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    bcnmsthd130 (13K)
No. 155 JANUARY 1991
front pic1 (21K) front pic2 (14K)1,2
front pic3 (38K)3

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THE Nature Conservancy Council has decided to postpone designating the canal as a Site of Special Scientific interest for two years.

We welcome the decision which follows the Joint Management Committee's condemnation of the NCC's proposals to restrict navigation by motorised boats.

At the same time we have some sympathy for the NCC's dilemma. As a Government sponsored agency it has a clearly defined brief to review existing SSSI's and identify new ones. Part of the NCC's remit is to impose management controls in consultation with the landowners. But the NCC is not expected to compromise the wildlife interest and, at the end of the day, acts as judge and jury where a voluntary agreement cannot be reached. In the final analysis an intransigent landowner has no recourse other than to appeal to the Secretary of State for the Environment.

The NCC is often criticised for having statutory powers which are administered by the governing members who are appointed and not elected. The situation is not of the NCC's making but down to the Government which should review its terms of reference in view of the number of confrontations that are reported.

Our real bone of contention over the much publicised conflict of interests lies with other wildlife conservationists who use SSSI designations as a means of claiming that wildlife, generally, is endangered.

In the case of the canal the NCC's scientific basis for wanting to control motor boating and a range of canal management functions is to maintain the richness of an established aquatic wildlife — specifically the plant and invertebrate population.

The local naturalist trust, however, has deliberately taken advantage of the NCC's interest to promote a notion that wildlife per se is endangered. They have published an attractive colour folder cum poster, boldly illustrating a beautiful kingfisher, implying that this bird is under threat when quite the opposite is true: restoration and use of the navigation has brought the kingfisher back to the canal and much more wildlife. In a covering letter sent with the poster, Mr Graham Darrah, chairman of the Hants and Isle of Wight Naturalist Trust wrote: "With the proposed opening of the canal for unrestricted motorised boating the special wildlife is under imminent threat. These boats will be highly damaging to the canal's wildlife. Motorised craft are used by a small proportion of those who value the canal, yet they threaten to degrade, and eventually destroy the area's special character".

Such blatantly unsupported claims cannot and do not go unchallenged. It is scaremongering nonsense like this that promotes unnecessary controversy. What conclusion is a member of the Trust or other recipient going to draw from seeing a picture of the magnificent (and never so well fed) kingfisher, while reading Mr Darrah's warning?

Then there is the frightening pronouncement of Mr John Holmes, producer of a BBC natural history programme which has been widely criticised for its disparaging references to opening the western end of the canal for boating. In reply to one complainant Mr Holmes wrote "...the point has to be made that some sections of waterways are not for all and humans must be excluded to protect last pockets of irreplaceable wildlife". If this was not simply so much claptrap, such a pronouncement would be cause for serious concern. We are all actively concerned for wildlife conservation. Getting on with solutions through rational discussion, agreement and conservation work is much more productive, if less dramatic, than campaigns of disinformation causing controversy in the media.

In deferring its SSSI designation of the canal, the NCC has recognised that wildlife conservation is already being formally conducted, in conjunction with controlled increments in boat licences, so that both interests can use the canal without cause for concern.
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A NEW member to the Society and an already active member have volunteered to take over editing BC News.

Margaret Insall of Frimley Green, who ran a travel agency in Camberley and wrote a regular travel column for The Aldershot News, takes over jointly with Sue Palmer who was previously sales manager with Bernie Timms, is an active boater on the canal, and well versed on current issues and various aspects of the canal.

Copy should be sent to Sue Palmer — for address see back page.
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FRONT COVER: Lock 3 at Woodham... before and after.

page 3

Monday 14th January
SHCS Annual Draw at Fleet Cricket Club

Tuesday 15th January
NOTE CHANGE OF DATE Messing about on the canal. 'Where are we at?' is a film by Phil Pralt. It's followed by an informal question and answer forum with Paddy Fields, Director of the Basingstoke Canal Aulhority. St John's Memorial Hall, St Johns Lye, St Johns, Woking. 7.45pm for 8.00pm.

Tuesday 22nd January
Greet the New Year and each other in ihe 'Long Room' of the Barley Mow at Winchfield.

Monday 28th January
Ron Oakley talks to the IWA branch about 'China's Canals' at Wey Cruising Club, Wharf Road, Guildford, 5 minutes walk from railway station. All SHCS members welcome.

Sunday 3rd February
A visit to the West Country to view the Severn Bore and places of interest nearby. The Bore is at its best at this time and the trip will go ahead if al least 8 people attend, so book now! Ring Bill Homewood on 0276 61343.

Tuesday 12th February
'The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society and its Steamers', an illustrated talk by Mr Roddy McKee, Secretary of the London and Home Counties Branch of the Society. St John's Memorial Hall, St Johns, Woking. 7.45pm for 8.00pm.

Friday 22nd February
The IWA and the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust meet together at Southcote Library, Coronation Square, Southcote, Reading. Topic to be announced. 7.45pm for 8.00pm.

Monday 25th February
Hugh McKnight talks to Guildford and Reading IWA about 'A cruise through Germany, Holland and Belgium', including the vertical lifts and Ronquieres inclined plane. Wey Cruising Club, Wharf Road, Guildford. 7.45pm for 8.00pm. Tuesday 26th February
Social evening for members and friends at the Barley Mow at Winchfield. Details from Bernie Timms or Sue Palmer on 0252 26758.

Sunday 10th March
The first canal walk for 1991. Bill Homewood leads along the remnants of the towing path at the western end of the Basingstoke Canal. Meet at 10.15am at the Whitewater bridge (ref SU 722513, map 186) for a 6 mile walk with a pub lunch. Make sure you 'phone Bill Homewood (0276 61343) before Friday 8th if you're coming.

