No. 147 SEPTEMBER 1989
NEW MEMBERS, FRESH AIMS
AT A time when the motivation to join the Society in support of restoration might, logically, be ebbing, the list of new members looks longer than ever.
Although the Society is at a watershed, with the imminent completion of the task it set up to achieve nearly 25 years ago, the chairman has outlined the active role the Society should continue playing, in the future, to protect and promote the proper use of the canal. (BC News 145).
There is also a major new restoration project to be tackled at the western end of the canal. But, having aims and future projects, and a healthy influx of newcomers are not sufficient elements in themselves: the two have to be brought together. That's a job for elected committee members and others in a position to encourage newer members to participate.
Too often we hear it said, no one has volunteered for this or the other vacancy. Members do offer their services when needed, but mostly when they are asked. And that means knowing who to ask. It's really as simple as that.
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FOLLOWING THE substantial increase in the cost of boat licences for the canal this year, the two county councils will, no doubt, see next year's anticipated re-opening as justification for another hefty increase. But first they might reflect what they are offering.
This year the authorities believed that opening the canal down to St. John's was a good enough reason. Yet before the season was hardly under way the Deepcut locks were closed. By the end of July the John Pinkerton could no longer reach King John's Castle without great difficulty, and at least one boater was unable to get through Fleet.
The restrictions and inability to navigate may be dismissed as 'circumstances beyond our control' due to the dry summer. Nevertheless water shortages fell short of an official drought.
Clearly there are other factors that have a bearing on this year's low levels, which ought to be addressed before the authorities raise the fees again. Boaters paying the going rate to navigate quite rightly expect that facility to be provided.
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JOIN THE SPONSORED WALK
MAKE A note of the date - Sunday 8th October — which, we omitted to do in the last issue. The fact that this annual major fund raising event is being held in the autumn this year was not entirely planned. It nearly did not happen at all for lack of an organiser. So, it's thanks to Bill Homewood (and, of course, all those who are helping) who agreed to take the job on.
Please help Bill to make a success of this, his first fund raising walk. Join in, sponsor another walker or act as a Marshall on the day. It's not too late to get your sponsor form or volunteer for duty. Ring Bill Homewood now on Camberley 61343.
Remember the date — Sunday 8th October.
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IT'S IN THE NEWS
'I READ more news about the Canal in my local paper than I do in the Newsletter', a member recently told us.
We doubt it, although you may read a news item first in the local paper simply because they're published weekly. But we did see a picture of the Chairman, in the Farnham Herald, a few weeks ago, being presented with an award by Lady Hanworth, president of the Surrey Archaeological Society. It was the annual award of the Surrey Industrial History Group for a meritorious conservation project and the Society is this year's winner.
It was also the first the editor knew about it.
The Society's chairman, Robin Higgs (on bridge) at Lock 2, thanking volunteers who helped restore the Surrey locks, (bottom left) The famous Boto-X-Avon inflatables in
racing trim on the newly restored length of the canal above Lock 2. (bottom right) Peter and Marguerite Redway aboard their NB Vega for the celebrations at Lock 2 (see page 7).
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Tim Dodwell, Heather, Robin, Liz Dodwell and David Gerry (front row) with Society members at Colt Hill for the presentation.
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PAINTING PRESENTED AS MEMBERS GIFT
A PAINTING of railway and canal, combining their joint interests, was presented to Robin Higgs, the Society's chairman, and his fiancee Heather Day as a wedding present from members.
The presentation was made by Tim Dodwell, whose interest in restoring the canal dates back to the early 1960's. It was Tim Dodwell and his brother John who introduced Robin Higgs to canal restoration work and the Basingstoke Canal in 1962.
Now living near Bedford, Tim and his wife Liz, daughter of Mrs. Joan Marshall who ran the canal for the New Basingstoke Canal Co. Ltd. for 14 years from 1950, joined other Society members including Ray Stedman, Surrey's former countryside officer, for a cruise aboard the John Pinkerton on 24th July.
Robin and Heather were clearly delighted with the specially commissioned watercolour painting by local landscape artist Terry Harrison. Showing a horse drawn narrowboat approaching Lock 15 at Pirbright, the painting includes an M7 class 0-4-4T, locomotive, known as the 'Bisley Bullet', which crossed the canal connecting Brookwood station with Bisley ranges.
Robin first met Heather through their interest in the Alresford based 'Watercress Line' where Heather organises the restaurant car catering.
The wedding took place at West End Church on Saturday 29th July, followed by a reception at Bisley village hall.
In a letter of appreciation, Robin Higgs writes:
'Heather and I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to you all for the kindness and generosity shown to its on the occasion of our recent wedding.
'Our friends happiness for us has been very evident by the large number of letters and cards we have received, and from the personal expressions wishing happiness for our future together.
'Nevertheless it came as quite a surprise, and obviously it had been a well kept secret, that on what we believed to be the annual committee dinner on the John Pinkerton, a very beautiful painting by Terry Harrison was presented to us, as well as a considerable number of items of cookware.
'The painting embodies so much of what I hold dear: the canal, railway and the lovely setting with trees all around, that we shall always treasure
Your generosity and kindness has been quite overwhelming, and has touched us deeply. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you all'.
