No. 175 Summer 1997
We have just enjoyed a glorious Easter, the best for
nine years according to the Meteorlogical Office, and it
has been delightful to see so many boats moving with
purpose on the canal, The John Pinkerton plying its
trade, this time from Ash Wharf over the aqueduct and
through Ash Lock with first indications suggesting it was
a very good four days, Rose and Castle, the resident
Hotel Boats, plying their very different trade, Galleon
Marine boats seen down as far as St Johns and boats
from the Wey busily making their way up and down the
canal. It certainly has been delightful to see the canal
so alive but disappointing to think that this is the high
for the year, with no boats from further afield able to
enjoy what someone once described as
'probably the most beautiful canal in the
country' because of course the canal will
close soon through lack of water. The water
appeal is so important to us all so please do
what you can to help. It is also disappointing
to think that during the winter when, relatively speaking we had a lot of water, that
the canal was closed to navigation due to
annual maintenance requirements and the
rebuilding of Guildford Road (Kings Head)
bridge. This bridge was reopened on time
(and beautifully done it is) but almost as if it
were part of a gantt chart (and on the critical
path) Queens Avenue Bridge is now closing
the canal to navigation except for 30 minute
periods morning and afternoon. Perhaps
there should be a gantt chart produced to
graphically show us all when the canai will be
open and closed.
Picking up on the point of people enjoying the canal it was noticable that a great number of people were out over the Easter weekend, walking and cycling the towpath. Nine out of 10 of them probably not aware (especially in Surrey) of the involvement of the County Councils, local Riparian Councils, Canal Authority and the Society in keeping the canal in good order and available to be used for the enjoyment of all those that care to use it. The canal is financially supported by the County Councils, Riparian Councils and the Society, some to a greater degree than others but it perhaps a time for those that may have hidden financially behind the confines of their council offices to acknowledge that a large number of those whom they represent enjoy the canal and the leisure opportunities it has to offer and perhaps they could do their best in these times of financial constraint to support the canal a little more openly.
We all enjoy the plaudits parents, bosses and those whom we respect. Recently the Canal Authority set up
a meeting between the Society committee and the gentleman who was due to take over from David Dixon as Hampshire's Countryside Officer. The evening had been set and committee were looking forward to meeting the Countryside Officer. It happened that there was a committee meeting the Friday before the meeting, which was scheduled for the following Wednesday at which it was announced that the said Countryside Officer had cancelled the meeting with no reason given to the committee for such cancellation. It is important that the Society works with the County Councils, local Riparian Councils and the Canal Authority and it leaves a pretty sour taste in one's mouth to be stood up at the last minute without, apparently, an explanation or apology.|
Dredging: The replacement of Lodge Copse Bridge near Odiham will enable machines to reach the south side of the canal to allow wet dredging to take place. Dredging from Colt Hill towards Lodge Bridge has already started. After the summer dredging break the activity will continue in the autumn towards the winding hole at King John's Castle. The dredging contracts will be managed on behalf of the BCA by ADAS who will also be carrying out a feasibility study into the dredging of the area between Lousey Moor and Baseley's Bridge looking towards work there taking place in 1998/99.
Mooring Available: Private garden mooring available at Deepcut. Parking is also available. Please contact Mike Smart on (01252) 650789
Canoe for Sale:Contents
Single seat 13' 6" long. Has not been used for some time. Please ring Mrs Bevis on (01483) 765490
|Waterwatch - Fishing||4|
|Peoplewatch - Stan Meller||5|
|Work Party Annual Report||10|
|Work Party Dates||13|
|A Bridge of Beauty||14|
The John Pinkerton operating through Ash Lock over Easter.
Photo - Dieter Jebens.
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The past year has been one of mixed achievements, many issues were resolved whilst others required continued efforts by your committee.
The reconstruction of Kings Head Bridge has been completed (on time). The Bridge has traditional lines, identical to Mytchett Lake Road Bridge. The design is excellent and Surrey County Council Bridges Team should be congratulated on the result of their efforts.
The protracted closures of the canal over many years due to road or bridge works has been frustrating; when water has been available, bridge works prevent through navigation.
Our best information is that this restriction of navigation by bridge reconstruction is the last planned for two years or so, I hope I am proved right!!!
Tenders for dredging the canal between Odiham By≠pass and Whitewater Winding Hole have been returned and adjudication is in progress. Plans are for dredging between the by-pass and Lodge Bridge to be com≠pleted by April and a replacement bridge installed before the autumn. It is intended that Lodge Bridge to the Winding Hole is dredged starting this autumn.
It has taken almost three years for dredging to recommence at Odtham, planning consents for Lodge Bridge were only obtained in December 1996 after two applications and detailed consultation between Parish Councils, District Councils, B.C.A. and ourselves.
The water supplies for the Summit Pound need to be in the order of 1 million gallons a day if evaporation and transpiration losses in hot summers are compensated for. This is a significant volume of water and investigations into potential sources of water have not yet identified any reserves of this order. A study by Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick in the Ash locality has identified some water. An abstraction licence in summer, when we require the water, is not likely to be granted due to Mid Southern Water Co. abstraction from the same resources. In short, we could have water (of the wrong PH factor) when we do not need it.
The M.O.D. Bourley reservour supply has not been confirmed as being available to the canal, the army seem to be reconsidering their water policy - large bills for the mains water ? Should the supply be made available for the canal then the Society supports the project. With the losses of approximately 1 million gallons a day, the backpumping project for Woodham
will remain viable. Indeed it may initiate other backpumping schemes for lock flights. This is a costly option but will be considered if a summit supply cannot be located and actioned. Planning application for Woodham Backpumping and other works associated with a Heritage Lottery bid [has] been submitted and will be considered by Surrey County Council in April.
Our working parties have been active throughout the year. Hart Towpath works continued with Hart District Council Sponsoring materials and plant hire.