Tuesday 12th March
David Morion tells us about some of his experiences in his Travels with Renfrew, his unconverted working narrow boat. St John's Memorial Hall, St Johns, Woking. 7.45pm for 8.00pm.

Monday 25th March
The Guildford & Reading branch of the IWA combines its Annual General Meeting with a slide show. Wey Cruising Club, Wharf Road, Guildford. 7.45pm for 8.00pm.

Tuesday 26th March
The regular monthly gathering takes place at the Barley Mow at Winchfield.
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MEMBERS may be interested in a programme of railway films being screened by Woking's New Cinema Club in March. Highlights include 'Over the Alps' - the story of ihc start of the Mid Hants Watercress Line, 'Steam' — a tribute to the steam preservation movement, 'Runaway Railway' — a train chase on the Longmoor Military Railway and 'Pacific 231' - a montage of the great days of steam. There will be two different shows, one at 3.00pm. and one at 7.30pm. on Saturday 2nd March at: Goldwater Lodge, Wishbone Way, off Kirkland Ave, Goldsworth Park, Woking.

Tickets are £3 Adults and £2 OAP's and children from: Civic Offices Advance Box Office, Woking Tel 0483 750576 or Mrs V Watkins, Silver Birches, Heathfield Rd, Woking, Tel 0483762178.
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PLANS are in hand for a two or three day expedition to follow the remains of 'London's Lost Roule to the Sea' from Guildford to its end at the Landport in Portsmouth. It will take place on the weekend either of 17th to 19th May or of 28rh lo 30th June.

Some of the canal has been restored, much is derelict and dry. The most interesting and pleasant parts will be walked. Other stages will be covered by boat and minibus. Special walking boots and clothing are not necessary. Overnight stops offer a choice of bed & breakfast accommodation or camp sites but there's a limit of TEN for overnight participants. However, anyone wishing to join on a daily basis will be most welcome. Food will be provided.

If you'd like to join the expedition contact Bill Homewood without delay at 4 Larch Close, Camberley GU15 4DB or on 0276 61343 for full details of costs, timing and itinerary.
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Kings Head Bridge (15K) GLASSES will be raised at the Kings Head Bridge in Frimley Green when they hear that at the Surrey County Council Planning meeting a motion was passed by an overwhelming vote that 'This committee, on environmental grounds docs not support the proposed demolition of the Frimley Green Canal Bridge but suggests that consideration be given to strengtheing its load carrying capability whilst retaining its present character and dimensions'.

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page 4

THE DATE of the coach trip to Belgium, organised by the Guildford and Reading branch of the IWA has been changed. Subject to sufficient demand, departure will now be early evening on Friday May 24th and the party will return on Sunday evening, the 26th. Travel throughout will be on the same coach and overnight accommodation on the Salurday will be in a comfortable hotel in Nivelles.

The whole of Saturday is available for sightseeing which will include visits to the boat lifts of the Canal du Centre and Ronquieres inclined plane. Sunday, too, promises to be full of interest with an opportunity to visit Bruges with its many canals and lake a look at another boat lift at Arques, not far from Calais.

Local pick up and drop off points are negotiable (within reason). Price per person is expected to be around £70 and the booking deposit is £10.

For further information contact Andy Simmonds, 135 Broadacres, Guildford GU3 3BS Tel 0483 576176.
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THE CANAL director has agreed that work can soon start on clearance of the waterway west of Greywell Hill early in the New Year.

One member has already asked that his name be put on the list of volunteers (thanks Mike) and the list is open for those who are willing to work in the 'wild west'.

The first job will be 'jungle bashing' to clear dead undergrowth; later on trees will have to be felled, and sawn to logs. The towing path must be levelled, and the edge stabilised.

We need volunteers to do plain ordinary labouring, but also certified chain saw operators, experienced (or willing to train) operators for excavators, and later those with experience of building and operating the railway.

If you would like to work with good company out in attractive country, please contact either Stan Meller on Camberley (0276) 32096, or David Junkison on 081-941 0685. Or write to Stan at: 101 Branksome Hill Road, College Town, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 4QG.
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W of the tunnel (21K)
JUNGLE CONDITIONS ready to be tackled by volunteers
— the canal west of Greywell Tunnel.

NOTICE is hereby given that the FOURTEENTH Annual General Meeting of The Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Limited will be held at Mytchett Community Centre, Mytchett Road, Mytchett, Surrey on 27th April 1991 commencing at 6.30pm.

Over the last 12 months, the Society's Executive Committee has been heavily involved in countering the threat posed to the Canal by the proposals being put forward by the NCC. This activity has diverted the Committee's attention from the long-term need to define the future role of the Society. An initiative has already been taken to stimulate a discussion within the Society on this vital issue but the Committee must take the lead in carrying the debate to a conclusion and setting a new course for the 1990s. If it is to achieve this aim the Committee must be reinvigorated with new members who can bring fresh ideas and a renewed sense of purpose. If you feel that you can help us, why not consider putting your name forward for election to the Committee. If you would like more information about the Committee's work please call me on (0256 702109) or write to me. I can also let you have a nomination form which must be returned to me by 9th February, 1991:

Hon. Secretary, Philip Riley, Wincombe Cottage, Broad Oak, Odiham, Hants. RG25 1AH
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PLANS are now well in hand to celebrate the re-opening of the newly restored Basingstoke Canal in the late spring or early summer of 1991. The actual date will be announced in January.

There will be a one day event, most likely mid-week, at Frimley Lodge Park. This will include the re­opening ceremony, exhibitions, arena events and boat trips on the John Pinkcrton. In the evening there will be an ox-roast, an illuminated boat procession and a firework display.

