place.

David Copley



Above: Andy James with Tom Sheppard, the PWC supervisor, plus the bridge gang in the distance



Above: David Copley with the bridge cleaning gang working



Above: Gerry Thorne with the lock beam painting gang.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Administrator– Devizes

Salary up to £17,000 p.a 37½ hours per week

The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust is seeking to appoint to this interesting post in our small but busy Headquarters in Devizes. The successful applicant will supervise a small Team of staff who support the work of the Trust along 87 miles of canal. Working alongside Trustees and Directors who manage and direct the organisation you will be in daily contact with Volunteers, members of the public and staff from partner agencies.

The normal working day will be 9.00 till 5.00 Monday to Friday but some flexibility will be needed to support early evening meetings on occasions.

For an application form, job description and more information contact Pauline King, Trustee at: staffing@katrust.org.uk

Closing date for applications Tuesday 27th September

Letter of Resignation

Dear Trust Council,

It is with great sadness that I am writing to offer my resignation as General Secretary for the Trust. I absolutely adore working for the Trust, with the great staff at Devizes and with all the partners and volunteers along the canal. However, I have decided to move to Devon to be with my partner Russell and the commute is simply too far!

As discussed, I would like to leave at the end of October, but will only be a phone call away and available to support the new person into the role however I can.

With best wishes,

Holly Streeter
General Secretary

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Crofton BBQ

Dear Crofton Supporters

The Crofton Volunteer BBQ is on 9th September 6-9pm.
You are welcome to come.
The cost will be £6.50 per person.
This includes BBQ, Pudding and Soft Drinks.
Bring your own alcohol.
Please can you give Di Edwards money by 31st August as she needs to know numbers
Cheques can be payable to Mrs Di Edwards

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Crofton Drawing Workshop


Click the image above for a larger view

Saul to Lechlade Cruise

The flotilla is running four days late -

the new schedule:

-Claverton on Monday 22nd
-Avoncliff Monday 22nd evening (Barbara Mac meeting them at 17.30)
-Foxhangers Tuesday 23rd
-Ascending Caen Hill Wednesday 24th

Monday, 15 August 2011

Reading Meetings

Click here to view the latest Reading meeting venues

Crofton Newsletter

Click here to read Crofton's latest Newsletter

Walking stick found

A rather nice black collapsible walking stick with a splendid handle was found beside the canal at the Seend Park Farm swing bridge (between Devizes and Bradford-on-Avon) on Tuesday, 9th August. It was taken by the local Police Community Support Officer. Contact Melksham Police Station to collect it if it is yours.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Crofton Update

Unfortunately, due to late delivery of equipment, Crofton has been forced to postpone its date of reopening.

Please watch this space for the new confirmed date.

Thank you for your patience

Friday, 5 August 2011

Crofton Update

Crofton is hoping to reopen to the public on Friday 12th of August, although there may be a limited food offering in the café for a few more days beyond that date.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Crofton Pumping Station forced to close temporarily

The Trustees of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust have had to temporarily suspend public access to its world famous Crofton Pumping station, the oldest beam-engine, steam-driven pumping station still able to perform the task it was originally designed for (i.e. pump water from the prime water source for the canal, Wilton Water, up to the canal’s summit). This action has resulted from a failure in the domestic supply which provides water for the visitors and staff, the cafe, toilets, and tor the occupants of the 2 cottages. It also provides British waterways with water for use by passing boaters. The water source is a deep level borehole, located on the upper reaches of the Crofton property, which is then locally purified. Routine tests on the water this week have revealed that the water is contaminated and following discussions with Wiltshire Council, the Trustees felt that it was only right to take this preventative action whilst further tests were undertaken and the source of the deep-level problem investigated and appropriate action taken.
The Canal Trust apologises to the many thousands of visitors who will be disappointed but can assure all that everything is being done to restore normal service as soon a possible.
Enquiries should be addressed to: The Warden, +44 (0)1672 870300

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Vandals set post alight in Trowbridge

Police are stepping up patrols along the Kennet and Avon Canal after vandals set fire to a beauty spot in Trowbridge...

Click here to read more

Donated ash is helping British Waterways save cash

Two icons and arch rivals of the industrial age – the canals and the steam railways - are combining forces, using traditional techniques to solve problems on the waterways of today whilst saving money in the process.

Lock keepers on the Caen Hill Lock Flight on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Devizes are using coal ash donated by the Avon Valley Railway in Bitton, near Bristol, to maintain water levels during maintenance works throughout the year. This technique has saved British Waterways thousands of pounds already.

The traditional method of ‘ashing up the gates’ was used every night in the canal’s industrial hey-day when water on the flight was constantly in short supply. The technique involves pouring the ash into the canal just above a lock. The flow of water then sucks the ash into the small gaps in the gates allowing them to form a totally watertight seal. The method was revived by lock keepers to help achieve and maintain exact water levels which were needed whilst repairs were being carried out, from aboard a boat, lower down the flight. This ‘ashing’ is also helping to maintain and preserve water lever during the summer months when water is in shorter supply.

The Avon Valley Railway donated around eight tonnes of the ash produced by their steam engines to British Waterways, some of which will be held in reserve for future use. This partnership is just one example of the way British Waterways is developing its work with local groups and voluntary organisations as it prepares to become a charity in April 2012.

British Waterways’ lock keeper, Trevor Skoyles, who came up with the solution, said: “Working with the Avon Valley Railway has made all the difference to our works on the Kennet and Avon Canal. It’s great to see traditional techniques, which celebrate the heritage and history of our waterways brought back to life with the support of local organisations and enthusiasts.”

David Cole from Avon Valley Railway said: “It’s great to be able to make use of the coal ash generated from our locomotives. When British Waterways approached us we were delighted that it could be put to use on the canals. Our steam engines date back to 1944 and we take great pride in looking after them.”

The important works carried out throughout the year; continue to help maintain this unique piece of working heritage which is one of the seven wonders of the waterways.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Where now for the Kennet & Avon Canal

6th July 2011

The Government has just finished consulting on proposals to turn British Waterways, the body responsible for maintaining and improving Britain’s inland waterways, into a new charity. It is hoped that this will give people a greater say on the future of their local canals and rivers.

