News article created on 31 March 2017

London Boating Bulletin: March 2017

The weather's improving and everyone's gearing up for Cavalcade! Our bulletin includes information on how to get down to Little Venice if the closed Brick Lock on the Stort is in your way. And will we see you at the Waterway Forum?

IWA Canalway Cavalcade

Brick Lock on the River Stort: an update

Brick Lock has been closed since 4 January for a reconstruction of the chamber wall. This has not been going as smoothly as we planned. The wall that we’re replacing was not constructed as anticipated and much more had to be removed. This then uncovered issues with the foundations and we have had to re-design our solution in response to these factors.

Our team is working seven days a week to re-open the navigation but the works will not now be complete until May 2017.

We appreciate that this delay risks considerable inconvenience to some boaters and that there are many who planned to attend the IWA Canalway Cavalcade. Therefore, there will be a limited opening of the lock over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend (14 to 17 April).

All boats that wish to pass should contact us by email or by phone on 0303 040 4040 and we’ll put together a timetable that will be published here on 10 April.

To be included in this, we will need to hear from you by 5.00pm on Friday 7 April. Please let us know your:

  • name
  • mobile number
  • email address
  • boat’s name
  • index number
  • direction of travel (are you going down to the Lee or up towards Bishop’s Stortford?)
  • boat width and length
  • dates or times over the Easter Weekend (Friday 14 April to Monday 17 April) that you would not be able to make?

If we confirm to you that you have a booked slot, please make every effort to be there on time.

This limited opening of the lock over the Easter weekend will mean that the works will be delayed by one day and the lock will re-open now on 2 May.

Mooring suspension: Towpath mooring on both sides of the lock will be suspended to facilitate these boat movements. Please see local signs and do not moor here if you are not booked to use the lock.

London Waterway Forum: Spring Forum

Jon Guest, manager of the London Waterway, will be hosting our spring forum at the London Canal Museum on 19 April.

It’s a great opportunity to hear news and views from across your local waterway, taking perspectives from boaters, cyclists, pedestrians, local business owners, residents, anglers and wildlife lovers. If you’d like to come along, please book your place by emailing us. All are welcome, but places are limited. Please book early to avoid disappointment!

Peigi’s Time Out

One of our volunteer lock keepers featured in a March edition of Time Out! Peigi shared some of the canals’ secrets as the guest star in a regular feature called “Things you only know if …”

Nesting birds

Many of you will already have started to think about the risks of birds nesting on your boat. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provides that it is an offence to intentionally take, damage, or destroy the nest of any wild bird while the nest is in use or being built. This means that it would be illegal to move boats which host occupied nests.

In previous years we have raised this issue with Natural England and they have advised that a licence to disturb nesting birds would not be granted for boating activities. Boat owners must wait until the young have fledged and prevent further birds from nesting before moving.

It is obviously very inconvenient if you are living aboard a boat and prevented from moving it for two months or more, as this may prevent you emptying your tanks or filling up with water. We’d advise everyone to think now about how they can make their boat less tempting as a nesting site. For example, a whole tyre as a fender might provide a snug little space just above the water line. How about removing the bottom third? Other spots can be covered with plastic or netting and little windmills or old CDs that catch the sunlight can encourage birds to find a better spot.

IWA's 2017 Canalway Cavalcade

This year’s event is shaping up to be another fabulous weekend. There are events across the Bank Holiday weekend (29 April to 1 May) with the procession of illuminated boats starting at 9.00pm on Sunday 30. Here are some photos from last year’s events to give you an idea of what’s in store:


East London Waterways Festival this August

Apply for a stall at one of our largest waterways festivals in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this August Bank Holiday. The festival is to celebrate the re-opening of Carpenters Road Lock, a 1930s double-gated radial lock, which is the only one of it's kind in the UK. The day will including kayaking, rowing, dance, music, boating and live music. 

We will have over 30 stalls in the south park, including food and drinks, as well as information and activity areas. We welcome stalls which reflect the 1930s era and waterways theme and offer something unique. Please contact us for more information. The deadline to apply is 7 April 2017 

photo of carpenters road lock

Any boaters keen to take part in the cavalcade opportunity around the waterways are encouraged to get in touch.