On the following day there will be celebration cruises in both directions, wilh boaters participating in civic ceremonies along the canal. At the festival site the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club will be organising activities for boaters, a barbecue and live entertainment.

As there is a limited water supply available for visiting boats using the locks, craft arriving by water will be tightly controlled and attendance may be by invitation only. There will be no restrictions on numbers of trailed craft not using the locks during the celebration period.

A special 14 day licence will be available. Boaters who would like to attend the celebrations should send an S.A.E. for an application form as soon as possible, and not later than 1st February, to: Mrs A J Percy, 2 Fir Tree Way, Fleet, Hants GU13 9NB.
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page 5

Dear Sir
I WAS both surprised and disappointed to read a brief and inaccurate reference to the important issue of craft licensing and registration in November's 'Gongoozler's Gossip'. Although the term 'gongoozler' usually conjures up a picture of an uninformed non-boater watching waterway activity, one would hope all these news items were professionally researched and well presented. It is not known on what information this report was based.

The recent suggestion on this not unfamiliar problem by Mr Chris de Wet, Chairman of the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club, given in a letter to the Basingstoke Canal Authority was discussed at great length by that Authority and the National Trust. The many problems which severely complicate reciprocal licensing were explained in some detail to Mr de Wet by the BCA in a letter which was also copied to the National Trust.

Two of the main issues were:
— BCA expenditure is subsidised by public money. The Wey Navigations' expenditure is not.
— There is an annual limit on craft licensing on the Basingstoke. On the Wey Navigations no limit is set.
A positive development was a return transit pass between the Thames and the Basingstoke Canal at a nominal fee of £5 which barely covers the administration cost. That important point was not reported.

To say joint navigation licensing was turned down by the Trust Manager was somewhat simplistic. It was seriously considered at great length by many, discussed at a River Wey Board Management meeting and discussed at two subsequent meeting s between the BCA and Trust.

Perhaps a telephone call or letter might help give a more accurate report on such issues.
Yours faithfully
Manager, National Trust, River Wey & Godalming Navigation, Dapdune Lea, Wharf Road, Guildford
Editors' note: BCA director Paddy Field, who suggested the idea of a joint licence, tells us that 'after discussion we were unable to reach agreement...'.
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NUMBERS of licences for 1991 are to remain at the level set for 1990. 375 annual licences will be available for motorised craft, with an additional 200 short term visitor licences. There will also be 100 discretionary short term licences which may be issued outside the main boating season if water supplies allow. Special licences for the proposed re-opening celebrations are in addition to these figures. There will be no limit on numbers of licences for unpowered craft.

Attempts to arrange reciprocal licencing with the River Wey, have unfortunately failed, despite a restructuring of craft classifications to bring them in line. This complicated restructuring means that in 1991 boating on the Basingstoke Canal will cost an average of 28% more than in 1990, with some smaller craft paying increases of up to 89%.

The Basingstoke Canal Boating Club believe these charges to be excessive, particularly in view of the previous year's rise, which was intended to cover use of the full length of the canal on re-opening. In fact, less boating was possible in 1990 than in 1989, due to the closure of the Deepcut flight of locks.

Suggestions put forward by the BCBC include: the possibility of charging licence fees at a set rate per metre, which would be fairer than the present classification of craft in groups; or, to give boaters better value for money this year, by holding over licence renewals until April when it is hoped the canal wiU be fully open.
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THE BASINGSTOKE Canal Authority have recently appointed two new members of staff. Pat Perry-Barton has taken up the position of Secretary to the canal director, and is now busy dealing with enquiries and correspondence and general secretarial duties.

Jonathan Curtis has been appointed to join the team of Canal Rangers at present working on the Deepcut Flight of locks. He lives near the canal at Mytchett, and has previously worked in pest control in agriculture and industry.
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AT THE November meeting of the Basingstoke Canal Joint Management Committee, members were informed that the Society's input into the canal this year was around £40,000, mainly wages for the Society's full time team of four led by Frank Jones. In addition volunteers put in around 20,000 hours, valued at £80,000.

During the financial year 1990/1991 the Basingstoke Canal Authority had hoped to appoint a Visitor Services Officer, and increase essential maintenance on the Surrey section.

These were to have been funded by a 'growth figure' of £53,800 in the budget of £300,000. However, this growth figure was not forthcoming from some local councils, who found themselves unable to contribute due to cash limits under the community charge system. The actual budget allowed for the year was £284,000 of which Hampshire contributed £145,000 and Surrey £139,000. The Canal Director is requesting a budget of £371,690 for the year 1991/1992, for staff, premises transport and maintenance. This includes a figure of £67,740 for growth, which will hopefully allow appointment of the Visitor Services Officer, another ranger, and an increase in the maintenance budget.

If these figures are compared on a 'pounds per mile' basis with other inland waterways, it becomes clear that the Basingstoke Canal is not sufficiently funded to allow maintenance to an acceptable standard:
Basingstoke Canal — £9,104 per mile
British Waterways - £17,600 per mile
National Trust - £15,300 per mile (River Wey and Godalming Navigations)

The results of inadequate maintenance may be illustrated by the state of decay allowed to set into the Deepcut flight of locks, and by the almost unnavigable state of the western end, which has become silted up due to lack of adequate maintenance dredging.