September was kind to us and the dry autumn allowed us to complete towpath resurfacing from the Fox and Hounds to Crookham Wharf. The final weekend was also a public relations weekend for all involved; Hart, B.C.A., Parish Council and Society workers. Other works included access covers and modified Jackhead fittings, Bankside clearance, surveys for Woodham Backpumping and Tugs/Barges renovation.
The 30th Anniversary Dinner was a resounding success and very well attended. The Hall at Brookwood was almost overflowing. Entertainment by Terry Harrison was the painting of a picture of the John Pinkerton at Winchfield, one to see to believe how easy Terry makes it appear. The picture was completed and taken home by the lucky draw winner. The food was excellent and plenty of it, a very good evening and the organisers deserve a vote of thanks from all who attended.
Heritage Lottery Board
An application to the Heritage Lottery Fund is in the final stages of preparation. It will be a phased bid, Phase 1 being for works which can be carried out within a three year period and Phase 2 will include works planned for year 4 onwards. Phase 1 will include Navigational, Educational and Recreational works including Water Supply, Workshops, Mooring Basins and access facilities. Matching funding for a £1.5 million bid will be required. Phase 2 will include provisional sums for additional Water Supply Works, Dredging and Recreational facilities.
A broad mix and partnerships are a requirement for any Lottery Bid, let us hope it is the Basingstoke Canal's turn for a few million pounds.
In conclusion, I wish to thank all members involved for their support and hard work over the last year, especially the Committee. A lot has been achieved and we can achieve a lot more in the years to come.
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To the many members of the angling clubs on the canal who gain great knowledge and expertise from pitting their fishing skills against those of their colleagues, fishing is a demanding activity requiring considerable perseverance and a sound knowledge of the feeding habits and life-style of their quarry.
Fishing on the Basingstoke
Photo - Dieter Jebens
The Basingstoke Canal Angling Association organises the fishing on the canal through 48 affiliated clubs who take responsibility for the fishing in their area, servicing a section of the canal. As the canal is very heavily match fished this entails considerable responsibilify for the environment of the canal. The association has 8500 members 70 per cent of whom are involved in match fishing. The proportion of ladies is increasing, their delicacy of touch tending to make them very successful. Disabled anglers are catered for by the provision of dedicated swims close to access points. Anglers need both an Environmental Agency rod licence and a permit to fish the canal which is obtainable via the clubs or from the cana! centre, Galleon Marine or tackle shops.
The Environment Agency, in conjunction with the BCAA, carries out fish counts every four years which involves brief stunning of the fish in small areas of the canal. From this data the quantity and range of fish in the whole canal can be worked out and compared with the assessment of the optimum number of fish which the water can sustain. It would always be the policy of the fishery officers to stock to a level slightly below this in order to avoid stress to fish in times of unusual circumstances. At the moment, however, the canal is well understocked. Consideration also has to be given to the type as well as the numbers of fish added since fish populations can affect the biodiversity of the canal. Carp and bream, for example, which are bottom feeders can uproot vegetation and also prey on invertebrates on the canal bed including dragon fly larva. Restocking from fish farms takes place every year with mainly small fish being added but wilh some larger ones also included. Pike which are heavily predalory will attack anything moving through the water, other fish, water vole, ducklings or another pike.
There are even records of them attacking swans. They need to be culled in order to maintain the fish balance. This year there will be two culls in April. In 1996 1000 lbs of pike was removed and sold on through an agent mostly to be used for stocking pike lakes. Only fish under 7 lbs are taken out. The larger pike, which tend to be female, eat only once a week and are also useful in maintaining good water conditions by consuming dead and diseased fish. When not hungry they lie in a torpor like state ignoring small fish
darting by. It is also necessary to
transport fish when work on the canal necessitates drainage of a section. They are then lifted and moved to other sections of the canal. Transportation between different waters is heavily monitored by the Environment Agency to ensure that no infection is carried to the new water since existing fish would be lacking in resistance.
As the canal is linked to the running water of the river Wey a close season operates between mid-March and mid-June which allows the fish to spawn in peace. Although fish in a given place will only be spawning for a relatively short period dependent on weather and water clarity this period does cover the most likely times. If also enables vegetation growth and repair to take place along banks and water margins and permits nesting and rearing of young waterbirds without disturbance from fishermen.
The fishing on the canal is supervised by 60 bailiffs who are all volunteers. The clubs also organise working parties, in the close season and at other times, to assist in such varied tasks as tidying bankside vegetation where needed, repairing any trampling damage, assisting the rangers and developing swims for handicapped people to enjoy fishing. It is in the anglers' interest that banks are well looked after to ensure continuity of good fishing. The BCAA, which works closely with English Nature, is starling to put in permanent pegs which anglers will be asked to use. This will ensure that the banks between the pegs are left undisturbed to encourage wild life. Unfortunately problems are occurring through their removal.
Although 5,000 species of fish live in fresh water only 38 species occur in British waters. This small number dates back to the Ice Age, which made most British rivers uninhabitable by fish. The total would be smaller still if it were not for species like Carp and Rainbow Trout, introduced by man for sport and food. Carp, Tench, Roach, Pike and some Chub and Bream are found in the canal. Perch are just about able to survive and tend to decrease and then return depending on the water conditions. Like Pike they are predators living mainly off other fish which they pursue vigorously after lying in wait beneath weed. Grebes, Herons and the occasional Cormorant are the main flying predators. Grebes, being able to consume their own weight of fish in a day, can make a considerable impact on an area of water if even a pair are present. Kingfishers only consume very small fish and are relatively low in numbers. Serious angling requires a considerable expenditure on equipment and it is not unusual for an angler to have several thousand pounds of tackle. Although the most successful anglers will spend a great deal of time developing new techniques and skills and seek to continually increase their knowledge of local waters, the most competent anglers do tend to be those with the best equipment. Pole rods are extensively used and new types of bait investigated. Care has to be taken with some high protein baits to ensure that a large amount is not left in the water uneaten as this can affect water quality. Tensions can run high in some match fishing as, in addition to the natural desire to succeed, rewards from prize money, pools and wagers can be considerable.