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CANAL PACK FOR TEACHERS
AS A school subject, the canal is full of opportunities for children of all ages to learn, covering a surprisingly wide range of subjects — from mathematics to history, science, biology and geography.
A teachers pack, produced in consultation with David Morton, a canal enthusiast and head of the teachers supply centre at Farnborough, is available from the canal depot at Aldershot.
It contains a set of 35mm slides; facsimile documents including the cover page of the 1778 Act of Parliament authorising construction of the canal. There are ideas for study, a special booklet of walks for school parties and other books on the canal's history, natural history and boats seen on the waterway.
The pack costs £10 and is available from Hampshire's canal manager, David Gerry. Write to: HCC Canal Depot, Ash Lock Cottage, Government Road, Aldershot, Hants GU11 2PS.
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WHEN CANAL ranger Les Foster noticed a moorhen building a nest in the new dredger Unity he thought he'd do the bird a favour by removing its initial endeavour. For the unsuspecting moorhen had chosen the cavity housing the vessel's propeller.
But over a weekend break the bird re-established the family nest and next time Les Foster looked it was complete with three eggs.
Les decided there was nothing for it but to use the dredger without forward power to avoid shredding the nest, bird and scrambling the eggs.
Despite, noise, vibration, and movement, the moorhen remained unperturbed and even laid another two eggs.
• The nest had to be moved when the landslip occurred at Norris Bridge and Unity was called for to clear the canal.
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CANAL TRIP BOAT FORCED TO MOVE OPERATING BASE
AN INSUFFICIENT depth of water along the western end of Basingstoke Canal forced the John Pinkerton trip boat to be moved from its base at Colt Hill, Odiham, at the end of July to Barley Mow Bridge at Winchfield to operate eastwards.
The trip boat company is anxious about the low water situation, and has expressed its concern to Hampshire County Council as the authority controlling the western end.
Although the current dry weather is a contributory factor, silting has also reduced the water level. It is now 15 years since the canal was dredged at the western end and the canal has gradually silted up again to a point where it is now generally shallow, with the depth down to as litlle as two feet in places.
Writing to the County's recreation officer, the boat company's chairman, Roger Cansdale, appealed: "We would ask that re-dredging of the length from Sprat's Hatch Bridge, Winchfield to King John's Castle, at North Warnborough, should be made a priority programme for the new dredger during the next year".
Meanwhile, John Pinkcrton passengers enjoyed an equally interesting and attractive trip, cruising in deeper water, down to Chequers Bridge, Crookham and back to Winchfield.
• Perseverance dredging operations were also halted in July. In Surrey the Deepcut locks were closed at the beginning of July to hold and conserve water.
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WATERWORKS CAUSES LANDSLIP
A LANDSLIP caused a tree to slide into the canal and blocked the navigation above Norris Bridge on 1st July.
The mishap was notified by the Mid-Southern Water Company but it was not until puzzled canal staff sought to identify the cause that water company officials admitted it was their responsibility.
Following reports from householders in Fleet that the water supply had turned brown, the company flushed water out of the system
through a valve near Norris Bridge. It appears that the discharge was allowed to run down a cutting slope which waterlogged the ground and precipitated the earth movement. The new maintenance dredger Unity was brought down from Ash Vale to remove the blockage at the water company's expense. The spoil, which contained clay, was used to raise a length of the towpath near Eelmoor.
Although the navigation was cleared within two working days, Galleon Marine was obliged to cancel holiday cruise bookings valued over £1,000.
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GALLEON'S NEW OWNER
BOAT HIRE company Galleon Marine, on the market last year for £170,000 has been sold.
The new owner, Mr. Gordon Muchamore, plans to operate the Galleon Marine as a family business with his wife Wendy.
Wendy Muchamore will be responsible for punts and rowing boat hire, operating as Wendy's Pleasure Boats, while her husband will concentrate on the cruiser hire business.
Gordon and Wendy Muchamore and their six children recently moved from Worthing to Alton. A keen Thames boat owner for many years, Mr. Muchamore was previously in the motor industry.
Future plans include extending 3 day cruises to longer period holiday hire and possibly some steel hulled boats.
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NEW VIEWS ON WASH AND TURBIDITY
THE RATIO of a boat's length to its width is the crucial factor determining the amount of wash created — not the shape of the hull as commonly believed. That's the conclusion of a report on boating on the Broads, prepared by Broads Authority.
Other widely held beliefs are also challenged in the report. The effect of a boat's propeller, in causing turbidity, is more to do with the angle of the drive shaft than the blades of the propeller.
And the widely held view that a boat's wash is the main cause of bank erosion is questioned too. Research on the Broads revealed that the constant effect of the wind on the water is the main culprit of erosion.
which contained clay, was used to raise a length of the towpath near Eelmoor.
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Sunday 17th September
6-1/2 mile ramble, led by Bill Homewood, across heathland around Elstead and Frensham. Meet 10.15am at The Moat (pond), Elstead (on the road south through the village) OS 186 ref 900 415.
Sunday 24th September
(Not the 8th October as previously advertised). Visit to Watercress Line. Coach to Alton, then by rail to Ropley for lunch stop and inspect engine shed. River Itchen walk and return coach from Alresford. For Bookings, contact: Bill Homewood on Camberley 61343 after 7.00pm.