Unless these figures are increased, maintenance standards may deteriorate to a level at which the £3 - 4 million investment made by the County Councils over the last 15 years will be at risk.
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page 6

FEELINGS ran high among Joint Management Committee members at their November meeting. Views were expressed in a forthright manner almost with one voice. Among the many valid points raised, it is difficult to hear even a faint squeak in favour of the NCC's proposals. A vast amount of time and money has been spent converting a stagnant rubbish tip into an attractive waterway intended to give enjoyment to everyone and they do not want all this wasted particularly as no cash was put into the effort by the NCC.
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A SNAPSHOT in time is how the IWA sees the current restored state of the Basingstoke Canal and they advise thai unless there is regular and continuous use by powered craft, the canal will revert to its previous derelict condition of silt and clogging weed. The great variety of flora which has 'emerged' in recent years is unlikely to be able to survive any return to former conditions.

Aware of the research done by Drs Eaton and Pygott on the effects of boat movement on aquatic flora, they point out that much of their work was carried out on narrower and shallower canals not dredged to the generous dimensions of the Basingstoke. In their opinion the wildlife on our canal would tolerate a greater number of boat movements than on the average canal and that where SSSI's exist on British Waterways' canals there appears to be little conflict between conservation and navigation interests. Mr Brian Percy, chairman of the local branch pointed out that although motorised boats make up only a small proportion of canal users, they provide two thirds of the waterway's income.

In view of the present water supply problems, boats will not be able to navigate the canal 'at will' and they accept that for a period the use of the canal and the number of licences issued should be limited. The situation will be reviewed periodically in the light of boat usage and water supply.
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DATA collected by the Basingstoke Canal monitoring project, the NCC and Thames Water Authority have been analysed and compared with the historical records for the canal.

It is interesting to note that there is no significant change between 1986/87 and 1990 in the total range of species of vegetation, and on the Fleet to Deepcut length there is a major spread and increase in quantity of 10 species. Of the rarer species, four were found to be decreasing and three were not found.

There was considerable variation in water turbidity, due in part to natural causes such as precipitation of lime. High levels of suspended solids were found at Eelmoor.

An important finding was that there is no significant relationship between boat traffic densities and the recorded pattern of vegetation change and no direct correlation of turbidity to boat traffic. The good news for fishermen is the presence of large numbers of pike and tench. This indicates an environment relatively unstressed by boat effects. The fish population compares favourably with other canals with roach exhibiting a high growth index.

The report recommends weed control and other management operations reviews in order to avoid damage to vegetation . Boat traffic is preferred to mechanical weed cutting as a means of keeping the central channel open. Further dredging is required at the western end in order to remove as much soft silt as possible, thus providing a stable bed and bank profile for plant growth.

Additional sources of acidic water should be found for the central parts of the canal in order to maintain the full range of botanical interest.

The research and monitoring programme should be continued with particular attention paid to the causes of turbidity and the JMC should allow the present levels of boat traffic to increase on a carefully controlled incremental basis.

The Conservation Working Party should continue to work towards establishing an appropriate level of boat traffic which will accommodate the canal's biological interest.
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THE 300 plus members of the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club who are actively involved in boating on the Basingstoke Canal utterly oppose the current proposals from the NCC.

Any suggestion that the canal be zoned for use by boats is regarded as not only unacceptable, but unworkable. The sheer impracticality of issuing different licences militates against the proposal and policing would be needed to prevent transgression.

The artificial restrictions are regarded as unnecessary in view of the fact that the limited water supply and the large number of locks to be negotiated in Surrey discourages excessive boaling.

The members point out that the objective of sixteen years of restoration work was to preserve a conservation area for all to enjoy, including boaters.
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THE question posed by the Society, at the JMC meeting, was why has the NCC been silent for so long and simply watched the canal being restored to life from a state of complete dereliction knowing full well that they would ultimately be seeking to restrict its use?

At a very late stage in the restoration, almost at the eleventh hour the NCC has said that the aims of the Society, the local authorities and all the other organisations and individuals involved in the project cannot be realised because the Council has scientific evidence to support a designation of most of the canal as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. If the NCC's proposals are accepted, the Basingstoke Canal Authority would be denied the freedom to manage the Waterway in an effective manner. The survival of the canal would be threatened by the lack of proper maintenance.
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page 7

PASSENGERS SPEAK OUT 'THE CANAL was made for boats, wasn't it?' say the passengers on the John Pinkerton. The company who operate the boat are expressing great concern about the zoning proposals and the clearance of overhanging trees.

As users of the canal for the past thirteen years they find the proposal to restrict the use of the length of the canal from Colt Hill to the Whitewater winding hole to only two boats, the John Pinkerton and the Mildred Stocks totally incomprehensible and completely at variance with current evidence and ecological opinion.

As for clearing overhanging trees. Not only would this entail enormous expense and effort, it would alter dramatically the appearance of the canal and deprive the 10,000 passengers they carry each year of considerable pleasure. The trees are a greater source of interest than the mainly invisible underwater plants.

The Company points out that the NCC's claim that boating is a minority interest ignores the thousands of people they carry each year, mainly locals and many of them elderly. The £20,000 a year profit is passed on to the Canal Society and is spent on maintenance of the waterway. They make a useful suggestion. If the NCC wishes to do something constructive towards preserving the wildlife, they could pay to have the canal widened where possible. This would allow for a shelving offside bank for the emergent species and the broader channel would reduce further the effects of the boats.
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THE CANAL Director, while accepting that the NCC's proposals for zoning of boals are a constructive approach to solving the conflict of interest between recreational use of the canal and the danger to its natural history, sees difficulties in the separate areas of administration, implementation and water control.

The licensing system must be kept simple or it becomes time consuming, cosily and liable lo error. Operating the scheme effectively on a basis of trust is unlikely, given the overt antipathy of the canal users to the proposals.

As the Basingstoke Canal has historically suffered from water shortage, strict control is essential. The NCC's proposals run counter to the central philosophy of conserving the barely adequate water supply.

