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GeoffandWendy

North Walsham & Dilham Canal

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Good points / information there Marshy,  I'll have a search round and try to find a name / contact details to ask

Griff

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WOW,

I've just spent about half an hour on the phone with Graham from the NW&DC Trust.  Marshy - The post you put earlier re the landowner being difficult is way off the mark, so was my reply too - Could really do with deleting both of them entirely.

I've leant loads, written a stack of notes and now need to put it together is some sort of order.  There are so many bad rumours / untruths about this canal out in the public media  - makes your eyes water. (Pun intended)

I'm going to have a cup of tea, then start to try and get what I have learnt in order.  I had to stop Graham and stop taking notes about the upper sections - that's for another day - Hugely interesting stuff though

Griff

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Ok, here we go.

Having spoken with Graham from the NWDC Trust earlier this morning  I have hurriedly written down what he told me, there's a lot of it.

Time to put a few rumours to bed once and for all in no particular order:-

Firstly - The long term aim for the trust is to restore the canal from Wayford to Swafield Bridge This is not a rumour but a long term aim.

Secondly - 'There is not enough water available to operate the canal or locks'

Simply NOT TRUE.  There was a statement put out in 1968 that there was insufficient water to operate the canal that was way off the mark.  At present the water flow is 18 tons per minute on average over a 12 month period.  Arthur Walker of Cubit and Walker Millers knew what the situation was with the canal and water capacity.  The water flow was sufficient to run and operate numerous water powered mills, and allow wherries through the locks numerous times per day.  They had sufficient water to operate the mills and locks.  Present day they estimate they could operate a lock every 20 minutes.

Graham informs me that the above is supported by written evidence

More to follow

Griff

 

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Something i`ve wanted to do about the the area ajoining the top of the Ant to the NWDC where there are a lot of trees overhanging, and blocking access, is to simply form a group (call them activists or freedom warriors etc if you want) and simply go there in dinghys / open boats, or whatever, and start cutting those overhanging brunches etc right back. You would also have to check for underwater branches / roots / obstructions etc, but i imagine they would need to be cleared by a professional operation (could someone put me right on that?). But as for the foliage above water, that would be easy enough to do. I know some people would`nt agree with it, but in reality, all we`d be doing is maintaining a level of navigation, but on a volutntary basis, and the BA are always on the lookout for volunteers are`nt they?. I`d even book a weeks holiday off work and join the party, and make it a working holiday.  Certainly be a change from building aircraft interiors in a noisy factory.

As for the branches etc that you cut back, simply put them on land (elsewhere if need be) to form a habitat for wildlife. How environmentally satisfying would that be?.

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A working group clearing overhanging branches? - Sign me up.  'B.A' can be used as a hotel boat

Griff

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2 minutes ago, BroadAmbition said:

A working group clearing overhanging branches? - Sign me up.  'B.A' can be used as a hotel boat

Griff

Why not just do it. Don`t make it too public so party poopers try to spoil it. My only problem is logistical, being over 250 miles away, i`d need some quiet advance notice.

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There are four present owners of the actual canal from Wayford through to Antingham.  Yes they do own the actual canal between them.  Bank side ownership is not an issue on navigation of the canal itself.  There are two big obstructions to getting the waterway operational, one of which is one of the canal owners whom I'm not going to name.  The other being funding of course

The lower section is owned by Luke Pattinson.  An act of parliament in 1812 gives him the right to ask for a toll to be used on maintenance.  He is sympathetic to maintaining the waterway as a navigation but its expensive.  He actively encourages canoes / dinghies to use the section of the waterway up to Honing lock. He charges a voluntary toll of just £4:00 and seeing as it's a couple of hours paddling there / back it works out at just £2 per Hr.   I would suggest if you do use the waterway - Stick more than £4 in the box! All monies raised he uses on maintaining the waterway. There is an honesty box by the jetty at Tonnage bridge.  If that honesty box was to start generating more income then Luke may be able to spend more on tree clearance and the like.  The issue with  hire company is that they discourage their customers paying the voluntary toll.  This has resulted in Luke being non to welcoming with craft from that yard - To me that is wholly understandable.  A machine for the day - Just the machine costs £350 then on top of that there is men, tools, reducing down the offcut material, stacking / drying / burning etc.  That needs a lot of £4 donations!

Not mentioning any business names here please peeps as that may lead to legal difficulties.

Luke has a glamping / camping site near to the banks of the waterway on his land, he encourages clients to use dinghies / canoes to use the waterway

I am informed that the waterway is navigable to just past Tonnage bridge.  However this is at your own risk and you must proceed very slowly / cautiously. Just north of Tonnage bridge is a large tree which is causing an obstruction.  However  dinghies / canoes should manage without difficulty.  Some above and underwater obstructions near to the banks have already been cleared

Griff

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Graham has a steel tug boat called 'John Henry'  He used to do the pleasure boating on the rivers  until he got caught up with the canal restoration and now as no time left for pleasure boating.