The BCAA is pleased to be hosting a National Fishing Match in July. It is a very prestigious event which will require considerable organisation. Details of this are given on page 9.
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PEOPLEWATCH - Stan Meller
Kathy Garrett visits this year's winner of the Robin Higgs Award - Stan Meller.
Stan Meller - Photo Dieter Jebens
Railways are in Stan Meller's blood. Brought up at the knee of Grandfather Frank Meller, father of the railwayman's privilege pass, his early story time memories are of tales of the Great Western Railway. Throughout his apprenticeship as an instrument maker, radar work during the war, a short period in boat building on the south coast and subsequent work as a cost engineer his interest in railways never waned. When in the mid 1960's he moved to Sandhurst he vowed that once he had got to grips with his almost derelict bungalow he would build a model railway in his large garden. Events were, however, destined to overtake this. On February 9th 1975 his friend John Peart suggested he took time off to see the steam dredger Perseverence at work on the Basingstoke Canal. So impressed was he with the dedication of the volunteers that he joined the Society on the spot and thus began 22 years of commitment to the canal. On seeing the mud falling back into the canal from the bank Stan suggested that what was needed was a narrow gauge railway with dumper trucks to take away the dredgings. His idea soon came to fruition and a railway appeared at Colt Hill. It wasn't long before Stan was down to assist and after demonstrating that by better levelling the trucks would stay on the track and the job be done much quicker he started his regime as 'Stan the railway man'. The track was gradually extended until eventually the Society had a mile of track and sidings mostly
obtained from sewerage works. A locomotive from North London came next making the work much easier. Other locos were later borrowed from railway enthusiast Henry Frampton Jones.
With the advent of a tug and dragline crane to help with dredging it was time to move the track to the Deepcut flight where over 1,000 tons of material for building the
locks were transported. The railway proved to be essential to the restoration programme since road access was not possible to the upper locks. In 1980 the track was yet again moved to the Ash Embankment where
14-15000 tons of clay were
carried along the
embankment to replace clay scoured out during the 1968 breach.
During all these years the railway was very much a family affair with Stan's valiant small team being greatly assisted by the enthusiastic work of his teenage sons Andy and David starting them on their journey to successful careers in engineering. Stan's devotion to his track continued even after work on the canal ceased as he was determined to ensure that every bit went to sites where it would again be put to use and not sold for scrap, a task now completed.
Although Stan feels that he will best be remembered for his work on the railway his support for the Society was far from ended with the termination of the railway work. He was asked by the then chairman Robin Higgs to prepare a case for the re-opening of the tunnel which
involved two years research investigating both the engineering possibilities and the environmental issues involved in restoration to full navigational standard. This culminated in the two-volume report "The Basingstoke Canal - Greywell Tunnel to Mapledurwell Restoration"
completed in 1989 with the help of Stan's
Amstrad computer. It is a source of deep disappointment to Stan that in spite of all the Society's hard work the right case could not be made to the Nature Conservancy Council to allow the restoration of the tunnel to go ahead.
Of great interest to Stan was the knowledge that the hull of the narrowboat Seagull was sunk in Brickworks Arm and that the engine, after an unsuccessful attempt to salvage it in the 2nd world war, lay under the mud beneath the water. When Robin had managed to get the top part of the engine out Stan organised working parties to clear away the mud to retrieve the rest. It was taken for exhibit to the waterways museum at Stoke Bruerne. Attention then fell to the boat itself and after shovelling out 15 tons of gravel it was discovered that it was a rare longbottom hull built with 70 foot lengths of elm . Unfortunately resources were not available to mount a full rescue and the hull lies there still.
Stan was involved from the start in the aqueduct project. Believing that an aqueduct could be achieved as cheaply as the proposed 6 locks, 3 down and 3 up he again researched and wrote papers on the costings and engineering involved. This required, as in much of his work, liaison with other canal authorities and engineers. The time which Stan was willing to give to the pursuance of this project was crucial in the canal gaining a structure of which John Pinkerton would have been proud.
When the plan to rebuild Guildford Road Bridge in an inappropriate way was mooted Stan's expertise was again called for and he wrote a paper making the case for rebuilding as a single carriageway. After a number of designs had been put forward without agreement being reached Stan suggested that a bridge similar to the new Mytchett Road Bridge be built and used his undoubted skills in people management to bring all interested parties into line and so the canal has a new strengthened bridge which continues in the tradition of the old and will give pleasure to those who cruise or walk the canal for many years to come.
Stan is keen to point out that throughout his projects for the canal he was supported by a marvellous team of friends and colleagues without whose assistance he could not possibly have achieved all that he did. He is
particularly grateful to David Junkison for his assistance with drawings, Adrian Birtles for advice on pumping water, the Helliwell brothers as part of the railway team and many others.
Although he is relinquishing his post as Special Projects Manager he will continue to advise those who follow after him. He gains pleasure from having been in a position to assist with the restoration of a 200 year old civil engineering masterpiece and when walking down his favourite part of the canal, the Deepcut Flight, can be proud of the support his railway was able to give to the volunteers rebuilding the locks and grateful for all the friends he has met on the canal. There remain two things he would really like to see. One is that the Seagull should be raised so that this crucial piece of history is not lost and the second is that a complete history of the restoration of the canal should be written. In the hope that this will happen Stan is donating his records to the archives.
Stan's organisational skills have not only been appreciated by the Canal Society. For many years he ran the EMI motor club organising events and rallies around the country. He has also, since 1985, been secretary of the Southern Canals Association, an informal association of waterway restorers which has been crucial in the exchange of ideas between organisations. Now he is involved, together with Eileen his wife who has been such a support throughout all his endeavours, in politics and the local hospital whilst still finding time to write chapters of the autobiography he is compiling for his family and to assist neighbours with their problems. As he so succinctly says "Somehow we get involved in things". Stan's enthusiasm for people will ensure this is always so. We of the Canal Society have much to thank him for. We are grateful for all his years of service and wish him well.