GALLEON MARINE'S proprietor, Gordon Muchamore, wrote to the JMC: "The Basingstoke Canal is a beautiful waterway which requires careful management in order to safeguard the habilat of the abundance of wildlife, plants and trees existing within its environment". He asked for a joint nature conservation stralegy to assist in ensuring a future for the canal encompassing as much plant and animal life as is compatible with a living and thriving navigable waterway.
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THE MAIN item on the agenda at the JMC committee meeting recently was the NCC strategy paper. After listening to the debate one or two councillors who had attended with a view to fully supporting the NCC's zoning and licensing proposals changed their minds. County and District councillors present reminded the NCC that the public finance which had gone into the restoration programme was intended to provide a public navigational and recreational amenity taking into account the ecological interest and not primarily a nature reserve.

The Chairman presented the JMC's response to the NCC strategy where it was felt that certain proposals were unacceptable. These were aimed at creating the bias in favour of the canal becoming a nature reserve rather than a recreational and navigational amenity.

A resolution was passed to the effect that whilst the JMC recognise that Ihe Canal may be notified as an SSSI it considers that:
* the NCC be urged not to notify the SSSI until the Officers and the Canal Director have further explored the areas of difference and their possible resolution and reported back to the March meeting.
* that the Conservation Working Parly should continue the monitoring of the canal by Drs Eaton and Pygott as a basis for developing an agreed Management Plan for the canal to include incremental increases of motorised boat licenses.


MEMBERS of the bankside clearance party in Hampshire, led by Peter Jackman {first boat, facing camera) setting off from Chequers Wharf, Crookham, on the first of the new season's working panics to clear the off-side bank up to Double Bridge, Dogmersfield. Ideal work for all the family and more volunteers needed. Come in working clothes — all tools provided.
Contact Peter Jackman on 0483 772132 for dates and details.

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page 8

STEADY progress is being made on the Deepcut flight of locks. The Basingstokc Canal Authorities' team of rangers have been working with back-up from the Society's full-time team and volunteers.

The footbridge at lock 28 has been replaced with a wider one, and this has considerably speeded up the work by allowing easier vehicular access with heavy materials.

Many rotten timbers and faulty components have been replaced, gaps which had opened up in the planking of the gates have been filled and 8 tons of cement have been pumped into holes at locks 25 and 26 to stabilise the ground.

The team hope to have finished lock 25 by Christmas, and lock 24 by mid-January. As they work their way down the flight, they expect the work to be less intense, as these locks should be in better condition than those higher up.

Further work and refilling of empty or low pounds in preparation for the expected re-opening in 1991 is scheduled to take place as soon as possible but is of course dependent on there being sufficient water available.
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Dear Sir,
In BC News 153, Brian Smith raised the question of whether locks should be generally kept full or empty, suggesting that the shrinkage of lock gate planking apparent at Deepcut could have been avoided had the locks been kept full of water.

The Policy of generally keeping lock chambers empty was established for the following reasons:
— The lock chamber is not designed to be watertight.
— The Basingstoke Canal has had several instances of serious failure within the lock chamber; during restoration some improvements were introduced. For financial reasons it was not possible to totally seal all parts of the chamber.
— The ability of top gates to withstand the water pressure is approximately twice that of the bottom gates.
— The length of the sealing faces on top gates is about 60% of the length of the sealing faces on bottom gates and all the top gates scaling faces are visible, whereas 40% of bottom gate sealing faces are submerged and not readily visible for damage and trapped flotsam.
— Whichever pair of gates is selected to be the pair which carry the load for the longest period, i.e. lock empty or full, the second pair will always be able to act as reserves to retain water in the event that the first pair is damaged. Gates not kept under pressure are likely to distort as the timbers continue to season and age; those gates carrying the sustained load will retain their shape and condition the best. The second pair of gates may distort; if they are also the bottom gates (as BCA has decided) then bottom gates being subject to greater pressures and being relatively weaker than top gates are better able to flex and still make a reasonable job of sealing in an emergency than would distorted top gates.

The earthworks supporting the sides of lock chambers are in effect water retaining dams with substantial brick facings, but those earthworks will react in the same way as other earth dams if they become saturated with water, i.e. landslips and settlements may occur under certain condilions. Those members who have walked the Deepcut Flight in recent monlhs will probably have noted that settlement has occurred around several locks.

Leaving locks empty will not prevent that happening but will reduce the occurrence and subsequent risks of collapse. The risks are greatest in periods of cold wet weather when natural water tables are at their highest and when rain is not evaporating away quickly, i.e. the winter months.

So, in reply to those who say that leaving locks empty wastes a lot of water, we have said that the policy of leaving locks empty does not apply to boaters, but will be applied by canal staff when it is probable that there will be long periods of inactivity, i.e. overnight, mid-week, and winter seasons. In times of dry weather, the practice can be stopped totally. Experience alone will indicate whether the policy should be relaxed or tightened but it is of interest that the Canal Act of 1778 included a clause penalising boatmen who left locks full.

Finally, Mike McGrath's comments about rotten gates — take another look at Lock 29, which has the oldest gates on the canal, made from carefully selected quality timber 16 years ago.
Yours faithfully,
Canal Manager, Ash Lock Cottage, Government Road, Aldershot
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page 9

by Peter Cooper
THOUGH there are no longer any lock restoration working parties, Society parties continue to work at other jobs.

Bankside work
In the Woking area regular parties are engaged in stump clearance and other tasks. The dates and leaders of these parties are:

Second weekend of the month — DAVID JUNKISON on 081 941 0685.

Third weekend of the month — PETER REDWAY on Woking 721710.

The coordinator of these parties is PETER REDWAY, from whom you can obtain further details.