Canoe litter picks

Come and join Lower Regents Coalition and Moo Canoes for a clean-up on the Regent’s Canal or the Limehouse Cut. All safety equipment will be provided, just wear suitable clothing. If you don't fancy paddling, come and litter pick along the towpath. Volunteers meet at Moo Headquarters which is under the DLR Bridge at Limehouse Basin E14 7JZ. Nearest transport is Limehouse DLR, Branch Road exit:

  • Wednesday April 26 – 5.30 to 8pm
  • Wednesday May 31 – 5.30 to 8pm
  • Wednesday June 28 – 5.30 to 8pm
  • Wednesday July 26 – 5.30 to 8pm
  • Wednesday August 30 – 5.30 to 8pm
  • Wednesday September 27 – 5.30 to 8pm

Idle Women of the wartime waterways

From April you will be able to enjoy a double bill of theatre, poetry and music to whisk you back to the days of World War 2, when a shortage of crews to keep the working boats going brought a new breed of boater to the canal. Young women, later nicknamed ‘Idle Women’, took on the challenge of managing a pair of 72ft narrow boats and 50 tons of cargo.

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the start of the women’s training scheme, Kate Saffin and Heather Wastie will bring Isobel’s War and Idle Women and Judies to waterside (and nearby) venues, recreating the journey the women took (London-Birmingham-Coventry-London). This will start at Bulls Bridge, where there was a historic depot, cruising along the Paddington Arm and Regent’s and then back up to Birmingham, returning with coal deliveries to London in August. Travelling with the show will be historic narrow boat Tench steered and crewed by women. The tour kicks off on 24 April 2017 at Limehouse Cruising Association, followed by performances at:

  • Ragged School Museum (25 April)
  • Canal Museum (26 April)
  • Cavalcade (29 and 30 April)
  • Horsenden Hill (3 May)
  • Hillingdon Canal Club (5 May)

See the website for more information on bookings, venues and prices.

Waterside Moorings - developing new sites in London

You may have seen that works are in hand for new leisure berths at three sites in central London: Bow Wharf on the Hertford Union, Burdett Road on the Limehouse Cut and Matchmakers Wharf on the Lee Navigation. To ensure you’re amongst the first with the latest information, please ensure you’re registered for updates from Waterside Moorings.

Professional volunteer roles

We are recruiting to a number of skilled volunteer roles to support members of our London Waterway Partnership. Please see the links below for further information and how to apply:

Winter moorings over for another year

The Winter Mooring period is coming to an end on 31 March. If you’re a permit holder, we’d like to remind you that you are entitled to remain on the Winter Mooring site only until this date, but not beyond it. The standard 14 day stay time does not apply after your permit expires, so please move on before 1 April. We hope you enjoyed your stay over the winter period, and look forward to seeing you again next year!

Waterways chaplaincy

Chaplains are volunteers from local churches who regularly visit the waterways offering companionship and a listening ear to individuals and businesses.

They are trained volunteers who are very connected with their local communities. They respond to referrals but also proactively ‘come alongside’ boaters in need, especially those with personal challenges.

For more information and to access their support, please visit their website

Boaters: Have you shared your views?

A third of approximately 33,000 licensed boaters on Canal & River Trust waters, will be asked to take part in the annual Boat Owners Views survey that’s happening right now. The survey covers a wide range of subjects and it’s an opportunity to be constructively critical as well as to acknowledge improvements. If you get an invite by email, check your spam folder and take part. If you get one in the post, please don’t bin it with the junk mail. Take the time to take part!

Towpath Taskforce Events

Join us at Towpath Taskforce: 

About this blog

London & South East Regional Bulletin

Sorwar Ahmed is Boating Manager for the Canal & River Trust's London & South East region. He engages with our customers and communities to improve boating serivces and the experience of the waterways for everyone! In this Bulletin he gives a regular round-up of news and views, essential reading for boaters and anyone with an interest in the waterways of London & the South East.

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