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A big thank you to all those members who have renewed their subscriptions and an extra thank you to those members who have included a donation. The Treasurer is especially grateful! Anyone who has overlooked their renewal - I look forward to receiving your subscription soon.
Please let me know if there are any problems or mistakes with your address label. Also, if it is not complete (i.e. no postcode), please let me have details and I will update my records. I would like to ensure that the membership records are as accurate as possible.
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Boating and Caravanning Bits and Pieces
At the Henley Water Festival Sunday 24th August from 09:00 to 13:00
A boat and Caravan Jumble
to be organised by the I.W.A. Guildford and Reading Branch
Pitches are available at £18 per pitch (£5 discount for I.W.A. Members)
For details please contact Roger Penny (01483) 564076
Alternatively, if you have any boat and caravan
bits and pieces that you no longer want and a
pitch is not for you why not DONATE them to the
I.W.A. Guildford and Reading Branch for sale at
the Henley Festival Boat & Caravan Jumble Sale
contact Tony Firth, Hon. Secretary I.W.A.
Guildford and Reading Branch 37 Foxhurst Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot,
Hants GU12 5DY (01252) 25831
who will arrange collection
ALL PROCEEDS IN SUPPORT OF THE
BASINGSTOKE CANAL BACK-PUMPING
Galleon Marine: The January edition of Waterways World included a review of boat hire fleets on the River Wey and Basingstoke Canal in which Gordon Muchamore's Galleon Marine fleet featured. I am sure that all who have boated on the canal will agree with trie reviewer that the canal provides "the perfect antidote to modern living", the opportunity to "relax among the lilies, the kingfishers and endless dragonflies" and to enjoy a "level of peace and tranquillity which is becoming harder to find". Long may it last. The same edition also included a picture of Basingstoke Canal Boating Club boats in Mardie Lock on the Canal d'Orleans last September.
Folkwise: Those of you have enjoyed the theatre productions on the canal may be interested to know that a new touring company specialising in songs of the waterways will be touring the canals this summer. The songs will be accompanied by modern and archive slides and illustrate the history and changing uses of the canal system. The show is entitled "They're Coming Back to the Water".
Canoe Challenge: The canal will be alive with canoes on June 29th when the Westel Tourist Trial takes place at Mytchett. The trial offers both a challenge to those who are keen to paddle long distances in record times and also an opportunity for others to enjoy a gentle touring paddle in lovely surroundings. We hope that visitors for this event will enjoy the experience and come again.
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4 Wise Men: Left to right: Dick Elder (Chairman BCBC), Tony Davis (IWA Reading & Guildford Branch Chairman), Brian Percy (JWA Central Southern Region Chairman) and Peter Redway (SHCS Chairman} discussing a critical point with the plans for back pumping at Woodham in front of them at a recent Canal Society committee meeting.
I have read the letters from John A. Davies in recent issues of your magazine. He appears to be suggesting that the restored canal should be used only for light unpowered boats, rather than the motorised craft which are widely used elsewhere on the canal system, and that he believed when he joined the Society that this was in line with their thinking.
When I 'cut my teeth' on London WRG volunteer working parties on the Basingstoke Canal in the early 1980s it was never suggested to us by anyone in the Canal Society that we were doing anything other than restoring the canal for boats and - this being the latter part of the twentieth century - this meant typically steel-hulled, powered, narrowboat-style pleasure craft. True, there would be nothing to stop people from enjoying the canal in small craft, and in other ways such as fishing. However, the very fact that over 90% of the work carried out by my group was demolition and reconstruction of lock chambers to a standard that would enable them to cope with the typical traffic carried on olher canals suggests that this (whatever the arguments for or against it) was what we - and SHCS - had in mind.
To suggest that SHCS did not make this clear to its members represents an attempt to re-write history, or alternatively an implicalion that SHCS was widely deceitful towards its membership. I know which of these I believe.
If Mr. Davies - and any who supports his views - had put their case convincingly
in the 1980s, perhaps the enormous waste of volunteer effort and fund-raisers' money expended on the rebuilding of navigation works could have been prevented, and our efforts could have been better used elsewhere, either on 'improvements' that would be of more benefit to Mr. Davies' suggested users, or more likely on the many other canals that were in need of assistance at the time.
And perhaps, now, instead of his rearguard action on the Basingstoke Canal, Mr. Davies should be trying to persuade the Wey and Arun, Thames and Severn, Wilts and Berks and all the others to abandon their expensive and time-consuming reconstruction of navigation structures that will mainly benefit those in powered craft. Or would he rather wait until they too have finished their restorations before he puts his 'oar' in?
Waterway Recovery Group 'Navvies' magazine
Volunteers Required at Visitor Centre
Basingstoke Canal Visitors centre is looking for volunteer assistance to enable public opening for six days a week from Easter to the end of September.
If you are interested in meeting people, gardening or helping at the Visitors Centre, we would love to hear from you. We welcome assistance from local people of all ages who can assist for a few hours during the week and at weekends. Our opening hours are 10:30 -17:00 Tuesday - Sunday. Please contact Jo Pocklington on (01252) 370073 or write to The Basingstoke Canal Visitors Centre, Mytchett Place Road, Mytchett GU16 6DD.
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II has been an eventful six months for the John Pinkerton. The Society's trip boat has been out of action for its winter refit program which has, this year, been undertaken at the Canal Centre by Ron McLaughlin and Bill Homewood and their team. It looked like a bomb site a week or so before the annual inspection which it passed. although we now have to have a test to prove that it will not 'turn turtle' should everyone run to the same side of the boat. The first trip of the year was on Good Friday and the boat looked spic and span; an excellent example of volunteer work for the Society; there must have been a lot of midnight oil burned.