At the same time, the party previously working on bankside clearance in Hampshire are moving to work at Frimley Lodge Park. Their work is unskilled and suitable for family parties. Their dates are:

First and third Sunday of the month - 6 Jan, 20 Jan, 3 Feb, 17 Feb, 3 Mar, 17 Mar - details from PETER JACKMAN on Woking 772132.

Dredging in Hampshire — every weekend
Owing to the low water levels, there has now been no dredging for six months, and this is seriously impacting progress. However, in the mean time plenty of work has been carried out on the dredger. A very good job of retubing has been done by D. Willis of Reading, in 2-1/2 days, and this was followed by a successful boiler inspection, so the dredger now has a new lease of life. Some minor maintenance and repairs to the tugs have been performed, and the biggest barge, which was leaking badly, has been taken to the dry dock, repaired, and returned to Fleet.

Water levels are now improving, and the BCA plan to adjust the contents of the current dump site to increase its capacity, while negotiations continue for the next (and final) dump site, which is planned to be at Crookham Deeps, on the south side of the canal. The dredger team plan to resume dredging at the first weekend in December, when we hope the crew will regain and maintain all the old impetus, after the long stoppage. Further details from ROGER FLITTER on Fleet 622956.

Full time team
The Society's full time team of workers have completed the remaining work on Locks 3 and 4 at Woodham, and have been engaged in a variety of other tasks. It is planned that the team will be stood down around the end of January.

Personal note
As all the locks on the canal have now been restored, and all lock gates built and installed, the canal can now be said to be completed, though some jobs remain to be done before it is ready to be reopened. The editor entitled this column "Countdown to Completion" a year or two ago, and completion has now been duly counted down to. In these circumstances, I feel that my writing task has likewise reached its completion, and I shall not write this column again. I should particularly like to thank all those working party leaders who, over the years, have supplied most of the information, and thus made my task possible.

Editors'note: Thank you, Peter, for compiling this column for well over ten years. It will make a valuable record of the restoration progress.
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YES — there is still plenty of work to be done including final preparations, and last minute tidying of the canal for the many visitors we hope to see following the reopening in spring 1991.

Our working parties are currently employed in bankside clearance and canal bed clearance (the canal is drained for this work). Some lock servicing and paintwork is also possible depending on the weather.

Everyone is welcome to join in any of these work parties whether on a regular basis or odd occasions. Helping with these essential works in congenial company is a very rewarding and enjoyable activity.

If you would like to join a working party, please contact PETER REDWAY (details on back page) and he will be very pleased to confirm the type of work currently being undertaken, dates and venues.
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Dear Sir
AFTER a long period of 'rest' it was good to meet old friends again and a good turnout at Peter Redway's working party.

There is a band of opinion that considers we are doing the NCC's work by clearing the canal banks in Hampshire — the more sunlight there is on the water, the greater the growth of weeds. But look at the debris that collects in the Deepcut locks, fallen trees and branches after the Great Storm, bits and pieces of concrete — all this rubbish has to be cleared from the banks before it falls into the water.

I was delighted to observe some big fish in deep waters last spring in contract to a lone fisherman in the autumn, standing twelve feet from the bank with no more than a muddy NCC weed pond, looking very dejected. The only fish in evidence were pike — waterlife doesn't stand much chance against this predator in shallow waters.

I have heard it said that one reason why Deepcut locks are kept empty is to prevent deer, attracted to the duckweed covered water, from falling in and drowning. Perhaps a barrier or floating ramp for trapped animals to climb onto might be the answer because letting the gates dry out has caused severe damage.

I've noticed railway line shoes, bolts and other bits of metal under more than one rail bridge over the canal. Such items falling from above could cause injury.

Any new bridge at Frimley must be based on the existing structure — we don't want Kings Head Bridge to suffer a similar fate to that of the old swing bridge at Woking.

Why are there no mooring bollards on Crookham Wharf? As the water level is normally well below the brick-lined bank, the last to board a small boat has the almost impossible task of trying to hold the boat in while climbing aboard and retrieving the mooring spike.
Yours faithfully
Lilford Road, London SW
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page 10

Dear Sir
HAVING just got the November issue, I was pleased to see (on page 8) that someone else had written about that biased Natural History programme on Radio 4 last August. Whenever we encounter this sort of thing, we ought to write in and let the perpetrator know in no uncertain terms how we feel. Members may like to read my response to that programme which I sent to its Producer (John Holmes, BBC Bristol).

"I write concerning the item on the Basingstoke Canal in your programme broadcast on Radio 4 Thursday 9 August. It is so deplorable (to say the least) that your reporter Jessica Holm had to resort to cheap scaremongering in the programme's introduction ("but how clear will it remain with diesel fumes and muddy waters of a flotilla of brightly painted barges?"). Had she got the facts, and you had checked them (neither of which appears to have taken place) it would be apparent that there will be NO "flotilla of brightly painted barges". In any case, apart from a couple of unpainted barges on the lower stretches for maintenance purposes there will be no barges at all on the canal.

On the other hand, some narrow boats which are quite different from barges (would she know the difference, or bother to find out?) will be on the canal from time to time, as they are on all canals in use. In the tunnel, there will be no diesel fumes either! Ever heard of electric powered craft?

It is also most disappointing (again to say the least) that you, as Producer, allowed gross inaccurate statements by Andrew Byfield to go unchallenged. For instance, had you bothered to check, you would have learned that the reason for the gated steel grille just inside the mouth of the Greywell tunnel has nothing to do with bats! The owners of the canal (the two County Councils of Surrey and Hampshire) put the grille there as their legal responsibility to safeguard themselves against unauthorised public access and possible injury (and thus prevent consequential damage claims). The Basingstoke Canal Authority (Canal Director, Paddy Field), had you bothered to enquire, would have been pleased to enlighten you.