Tuesday 26th September
First informal meeting for a 'natter and noggin' in the 'Short Room' of the Barley Mow, Winchfield. New members welcome.
Weekend 30th September - 1st October
Annual Boat gathering at Fox and
Hounds at Fleet. Awards for best
boats. Saturday lunchtime barbecue.
All welcome. Details from Paul
Buck on Alton 83353.
Sunday 8th October
Annual Sponsored Walk. Help make it the big fund raising event of the year. It's not too late to enter or sponsor someone or offer to help on the day. Contact: Bill Homewood on Camberley 61343 - after 7.00pm.
Monday 9th October
First in new season of Woking socials. Joint meeting with Guildford and Reading Branch IWA. 'Basingstoke Canal Memories' by Tony Harmsworth at Methodist Church Hall, Brewery Road, Woking, 7.30 for 7.45pm.
Monday 23rd October
Joint Hampshire and Isle of Wight Naturalist Trust and Basingstoke Field Society meeting. Illustrated talk 'Bats, Boats and Botanists — a Conservationists' view of the Basingstoke Canal and its wildlife' by NCC County Officer Andy Byfield. Trinity Church Hall, Sarum Hill, Basingstoke, 8.OOpm. Entry £1.00.
Tuesday 24th October
Meet old friends and make some new ones at the monthly informal meeting over a drink at the Barley Mow, Winchfield.
Weekend 4th-5th November
Basingstoke Canal Boating Club's Guy Fawkes night at Frimley Lodge Park. Illuminated boats, bonfire and fireworks. All welcome. Bring your own hot spuds and end the year with a bang. Details from Paul Buck on Alton 83353.
Monday 13th November
Jenny Roberts recalls a 4-day trip down the length of the Wey aboard her horsedrawn narrow boat Iona. Methodist Church Hall, Brewery Road, Woking, 7.30pm for 7.45pm.
Monday 27th November
IWA Guildford and Reading branch meeting at Wey Cruising Club, Wharf Road, Guildford to hear John Wood, Secretary of Wey and Arun Canal Trust, talk about restoration and progress made on the Wey and Arun. 8.OOpm start. Society members welcome.
Tuesday 28th November
Informal members meeting in the Barley Mow, Winchfield. Come along and express your views over a drink.
AS AUTUMN arrives again, Ginny Millard has organised the first two evening events in a new season's programme of visiting speakers.
The venue is the Methodist Church Hall, Brewery Road, Woking (large car park opposite). Meetings will be on the second Monday in the month at 7.30pm for 7.45pm prompt.
The first speaker is Tony Harmsworth, Deputy Manager in Hampshire, with a talk on Monday 9th October about his family's ownership of the canal, illustrated by slides of working barge trips down to the London docks. Don't miss this unique opportunity to hear about the canal's commercial days.
The Godalming Packet Boat Company is not as old as the name implies.
On Monday 13lh November, Jenny Roberts, owner of the horse drawn narrow boat Iona, based at Godalming, describes a 4 day trip she made along the length of the Wey Navigation to celebrate the National Trust's 25th Anniversary of their ownership this year.
Events for llth December, 8th January, 12th February, 12th March and 9th April are being arranged. Details will follow in the November issue but note the dates now.
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THE SOCIETY'S annual sponsored walk on Sunday, 8th October, is your chance to get some exercise and help raise some funds for the Society. Bill Homewood, the organiser, is still seeking marshals to help run the event, so please volunteer for duty if you're not walking.
In the meantime there's a walk across Elstead and Frensham commons on Sunday, 17lh September (see Diary) and you are advised to bring a packed lunch.
If you haven't already booked tickets for the trip on the Watercress Line on Sunday, 24th September, do so now. Adults £8.20, pensioners £7.10 and children £6.50, inclusive of coach and train fares. There's also a
riverside walk. First pick-up Brewery Road (Woking) car park at 8.10am.
In November David Gerry is planning the monthly walk — probably on the third Sunday. Bill Homewood will have the details for anyone wishing to phone him.
Bill Homewood, as walks organiser, is planning 'a small outing for a meal' if there is sufficient interest. Anyone who has been on one of his walks may book (and bring friends). During the outing there is to be a 'Grand Decorated Welly Boot' contest with an appropriate prize for the winner.
For more details and bookings, phone Bill Homewood on Camberley 61343 after 7.00pm.
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NEW SALES MANAGERS
AFTER REMAINING vacant for more than twelve months, we are pleased to report that the position of Sales Manager has been taken on by Bernie Timms and Sue Palmer of Ash Vale.
Bernie and Sue may be known to regular canal visitors as the owners of the narrow boat Muddy Waters. They also crew the John Pinkerton and spent a week this summer helping to build lock gates at Deepcut. • Mail order sales will continue to be handled separately by John Greenfield. The list of items available for order by post is printed below.
MAIL ORDER SALES
ORDERS SHOULD be sent with your name and full postal address including postal code. Allow 14 days for delivery — prices include postage and packing.