Ashley Fox, Conservative MEP for the South West of England, recently visited the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust in Devizes to discuss the implications of such a move, and how the proposed changes will impact on the users and supporters of the Kennet & Avon Canal.

There is concern that the proposed ‘New British Waterways Charity’ will continue the tradition of centralised control currently practised by British Waterways, bypassing an opportunity for greater community involvement in the management of Britain’s waterways, a key part of our industrial heritage.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Fox commented:

“The Government wants to turn British Waterways into the ‘National Trust of our Waterways’. This is a worthy ambition, but for it to become a reality they need to trust local people.

The biggest failing of British Waterways has always been its ‘top down’ approach to any problem. You can’t have people in London micro-managing maintenance in Trowbridge. We need to ensure that the new charity gives greater power to local people.

Our waterways are part of our history and still used today by millions of people across the South West in a whole variety of ways, from fishing and boating, to walking and cycling. It is only right that those who use our canals should decide on their future.

The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust is a first rate example of what can happen when local organisations are given control. They have done wonders in linking National Lottery funding with volunteer, council and business groups and have, over the last decade, restored the canal to the wonder that it is today.

I have written to the Minister and urged him to look at the excellent work that the Trust and its partners have achieved, and use this as the model for improving our inland waterways into the future.”

This article is from: www.ashleyfoxmep.co.uk

Monday, 4 July 2011

A New Era for the Waterways

The K&A Canal Trust’s response to the Defra Consultation “A New Era for the Waterways: A consultation on the Government’s proposals for moving the inland waterways into a new charity in England and Wales”:

Background

This paper represents the formal response of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust to the DEFRA consultation on the future of the waterways in England and Wales (hereafter referred to as the Consultation Document). As such it has been formally approved by the Trustee Council.

The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust (hereafter referred to as “The Trust”) is a long established and well respected voluntary organisation with charitable status. The Trust has successfully campaigned for restoration of the Kennet and Avon Canal and now works with local British Waterways (BW) management and with riparian local authorities to improve the operation and upkeep of the restored waterway.

The Trust currently has ~2500 memberships involving over 3500 people (many memberships are on a family basis). Members are drawn from all sections of the community and have a wide variety of interests in all aspects of the Kennet and Avon Canal, its use and its history.

The Trust holds regular member meetings through local branches along the 85-mile length of the Kennet and Avon Canal. Trust volunteers operate two historic pumping stations (one powered by steam, one by water wheel), four passenger trip boats, a canal museum and a shop. Volunteers also undertake work on the towpath in conjunction with BW and operate a maintenance boat.

Trust Members have been encouraged to read the Consultation Document. Three member meetings, attended by 103 members, have been held at towns along the Kennet and Avon Canal to discuss the proposals. The meetings were supplemented by a postal / on-line questionnaire survey of all Trust members, which attracted 694 responses.

The questionnaire survey indicates that a majority of Trust members are prepared to work closely with the NWC at a local level. Current reaction favours a “let’s work closely with them to see how things develop” approach rather than immediate integration.

As acknowledged in Box 3D of the Consultation Document, the Trust has been at the forefront of developing a trial Local Waterways Partnership (based on an existing and highly successful K&A Partnership Board which led, and continues to monitor, the £25 million HLF grant awarded jointly to the Trust and BW for restoration of parts of the K&A) as a prelude and pilot scheme to the proposed “Local Partnership Boards” of the NWC.

The Trustees are seriously concerned that the short timescale for intended implementation has not allowed the many important lessons learned from the pioneering work on the Kennet and Avon to be adequately reflected in the current proposals.

Summary

The proposals arise as a result of political opinion and action. This is recognised as a” given” within this response. Nevertheless, the speed of proposed implementation leaves minimal time for the introduction of any necessary changes in response to this consultation. A longer introduction period is required to ensure that the details match the objectives and to incorporate the results of the pilot schemes.

The concepts of “giving waterway users and the communities that live alongside them greater involvement in how they are managed”, as clearly indicated in Richard Benyon's introduction and developed in the early part of the consultation document, accord with the current political emphasis on “localism”. They are endorsed by the Trust. Unfortunately, the highly centralised management structures (largely reflecting the current worst features of BW) put forward in the consultation document are the opposite of these worthy principles.

A new NWC requires a totally new organisational structure. It also needs a totally new management culture which replaces the centralised autocracy of BW by cooperation with partner organisations and respect for their views. The current negative perception of BW among many waterway users is not a good foundation for a new NWC.

The list of organisations invited to respond (Annex E) wholly omits the many voluntary societies and trusts involved with BW waterways. The Consultation Document also lacks clarity on the future relationship of these organisations with the NWC. Comments by BW staff referring to “when we take you over” in their dealings with local canal societies increase concerns that the cooperation (or extinction) of current societies is being taken for granted.

The new NWC should not be a clone of the current excessively centralised BW, under which local management is largely restricted to operational engineering and regularly over-ridden by seemingly arbitrary action from the centre. Some BW managers have described this as “the 20/80 approach”. These figures require reversal so that local decision-making becomes 80% and centralised control no more than 20%.

The intention to include EA waterways only if “subject to affordability” increases concerns that the prime intention of the changes is to relieve the Government of the financial albatross of BW rather than give waterways a viable future. If the proposals are correct for the future of one state-owned navigation authority they should be equally applicable to similar inland waterways.

The predicted level of donations to the NWC appears optimistic, whereas the proposed level of the Government Funding Contract (GFC) is significantly lower than that provided to BW in recent years. Lack of any reference within the Consultation Document to the future of the waterways should the finances fail to meet DEFRA expectations is of serious concern. There is no “Plan B”.

Finally, the fundamental question of accountability of the new organisation deserves careful examination before this great national asset passes into the hands of a less accountable board of charitable trustees. The new organisation must be both transparent and open. We suggest that

a) The NWC must, in its Charitable Purposes, mention responsibility for protecting the heritage of the Waterways.
b) The NWC must remain bound to provide public access to information, otherwise it will become a law unto itself. Keeping some aspect of the organisation publicly accountable matches its on-going stewardship of this strategic, public resource.