The two County Councils have been restoring the canal, with the considerable help of the Surrey & Hampshire Canal Society, as a multi functional amenity for everybody — yes that even includes you, and all the others who are seeking to destroy the project.

There is much more I could say about your biased item, but I leave that to the other complaints I'm sure you'll receive".

Probably it is needless to say so, but I did not get a reply......
Yours faithfully
Ellerdine Road, Hounslow, Middx.

Dear Sir
I WOULD like to comment on the penultimate paragraph of Mr Taylor's letter in BC News 154.

He queries if it is NCC policy to go for soft options. I would suggest that whether it is policy or not, in practice that appears to be their choice. There is a first class example on our doorstep to illustrate the point. The Sainsbury company have submitted plans to build a new 'Super Store' alongside the section of Blackwater Valley Relief Road already built. The site chosen includes some open ground that apparently has interesting wildlife on it, and local naturalist groups have protested about the proposed development. I personally support them since it could mean loss of a bit more 'green lung' in an area already over developed with 'super stores'.

Despite the protest, there has not been a bleep from the NCC. They apparently have no spirit to take on the might of Sainsbury, it seems much easier to attack the objectives of a collection of volunteers who have given free so much time to restore and conserve another 'green lung'.

I leave readers to postulate why Sainsbury should get away with it.
Yours faithfully
Branksome Hill Road, College Town, Camberley, Surrey
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Dear Sir
IF THE report about the Society's views on the proposed hotel development beside the canal at Brewery Road in central Woking are correct then they are to be regretted. First it is stated that this hotel will be "a much needed amenity". This is controversial. There have been, and are, plenty of possible sites but commercial developers have not judged the potential market to be large enough. Despite this there is a local lobby which has persuaded the Council that it should act as a nanny and help by offering concessions. The Brewery Road site then comes into the story because it is council owned. Surely the Society has no business in taking sides in this matter?

Second this site is the only canal side open space in central Woking. As such I would expect the Society to be campaigning strongly for the whole site to be used as a public amenity. I know the argument is that going along with the hotel means some canal related facilities will be provided. But using much of this unique space for bedrooms would be a tragedy. We should not be intimidated by 'compromisers' and 'realists'. If these views had prevailed the canal would never have been restored. It is good to see the Society is resisting the planners ideas elsewhere along the canal — why are we selling the pass in this instance?
Yours faithfully
Broomhall Road, Woking

Dear Sir
WHEN we were children in the thirties, we used to catch crayfish under the Malthouse Bridge in Crookham by letting a ham bone down into the water, which they would grasp and refuse to let go of when it was drawn up to the bank. Our cook ate them but we couldn't bring ourselves to. They disappeared for some reason during the war and have not returned — presumably because of pollution.
Yours faithfully
Great Shelford, Cambridge
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page 11

OPERATORS of the John Pinkerton trip boat have decided not to operate from Colt Hill, Odiham this year for fear of a lack of water and because of the condition of the canal.

In a letter to the canal's director Paddy Field, the trip boat company's chairman Roger Cansdale wrote last September, "1991 promises to be a very exciting year for the canal ....... unfortunately it also promises lo be a year of crisis because it is not clear to me at the moment where we shall be able to operate for the latter part of the year".

Colt Hill has been the main base for the John Pinkerton since it was launched 12 years ago but with waler shortages and silting it has become increasingly difficult to navigate the Broad Oak length and to the west of Coll Hill.

While recognising the restraints on money and staff, Roger Cansdale wrote: "Over the past few years we have made repeated appeals for a start to be made on maintenance dredging of the western end of the canal but with very little result".

The JP (21K)

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BASINGSTOKE Canal-based charity, 'Boats for the Handicapped' will benefit from the sponsored cruise carried out during the summer by IWA Guildford and Reading branch committee member Pat Perry-Barton.

Pat set off from Godalming in her narrow boat Quercus last April at the start of a 2,500-mile cruise which took her to most parts of the connected inland waterways system before returning to the River Wey in September.

Throughout the summer relays of extra crew joined and left the boat and in addition to being sponsored by many individuals and companies, Pat was busy collecting money en route.

The voyage covered 2,596 miles and negotiated 1,672 locks. The total amount raised was £5,890 which represents 10% of the total amount needed by 'Boats for the Handicapped' for the purchase of a specially equipped narrow boat.

Well done Pat, Quercus and crew!

Further donations welcomed — c/o 'Boats for the Handicapped', Canal Office, Ash Lock Depot, Aldershot, Hants. GU11 2PS.

Pat Perry-Barton receiving her cheque (14K)Pat Perry-Barton receiving her cheque with David Gerry (left) and Brian Percy (right). Photo: Ray Carnell

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THANKS to all those who responded to the IWA's appeal for trading stamps and coupons which chairman David Stevenson says has raised over £1,750 over the past year, and a total of £3,250 in the past three years.

Please continue to send Green Shield (old and new), Co-op, Blue Chip, Pink, Look, Cash, Premier Gold, Supersave, Nationwide and all other types of trading stamps; Texaco, Gulf, Mobil, Shell, BP, Esso, Fina, Elf, Heron, Total, Burmah and all types of petrol vouchers; Air Miles, cigarette coupons, silver foil, aluminium can and ring pulls, cigarette cards and all denominations of used postage stamps to:-

WRG/IWA Charity Bank, 6 Spa Lane, Hinckley, Leics LE10 1JB

This is a permanent request which will continue indefinitely.
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ALTHOUGH profits may be slightly reduced compared to the previous year, the Society's trip boat company is expected to announce a net profit of around £18,000 for the 1990 season. This is considered to be a good result in view of the squeeze on disposable income.

