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GrahamP

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  1. That's why I asked to phone Ivan, because I don't know exactly. It is likely to be one Sunday. Maybe next maybe one of the two to follow. So sorry!
  2. We have a work party needed at Dilham Staithe Cut very soon. It being your part of the world, I wondered if anybody would like to join in? If so, please give Ivan a ring on 01328 862 435. It's one of those things which has become urgent, what with plant growth from spring onwards and so many of us are tied up with Ebridge lock top gates installation that we are feeling just a teeny bit stretched. Graham
  3. The Trust would truly welcome any volunteers. There is much to be done and tyhe more volunteers we have, the sooner it can all be done.
  4. I don't know if it's OK for me to post this, but no doubt it can be removed if inappropriate It would be wonderful if we could meet some of you there.
  5. The locks and bridge holes are 14ft x 60ft nominal. I know because I have measured them) The draught is 4'6" over the sills. The bridge height is 8'6" to the centre of the arch. The 24 ton northern broads wherries were no more than 50ft x 12'6" (some, mainly those going to Antingham, were only 18 tons), so there were rubbing bars in the locks, which reduced the beam by about a foot. I THINK they were a retro-fit, but I cannot be sure.
  6. Honestly SPEEDWELL, it just isn't possible to say. If I were to have my way it wouldn't be long at all. However, there are problems to solve. The most challenging of these is the full re-watering of and public access to the 2 lengths between Honing and Briggate and Briggate to Ebridge. That's not something appropriate for me to discuss on a public forum. I am confident that travelling the length between Bacton Wood and Royston Bridge is imminent. Then there is the matter of having Royston Bridge restored or replaced, because it has been lowered. NCC say they will do that when they can afford so to do. I am of the view that once the section from Bacton Wood to Swafield is re-watered, that won't be too long. Let's face it, they will have to be portaging the weed-cutter, at least, till they do. That will give us about 2.6 miles from Ebridge to Swafield. There is already the 2.24 mile bottom end from Wayford to Honing, which is increasingly passable, thanks to Luke Patterson, 2.6 miles thanks to Laurie Ashton, so that's 4.84 miles ish., who has built a full set of lock gates and major brickwork at Bacton Wood, only leaving 2.9 miles and 2 locks to get sorted, once the above are all up and running. My feeling is that what has been achieved so far is a good indicator of the long term possibilities. The only problem is that I cannot promise anything. What you may like to note is that, as examples of what can be and has already been achieved is that Bacton Wood Lock has been restored by Laurie, NWDCT are fitting new Top lock gates at Ebridge lock on 2nd July, all being well (I will post a photo of some of the brickwork we have done, in the past few weeks there), there are plans afoot for Bottom Gates at Ebridge in the foreseeable future (maybe even later this year - no promises!), and Laurie has de-silted his 2.6 miles and repaired banks as necessary. If that much can be done, there is no practical reason why the rest can't be. As a boatman regularly boating the Ebridge pound, what I can say is that motor boats at 4mph would do much damage to the earthen banks designed and intended for use by slow sailing wherries. I never travel at more than 2mph and slower in narrow places. There are a number of possibilities. Could motor boaters be trusted to keep speeds to as low as 2mph? That might be OK, with regular bank maintenance (which would have to be done at some cost). If not, either they would have to be prevented from using the canal or be guided by a pilot, perhaps, or perhaps allowed on specified days in groups to share costs. Even then, there would have to be a toll sufficient to pay for the cost of maintenance and pilot's wages. That toll, in today's money, might have to be as much as £12.5 per mile, just to cover the cost of a pilot, unless volunteers could be found every time a motor boat wanted to travel. I'm only thinking out loud! I don't yet have a solution, is what I really mean. Suggestions or ideas welcome! As to canoes and sailing boats, that might be hugely cheaper, because they are both slower and make less wash. Even the smallest ripple cuts some bank away. That's why we have to be so careful. Of course, encouraging reeds in the banks mitigates to an extent, but before you know it, they go all the way across and have to be managed.