Responses to particular questions

Chapter 2

The implied comparison with the National Trust can be misleading. The National Trust embraces properties with a viable financial legacy for on-going operation. In contrast, the NWC will inherit the legacy of an underfunded BW with a backlog of deferred maintenance.

Question 1

Those EA navigations which are (or could become) part of a through route between current BW navigations should be included in the NWC, thereby creating a unified navigation authority. Integration should be based on local control of waterways and not become an excuse for further centralised control.

The NWC should also seek to include waterways already in the voluntary sector. Failure of the Trustees of these waterways to transfer them to the NWC can only be interpreted as a lack of faith in the NWC.

Question 2

Consideration should be given to declaring the NWC assets as inalienable in similar manner to the National Trust.

Question 3

Broadly, the charitable objectives are appropriate. The following additions are recommended;
 Operation of museums and archives should be an objective in its own right and not merely merit a parenthesis as an add-on to education.
 Preservation of the NWC's inherited historic infrastructure, together with development of public access to these structures and provision of proper interpretation facilities, should be included.
 There should be a recognition that the NWC’s objectives overlap with those of other charities and a commitment to work in partnership with other like-minded organisations.

Question 4

The “mission statement” should be widened to include protection of access to the waterway, whether on foot or by boat.

Question 6

The important factor is achievement, not theory or weasel words.

Question 7

The NWC should have similar statutory powers and duties to those currently exercised by and imposed upon BW. In particular the statutory requirement to maintain “Cruiseway ” waterways to minimum defined standards must be maintained.

As the NWC remit includes canal restoration, the limitations on expenditure on “Remainder” waterways, currently arising from the same legislation, require revision before application to the NWC.

Unrestricted free (no charge) pedestrian access to towpaths must also be maintained, as should free access by cycles where towpaths are suitable for their use.

Question 8 (also including parts of questions 11 to 20)

Organisation

As with the current BW, the proposed NWC structure appears centralised and cumbersome to excess. The ideals of a “bottom up” approach set out in Section 3 of the consultation document and the worthy expectation that members of boards will act in the wider interest of the waterways rather than as delegates for a particular interest are wholly negated by the “politically correct” formulaic approach to the proposed Council.

The proposed Council of 36 to 51 people is far too large for effective decision-making. Local Waterways Partnership Chairpersons will be minority members of the Council. Their practical experience could be swamped by polarised interest groups with wider agendas beyond those of the waterways alone.

Even if one accepts the Council as a workable body, the number of members for each interest is open to question. Box 3A shows towpath users (290M visits) warranting 2 or 3 representatives whilst boating (8M visits, albeit involving 3 or 4 people each) warrants 4 to 8. Boaters are an important user group and revenue stream, but both user categories are potential donors to the NWC.

Box 3B places the proposed “Local Waterways Partnerships” (LWPs) at the end of the responsibility chain with no link back to the Board of Trustees. LWP Chairs have the ability to be members of Council but not to influence decisions of that huge body. It is difficult to envisage Local Waterways Partnerships attracting members of adequate calibre when they have minimal influence on the policies that they are expected to implement.

Box 3B also shows no direct link between the LWPs and the Local Waterway Management Units. The command chain is from the Board of Trustees directly to “National Management” and, through the latter, to the Waterway Management Units. This perpetuates the current BW culture of excessive central control with local unit responsibility confined to peripherals. It allows perpetuation of a highly paid central staff remote from the points of service delivery.

What could be done.
The current 20% local responsibility, 80% central control structure used by BW should be reversed.

Central control should be kept to a minimum. Central organisation should be confined to undertaking the legal oversight duties of the Trustees, ensuring that the waterways remain a national boating system, liaison with large fund raisers and allocation of centrally provided grants and funds in consultation with LWPs / LMUs.

Central contingency provision also remains necessary for meeting emergency repair costs which could not have been reasonably foreseen at local level (e.g. breaches / floods / fire etc) but the centre should not micro-manage the Local Waterway Management Units.

Local control through joint working by Local Waterways Partnerships (LWPs) and Local Management Units (LMUs): these should be the main units of control, responsible for all local operational matters, including:
• upkeep and maintenance at or above defined minimum standards,
• riparian property,
• promotion of the local waterways,
• local fundraising and
• revenues.
LMUs should be free to choose between “buying in” central services or procuring/ providing such themselves.

Each LWP should be able to benefit directly from funds raised locally, thereby allowing donors to see the results of their input. Local success (whether directly financial or by attraction of volunteer work) should not be penalised by a reduction in central funding.

The number and geographic division of the proposed Local Waterways Partnerships wholly reflects current BW organisation. In some cases (as on the Kennet and Avon) these match complete canals; others do not. Some adjustments may be required, particularly if the EA waterways are to become part of an integrated local management network.

To operate effectively, the LWPs need effective input to policy. An NWC policy board should have LWP members in the majority, supported by appointees with recognised skills and expertise in specific specialist disciplines as minority members and/or advisors.

Finally, the experience of the Trial LWP on the K&A and B&T needs to be analysed very carefully. A major issue has been the un-democratic way in which LWP membership is derived, causing much anger from many important, and often fund-providing, stakeholder groups. At the same time, where existing organisations with similar objectives to the proposed LWPs exist (in the case of the K&A, the existing and wholly democratically-selected, K&A Partnership Board, and the Somerset Waterways Advisory Committee), the question arises as to whether new stakeholder groups are actually required?

Question 9

Donors, both private and corporate, are more likely to contribute to clearly defined local schemes with a demonstrable result than to the generalised costs of a large organisation. Lottery grants (and similar) are allocated to specific (and closely specified) projects with a measurable outcome.

Question 10 (also questions 18 and 19)

The emphasis for representative members of central councils (if used) and LWPs should be on effectiveness and expertise and not on quasi-representative appeasement of vested interests.

Question 13

This is covered in detail in the response to question 8.

Questions 16

Many local canal societies already have a core of trained and willing volunteers capable of taking a greater role. Regrettably, recent clumsy attempts by BW to set up their own centrally controlled volunteer working parties plus BW staff comments on “when we take you over” are counter-productive and treat canal societies as competitors rather than partners. Conflict and disdain are not incentives to the offering of voluntary assistance.