Basingstoke Canal Restoration by Dieter Jebens and David Robinson 48pps 100 photos. Detailed fold-out map. History of Canal, the campaign for public ownership and restoration progress to date. Size 73/4 x 93A £3.50
Basingstoke Canal Restoration (Hard Back) By Dieter Jebens and David Robinson As above — all copies signed by authors £6.50
A Guide to the Basingstoke Canal By Roger Cansdale and Dieter Jebens 16pps. Maps of the canal in three colours. Plus topical notes of interest and supporting photographs. Handy size for exploring the canal Size 8-1/4 x 5-7/8 £2.00.
A History of the Basingstoke Canal by Glenys Crocker 24pps. A short but well researched history of the Canal containing some original material Size 8-1/4 x 5-7/8 £1.50.
Towpath Walks by the Basingstoke Canal by David Gerry 16pps. Ten circular routes taking in the most attractive lengths of the canal. Various lengths. Size 8-1/4 x 5-7/8 £1.50.
Basingstoke Canal - The Western Length The wealth of nature and history from Greywell to Dogmersfield. 36pps. Illustrated. Size 8-1/4 x 5-7/8 £1.05.
Available from: John Greenfield, 9 Mistletoe Road, Yateley, Camberley, Surrey (0252 873167).
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OUR THANKS to all those members who have renewed their subscription to the Society this year - especially to all those who included a donation with their renewal.
There is an alternative to the annual chore of writing a cheque and posting it to the Membership Secretary: completing a Bankers Standing Order means that you cannot forget your renewal and BC News will continue to be delivered. Also a Bankers Order reduces the administrative costs (both money and time) to the Society.
If you would like to convert to paying by Bankers Order, please contact Edwin Chappell (address on back cover). He'll be happy to answer any questions.
Are you looking for the ideal present for the person who has got everything? Are you trying to come up with an original idea for that favourite relation's birthday (instead of soap/socks/aftershave)? Then why not give a membership to the Canal Society - it makes an original gift. Contact Edwin Chappell to arrange the present that is a 'cut above the rest'.
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CANAL FEATURES ON CHRISTMAS CARD
THE BASINGSTOKE Canal features in this year's selection of Christmas cards published by the Inland Waterways Association.
The scene of a winter sunset at Barley Mow Bridge was painted by our member Terry Harrison for his own greeting card last year. The picture includes his two daughters and the family's old English sheepdog.
A professional painter, Terry Harrison's work is well known not only at local exhibitions but also to a wider public through limited edition prints published by a leading art firm.
The painting for the IWA Christmas card was chosen by sales manager Sheila Davenport for its rich colouring and traditional style. The card measures 7-3/4" x 5-3/4" and comes with envelopes in a pack of ten at a cost of £2.50 including postage. For the IWA's 1989 order form, send a stamped addressed envelope to: 114 Regents Park Road, London NW1 8UQ, or David Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet, Hants. GU13 9SW. (Tel: Fleet 617364)
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Mr. L.A. Thompson, Winklebury,
Mr. and Mrs. P. Lillywhite, Woking;
Mr. R.S. Smith, Ash Vale; Mr. R.C.
Underdown, Woking; Mr. and Mrs.
D.W.M. Timms, Crookham Village;
Mr. D. Greatorex, Stoke Newington;
Mr. R.K. Hoyle, Hook; Dorothy
Robbie, Mottingham; Richard Bird,
Mottingham; Ms. S.J. Webber,
Brookwood; Mr. G.W. Hobbs,
Brookwood; Mrs. J.A. Chappell, St.
Johns; Mr. J.K.M. Sanderson, Walton on Thames; Mr. and Mrs. J.H.
Davidson, Crookham Village; Mr.
and Mrs. M. Gammon, Woking; Mr.
and Mrs. W.R. Sayers, Epsom
Downs; Doris Sayers, Croydon;
Brian Percy, Fleet; Brad Camm,
Famborough; Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Wilson, Cove; Janet Mann, Mytchett;
Frank Byrnes, Mytchett; Philip
James, Odiham; Karen Fish, Frimley; Brian Cheyney, Frimley; Helen
Oliver, St. Albans; Joan Bennett, St.
Johns; Don Bradbury, Forest Row;
Joy Bradbury, Forest Row; Mrs.
A.M. Bailey, Woking; Mr. G.D. Sanderson, Kingston upon Thames; Mr.
and Mrs. P.A. Field, Fleet; Mr. P J.
Hattersley, Crowthome; David
Goodall, Brookwood; Mr. and Mrs.
I.M. Butler, Ash; Robin Lane, Odiham; Donald Smith, Woking; Mr.
R.A. Waters, St. Johns; Mr. K.E.
Graham, Basingstoke; Peter Heath,
Woodham; Mr. M.S. O'Connell,
London; Mr. P.M. Way, Horsell; Mr.
and Mrs. J.R.D. Holmes, Crookham
Village; Irene Ridgeon, Horsell; Mr.
B. Adams, Normandy, Brian Tidbury, St. Johns; Mr. J.D. Haycock,
New Haw; Mark Rest, Knaphill; Mr.
and Mrs. C.W. Guthrie, Woking;
East Horsley Evening Womens Institute, East Horsley; Richard Fentiman, Dorking; Mr. A J. Harding,
Woking; Jane Kimberley, Crookham
Village; Mr. and Mrs. R, Cutler,
Epsom; Mr. and Mrs. R.J.S. Wilson,
Woking; Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Jones,
Horsell; Miss M.M. Tanner, Alton;
Roger Layfield, Reading; Mr. P.G.
