BCA Update March 2022

From Fiona Shipp, Canal Manager at the Basingstoke Canal Authority.

I would like to introduce some new members of staff to the BCA:

Maggie Byas is our new Assistant Waterway Ranger. Joining us on a 6 month contract from the Hampshire Countryside Team at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, as the next step in a full career change to follow her passion for working in Countryside. Her chain-sawing skills are already getting lots of practice!
Lily Timney is our new permanent Assistant Waterway Ranger, fresh from University, she is keen as mustard to start her career and get to grips with all things canal. This new role we have introduced is designed to be the first step in a career with a steep learning curve.
Dan Wheeler is our new Waterway Inspector (Ranger). His previous career in Archaeology stands him in good stead with a keen eye for detail. He will be taking on all the main inspection duties for the Canal and getting to know all our embankments, cuttings, bridges and steps to name but a few.
Chris Irvin our new Lock Keeper is no stranger to the Canal and some may have seen him out paddling. He joins us as from Runways End Outdoor Activity Centre where he has been working as an outdoor instructor for several years. He is passionate about the Basingstoke Canal and countryside in general and is keenly getting to know the intricacies of our locks and water management.

Please introduce yourselves to the new staff if you see them out and about and give them a warm welcome.

Works Update

Embankment repairs have now been undertaken at 3 locations in Woking to repair minor leaks:

  • Bank repairs have taken place throughout Hampshire to repair embayments to the edge of the towpath
  • Reading Rd weir has undergone some repairs as a result of a weirs inspection
  • The eroded entrance to Barley Mow car park has now been repaired
  • The steps at Coxheath bridge near Fleet have been replaced
  • The towpath has had sections resurfaced at;
    • Ash lock to the 1st railway bridge (funding by HCC path recovery project as a result of all the additional use during Covid)
    • Deepcut high bridge to Guildford rd bridge
    • Also asphalt patch repairs have been made to the sealed surface through Brookwood and St Johns.
  • 111 tree issues were dealt with as a result of the storms at the end of February.
  • Works are about to start on our locks to carry out some urgent repairs to paddles frames and replanking of gates.
  • Works are on-going at Crookham Deeps to try and overcome some technical difficulties to get this leaking embankment fixed.

Of course the Volunteers have been hard at work all winter keeping on top of miles and miles of towpath side vegetation/saplings to help keep the towpath open and accessible for everyone to enjoy.

As you can see it’s been a crazy busy winter as usual but looking forward to spring and seeing boaters back out enjoying the Canal and the first of the boat rally’s that the Canal Society has planned for this season.