Question 17

A successful volunteer programme, developed in conjunction with local canal management, can supplement the work of a competent core paid workforce. It should release paid staff to undertake more complex work but should not replace them. Volunteers do not wish to feel that their input is adding to unemployment levels or is furthering a particular political agenda.

Questions 18 to 23

The over-riding need is to develop an effective management structure rather than to add gloss to the unsatisfactory system currently put forward. The response to question 8 also refers.

Question 25

The Government Funding Contract should not be viewed in isolation. The NWC will inherit the current BW statutory duty to maintain canals at or above minimum standards according to category. This duty does not include the caveat “subject to available finance.” The immediate measure of NWC effectiveness will be the ability to meet this duty across the whole network (as reflected in user satisfaction) through a combination of revenue, donations and the Government Funding Contract. Weakness in any of these areas detracts from the utility of the others.

The ability to attract (or lose) members is a direct indicator of support levels. The National Trust enjoys subscription income from “membership”. So too do most canal societies. No such “membership” is proposed for the NWC. The NWC Management Board and Trustees will thus have no immediate indication of support levels to show to potential donors. Without member feedback, canal users will be “customers” who view the NWC as “them” rather than “us”.


Question 26

Voluntary societies and charities, including the Trust, already raise considerable funds which are then donated to projects on BW waterways. They have a recognised “brand image” among potential donors. Direct diversion of these donations to the NWC does not increase the sum raised and risks de-motivation of current volunteer fundraisers and alienation of current donors. The NWC should therefore seek to develop new funding streams rather than duplicate the work of current societies by competing with them.

The predicted revenue from donations in the Consultation Document appears optimistic. Past success in obtaining large Lottery grants (as on the Kennet and Avon) is unlikely to be repeated in future years. In contrast, the proposed level of the Government Funding Contract (GFC) appears to be set at an arbitrary and low level. One would have expected DEFRA to have already investigated a wide range of methods to increase NWC income before advising Government on the appropriate level of the GFC.

Even if the Consultation Document expectations on donation levels are achieved, many donations (especially Lottery and similar) are likely to be directed to specific local projects with a measurable outcome rather than to generalised costs of a large national organisation. Reduction of central funding to local waterways attracting high levels of local project support is likely to be regarded as an abuse of process and thus discourage repeat donor support.

BW income from angling is extremely low (only £0.7M) and arises from length use. Rod fees are believed to remain with the EA. Integration of EA waterways into the NWC should be accompanied by the integration of angling revenues together with associated costs and responsibilities.

Question 26A – These comments relate to possible adverse effects of attempts to increase direct revenue, a factor which does not feature in the Consultation Document.

The predicted level of NWC donations is not guaranteed. As the GFC is fixed, the obvious ways of meeting a funding shortfall are by increases in rents and user fees together with disposal of property. Safeguarding conditions are therefore required to prevent excessive rises in user fees and to avoid conflicts between short-term financial benefit to the NWC from sale of lands and excessive riparian development of new property, and long-term safeguards. These provisions may not need to be invoked but they need to be available.

Many of the fundraising activities proposed for the NWC (shops, trip-boats, marinas, etc.) are already undertaken by commercial companies and voluntary groups using property leased from BW and/or licences issued by BW. Having the NWC as both landlord (or licence issuer) and competitor requires safeguards to maintain fair competition.

Question 27

The response to question 8 refers to the benefits of Local Waterway Management units having a free choice between “buying in” centrally provided services and either purchasing them locally or undertaking the work themselves using paid or volunteer labour. The current BW practice of granting large block contracts to contractors remote from the waterway served (e.g. for tree cutting) precludes cost comparisons with local resources and prevents the use of volunteers.

Question 29

At a national level, “British Waterways” is widely regarded as synonymous with underfunding and underachievement. Any title that suggests that the NWC is a re-brand of BW will attract the same negatives from users and potential donors.

“New” is inappropriate as the intention is for durability, not novelty.

“The National Waterways Conservancy” is recommended for consideration. Although covering only England and Wales (and hence not fully national) this title maintains historic use of the final word (as in Thames Conservancy) whilst heavily implying that the purpose is to conserve our waterways and their heritage. Coincidentally, it also uses the initials NWC.

Caveat

The consultation document includes 29 questions. As requested, this response largely refers to the given numbering, although there is overlap between some questions. Where such overlaps are obvious, responses should be taken as referring to particular questions, even if the numbers are not quoted.

Where no direct or indirect response is given to a particular question this should not be interpreted either as support for or opposition to the ideas and proposals made.

Finally

The above document outlines the views of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, based on member feedback. It is, of necessity, a brief summary. The Trustees would be very pleased to discuss these views further with DEFRA and/or other involved bodies, should this be considered of mutual benefit.

The Trust has no objection to DEFRA making the above views known to third parties, provided that the source is acknowledged and the wording and context are unchanged.


Contact for any queries arising from this response:

Dr M G Rodd FIET CEng
Chairman of the Trust Council
The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust
Canal Centre
Couch Lane
Devizes
Wiltshire
SN10 1EB

Phone: 01380 721279
Email: Chair@katrust.org.uk

Thursday, 16 June 2011

PRESIDENT’S INAUGURAL ADDRESS June 11th 2011

I am both honoured and flattered to have been elected to serve this Trust from today as its new President following the retirement of Michael Ancram. I am sure you will all want to join me in thanking Michael for all he has achieved on behalf of our Trust during his Presidency and to wish him a long and well-deserved retirement.

It is nearly 45 years since I first became aware of the Kennet & Avon Canal. As a trainee brewer in 1966 at H. & G. Simonds Brewery in Reading I used to enjoy many a lunchtime sandwich and a pint (or two!) by the Canal as it flowed through the Brewery yard now buried somewhere beneath the Oracle Centre.

Little did I think then that I would be addressing you today as your new President but, as the saying goes, “Life is what happens to you when you’re planning something completely different!”.

Although I still have a couple of fairly demanding ‘day jobs’ to distract me for the next few years, I really do want to seize this new opportunity for me to try to help our Trust and, therefore, I intend to give it my absolute best shot for the foreseeable future.

It is still too early days for this ‘new kid on the block’ to have a clear vision yet of how best I can serve our Trust to help it to achieve most, if not all, of its many and varied objectives and ambitions.