A few years ago he took 'John Henry' right up to Honing Lock.  He struggled to get past that tree obstruction (Which is even worse now) but being a steel work boat pushed through,  ran aground once but got going again.  His craft draws 3ft, is 22ft x 8ft.

The airdraft at Tonnage bridge is 8ft 6" to the centre of the arch

Today in dinghies and canoes you can still get up to Honing lock, the only obstruction being 'That' tree just north of Tonnage bridge.  Whilst you are there you can observe the amount of water coming over what is left of the top gates

Ebridge - Anyone is most welcome to launch their craft there and use the waterway Laurie Ashton 'Old Canal Company' is the owner of that section and again actively encourages folk to use the waterway, there is no charge or toll and no advance permission required - Just go there and use it. The big news is that the section between Swafield to Spa common is imminently due to be re watered any time now which will increase the navigable area.  There is also a passenger boat available for trippers to make use of

Tonnage Bridge.  The previous farm / land owner was using the old bridge but with modern heavier machinery the bridge was in danger of collapsing, so he took it upon himself to rebuild the bridge that you now see today.

When Luke bought the farm / land he inherited Tonnage bride and the canal with the farm.  He does own that section of the canal but not sure who is the land owner immediately adjacent to the waterway

A couple of chaps took a machine and cleared out a narrow section of waterway that is now almost totally derelict / filled in /dry.  It got them into all sorts of trouble with the EA at the time, but what was done was done.  What they did has enabled the canal water to flow beneath what appears to be now firm ground, constantly scouring / cleaning as it goes

Motor craft using the waterway in the future will cause a problem with erosion. Wherries in thier day caused very little wash of course.  The banks are earthen and in some areas the canal is higher than the land adjacent to it.  Erosion has a danger of causing a breach in the banks.  The plan is to dredge the canal and put the material back onto the banks to maintain bank strength and water integrity, this will be an ongoing operation that has been discussed and planned for

-----------------------------------------

He did start giving me a lot more information about sections above Honing Lock but I had to stop him. Toooo much input for one session

All of my previous posts was taken down from hurriedly written notes.  I've done my best to be accurate.  I have emailed Graham a link to this page so he can see where we are up to and what has been discussed.  It would be even better if he would comment and answer any questions that we may have too

Hope the above has been of help and thrown a bit of light on the subject.

I'll dig out some photo's I took a while back,

Griff

 

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Hmmm, photo's.  I only have the four it seems and they aren't very good either, they were taken back in 2001 though, two a couple of them are on page one of this thread

Griff

 

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Wow, thanks for that Griff, that`s really informative and puts to an end to a lot rumour and untruths re the navigation etc. As for donations, as a forum solely dedicated to the Broads, are WE able to help?.  I`m sure we could help out with donations, even if it`s only for removing a few tree branches, if it`s beneficial  to our favourite waterway, it`s worth it.

It would also be great to see Broad Ambiton being driven BACKWARDS up to, AND THROUGH, Tonnage bridge :default_laugh:.

Having said all the above, it reminds me that i`ve made good use of this forum for many years, and have hardly ever made a donation to its continued success. Perhaps someone can tell me how to do it, and what would be a reasonable amount,at least that way, should i meet other forum members, i can at least not feel embarrassed.

Going back to the thread, What do others think, would they be interested in any kind of fund raising events to help improving and increasing the available cruising ground on the upper Ant and the canal navigation system.  As regular users of the Broads, any re-opening of navigable waterway could only be of benefit to us, as well as the possibility of regenerating business for shops etc in the local shops and pubs etc?. The only thing i WILL say, it`s going to take years, so for some of us, it may never happen in our lifetime, me included.

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Went up to East Ruston many times from the late 60s up to about 1990. Last time in a Safari mk3. (Golden Realm). Largest boat I got up the canal but only as far as Tonnage Bridge was a Broom Skipper.

Wharfdale mid 70s

Wharfedale

Broadsway II early 70s

North Walsham Canal

Salamander III in 1970

Salamander III 1970

 

Fred

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Walked alongside the canal for about half a mile on the Wayford Inn side in the late 80s.Water was gin clear and I remember thinking it wasn't deep enough for a cruiser - but obviously I was wrong seeing Trambo's post.

 

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3 minutes ago, webntweb said:

Walked alongside the canal for about half a mile on the Wayford Inn side in the late 80s.Water was gin clear and I remember thinking it wasn't deep enough for a cruiser - but obviously I was wrong seeing Trambo's post.

 

Water can be very deceiving. You could "step in" to what you think is a 6" deep puddle, and drop in right up to your waste. 

Fred, is Tonnage bridge at East Ruston, or further upstream?.

I really don`t think it would need a lot to get the NWDC back to navigable standard, albeit only as far as East Ruston (if that`s a bit further up stream)?.

