Autumn is well and truly here, which means it’s Forum season! This month, read all about our two recent Waterway Forums and the consultation on the draft London Mooring Strategy. We have news on winter moorings and our major works programme, as well as our regular items on volunteering opportunities and improvements to facilities. And, oh, we also ask: what makes a ‘GOODBOATER’?
After many months of engaging with waterway users, surveying the character of our London canals and rivers, and investigating moorings supply and demand issues, we’ve now published our draft London mooring strategy and would like your feedback.
The strategy sets out our approach to addressing mooring needs across the Trust’s London region, from just below Rickmansworth to Slough and Brentford, then across the Regent’s Canal to Limehouse and up the Rivers Lee and Stort to Hertford and Bishops Stortford. We’ve set out our proposals across eight ‘character areas’ covering the region, setting out how we aim to improve mooring services and facilities for boaters of all kinds, promote fair sharing of the waterspace with other users, and create places that can be enjoyed by everyone.
We’re encouraging all waterway users to have their say on the draft strategy. Do you think the proposals will improve your experience of the waterways? Have we missed any opportunities or taken insufficient account of certain needs? What should be the priorities for investment?
We’ve published an online survey where you can have your say until 18 December 2017. Please visit the London Mooring strategy pages on our website for more information on how to get a unique link to the survey or to get a paper copy. All boaters sighted mostly in London over the past 12 months have been sent a direct link to the survey.
We are also holding a consultation workshop where everyone with an interest in the Trust’s London waterways will have a chance to have their say on the draft Strategy. The interactive event will be held on Tuesday 28 November 2017, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at the London Canal Museum, 12-13 New Wharf Road, London N1 9RT. Click here to book your place.
This autumn we held two London Waterway Forums, rather than our customary one in central London, and this proved a great success! The new format, repeating the Forum in two different locations to enable us to meet communities we don’t normally reach, led to more people attending overall. It was great see a range of participants, from boaters moored locally, members of cruising clubs, boating organisations, canoeing and rowing interests, as well as some local community organisations and general canal lovers.
The second part of each event was devoted to break-out groups to explore the issues previous Forums had identified for discussion, i.e. safety, navigation, and ‘experience’. There were lots of practical suggestions about working together to address some of these issues. The great work already being done by communities and boaters across the Waterway was also highlighted, so there’s lots to build on. We’ll be working on how to keep these discussions going through sub-groups of the Forum, so if you’d like to get involved let us know by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org!
Have you noticed the colourful new additions to the waterscape outside Paddington Station’s canal side entrance? These barges will offer a welcome and information centre for visitors to the Paddington Central area, and a floating café/restaurant. The new trading spots were one of the outcomes of the consultation exercise we carried out in 2014, which also saw the introduction of the pre-bookable moorings at Rembrandt Gardens in Little Venice and double mooring on the boardwalk outside St.Mary’s hospital to increase visitor mooring capacity.
The barges add to the vibrant destination taking shape in Paddington, with the Basin’s floating garden recently hosting the Onion Barge in a pop-up market, the electric Go-Boats having had a successful first season and an occasional water taxi operating over the summer to take people from Paddington to Little Venice. Together with the genuine Venetian gondola and electric punt that operated in Little Venice over the summer, these add to the vibrant destination we are trying to create with partners to attract more people to the canals. The London mooring strategy aims to develop a ‘waterspace strategy’ for Paddington Basin and Little Venice to develop an overall plan for how best to make the most of this amazing location.
If you’re subscribed to the national weekly Boaters’ Update you’ll have heard about Damian Kemp’s attempt to compile all the requests he gets for boaty advice into a handy postcard sized note. Damian says that he knows that not all of his readers are seasoned boaters but, even if they are, there’s always something new to learn, for example about an unfamiliar stretch of waterway or a new-fangled gadget.
He asked readers to share their expertise to help other boaters, new and old, with a list of things they’d like to see all boaters doing. Starting with over 70 individual guidelines suggested by boaters, he whittled these down to a list of 10 based on their popularity. Following further feedback he suggested a condensed ‘GOODBOAT’ mnemonic and asked for boaters’ thoughts on it.
After a few tweaks, the final list of good boating advice was:
Go slow before, and during, passing moored boats
Only run your generator between 8am and 8pm and be neighbourly and considerate
On mooring up at busy spots check you haven’t left a big gap and don’t overstay
Don't moor opposite winding holes, on bends, or near to bridges
Bag it and bin it (especially your dog’s) – never fly tip on the towpath
Only stay on a water point or a lock landing when you’re filling up or locking through
Ask to share locks (and the work) and don’t steal those set against you
Take time to check all paddles and gates are shut after you’ve used a lock
With more feedback coming in, Damian’s mocked-up a few different versions to help visualise the end ‘product’.
This second version reflects a suggestion made by quite a few that it should be extended to ‘GOODBOATER’ which enables a couple of further guidelines to be added. Let him know if you like this one the most.
In case you missed it, below each version is a link to express your support for that particular option. Simply click on it and an email will open, then just click send – you don’t have to add anything to the email (unless you want to!).
If you’re visiting the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park by boat, and wish to book passage through Carpenters Road, City Mill or Three Mills Locks, you can now do so by visiting the Licencing link.
A minimum 7 days’ notice is required to make a booking, and bookings can be made more than one year in advance. Passage is available 9am to 5pm every day. As always, you are advised to check the Trust’s stoppages and notifications web pages for any closures before embarking on your journey.