Maidment, Basingstoke; Mr. S.D.
Thomas, Reading; Mrs. E.A. Slarke,
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(above) Dr. Arthur Bridge congratulating Mike Fellows,
(top right) Working party leaders
admiring the plaque erected at
(left to right) Tim Lewis, Peter Oates, Bill Nicholson, Edwin Chappell, Alan Grimster, Jules Wood, Frank Jones and Peter Redway.
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TOPPING OUT AT WOODHAM
A PLEASANT mixture of official ceremony and informality marked the topping out party held at Woodham on 22nd July, attended by voluntary workers who have been engaged at restoring locks since 1973.
Both visiting and Society working party gangs got together at locks 2 and 3 formally to mark the completion of voluntary lock restoration.
At Lock 3 Dr. Arthur Bridge [he recently appointed chairman of Surrey's new Libraries, Information and Leisure Committee] unveiled a plaque listing the groups responsible for renovating locks at St. Johns, Woodham and at Deepcut.
In thanking the volunteers for their contribution, Cllr. Bridge read out
the names of the groups involved: Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society; Kent and East Sussex Canal Restoration Group; Newbury Working Party Group of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust; London Waterway Recovery Group; Southampton Canal Society and International Voluntary Service.
Cllr. Bridge specifically named Mike Fellows who co-ordinated working parties restoring locks in Surrey and developed the efficiency of voluntary labour to professional standards.
At Lock 2 the Society's chairman, Robin Higgs, also paid tribute to the substantial part volunteers have played towards restoration in Surrey.
Highlight of the afternoon was a series of boat races for which the Newbury branch of the K&A provided the Avon inflatable boats used in the annual Boto-X races.
On a scorching hot afternoon the tendency of novice paddlers to catch crabs and soak fellow crew members was unusually welcome, as was the unexpected bucketful of water periodically thrown from the towpath.
After an energetic series of races, without an apparent winning team, it was time for a barbecue laid on by KESCRG with the chef-de-cuisine, Ken Parish, in charge as ever.
Six workers arrived, appropriately by boat, mooring below Lock 2. Marguerite and Peter Redway aboard NB Vega, Sue and Roger Burchett on NB Fruitcake (all the way from Llangollen) and Janet and John Greenfield aboard their cruiser Witch Wey.
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LOCAL SUPPORT FOR RESTORING WESTERN END
RESTORATION OF a mile of the canal lying derelict to the west of Greywell Tunnel is supported by a majority of local people. That was the verdict of a well attended public meeting organised by Up Nately and Mapledurwell Parish Council on 23rd June.
The meeting opened with the Society's audio-visual case for restoration, The Promise of the Western End. It explains that, whilst restoration of the 1,230 yard tunnel is a job for professionals (not without a voluntary input), the canal westwards to Penney Bridge is a relatively easy task for the Society's experienced volunteers. Even with the major job of stabilising the cutting at the tunnel's western end, by building a gabion wall, the work could be completed in three years, estimated Stan Meller who has investigated the project.
The Society's Chairman Robin Higgs, fielded a barrage of questions, including the inevitable hostile views which invariably come from lately arrived members of the community seeking no more than the status quo.
As one such questioner put it, in the well practised style of seemly logical argument: 'Since most people have always known the canal the way it is — surely that is how it should remain'. Had the Society adopted such an attitude and not sought a policy of restoration, asserted Robin Higgs, the local length of the canal would have been turned into a rubbish tip long ago.
In the brief silence that followed the audience no doubt reflected not only on what might have been, but also on the partial reality (the derelict bed has suffered from unofficial rubbish tipping and from a sewage outfall).
Sensing the opportunity to act as the honest broker, Nature Conservancy Council Officer, Andrew Byfield, among a strong contingent of wildlife lobbyists present, offered the ultimate compromise — a restored canal without boats. As he pointed out, boaters already have 32 miles of restored navigation so why not reserve the western end for wildlife and bats?
He and his naturalist trust colleagues might have found more favour among the locals had they been acting solely in the local interest. But as one resident pointed out, when enquiring from whence they came, derelict canals are not a familiar problem for those who live in lovely Lyndhurst and the famous Forest.
The Earl of Malmesbury and Lady Malmesbury listed intently. As owners of Greywell Hill, the Society has always sought to respect his Lordship's interests and persuade him restoration has benefits for all. Whilst sympathetic to the Society's conservation motives, Lord Malmesbury tends to keep his own counsel and this occasion was no exception. His main concern, he said, was that those interested in restoring the western end for navigation should be sure to establish that there would be sufficient water. History indicated, he believed, that supplies were always short, a situation which had been aggravated by the construction of the M3 motorway.
Dr. Robert Page, champion of the widely publicised Greywell bats, had his inevitable say. In the ensuing exchange which added nothing new to the bats versus boats debate, Robin Higgs suggested that wildlife conservationists might contribute more conclusive evidence on the bat colonisation which tended to vary considerably in numbers.
For the most part, the audience was concerned, not about the concept of restoration, but the degree of subsequent development for recreation. Indeed, the question was asked several times in one way or another until one person put it squarely: 'A lot of people will be in favour
of restoration, but is your interest primarily in boating?'.