The Easter trips this year were run from Ash Wharf; every trip ran across the aqueduct and through Ash Lock and return. After an absence of some seven or eight years it is pleasant to report that business was brisk and it was one of the best bank holiday weekends for the John Pinkerton for many a year. Let's hope the rest of the year is as positive.
The John Pinkerton will be operating from Colt Hill, Odiham from now until 30th June with the exception of the odd trip from the canal centre for local Council trips and the early May Bank Holiday trip to the Wey Navigation and return. From the first of July operations will move to the Barley Mow at Winchfield from where we will operate until the close of the season in early October.
As usual there will be members evenings every Tuesday at 7:00pm for 7:30pm, initially from Colt Hill and from 1st July from the Barley Mow at Winchfield. Do come along and enjoy a free trip on your boat. You will be encouraged to find out more about crewing but that is a not a pre-requisite and if you just want to enjoy a peaceful summer evening cruise you will just as welcome. No need to book - just turn up.
National Angling match on the Basingstoke Canal
The National Angling Championships will be contested on the Basingstoke Canal on Saturday 5th July when 1,200 anglers will line the towpath from Odiham to Mytchett for what is the biggest angling match of the year in Britain.
The National Angling Championships is primarily run by angling's governing body, the National Federation of Anglers with the help of local Associations like The Basingstoke Canal Angling Association. The anglers will be allotted positions at [21 yard] intervals along the canal towpath which is split into 12 sections of 100 anglers. Each team will have one angler in each section. The winners will go home laden with silverware and no doubt a wad of dosh and will feel very happy at conquering an alien venue and competing in such a wonderful event.
Competing teams are travelling from all over the country from as far away as Grimsby, Crewe, Doncaster and Gloucester to name just a few that have made contact with the BCAA. Many teams will come down 'blind' just for the day out and for the thrill of taking part in a National. Many more will take it seriously enough to come and practice and attempt to get an insight into the methods and baits that will win them the championship. Local business is set to profit with many of the teams already booked into hotels and guesthouses in and around the canal.
For the majority of anglers the day will start very early as they make their way to the match headquarters, which is sited at the Canal Centre, in time for an 8am draw. The anglers are then transported to their allotted section by 50 coaches, it's then 5 hours of head down, unblinkered concentration as they watch for the merest indication of a bite on their floats.
Spectators on foot will be welcome along the towpath provided they are reasonably quiet and are respectful of any requests made by the competitors. Bikers and boaters will be respectfully requested not to use the canal during the match to avoid any confrontation.
For us this match marks the pinnacle of many years of hard graft and expense in reaching a level where the canal is considered capable of holding such a large competition. Over the years many thousands of pounds, £5,000 this year alone, have been spent on stocking fish into the canal and many matches have been run to prove the canal's suitability as a national venue. If this proves to be as successful as we anticipate it to be then this is an event which could be repeated every two or more likely every three years. Well ! - This was edited from a 'press re≠lease' from BCAA. If anyone has any comments, as I am sure they will, please send them to the Editor.
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Our regular working parties have carried out a wide range of work during the past 12 months. A significant amount of this work involved partnerships with Riparian Districts and the BCA. The undoubted success of the years work reflects the commitment of our Working Party Leaders and Organisers.
With the closing down on the Community Action Teams we lost a valuable resource, commitments for towpath improvements have been made and our work parties responded to the challenge magnificently. Our target, which we achieved, was the resurfacing of the towpath from the Fox and Hounds in Fleet to Crookham Wharf. This section has limited usable road access for material deliveries due to narrow roads and bridges with weight restrictions. The same traditional bridges prevented the movement of machinery along the full length of the towpath.
Two four day wekends per month were arranged with the delivery of plant and materials on the Friday and early start was normally possible on Saturdays and Sundays; Mondays were 'off hire' days and available for moving equipment back to base.
Materials were delivered to the Coalpens in Fleet for transhipment along the towpath. The first section to be upgraded was Coxheath Bridge to Coalpens followed by Coxheath Bridge to the Fox and Hounds. This latter section required the use of the public highway and full use of safety signs and beacons.
Materials were tipped from dumpers, levelled and consolidated by the towpath team using vibrating rollers and by this time the next load was being tipped.
West of the Coalpens double handling of materials was required with the tug and barges being used to transport the materials by water.
The swing bridge at Zebon Common was used as the off-loading wharf with the dumpers working eastwards towards Malthouse Cutting and westwards towards Poulters Bridge with an excavator loading the barges at the Coalpens. Unloading operations then moved to Poulters Bridge for the final work from Poulters Bridge to Crookham Wharf.
The dry autumn was a bonus for us
as our final work party and PR
event took place just before the
The PR event was in recognition of the
support and efforts of all involved in the project. Hart District Council sponsored
the materials and plant hire, the BCA as partners for the Greywell section and ourselves for volunteer labour. Parish Councils and other interested parties were also represented.
Thanks are due to Charles Hicks and Dave and Rosemary Millett for their support on the day and for providing refreshments.
Sapper required major engine repairs due to a cracked cylinder head and overheating problems. The engine room and superstructure were repainted.
The need for moving barges in support of the towpath work imposed a deadline for completing repairs and the testing involved collecting a barge from Winchfield and returning it to Fleet. This operation confirmed the need for clutch adjustments and after this minor maintenance a total of three barges were used for moving materials.
Our second tug Pledge is out of the water at Ash Lock aat requires extensive repairs including an engine de-coke, new propellor shaft, stern gland and rudder bearings. It is intended to repaint Pledge in the same colours as Sapper.
Sparkle has been a source of usable spares and the hull has been donated to the BCA as a visitor attraction.
Safety checks on commercial craft are being introduced in 1998 and some modifications will be required. Sapper will also need similar modifications before 1998.