However, I am determined to get to know as many of our dedicated and brilliant Branch members as possible during the next few months and I hope, for someone whose wife always says I talk too much, that you will find me a good listener so, please, speak up and share your views! Hopefully, arising from these discussions I will be able to devise a strategic policy for how best I can contribute to the ongoing success of our Trust.

I am conscious that this is an especially critical time for our Trust in spite of the fact that we are fast approaching its Golden Anniversary next year when also H.M. the Queen will be celebrating her Diamond Jubilee.

I know there are several members here today without whose vision, perseverance and sheer hard work over many of the past 49 years perhaps none of us would be here today. So much has been achieved during that time and the latest exciting milestone has been the recent granting of Cruiseway Status so our canal is definitely here to stay – and so, therefore, are we!

However, it is as you also know a time of great anxiety following the last government’s proposal to hand over responsibility for Britain’s canals from the public accountability of British Waterways to Parliament to a small group of new trustees who will only be accountable to the Charity Commission and the ‘jobs worths’ at Companies House. It is ironic, but also a fact that should not be underestimated, that three of the eight new trustees of the proposed New Waterway Charity happen to be existing directors of British Waterways, including its Chairman and Vice-Chairman – talk about a shoo-in!

Furthermore, it has been bad enough for British Waterways to be consistently under-funded by Defra for many years but I now dread to think how much more under-funded the New Waterway Charity will be when it becomes no longer the Government’s responsibility to the electorate – no wonder the Government is seizing the opportunity to pass off the much-love national treasure of our whole inland waterway system to a charitable trust!

Today is not the occasion for me to share my personal views in detail on this ludicrous Labour government initiative but I do, please, urge each of you to let Defra know your views on its so-called “Consultation Document” before the end of June. My fear is that “they”, the civil servants of the public sector, will probably not take the slightest bit of notice of whatever we all may say but at least you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you did at least try to influence them over this apparently already ‘done deal’!

Who knows? If enough canal enthusiasts throughout the UK (and over 11 million of them visit our own Canal each year) make their personal views heard the Coalition Government might yet heed democracy and change its mind just like it did recently over trying to remove the Forestry Commission from its public accountability to Parliament. Changing their minds again, now over proposed reforms to the NHS, is another indication that the government does listen to lobbyists at least some of the time and should further encourage us all to speak up now – there is still time, just!

On a much more positive note and having only sat in on a couple of meetings during the past month, I am hugely impressed by the experience, skills and commitment of our Trustees led by their Chairman, Mike Rodd.

It has not been an easy year for any members of our Trust’s Council and many challenges have had to be faced in securing the future of our Trust – its actual financial survival probably being the most pressing at one crucial stage.

I know from personal experience over many years that running any venture, whether it is charitable, commercial or even sometimes a weird combination of both (just like the proposed New Waterways Charity!) is never easy and there is always some big project to sort out before, inevitably, a whole new challenge comes looming over the horizon.

To face these challenges we need a strong, loyal and united team right across our membership from our part-time volunteers and general members to the elected members of our Council.

A great initiative has already been implemented recently in trying to ascertain more information about our members and their hopes and aspirations for our Trust and I’m sure Mike Rodd will update us on this later. Meanwhile, I remain somewhat perplexed to learn that much sterling work is being carried out on our Canal by some dedicated volunteers who have actually chosen not to be members of our Trust! Ironically, they obviously love our Canal but not our Trust!

However, as “’er indoors” would say, I have probably banged on long enough for my inaugural address and I don’t want to frighten too many of you on my first public appearance!

My parting shot, therefore, is just to say that if I can now effectively complement all the energy, passion and hard work that has gone into the past 49 years in getting our Trust to where it is today then I feel my future service as your President will be time well spent but I know I cannot do it without all your support.

Thank you all for listening to me and I now look forward to meeting and listening to all of you during the exceptionally interesting months, let alone years, that lie ahead!

Unfortunately, I cannot join you all afterwards for a chat over coffee as I have to rush back to Great Bedwyn Wharf where there is a long-planned retirement party for Danese Rudd, who many of you will know and has been my own Trust’s Administrator for the past 22 years. However, I hope to see lots of you at the annual Waterfest in Reading next Saturday which will be a great opportunity to have a proper catch-up, hopefully, over a beer!

David Bruce

Friday, 27 May 2011

Boat Fire Safety Week - 30th May - 5th June 2011


Throughout Boat Fire Safety Week, which runs from Monday 30 May to Sunday 5 June, Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) will be working with the Harbourmaster in Bristol and lock keepers across the Avon area to highlight fire safety advice to those living or staying on the water.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service Station Manager, Stuart Matthews, said: “We want people to enjoy the time they spend on board their boats and take steps to ensure they prevent fire. If a fire does break out it’s important they know what to do.

“The most important thing is to ensure working smoke alarms are fitted on board. Just two or three breaths of toxic smoke is enough to make you lose consciousness. In a confined space, like a boat, it wouldn’t take long for the vessel to fill with smoke.

“A smoke alarm will wake you in the event of a fire at night, giving you and your family vital extra minutes to escape. The sooner you are alerted to a fire the better.”

For More information on boat fire safety, visit the AF&RS Boat safety pages on their website

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Vandalism - information needed


Above is a photo of a boat that is moored on the tow path at Westmills Newbury, which was vandalised over the weekend 13th 14th 15th. Two other boats had their windows kicked in at the same time, the repair bill for all three boats is estimated to be £700.00 the boat pictured has been vandalised twice before.
The owner Mr P Davis is a life member of the K&A Canal Trust,'said that he is sickened buy this mindless act'
If anyone heard or saw anything please get in touch with the police.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service

Service prepares for Boat Safety Week

Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service's boat safety advisor will be out and about on the Kennet & Avon Canal next week as part of national Boat Safety Week.

Canal boat safety is a priority for the Service, given the amount of waterways that run through the Wiltshire area.

Rob Buckland will be visiting boat dwellers and users along the canal between 30 May and 5 June to advise on issues such as smoke alarms, cooking, fuel storage, flares, life jackets and general water safety.

He said: "Since targeting safety messages at the boating community, we have seen a significant drop in accidental boat fires, but we don't want to be complacent. Although boat fires are less common than fires on land, they can have devastating consequences when they do occur. Boats are often in remote locations with difficult access, and when a fire starts on board, it can spread very rapidly."