'We're a canal society restoring a navigation' answered Robin Higgs.
Time and again our chairman stressed the Society's aims were compatible with the wishes of local people. 'We are conservationists in the broadest sense' he reassured, 'the Society is conserving the canal and its environment and watching riparian planning developments to preserve the canal corridor'.
But despite the fears, it was clearly evident that the majority supported restoration. A local resident stated firmly that he was 'fed up with the stagnant canal full of dead vegetation and alive with mosquitoes'. "That's not what I want", he exclaimed. Another resident described the present condition as a 'local disgrace' and said that a lack of management had lead to its deplorable condition, and that the future ownership must be resolved.
Moves by Hampshire County Council to buy the derelict remains of the canal were seen as a solution. And the Society's ability to transform it from a local embarrassment to a useful amenity was recognised. As the meeting's chairman, Cllr. David Farrant, summed up: 'If the Canal Society said it would have a crack at the western end, even if restoration of the tunnel could not be resolved, that would be welcomed'.
A full engineering report has been compiled by the Society's special projects manager, Stan Meller, for submission to Hampshire CC.
The Society will also be publishing its case for restoration this autumn in a book entitled Basingstoke Canal: The Promise of the Western End.
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BIG GATHERING FOR WEY ANNIVERSARY - Ray Carnell
OVER 100 canal and river craft took part in the Wey Navigation
Festival at Guildford in July. Despite the unsettled weather several thousand people visited the showground over the two days of the event. Altogether some 40 trade stands, craft stalls and charities of all kinds were present. There was a variety of entertainment with music for the occasion being provided by Gerry Janman and his Horsham Accordion Band plus the vintage Gasparini fairground organ of Paul and Alison Kirrage.
Throughout the weekend the Harry Stevens provided river trips to view the assembled craft. A third of the boats present participated in the illuminated and decorated boats competitions where the overall winner was Coningsby entered by Keith Jefferies.
On display, in an area adjoining the main showground, was a fascinating collection of vintage commercial vehicles, tractors and stationary engines — many of which were in operation. Entertainment on the Saturday evening continued, as in previous years, with Jazz from the Basin Street Six. An eventful day closed with a bang. A large crowd to gathered to enjoy the Grand Fireworks Display across the river at Shalford Meadows. The event which marked the 25th ...
Festival chairman Dick Harper-White chatting with Ernest Pull who has been working on the Basingstoke Canal as a volunteer since 1962.
... Anniversary of the National Trust's Ownership of the Wey Navigation, was sponsored by Barclays Bank and organised by the Guildford and Reading Branch of the IWA as part (the rest was not printed...)
CARE OVER SPENDING
WHILE THE Society is in a healthy financial position, with cash and investments totalling nearly £33,000, there is more emphasis this year on budgeting to control cash flow. This is because the Society will not receive any further government grant towards restoration which has been about £15,000 annually for the past three years.
Last year the Society had a surplus of £6,154, compared with a surplus of £7,775 the previous year.
Although subscription income was 20% down on the previous year at £8,679, it was noted at the AGM that about £2,000 is expected from the Inland Revenue in respect of tax relief on covenanted subscriptions.
It was also noted that profit from the/o/i/i Pinkenon increased by nearly a third on the previous year, to £16,753.
Nevertheless with the Society's expenditure of £44,619 last year on restoration work alone, the need to make up our lost grant is vital if we are to maintain our current level of input without dipping into our reserves.
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WORKERS MEDALLION? MAY I suggest that, to celebrate the re-opening of the canal, a medallion is issued to all who contributed to the restoration of the canal (a signature from a committee member or working party leader would be required to qualify and a small charge made to cover costs).
Something on the lines of the John Pinkerton one shilling token might be appropriate.
Are there any navvies, crews, fund raisers out there who would like to own one?
9 Mistletoe Road, Yateley, Camberley, Surrey GU17 7DT
CANAL FOR NAVIGATION
AS A member of the dredger crew, I was horrified to read 'NCC LISTS 'CONSENTS' FOR CANAL UP-
KEEP' (BC News 146).
Do these 'do-gooders' tell Thames Water, British Waterways and other navigation authorities how to look after their waterways? I think not. Then why should they dictate to us what can and cannot be done with the Basingstoke Canal which we have spent thousands of hours voluntarily cleaning and dredging for boating which is the purpose of the canal - not to stand idle, stagnate and return to the state in which we found it.
All working waterways have fish, ducks, swans and plenty of wildlife, especially flowers. By the way did the Nature Conservancy Council pay any money towards restoring the canal? I think not.
My views may be shared by other members. Incidentally, it is nice of a body, which doesn't own the canal, to allow us the privilege of using the waterway which we have restored for everyone to use.
16 Hazelbank, Tolworth, Surbiton
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THE MAJOR job at Sheerwatcr, using sheet steel piling and wood to prevent the refilled canal from flooding riparian gardens, is nearing completion, ahead of schedule. This has been one of the full time team's main tasks recently, but they have also, with some help from volunteers, being lining the canal bed with clay, in the same area, to plug a leak. All this has been accompanied by a continuing programme of raising towpath banks generally. Forthcoming jobs include repairing a culvert near Monument Bridge.