  7. I have now had the opportunity to ask our Chairman for the official North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust line on this question. It is as follows:- The NW&DC is a privately owned Canal, with four different ownerships. The Trust is working with the various owners to aid them with their plans to encourage more use of the Canal. The Lower Canal was sold by the NWCanal Co. in 1981 and is owned by Bindwell, who offer permissive access to private users and are working to improve access to boaters, in particular kayaks and canoeists, plus the provision of moorings for private craft, along their length. Additionally they have provided the provision of portaging points around the NWCCo's Honing Lock, and have also undertaken bushing and the removal of fallen trees so as to enable easier access for users. All of these works require funding, but do not generate income. The NW&DC had always been a Canal that has encouraged both pleasure as well as commercial traffic. Edward Press converted six wherries for pleasure use in the late nineteenth century, and the Sale Particulars of 1907 also emphasised this aspect. In those days tolls were collected first at Tonnage Bridge and later at the Honing Lock Cottage. Today's Canal Owners still have the legal right to charge tolls, which is reasonable - one pays to take one's car onto a private car park or visit a National Trust property. I have an EA Boat licence for the Great Ouse, but have to pay a toll to the River Cam Commissioners to travel towards Cambridge. However, to employ a tollkeeper would not be economical. In the case of the Lower Canal, Bindwell have set up an honesty box, and ask users to donate for use of their section of the Canal - a voluntary toll. For your information - this is the sign at the Canal's entrance: This allows you to access the Lower Canal, with a diversion to the East Ruston Branch - where , luckily, the Butcher's Arms has just re-opened and would welcome you to that village.. Alternatively/also you can continue to Honing Lock and make use of Bindwell's portaging points to access the Middle Canal. Passing the Canal Camping site (www.canalcamping.co.uk) at Dilham you can then turn right, after Dee Bridge, into Honing Staithe Cut (2.4 miles).The Cut was restored by the Trust some ten years ago, and recently the Trust, working in conjunction with the NWCCo, the owners, have returned to undertake some remedial work. It's also a good place to stop and picnic before your return journey. The toll jetty is on the left, with a notice, as you approach Tonnage Bridge. Suggested Tolls are £4 per canoe. Unfortunately, hire canoeists were not paying the tolls, and alternative arrangements with the hire company fell through. So you will need to bring your own craft.
  8. I am Graham Pressman. I am boating Officer for North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust and a trustee. The Trust is concerned that in due course, the canal can be re-opened. Until that time can come, we are working with owners and the public to slow or prevent any further deterioration of the structures and to repair structures where we can. An example of that is the work currently underway at Ebridge lock, where we are replacing the top pai of lock gates. The section roughly between Ebridge lock and Swafield bridge in owned by The Old Canal Company. That company have de-silted the entire length between Ebridge lock and Bacton Wood lock and Bacton Wood lock itself is nearly completely restored. It has been a huge undertaking and the section, despite being private property has been opened to the public to use at their own risk for the first time in history (this has always been a privately owned canal with some certain, but limited, rights delegated to the public by Act of Parliament). There is more to follow in the foreseeable future. In the mean time, the un-navigable section is available for the public to use, once again at their own risk, for walking, cycling etc. I sincerely hope that all this effort will be appreciated by forum users and would invite any and all who have an interest in the canal to join The Trust to help in it's maintenance from hereon in. As to the section between 100 yards upstream of Old Wayford Bridge and just downstream of Honing Lock, that is owned by Bindwell Ltd. (Luke Patterson). Luke gave me permission to take my tug along his section on the single proviso that he asked me to drop a Toll in his Honesty Box. This I was delighted to do. The Act of Parliament allows the canal owner to charge a Toll and I believe, quite rightly so. The canal cost £32000 to build and costs mint to keep open. Bindwell have cleared a huge number of trees already as can be witness by anybody travelling up to Honing lock. This clearance is expensive and Luke is hoping that if people want to use the canal, they will pay their tolls so that he can continue maintaining things for the benefit of users. He is very aware of every single thing which needs to be done. It is my view that he should be lauded for his efforts, and certainly not criticised. Only by travelling the length will the results of his efforts been seen to be appreciated. I urge boaters to make their deposits in his Honest Box, as he so politely asks. One last thing on that section. There are under water obstacles still and much care must be taken by delicate craft. Navigation is strictly at the boaters' own risk. Speeds must be kept VERY low and there is a high likelihood of meeting a young and inexperienced person in a canoe in a very narrow waterway, coming the other way. PLEASE TAKE CARE! The upper section of the canal was abandoned by Act of parliament around the turn of the 19th century, between, roughly, Swafield Bridge and Antingham. Part of that is now simple farm land. This would be the most difficult and expensive part to restore. The last part that I should address is the section between Honing lock and just below Ebridge lock. This section is owned by North Walsham Canal Company. The Trust is always ready to help them to maintain and repair their walk ways and structures and have done so periodically. Our Wildlife Officer has conducted plant survey for them. The NCWCo. highly values the ecology of it's canal. Anybody wishing to join The Trust can do so at a very nominal fee. our web site is currently undergoing improvements (to be seen some time soon), but the site we already have is incredibly informative. We provide a monthly magazine for members and there are regular Work Party Reports on the web site, so that readers can see what we are doing from the safety of their own armchair. The way to get improvements is to join the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust, discover and check the facts and volunteer to do the work. In particular, our brickie is on the verge of emigrating. Any qualified and/or experience brickie (any adult age), ready to invest some time over the next couple of weeks would be very gratefully welcomed as we pursue the restoration of Ebridge Lock. For those after a more sedate experience, yet still informative, our trip boat runs regularly from Ebridge on a Sunday (Also some Saturdays and BH weekends). Just call to reserve a place or see: https://www.facebook.com/events/1697798087031841/ for a Film Evening or the poster below for boat trips. Our membership form is at http://www.nwdct.org/membership.html
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