Wiltshire FRS offer free boat fire risk checks, giving boaters the opportunity to gain invaluable help and advice. This includes emphasising the importance of:

· Fitting a suitable smoke alarm and testing it routinely

· Making an escape plan

· Knowing your location so you can tell the operator in an emergency

· Following fire prevention advice from the Boat Safety Scheme


Optical sensor alarms with hush buttons and 'sealed for life' batteries are recommended for boats, as are those with a British Standard ‘Kitemark’ or a LPCB ‘Horseshoe’ mark. As with smoke alarms in the home, alarms should be tested routinely and should never be disconnected.

To request boat safety advice or to request a visit, call 0800 389 7849 or contact Rob directly on 07734 483880 / email rob.buckland@wiltsfire.gov.uk

For further information about general boating fire safety, visit www.boatsafetyscheme.com/fire

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Restriction - Claverton

Claverton

Tuesday 24 May 2011 - Thursday 26 May 2011
A large tree has fallen across the canal from the offside.
The canal is closed to boat traffic until further notice.
Nearest winding holes are Dundas basin, and 400m West of Claverton road bridge.

Enquiries: 01380 722859

Monday, 23 May 2011

New Uniforms for Barbara McLellan Crew

John and Sandra box modelling the new uniforms for Barbara McCellan sponsored by kingstone Mills Linden homes.

Pictures by Edward Ody





Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Somerset Coal Canal at Monkton Combe has just got bigger!

Press Release: Somerset Coal Canal Company



Turning longer boats in the winding hole at the end of the restored arm of the Somerset Coal Canal at Brassknocker Basin, just outside Bath, has always been tight if not impossible. Now the Company has added a whole foot to the size of the basin. Simply by cutting a "notch" in the stone coping has increased the width from 61.5ft to 62.5ft. Now even the longest boats based in the marina can be winded (turned) without having to reverse all the way to Dundas Basin.


A little grinding goes a long way!




Tim Wheeldon
Somerset Coal Canal Company

Monday, 16 May 2011

Heritage Open Days on the Somersetshire Coal Canal


For the canal enthusiast who doesn¹t mind straying a little further than usual from the K&A towpath, a visit to Combe Hay Locks on the Somersetshire Coal Canal will prove to be a rewarding experience.

A few years ago the remains of the lock flight was all-but invisible, following 100 years of dereliction; so, whilst the K&A was marching forwards towards full restoration, the S.C.C. lay abandoned and unwanted. It had become a ten-mile long by 20 ft wide jungle. Even the formation of the Somersetshire Coal Canal Society did little to alter this at first, because the Society was dedicated to research and preservation. Any thoughts of restoration were firmly put aside in deference to the local landowners, who valued their privacy.

Now all that has changed: the landowners and the S.C.C.S. are pushing forwards eagerly to clear the canal of vegetation, restore its amenity value and, eventually, who knows, to open it for navigation at some time in the distant future. Several locks of the Combe Hay flight have been cleared and, although lacking gates and paddle gear, they now form the centre-piece of an embryonic restoration project.

Part of the lock flight is on a public footpath and can be visited at any time, but later this year the S.C.C.S. will be participating in ³Heritage Open Days² and will be organising a weekend of guided tours. This is an opportunity to learn all about the Bull¹s Nose, the pumping engine with its hidden tunnel and the many other features of the S.C.C. that make it a rather special canal in so many ways.

The guided walks will start hourly from an exhibition site underneath the railway arch opposite Bridge Farm on the Midford road from Combe Hay (ST 746604) during the weekend of 10th - 11th September 2011.

Adrian Tuddenham

The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust NOTICE OF AGM

The forty-ninth Annual General Meeting of The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust will be held at the Canal Centre, Couch Lane, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 1EB on Saturday June 11 2011 commencing at 11.00 am to conduct the following business:
Ordinary Resolutions:
1.To receive and adopt the Board of Trustees'Report and Accounts for
the year ended December 31 2010.
2.To elect Members to be Trustees.

2.1Messrs Copley, Fisher and Mundy are to retire in accordance with Articles 50 and 51 of the Trust's Articles of Association.They all, being eligible, offer themselves for re-election.

2.2During the past year David Inight, Mike Rodd, Pauline King and Suzanne Gaia were formally coopted onto Trust Council in accordance with Article 37 of the Trust’s Articles of Association. They all, being eligible, now offer themselves for election.

2.3Further nominations for election to The Board of Trustees:
There are some vacancies. The Board of Trustees has a policy of continuous recruitment to ensure that it has access to the skills and experience to run a modern heritage-based Charity. Properly authorised and seconded nominations are invited from among the Trust membership for persons to sit as Trustees and Directors of the Trust.

3.To re-appoint the Auditors, Messrs David Owen & Co, and to authorise The Board of Trustees to fix their remuneration.
By Order of The Board of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust



Terry Kemp Company Secretary
February 1 2011

Notes:
A member entitled to attend and vote may appoint a proxy to attend and vote in his/her stead.
Notes for guidance together with nomination forms are available by e-mailing secretary@katrust.org.uk or by writing to The Secretary, K&A Trust, Canal Centre, Couch Lane, Devizes, SN10 1EB.
Closing date for receipt of valid nominations is noon May 31 2011.
Registered in England and Wales: No 726331. Registered Charity: No CC209206

Claverton Family Fun Weekend

Claverton Family Fun Weekend

May 29th - 30th
Come and see this amazing technology in action for just £5 per adult children under 16 free if accompanied by an adult.

Have homemade cakes and refreshments
Learn to tie knots and lasso
Learn about canal life and history
Learn more about wildlife
Learn how to build model railways
See a canal artist at work and have a chance to buy a souvenir
And take in the fabulous scenery from our lawn

For more details go to our web site:

www.claverton.org

or view our poster here

DAVID BRUCE TO SUCCEED MICHAEL ANCRAM AS THE TRUST’S PRESIDENT

After 2 very active years as the Trust’s President, Michael Ancram has advised the Council that he wishes to step down as he is now firmly based in Scotland and feels unable to continue to give the Trust the time it deserves. Michael has been a wonderful President, representing us on many occasions, always available to prod and guide the Council, and also managing to attend a large number of Trust events. For many years he has played a major role in helping the Trust to achieve Cruiseway Status for our Canal. We are all very sorry that he is unable to continue.