There is continuing work for volunteers, as part of this operation, and though we don't guarantee there'll always be a working party, there usually will be one. But you need to check with your working party leader, a few days before the date, to make sure there is work, and to find out where and what it is.
Working Parly Leaders are:
First weekend of the month —
PETER JONES on Aldershot 313076
Second Weekend of the month -
DAVID JUNK1SON ON 01 Wl 0685 and DAVE LUNN - (temporarily not on the phone).
Third weekend of the month —
PETER REDWAY on Woking 21710
Overall co-ordination of this work is in the hands of FRANK JONES on Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home).
If you are able to come along and work on the canal during the week, even if only for a few days, you should contact FRANK JONES (Phone numbers above) and he will be delighted to find you something to do.
Hampshire bankside work
This party will be re-starting work in the autumn, and will be starting at Chequers Bridge. They expect to be doing offside clearance, probably using a workboat. Dates are the first and third Sundays of the month, starting on 1st October, and continuing on 15th October, 5th November and 19th November. Further details from PETER JACKMAN on Woking 72132.
Dredging in Hampshire - Every Weekend
Perseverance is now approaching Reading Road Bridge, Fleet. New recruits to maintain duly rotas always needed. Contact ROGER FLITTER on Fleet 622956.
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LOCKING ACROSS EMBANKMENT
FIRST THE Blackwater Valley relief road was planned to go over Ash Embankment. Then it was routed under the canal. Now we hear there's talk of a cutting through the embankment at valley floor level and constructing a 3-rise staircase of locks on either side to re-connect the navigation.
Any more bright ideas will no doubt be welcomed.
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CANAL SHAPES UP AT SHEERWATER
THE EXTENT of work to seal the long time leaking canal bed at Sheerwater has proved greater than expected but was well advanced in July. (See picture below).
450,000 tons of clay have been used to line a 1/2 mile length of the canal to puddle the bed and seal the leak which has existed for years.
At the same time the dry weather in July was helping the Society's team to complete the 220 yards of bankside piling which is the other major work at Sheerwater.
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FOR YEARS before the canal fell derelict it was a popular local water for angling now its regaining a reputation for good fishing. After reading about it In Angler's Mail last year, two Sunderland fishermen brought their rods down and were so impressed they made the long journey again.
It is thanks to the Hampshire Basingstoke Canal Angling Association founded by the late Lewis Harris who lived at Basingstoke. Twenty two clubs subscribe to the HBCAA which pays Hampshire CC £1250 a year for the angling rights to the 15 mile Aldershot to Greywell length. In addition the Association sells day, monthly or annual permits to a non club fisherman.
Since the HBCAA was formed some years ago, the officers have worked hard to re-stock the canal. Now a variety of fish are once more thriving in the canal: tench up to 91bs, 1-1/2lb roach, 4-3/4lb bream, carp up to a huge 27lbs, chubb of 4-5lbs and perch, graylers, rudd, dace and the humble gudgeon.
There's also pike - a 2l-1/2 lb specimen was caught at Colt Hill last year. In fact there are so many pike that the Association obtains permission from Thames Water to reduce their numbers because of their predatory nature — they consume about a third of the canal's fish stock annually.
Over a two year period 1,000 Ibs of pike have been removed from the Hampshire length. The fish are culled by passing an electric current through the water, six inches below the surface. The fish are only stunned for a few seconds, just long enough for water bailiffs to net them. The pike are then sold or exchanged to restock the canal for other course fish, and the pike continue life in other waters frequented by pike fishermen.
According to Peter Munt, HBCAA's fisheries officer, who also crews Perseverance, pike respond particularly well to electric-fishing and he reckons that up to 85% have been removed from the Hampshire length over the past two years. "But they breed well so the population will grow rapidly again", says Peter.
During this year's cull, early in April, the water bailiffs caught pike of all sizes — the biggest were two
weighing in at 17 lbs each; both monsters lowered their weight by 21bs a piece by regurgitating their own kind they'd swallowed whole for dinner.
In addition to the exchange scheme, the Association has spent over £6000 during the past two years restocking the canal.
Unlike so many waters that are reserved for club members, non-members are encouraged to get a permit from the Association or a local tackle shop and other outlets "The Basingstoke is ideal for youngsters learning to fish", says Peter Munt. "There's plenty of small fish needing only light equipment, so they can learn to handle fish, extract hooks and get the feel of using angling tackle".
Peter Munt with a 17 lb pike
The HBCAA also runs classes for
beginners of all ages. Most local tackle shops have details which can also be obtained (with permit costs) from the Honorary Secretary: Andree Grandjean, 37 Mansfield Road, Basingstoke, Hants RG22 6DX. (Tel: Basingstoke 54381)
The Association is also looking after the needs of disabled fishermen by constructing reinforced bankside swims so that they can reach the waterside safely.
The Surrey length is run on similar lines by the BCS Anglers Amalgamation, whose Honorary Secretary is: Allan MacDiarmid, 50 Gloster Road, Old Woking, Surrey GU22 9EX. (Tel: Woking 69916)
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HUNDREDS OF fish died in the canal following the hot weather in May and a short outbreak of thunderstorms. People in the Aldershot area saw masses of dead fish, caused by drawing muddy water into their gills.