This work requires fitting a modified jackhead bracket and cutting a rectangular hole in the slab over the culvert. The cover is then recessed into the slab providing a flush fitting above the culvert shaft. Any debris blocking the culvert can be removed from above via the access cover saving time compared with inserting stop planks and draining the water above the cill. Modified windlass spindles are also being fitted to the jackhead to ensure that standard windlasses will fit the shaft and prevent a potential hazard.
Negotiations between Boats for the Handicapped, John Pinkerton, the Society and the BCA with Galleon Marine for an off-bank mooring below Galleon Marine reached verbal agreement in January. Madam Butterfly charters were available from Easter; our work parties started in January and the Madam Butterfly mooring was available the weekend before Easter!
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Water Appeal Draw 1997
Please remember to sell the raffle tickets sent to you with the AGM mailing and return the counterfoils and money as soon as possible. There are plenty more tickets available amd a special prize will be given to the member selling the most. So do not delay - contact Edwin Chappell today and order your extra tickets. There is no limit to the number of tickets you can order!
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Its is some three years since David Millett retired as Society Chairman and we are grateful for his countinued interest in canal related topics.
20 Years Ago - Items from The Society Newsletter
The Trip Boat Appeal has reached its original target, £10,300, including the donation of an engine worth £2,000. Hancock and Lane started work on the hull on 10 March 1977 and delivery, complete with engine expected in six weeks.
Society's application for a grant under the Job Creation Programme has been approved by the Manpower Services Commission. Valued at £34,633 plus £775 for running costs and transport, this meant faster progress on restoring the Deepcut flight of 14 locks where volunteers have been working since 1975.
Jobs being created were for a Supervisor, wages clerk, six craftsmen and eighteen young school-leavers for a period of 26 weeks. Frank Jones, the Society Working Party Organiser became the Supervisor. Materials and Clerk of Works were the responsibility of Surrey County Council.
Army plan to construct a Bailey Bridge and re-open Curzon Bridge (Lock 25) criticised by Society. Such a structure would be alien to the environment and prevent access to the towpath for restoration work.
At the Society AGM, Robin Higgs, Chairman, said "1977 must be the year of the beaver. From the 1976 groundwork and restoration would proceed apace".
Steam dredger Perseverance had reached Whitewater winding hole and had returned to Colt Hill to start work eastwards.
Major equipment obtained during the year included two mud boats, two draglines, one locomotive, one van and two tugboats purchased with assistance of £1,000 donation from Johnson Wax.
Surrey Council Council publish their Restoration Plan.
Lock 25 completed.
IWA (Guildford and Reading Branch) publish their report on how the restored canal through Woking could contribute to the life of the community.
Hampshire County Council call for views on their Consultative Document on how the canal should be operated after restoration and the provision of facilities on the Hampshire section.
Dates For The Diary
Sat July 19th - Fleet Canal Carnival at Reading Road Wharf and Fox and Hounds, Fleet. Stalls, entertainments, refreshments, bar, sales stand, boats, canoes etc. etc. Decorated boat
procession (afternoon), illuminated boat
Details: General- (01252) 623246
(Doug Morgan) or (01252) 617364
Boat entries: (01252) 25384 (David
Sun August 17th - The annual visit by the Mikron Theatre Company to the garden of the Fox and Hounds, Crookham Road,Fleet. 7.30pm. The performance this year will be a new show (not yet named) about the Newbury Bypass project. The show will look at all
aspects of the argument, the protesters who built the community in the trees and
the people who passionately believed in
the necessity of the road. In Mikron's own inimitable style, with songs, humour
and thought-provoking drama, they will also examine the validity of environmental protest. The show will be sponsored by the Society but your support is needed as Mikron, with diminishing arts council and other grants, cannot exist without bodies on the grass and the subsequent collection at the end of the performance.
PLEASE COME ALONG AND SUPPORT THE CAST AND
HAVE AN ENJOYABLE
SUMMER EVENING. BRING
RUGS/FOLDING CHAIRS OR
JUST SIT ON THE GRASS.
Canal Ranger Ted Harding Retires
After 22 years working on the Basingstoke Canal Ted Harding, who lives at Odiham, has hung up his boots, and retired.
Most members will have met Ted at one time or another working on the canal, his patch being mainly the Crookham to Greywell section. Ted has seen the canal change from dereliction to a working waterway and has supported the Society volunteer work in Hampshire over the years including the steam dredger Perseverance.
Ted was normally involved with regular maintenance work including towpath improvements and leading guided walks. Ex Navy man Ted was appointed originally for his steam experience as it was thought in the early days of the restoration that canal staff could operate the Perseverance during the week and volunteers would operate it at the weekends. In practice, this idea did not work and Ted learnt new skills using chainsaws, driving excacators and dumpers, and in the early days, installing dams across the canal.
"Now feels like the right time to retire", commented Ted,now 65, "but I will continue to poke my nose into canal business. Looking back how much the canal has improved makes me feel like I helped to achieve something in my work".
Ted had a dry sense of humour and he was easy to get along with, be they canal staff or volunteers.
Both the Society committee and members offer Ted best wishes for a long and happy retirement.
Applications to establish a chicken farm for egg production and including large buildings were submitted to Hart District Council some months ago. This would have been free range type production and would have been visible from the canal and towpath near the area of the silf dump both behind the towpath to the west of it and in the field to the east behind the towpath hedge. The Society, Odiham Parish Council and the Odiham Society together with the IWA and the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club objected to these applications as potentially harmful to the Canal Conservation Area as the visual amenity would be greatly affected. In addition it would have an impact on parts of Odiham Common. There were also worries about flies and smells with 8,800 hens on the two fields, and noise from the egg production units.
In March Hart DC refused the applications without even having a site visit by the planning committee, but it will have to be seen whether the applicants lodge an appeal to the DOE.