We are delighted, though, to announce that David Bruce has agreed to succeed Michael, with effect from the AGM on the 11th of June.

David’s affection for the Kennet & Avon Canal began in 1966 when he embarked on his 44 year career in the international brewing and leisure industry. As a trainee brewer at Simonds Brewery in Reading, he spent many a lunch-hour by the Canal as it flowed through Brewery Gut.

Following the sale of Bruce’s Brewery and the Firkin Pubs in 1988, David and his wife, Louise, moved to Hungerford and created The Bruce Charitable Trust (www.brucetrust.org.uk). This Trust provides holidays for disabled people on its four specially-designed, purpose-built, wide-beam canal boats, the first two of which are named after their daughters, Rebecca and Hannah.

During the past 21 years over 11,500 people with special needs, together with their carers, have enjoyed holidays cruising from The Bruce Trust’s two bases, at Great Bedwyn and Lower Foxhangers.

David’s first involvement with the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust was as Chairman of The Last Lock Appeal which raised £10,000 for the restoration of the grass-sided Widmead Lock near Thatcham, just prior to the visit by H.M. The Queen in 1990.

Having floated his latest licensed property venture, The Capital Pub Company PLC (www.capitalpubcompany.com), on the London Stock Exchange, David is now looking forward to becoming more involved, as its new President, with the exciting future of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust.

READING WATERFEST - BOATS NEEDED

Reading Waterfest takes place in central Reading on Saturday 18 June. Entertainers are booked, commercial and community stalls are coming to make the event a great day out but we are still rather short of boats. Without boats it will not be a proper Waterfest.

We are therefore asking all Trust boaters to see if you are able to bring your boat to Waterfest. Can you make a special trip or can you adjust your summer schedule to include Waterfest on your way to or from more distant places?. Waterfest takes place on Saturday 18 June but free moorings will be available for Waterfest boats on loop of the loop Kennet behing the Abbey Ruins in central Reading from the preceding Wednesday until the following Monday. We would really like to see you there.

If you already have a booking form please send it in as soon as possible so that we know you are coming. If you dont have a form please contact the Trust's Reading Branch Chairman David Copley on 0118 959 8247 or by e-mail on d.copley247@btinternet.comand he will be very pleased to take details of your boat and send you a booking form. You will be very welcome at Waterfest.

Finally, should you be unable to come to Waterfest by boat, please try to come along by land. The site is in central Reading and under 10 minutes walk from the rail station. There will be lots to see (hopefully including a good turn-out of boats) and do, and if you are able to offer some time to help on the Trust stands we have lots of jobs available. We would love to see you there.

I very much hope that you will be able to put out a suitable piece and thank you in advance for your help.

David Copley
Chairman (Reading Branch)

Bradford-on-Avon Bench has migrated

The memorial Bench from the BoA tearoom gardens has been moved to the area below with a view over the wharf.

Photos by Edward Ody



Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Public Catalogue Foundation

This foundation has been engaged on the mammoth task of recording all the oil paintings in public ownership in the UK. On Tuesday 3rd May the latest volume was launched for Gloucestershire and Wiltshire at a reception at Highgrove hosted by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, patron of the Foundation.

Past Chairman and vice President David Lamb was asked by Council to represent the Trust. You may not realize that we have no less than 7 oil paintings in our possession including the large one of John Gould and his boat which is hung over the serving hatch in the Meeting room at Devizes. All these have been faithfully recorded in this new volume.

The photos are in full colour with details of the artist, size etc. They are organised by the location where they are held and the book forms a wonderful source of information as to where you can see them. There are portraits, historical scenes, canal and transport views including aircraft and rail travel.

On leaving the reception each representative was presented with the heaviest goody bag imaginable. The catalogue is some 1.5 inches thick A4 size. It is now available for reference at the museum in Devizes. However starting in June the whole catalogue is being uploaded onto the internet. It will take some time but will be well worth the effort. It is recommended to you.

David Lamb

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Bust Easter at Bradford-on-Avon

The sun enticed just about everyone to Bradford-on-Avon Wharf this weekend:

Picture by Edward Ody

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Rose of Hungerford: Cancelled Trip

PLEASE NOTE: The Rose of Hungerford: there will not be a public trip at 2.30pm on Easter Day due to circumstances beyond our control

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Tribute to an inspiring lady


Above: Wyn & John Gould Image courtesy of the Canal Archives


“It is with great sadness that the Trust has learned that Wyn Gould, the widow of Trust pioneer John Gould, has passed away at the grand old age of 95. Wyn was without doubt the Trust’s oldest member having partnered John from the early days of the Trust in campaigning and driving for restoration. After John’s death in 1999, Wyn remained engaged with the Trust and was a regular attendee of Newbury Branch meetings until ill-health made that not possible. Her last public Trust duty was opening the Newbury Waterways Festival in 2006. Wynn’s funeral will take place next Thursday, 28th April at 2.30 at St Nicolas’ Church, West Mills, Newbury, RG14 5HG.”

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

K & A Workshop

Monday 18th April 7pm at the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Museum, Devizes

Be part of the exciting Bath Open Air Museum project

for more details, click here

Thursday, 31 March 2011

A new era for the Waterways

A consultation on the Future of Inland Waterways in England and Scotland.

At a meeting hosted yesterday by our ex-Vice President Richard Beynon, the Waterways Minister, Defra (the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs) formally launched a consultation on proposals to replace British Waterways in England and Wales by a New Waterways Charity. Navigable waters controlled by the Environment Agency could be incorporated at a later stage.

The objective is to secure a sustainable future for our waterways. The proposed new charity would be similar in size to the British Red Cross or Save the Children. To give this charity a good start, Government funding is guaranteed until 2023, at the level of the agreed 2012 grant of £39 Million. BW’s present extensive property portfolio, which already accounts of about 40% of BW’s income, will be transferred to the new charity as well.