Scientists say that storm water, heated on sun scorched local parade grounds and sandy heathlands, poured into the canal and mingled with the mud, creating clouds of muddy water which caused fish to die from oxygen exhaustion.
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NEWSLETTER back numbers wanted. Nos. 1-4, 6-8, and 26,28, 29 and 30. Ring John Greenfield: Yateley 873167.
COURSE on Basingsloke's history at Tomlinscote Centre, Camberley. 10 weeks starting 28th September 7.30 -9.30pm. Tutor: Stan Knight. Ring: Camberley 20145 or 681923..
LENGTHSMEN vacancies in Hampshire. Two volunteers needed to walk a length of the canal regularly to check for any changes or possible maintenance. No technical knowledge needed — just interest and observation. Ring Charles Bendall, Fleet 617754 for more details.
GRAND DRAW reminder: Have you sent in your tickets yet? Do you want more? Yvonne Chappell is aiming to raise £2,000 from the Draw which takes place on 16th October. It's not too late to sell more tickets and everyone who received them is reminded to return them with your remittance soon. Mrs Y. Chappell, The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashtead, Surrey KT211QR.
FORD'S European Conservation Award has been entered for by the Society.
LONG distance Walkers Association have chosen the canal towpalh for one of their official hikes.
MEMORIAL seat is to be erected alongside the canal in memory of the late Percy Bloomfield, a voluntary worker at St. Johns.
TWENTY new members joined the Society at this year's Woking Canal Festival.
LIFT-BRIDGE at North Warnborough easier and quieter to operate following improved access to lubrication points.
VANDALS seen tearing up wooden fencing at Pondtail Bridge, Fleet and throwing it in the canal. Such mindless yet wilful destruction must be stopped.
STURDY 8-ft wooden rowing boat for sale. Only £95. VGC. Recently repainted. Photo available. Can deliver. Phone 01-660 8712.
PERSONAL Computer required for BC News. Offers to Dieter Jebens on Farnham 715230.
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CANAL MAKES NEWS IN TOKYO
RESTORING CANALS is, to the Japanese, a curious phenomenon and to undertake the work voluntarily is quite unknown. So when American journalist Tena Brockman and photographer Naoko Yamagishi, who work for the Tokyo newspaper The Daily Yomiuri, planned a world trip investigating waste disposal, they decided to include restoration of the Basingstoke Canal on their list of conservation assignments.
Naoko Yamagishi and Terra Brockman at N. Warnborough
The Japanese have, it seems, a particular interest in the English heritage. The sight of the John Pinkerton, the traditional 'roses and castle' artwork, and the remains of the 780-year old King John's Castle produced so much copy and many pictures that even if restoration work wasn't actually forgotten, the end result made a tremendous impact on the two reporters — which is perhaps the way it should be.
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HAMPSHIRE COUNTY Council hope to complete the purchase of the western end of the canal, from the western portal of Greywell Tunnel to just beyond the site of Penny Bridge (including the Brickworks Arm), at the end of this month. It should be stressed that this does not signal any plan to restore the canal or the tunnel.
COPY DATE FOR NOVEMBER 1989 BC NEWS: 30th SEPTEMBER 1989
Published by the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Ltd., a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered as a Charity. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Society.
Editor: Dieter Jebens. Production: Jo Evans & Chris de Wet.
Collation & Distribution: Janet and George Hedger, Edwin Chappell and Helpers.
Editorial Office: 60 Middle bourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 3NJ (0252 715230)
Chairman: Robin Higgs. 18 Barnsford Crescent, West End, Woking, Surrey. GU24 9HX. (09905 7314)
Vice-Chairman: David Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet, Aldershot, Hampshire. GU139SW, (0252 617364)
Hon. Treasurer: Nigel Parsons, 14 The Piccards, Chestnut Avenue, Guildford, Surrey GU25DW. (0483 571709)
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley, Meadow Vale, Guildford Road, Normandy, Surrey, GU3 2AS. (0483 234776)
Membership Secretary: Edwin Chappell, The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 1QR. (0372 272631)
Working Party Organiser: Frank Jones, Beulah, Parkstone Drive, Camberley, Surrey, GU12 2PA. (0276 28367)
Dredger Manager: Roger Flitter, 10 George Road, Fleet, Hampshire, GU13 9PS. (0252 622956)
Working Party Information: Peter Jones, 54 Wharf Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot Hampshire, GU12 SAY. (0252 313076)
Peter Cooper, 5 Addison Court, Oakley Avenue, Raling, London W5. (01 9931105)
Trip Boat: Tony Karavis, 12 Loddon Road, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 9NT. (0252 549037)
Sales Managers: Sue Palmer & Uernie Timms, 20 Charlhouse Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU125LS. (0252 26758)
Mail Order Sales: John Greenfield. 9 Mistletoe Road, Yatley, Camberley, Surrey, GU17 7DT. (0252 873167)
Talks Organiser: Mrs Janet Greenfield. 9 Mistletoe Road, Yateley, Camberley, Surrey, GU17 7DT. (0252 873167)
Exhibitions Manager: Phil Pratt, Flat 5, Fleetwood Court, Madeira Road, West Byfleet, Surrey, KT14 6BE. (0932 340281)
Typesetting by Distinguished Data Limited — Telephone: Aldershot (0252) 850311
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