Work Party Dates and Venues
Work Party Leaders
Dave Junkison DJ|
Kevin Redway KR
Dave Lunn DL|
Peter Redway PR
|17 May||Tugs and Barges, Ash Lock||KR/PR|
|23/24/25/26 May||Fleet Towpath||PR/DJ|
|31 May/1 June||Tugs and Barges, Ash Lock||KR/PR|
|6/7/8/9/ June||Fleet Towpath||DJ/DL|
|21/22/23/24 June||Fleet Towpath||PR/DJ|
|5/6 July||Slades Bridge||PR/DJ|
|11/12/13/14 July||Fleet Towpath||DJ/DL|
|19/20 July||Tugs and Barges, Ash Lock||KR|
|19/20 July||Slades Bridge||PR|
|25/26/27/28 July||Fleet Towpath||PR/DJ|
|2/3 August||Tugs and Barges, Ash Lock||KR|
|2/3 August||Slades Bridge||PR|
|8/9/10/11 August||Fleet Towpath||DJ/DL|
|16/17 August||IWA National Rally, Henley||DJ/DL/PR|
|22/23/24/25 August||IWA National Rally, Henley||DJ/DL/PR|
As always, please check with the Work Party leader before turning up or call Peter Redway on (01483) 721710
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Dieter Jebens has a close look at the new Guildford Road Bridge
The new Guildford Road Bridge at Frimley opened in April ending seven years of controversary over its design in which the Society has been a major influence.
The old bridge had a 3-ton weight limit and restricted width. It lost its brick arch when the army replaced it with steel joists in the early 1900s. A sewer pipe defaced the southern aspect of the bridge and it was overhung by self-seeded sycamore trees. A new bridge presented an opportunity to recreate it as feature at an attractive point on the canal where rowing regattas were once held.
Initial design concepts for a replacement bridge, including a dual carriageway, were for a modern, utilitarian structure to take vehicles up to 40 tons. But the local community objected vehemently to SCO's design proposals which were considered to be out of keeping in a conservation area, including the Society which wanted the replacement to reflect the canal's heritage. Finally, civil engineer Adrian Saines, formerly with SCC, came up with a structure combining modern technology with a traditional design.
The load bearing arch is constructed of reinforced concrete, faced with Ockley bricks, Sarsen
stone and hand-made
capping bricks surmounting the parapets
to replicate John Pinkerton's original design
built 200 years ago.
The engineers even used the principle of Pinkerton's 100ft line to recreate the identical vertical and horizontal ellipses which, apart from being visually pleasing, help give the bridge strength.
When the old bridge was demolished the Sarsen stones, last quarried locally 150 years ago, were numbered and stored so that they could be replaced in the same position. Along with Mytchett Place Bridge, this is the only other one on the canal incorporating Sarsen stone which the local landowner insisted upon when the canal was cut. In building the new bridge, construction contractors Coffey
Les Toller working on the bridge
Photo Dieter Jebens
employed stonemason Les Toller to
undertake the exacting recreation work. Additional stone was needed for the abutments. By good fortune, sufficient material was discovered beneath the bridge when it was demolished. Les
dressed the new found stone, using traditional stonemason's tools including bolster, plugs and 'feathers' to split them to size and pitching tool and
points to cut the required angles. Since the best quality Scottish steel, preferred for stonemason's tools, is now largely exported to America, railway pinch bars are recycled by Crawfords of Crawley to make tools capable of cutting the hard stone. Even so, Les got through 42 sets of cutting tools.
He started by laying the four key stones at each corner of the arch and then laid courses of Sarsen stone, using a traditional mortar mix of lime and water, downwards to the base of the bridge, before building upwards. He also laid the large mooring stones along the top of the wing walls.
The finished bridge is a credit to SCC's engineers in designing a structure which meets today's traffic demands while retaining an image of the past, and to Coffey's craftsmen who took pride in creating what is now one of the most attractive points along the canal. The result is also a satisfying outcome for Stan Meller, the Society's special projects manager, who put in a great deal of time and effort to achieve a bridge of beauty.
The new bridge being built over a dry canal|
Photo Dieter Jebens
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A Regal Waterway ?|
Those attending the January talks evening were privileged to hear consultant archaeologist Steven Dyer describe his recent detailed survey of the site of Henry VIII's Woking Palace on Old Woking Stream. The site was surveyed using sound waves to assess the size, shape and scale of the original building whilst silt from the moat, which was fed by the River Wey, was also analysed. It is thought that regular flooding may have resulted in the palace losing favour amongst the royals and by the time James I granted it to Sir Edward Zouch in 1621 it was already badly neglected. Zouch then pulled down most of the buildings and used the materials for a new house on higher land on the site of Hoe Place. Particularly interesting to members was the mention from records of loaded barges docking at jetties on the river and of many royal visitors arriving by water. Divers have recently discovered balks of timber thought to be the remains of the jetties and these will be further investigated.
Storms Delay Routine Work
The February storms resulted in a number of trees falling and blocking the canal. Large trees fell at King John's castle and on Tundry Bank at Dogmersfield where an unfortunate boat was held up for nine hours whilst clearing took place. The rangers were also called out on a number of occasions to remove smaller ones. This resulted in delay to the planned lock gate replacement work. But by end of February the new upper gates had been installed in Lock 19 and Lock 17.
A New Lease Of Life
Have you ever wondered what happens to old lock gates? - well sometimes they visit other parts of the system. It seems that the
lock gates from Weir Brake Lock on the River Avon which are now heading for the Wey and Arun canal were originally on the Thames.
The Society was able to take a stand at the Woking History Festival at the Peacock's Centre in February and displayed plans for the back-pumping of water on the Woodham Flight. Many people expressed interest in the scheme and had tales to tell of their past or present visits to the canal. It was noticeable, however, how few people knew of the problems water shortages have caused and many of those who walk regularly along sections of the canal were unaware that the locks had been closed for lengthy periods. Perhaps we are a little complacent in assuming that our cause is well known and maybe
we should all make an extra effort to talk
to a few new people every week to ensure that the message that the canal needs water if it is to survive is passed on.