We look forward to welcoming boats regularly into the Park following the successful restoration of Carpenters Road Lock. You can see the final time lapse video of the restoration project here.
If you have any queries in relation to lock bookings in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, please contact Enquiries.London@canalrivertrust.org.uk or call 0303 040 4040.
If you’ve passed through Brentford recently on the Grand Union you may have noticed some new electric charging points appearing on the towpath at the visitor mooring. These have been delivered through partnership with the developer of the adjacent Brentford Lock West development, and are planned to be made available for all passing boaters to use, providing a fantastic new facility and helping us all play our part in reducing air pollution.
Meanwhile, over in the east end, the first phase of the improvements to the boater facilities at Old Ford Lock on the Lee Navigation are now nearing completion. The Elsan disposal now has its own secure access direct from the towpath (at the side of the facilities building), and the disabled toilet has been refurbished and is awaiting a new secure, Disability Discrimination Act-compliant door. Discussions have also taken place with the adjacent housing developer about improvements to the refuse facilities, so there’s much more to come at Old Ford!
Our volunteer lock keepers have been busy all summer keeping the lock area and new community garden at the Stonebridge Lock Waterside Centre in Tottenham spick and span. The garden and Waterside Café are proving very popular with local boaters and visitors to the area alike, and a local group has now stepped up to adopt the area. The Stonebridge Lock Coalition brings together local people and groups to look after the area and get more people out enjoying the River Lee and Tottenham Marshes.
However, the Lock area still suffers from unauthorised storage by boaters and general fly-tipping, leading to costly clearance by the Trust and lots of hard graft by local volunteers. To help keep the area clear and lovely for those wishing to use the space, like the Village Butty which recently held an ‘Apple Day’ juice and cider festival, we have introduced a no mooring area alongside the Waterside Centre and the hardstanding at the former Pub site. We hope this will discourage further fly-tipping and unauthorised use of the site, while we work with the Coalition and boating groups to consider new temporary uses. If you’d like to get involved in looking after the area, check out forthcoming volunteer days on the Stonebridge Lock Coalition’s facebook page.
Each month we run 'turn up on the day' practical volunteer events at locations across London and Hertfordshire, known as Towpath Taskforce.
This month’s events include:
Wednesday 15th November 10:00 - 15:30: Adelaide Boatyard, Southall
Saturday 18th November 10:00 – 15:30: Stanstead Lock, Stanstead Abbotts
Wednesday 22nd November 10:00 – 15:30: Mile End Lock, Mile End
For details of these forthcoming events, have a look at our Towpath Taskforce diary or by searching for an opportunity near to you.
We appreciate that given the time of year, boaters need to heat their boats and run engines occasionally to charge batteries. However, we’d like to share just a few polite reminders to make sure we maintain neighbourliness throughout the winter.
Thanks for your consideration!
With winter well and truly on its way with a number of major works proposed over the quieter cruising months, we’re offering a number of moorings for those looking to avoid being stuck on the wrong side of navigation closures.
Have a look at our list of sites available for winter moorings this year. These run from 1 November 2017 to 16 March 2018, finishing ahead of the Easter holidays and the start of the summer cruising season. There are a selection of sites near facilities, as well as quieter spots if you want a bit more peace and quiet. Maps are now available online on our winter moorings page, showing the location and length of each of our sites in the London area, which are all outside central London beyond Kensal Green and Enfield.
The Winter Stoppage season has now kicked off, so do make sure you plan your cruising carefully to avoid being stuck on the wrong side of works. There are 217 ‘stoppages’, or closures of the canal to navigation, being delivered this winter nationwide but these take a break over the Christmas period to enable customers to boat freely over the Christmas and new year period. The pre-Christmas programme runs from 6 Nov-15 December, and the post-Christmas programme runs from 2 Jan-16 March. These include occasions when the canal will need to be closed, sometimes for a short period, to allow third parties like Network Rail to repair or replace bridges which cross our waterways.
In London there are 10 planned stoppages. Please have a look at the map of our London stoppages and make sure you’re not caught out!
While stay times on many of the Trust’s visitor moorings nationwide will be relaxed to 14 days during the winter, in line with the recommendations in our national Short Term Moorings Framework, we don’t propose to relax stay times on the most popular visitor moorings in London.
The Framework’s recommendation is designed to relax rules where there is little demand for short stay moorings over the winter. In London there is a consistently high demand for mooring space, especially at visitor moorings. Many of them are already designated as 14 day, and there is also lots of other mooring space along our towpaths, not just at visitor moorings.
We’ll therefore not be relaxing stay times at visitor moorings in central London, nor at other very short stay moorings in the other parts of the London Waterway region.
The visitor moorings where we won’t be relaxing stay times this winter are:
All those on the Regent’s Canal
Paddington Basin and Little Venice
All 4hr/24hr/48hr moorings
These will have signs indicating that the stay time applies all year. Stay times on all other visitor moorings will be relaxed to 14 days.
Our Customer Support team, based in Docklands, is currently seeking a Customer Support Administrator. Details of the vacancy are here
Sorwar Ahmed is Waterway Boating Manager for the Canal & River Trust in London. He’s engaging communities and developing social enterprises to improve the waterways for everyone! Every month he gives a round-up of news and views, essential reading for boaters and anyone with an interest in London’s canals.See more blogs from this author