The results of the consultation will have a huge and fundamental effect on the way in which our waterways are run in future years. We urge all those interested in any aspect of our waterways to read the consultation document in full and to make their views known to Defra, either by responding to any (or all) of the 29 questions that they pose in the document and/or by sending other comments that you consider appropriate.

The consultation document can be downloaded from:

www.defra.gov.uk/consult/waterways-1103

Impact on the K&A Canal Trust

Clearly, the establishment of this new charity will have a direct impact on the way your own Trust operates in the future. There are, for example, many areas in which we might end up in a competition for funding, volunteers, commercial activities, etc. Your Trust will be making a formal response to the proposals in due course. To do this properly, we need the views of our members.

The Trustees will therefore be holding three consultation meetings over the next few months, to discuss the Defra proposals and to review any possible impacts on the way that the Trust operates. We will also be undertaking a parallel web-based survey. These activities will ensure that the Trust has enough time to prepare a well-reasoned response reflecting member views, and will also assist us in ensuring that we are in fit state ourselves to face this new era!

So please respond to the Defra consultation yourselves, but do also send a copy of your response (photocopy or e-mail), plus any other comments you think relevant, to the Trust Office at Devizes (consultation@katrust.org.uk). We will not be able to answer detailed questions about the Defra proposals but we will ensure that your views are taken into account when preparing the Trust's response. (Please also remember when responding to Defra that you are giving your own views. By all means mention that you are an active member of a well-respected canal society, but please don't state or even imply that you are responding on behalf of the Trust. That response will be prepared by our Trustees, only after we have received the views from as many of our members as possible. Please help us by making your views known to us in good time!)

Timescale? The Defra consultation opened on 30 March and responses can be submitted any time before the closing date, the 30th June 2011.

Mike Rodd

Chair of the Trust Council

Trust Council Minutes

February Council Minutes: click here

March Council Minutes: click here

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

BIG FISH LEAVE SMALL POND

British Waterways is relocating over half a tonne of fish from the side ponds of the famous Caen Hill Flight of Locks on the historic Kennet & Avon Canal, near Devizes, to improve conditions for aquatic wildlife including dragonflies.

The relocation follows a successful trial project in 2009, which saw a tonne of fish, including large tench, carp, bream, roach, perch and pike removed from the ponds.

The significant numbers of boats that move through the locks at Caen Hill stirs up silt and so do, perhaps surprisingly, large fish feeding on the bottom of the ponds. This stirring of the silt causes the growth of algae due to the subsequent release of nutrients in the water. Over recent years, the water in the side ponds has, therefore, become less suitable for invertebrates such as dragonflies and damselflies, as well as scarce aquatic plants that rely on clear-water environments. By removing the large fish a more natural balance will be created in the ponds, as there will be reduced excessive predation from these larger fish on the younger and smaller fish and other invertebrates.

British Waterways’ ecologist, Oda Dijksterhuis said:

“In 2009 we removed the first batch of big fish from the ponds and installed silt screen curtains. The results of this habitat management work have been fantastic with aquatic plants, such as the rare potamogetons and hornworts returning to the ponds that we haven’t had in the waterway for years. In addition to these plants we have seen an increase in dragon and damselfly populations, the ponds are now teeming with diverse dragonfly larvae and other invertebrates such as the water scorpion.

“The fish relocations happening this week will help to improve the habitat of the other ponds on the flight, so hopefully we’ll see more plants and invertebrates appear in the coming months around all of Caen Hill’s ponds.”

British Waterways has employed a specialist fisheries team to co-ordinate the relocation of the fish, and initial works have suggested that there will be many large pike relocated from the ponds.

Many of the fish will be relocated along the Kennet & Avon Canal, where local anglers will be able to fish for them, and a proportion will go to Toddbrook Reservoir in the Peak District which needs restocking following works at the site.

The Caen Hill side ponds were originally designed 200 years ago as ‘holding tanks’ to store the water needed to operate this extraordinary flight of locks, due to the steepness of the terrain. Together, these side ponds represent one of the largest stretches of open water in this part of Wiltshire and are a great wildlife habitat for species including grass snakes, various birds and water voles.

Once the water in the side ponds has been drained down to a level of about two feet, a the fisheries experts will use 100m seine nets to trap fish before wading in to scoop up the largest. The fish will be carefully transferred into aerated tanks before being transported to their new home.

John Ellis, fisheries manager for British Waterways, says: "We take great care of the fish throughout every part of the process and local anglers will welcome the release of some of these larger fish into the canal."

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

CRUISEWAY STATUS - WONDERFUL NEWS ON KENNET AND AVON CANAL’S LEGAL STATUS

After years of campaigning by the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust, the Kennet &Avon Canal will soon be fully reclassified as a ‘Cruiseway,’ raising its legal status and securing its future.
Mike Rodd, Chairman of The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust Council, said: "The Trust is delighted to have been advised by British Waterways that they have received confirmation from DEFRA’s Parliamentary Section that the re-classification Order to redefine the sections of the K&A Waterway which are presently classified as “Remainder Waterways” as “Cruiseways”, will definitely come into force on 18 April 2011. This is wonderful news that begins another chapter of the history of our Trust and our Waterway.”
British Waterways (BW), supportedand cajoled by the Trust and the K&A Trade Association, has campaigned for many years to achieve this important change. In the long term, it will ensurethat BW (or its proposed successor, the “National Waterways Charity”) will maintain the canal in its entirety as a fully operational waterway, available for cruising.
In practice, BW has been maintaining the waterway as a Cruiseway since the restoration was completed in 2002, with the substantial additional funding required currently coming from direct financial contributions from the relevant riparian Councils (Wiltshire, West Berkshire and Bath & North East Somerset).
For all those who love, play or boat on, or make their living from the waterway, this announcement is the best possible news!!

You heard it here first!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Newbury Branch AGM - please note change of date

The Newbury Branch AGM 2011 has a new date:

Wednesday 4th May at 7.45pm

Branch Annual General Meeting followed by a discussion:

The Kennet & Avon Trust - the Way Ahead
with Dr. Mike Rodd, Trust Chairman

INITIATIVES FROM THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT ARE LEADING TO A WIDE RANGE OF CHANGES IN THE WAY THE INLAND WATERWAYS ARE RUN. THESE ARE ALREADY AFFECTING THE TRUST.