Those of you who are active on and around the canal have ample opportunity to note things which may be of interest to other readers. We would be delighted to hear from you if you have any comments to make about sights and sounds along the canal. If putting pen to paper sounds like hard work a phone call is all that is needed. We would also be pleased to receive articles for publication either in our regular columns or as one-off features. If you have something you would like to write about do let us know.
Charges for Cyclists
British Waterways are to introduce a permit system for cycling on the Kennet and Avon Canal from April
1st. A charge will be made and the money collected will be reinvested into towpaths and wardens to monitor the scheme. If successful the pilot scheme will be extended to other canals next year. No doubt the BCA will be watching with interest.
An Example To Follow
The backpumping system installed on the Kennet and Avon Caen Hill Flight has been so successful that from the end of March pre-booking will not be required. This will have a major impact on the working of the canal and is a fine example of the effectiveness of a back pumping system. With maximum effort from everyone our own back pumping scheme will soon be in place.
Boats and the Environment
It was good to see that the cover of Woking Council's Environmental Strategy for the 21st Century has a drawing of a narrowboat cruising a canal between houses and flowers with ducks on the water. Someone believes that boats are compatible with environmental conservation !
From the Basingstoke Canal to the Nile
A March visitor to the towpath in Woking was cyclist Peter Winfield who was training for a [310 mile] bike ride along the River Nile in aid of Mencap.
Award for Terry
Members who saw Terry Harrison's demonstration of painting at the 30th anniversary celebration in the autumn will no doubt support the Fine Art Trade Guild's choice of Terry as best 'Up and Coming' published artist of the year in their 1996 Business Awards. We would like to congratulate Terry and look forward to seeing more of his work.
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Further problems with the pump at Frimley have made it impractical to continue to use the original pump. The BCA are examining the various possibilities for replacing it and meanwhile the boating season has started with a hired pump in place.
Boats for the Handicapped
On March 11th David Gerry gave a most interesting talk on the provision of boats for the handicapped. Stressing that people with disabilities have the same aspirations and motivation as others he showed slides of his experiences whilst taking family members who are wheel chair bound on boating holidays. The slides showed both the problems encountered and the great enjoyment of
the participants as they visited different parts of the system. This set the scene
for a description of the design, specification and building of Madam Butterfly pointing out the fitting out needs such as hydraulic Unsuitable beds and adequate wheel chair space. Slides were also shown of the launching and additional work since completed. The final part of the talk covered the plans for cruising Madam Butterfly this year and also mention of the continuing need for fund raising, both for maintenance
of this boat and for the planned replacement of the day boat Mildred Stocks. It is a cause well worth supporting. The final presentation of the season will be a video presentation by David Freeman of an "Escape to Canada". The sessions have been greatly enjoyed by those attending and as well as providing an informative evening also gave members an opportunity to get to know each other and to exchange experiences. Arthur is already making plans for next season. We hope to see you then.
Another Stoppage ?
Boaters planning journeys from the southern waterways to the BW waterways used to be able to check the stoppages on Ceefax. Following reorganisation of the service this is no longer possible, pages 555 and 556 now containing information about the lottery. A pity when every bit of publicity for the waterways is so essential.
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Copy date for Next BC News: 15th June 1997
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. Executive members of the Committee are shown in bold type and Directors of the Society have an
asterisk (') after their name.
Kathryn Dodington*. Sequoia, Sheets Heath Lane, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey, GU24 0EH (0483) 473630
Kathy Garrett. 122 Lovelace Drive, Pyrford, Woking, Surreyv GU22 8RR (01932) 341993
Chairman: Peter Redway*. 1 Redway Cottages, St John's Lye, Woking, Surrey, GU21 1SL (0483) 721710
Vice-Chairman: Peter Coxhead*. 17 Abbey Close, Pyrford, Woking, Surrey, GU22 8PY (01932) 344564
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley*. Wincombe Cottage, Broad Oak, Odiham, Hampshire, RG25 1AH (0256) 702109
Hon. Treasurer: Jonathan Wade*. 30 Hanover Gardens, Cove, Famborough, Hampshire, GU14 9DT (0252) 524690
Membership Secretary: Edwin Chappell*. The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 1QR (0372) 272631
Working Party Information: Peter Redway*. 1 Redway Cottages, St John's Lye, Woking, Surrey, GU21 1SL (0483) 721710
Trip Boat Manager: Ron McLaughlin. 94 Guildford Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire GU12 6BT (012520 26722
Trip Boat Bookings: Marion Gough. St Catherines, Hurdle Way, Compton Down, Winchester, Hants. SO21 2AN (01962) 713564
Sales Manager: Gill Freeman. 35 Holland Gardens, Fleet, Hampshire, GU139NE (0252) 624612
Mail Order Sales: Alec Gosling. 12 Mole Road, Hersham, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. KT12 4LV (01932) 224950
Exhibitions Manager: David Junkison*. 4 Thames Meadow, West Molesley, Surrey, KT146BE (081) 941 0685
Audio Visual Producer: Arthur Dungate. 187 Ellerdine Road, Hounstow, Middlesex, TW3 2PU (0181) 737 4896
Talks Organiser: Arthur Dungate. 187 Ellerdine Road, Hounstow, Middlesex, TW3 2PU (0181) 737 4896
Press Officer: Dieter Jebens. 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Famham, Surrey, GU10 3NJ (0252) 715230
Archivist: Jill Haworth. Sheerwood, Woodham Lane, Woking, Surrey. GU21 5SR (01932) 342081
Woking Area Director: Peter Coxhead*. 17 Abbey Close, Pyrford, Woking, Surrey. GU22 8PY (01932) 344584
Director: Roger Cansdale*. 79 Gally Hill Road, Church Crookham, Hampshire. GU13 0RU (01252) 616964
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