1990 prices will be held and the boat will operate from Barley Mow Bridge, Winchfield, throughout the season.

The new season will start on Sunday 14 April and end on 29 September 1991. A special pre-season schedule of one-hour trips will again be operated over the 4-day Easter holiday from Ash Wharf cruising down to Mytchett Lake and back.
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page 12

DESPITE strong local opposition, it has been indicated that there are overriding reasons for carrying out stabilisation work on the embankment at Crookham Deeps. In the view of Hampshire County Council and their consulting engineers, if the work is not carried out, a failure of the embankment is likely to occur.
WE HEAR that Paul Vine is considering updating his book, London's Lost Route to Basingstoke for a paperback edition. This book has been out of print, and difficult to obtain for some time.
DEEPCUT Canal Contracts, the Society's contracting company led by Frank Jones is to be made a dormant company from 31st December 1990. The full time team will be employed up to the end of January 1991. OUT of season recreation is thriving on the Basingstoke Canal. Sudden snowstorms in December did not deter boaters, anglers or towpath walkers, all of whom were to be seen at Colt Hill, Odiham, enjoying the canal.
A POSTER/leaflet has been produced by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Naturalists' Trust, and the Surrey Wildlife Trust, with support from the NCC and other conservation groups, for distribution along the Basingstoke Canal. It proclaims the canal 'A Waterway for Wildlife', and contains some very interesting information on the wildlife of the canal, and some colourful photographs. Copies are available free of charge from: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Naturalists Trust, 71 The Hundred, Rpmsey, Hampshire SO518BZ Tel: 0794513786.
THE SOCIETY'S popular guide to canalside hostelries, which has been unavailable for some time, is now being updated. 'Research' is currently being undertaken by John Pinkerton crew members, and it is hoped to publish the new edition in time to welcome visitors to the newly re-opened canal.
MEMBERS of Parliament, local and County Councillors have received a great many letters opposing the NCC proposals for the future of the Basingstoke Canal. This has most certainly influenced the decision, taken at the November meeting of the Joint Management Committee, to delay the designation of the Site of Special Scientific Interest. Every letter counts, and it is still worthwhile expressing your views on this. If you would like to write, David Millett (0252 617364) will be pleased to give details of the appropriate people in your area. 'FOR a body, such as the NCC, to actually consider the reduction of tree cover... just to protect the aquatic flora, that is to destroy a visible asset, to protect an invisible one, would ... upset the general public and destroy valuable wildlife habitat' - IWA Guildford and Reading Branch, stating their objections to the NCC proposals at the last JMC meeting.
TEN years ago Hampshire County Council drafted a list of by-laws and sent it to the Home Office. A conclusion has still not been reached and in the meantime there is no recourse to speeding boats, people who allow dogs to foul the towpath, motorcyclists and other abuses. Why are we still waiting?
VIDEO of steam dredger to be made by Arthur Dungate this year which will be made available for sale to members.
SLIPWAY barriers, with BW keys issued to licenced boaters, will be installed this year at Barley Mow and Farnborough Road to reduce the use of unlicenced and unsuitable boats on the canal.
VOLUNTEER wanted to refurbish Society's 10-ft dinghy. Suit carpentry DIY member. Contact David Millett on 0252 617364.
GALLEON Marine now able to supply butane & propane gas refills. For details of this and other new services telephone Gordon Muchamore on 0256 703691.

For your next leaflet; price list, brochure, catalogue, newsletter or any print job, we offer a design, artwork, typesetting and print production service at keen prices.
Phone Chris de Wet, Distinguished Data, 0252 850311.

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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.
Editors: Margaret Insall and Sue Palmer.
Production: Jo Evans & Chris de Wet.
Collation & Distribution: Janet and George Hedger, Edwin Chappell and Helpers.
Editorial Office: 20 Chart House Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hants. GU12 5LS (0252 26758)
Chairman: Robin Higgs, 18 Barnsford Crescent, West End, Woking, Surrey, GU24 9HX. (0483 857314)
Vice-Chairman: David Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU13 9SW. (0252 617364)
Hon. Treasurer: Nigel Parsons, 14 The Piccards, Chestnut Avenue, Guildford, Surrey GU2 5DW. (0483 571709)
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley, Wincombe Cottage, Broad Oak, Odiham, Hampshire, RG25 1AH (0256 702109)
Membership Secretary: Edwin Chappell, The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashtead, Surrey, KT211QR. (0372 272631)
Working Party Organiser: Peter Redway, 1 Redway Cottages, St. John's Lye, Woking, Surrey GU211SL. (0483 721710)
Dredger Manager: Roger Flitter, 10 George Road, Reel, Hampshire, GU13 9PS. (0252 622956)
Working Party Information: Peter Jones, 54 Wharf Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU12 SAY. (0252 313076)
Special Projects Manager: Stan Meller, 101 Branksome Hill Road, College Town, Camberley, Surrey GUIS 4QG. (0276 32096)
Trip Boat: Tony Karavis, 12 Loddon Road, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 9NT. (0252 549037)
Sales Manager: Bernie Timms, 20 Charthouse Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU12 5LS. (0252 26758)
Mail Order Sales: John Greenfield, 9 Mistletoe Road, Yateley, 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, Rat 5, Fleetwood Court, Madeira Road, West Byfleet, Surrey, KT14 6BE. (09323 40281)
Press Officer: Dieter Jebens, 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 3NJ. (0252 715230)

Typesetting by Distinguished Data — Telephone: Aldershot (0252) 850311
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Last updated April 2005