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Griff - you have indeed made inroads into some issues but what really troubles me is that IF it really that easy, then why has progress over that bit NOT been made????

No one invented those issues referred to and they are common knowledge around Broadland; a fallen tree cannot be an issue at all - I have a chainsaw!! It has been totally neglected south of Honing Lock for years and why, has it suddenly been necessary to introduce a Toll? It was not charged before and it seems to me that even on other restored waterways the BCU permit suffices?

I have never seen ANY attempt at clearance south of the lock, although that could have changed over the last year or so.

Other points which to me, have not been clarified include if the Canal Co own all the way to Wayford, then how can an individual own another bit and charge a toll - why is the toll not going to the Canal Co? Whilst Griff you have cleared some things, legal issues now seem more blurred but I am not discussing my thoughts on an Open Forum but I am not entirely convinced!

To convince me I require to see some action on that bit - why is it that everything being done is above the lock and nothing below for example?

If you look at any online mapping system you will see Tonnage Bridge is about half a mile or so below the East Ruston Branch an perhaps a little bit less down to Wayford.

 

 

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Some background info. Not sure what has happened with the EAWA. I used to get updates but they have dried up.

http://www.eawa.co.uk/index.html

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Could one of the tech team make these into proper links please. I don't know why they are not working. The East Anglian Waterways Association were very active but as I say they seem to have died. 

The  links are worth pasting into you browser.

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Marshy - the answer to your questions is simple - I don't know! 

I can only guess as to why no progress below Honing Lock - Maybe it's a manpower thing, the volunteers concentrate on one section at a time? - Maybe its a money thing?  maybe it's bank access to get to a fallen tree?  Maybe the canal owner wants to tackle it himself once he has funds to do it? Maybe it's lack of a suitable workboat to get to the tree, maybe it's where do the put the thing after cutting it up?

Maybe you could find out?

The toll is as explained earlier to pay for clearance / maintenance as it is currently a private waterway

 I could of course ask Graham but it's a bank holiday and I have only just met him over the phone and don't want to be a thorn in his side from the off.

SpeedTriple - this map may help

Griff

 

 

BA NBN 605.jpg

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12 minutes ago, marshman said:

Griff - you have indeed made inroads into some issues but what really troubles me is that IF it really that easy, then why has progress over that bit NOT been made????

No one invented those issues referred to and they are common knowledge around Broadland; a fallen tree cannot be an issue at all - I have a chainsaw!! It has been totally neglected south of Honing Lock for years and why, has it suddenly been necessary to introduce a Toll? It was not charged before and it seems to me that even on other restored waterways the BCU permit suffices?

I have never seen ANY attempt at clearance south of the lock, although that could have changed over the last year or so.

Other points which to me, have not been clarified include if the Canal Co own all the way to Wayford, then how can an individual own another bit and charge a toll - why is the toll not going to the Canal Co? Whilst Griff you have cleared some things, legal issues now seem more blurred but I am not discussing my thoughts on an Open Forum but I am not entirely convinced!

To convince me I require to see some action on that bit - why is it that everything being done is above the lock and nothing below for example?

If you look at any online mapping system you will see Tonnage Bridge is about half a mile or so below the East Ruston Branch an perhaps a little bit less down to Wayford.

 

 

There is also the fact that the NW&D was never nationised like other waterways so who knows? There were in the 90's a notional owner whatever that means according to Jane Cummberlidge and my copy of Bradshaws, 1904. Sort of glosses over the canal as non viable. 

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Other points which to me, have not been clarified include if the Canal Co own all the way to Wayford, then how can an individual own another bit and charge a toll - why is the toll not going to the Canal Co?

Marshy - Sigh, the Canal Co don't own it ALL the way to Wayford, just some of it, as stated earlier there are currently FOUR owners of sections of the waterway.  That's how an individual owns 'A Bit' and why would he give his voluntary toll collected to another owner of another section? From what Graham told me Luke is keen for the waterway to be maintained / improved when funds allow  (Why am I repeating mysen here?)

Whilst Griff you have cleared some things, legal issues now seem more blurred but I am not discussing my thoughts on an Open Forum but I am not entirely convinced! 

I'm not trying to convince you or anyone else for that matter.  You can remain unconvinced or otherwise till your hearts content

I'm just doing a bit of digging / research and in the process myself discovering some rumours and a few interesting facts, learning and reporting back for forumites to read / discuss as they see fit.

You take it or not - Your choice.  You are of course welcome to collect further information and enlighten me and the rest of us anytime you wish. Sources should of course be verified so they just ain't yet more rumours.  I enjoy being educated / informed / enlightened especially with regards to Norfolk waterways

I intend to contact Luke sometime in the near future but have to get my approach nice and friendly - That should be easy enough?

Griff

 

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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

Screen%20Shot%202019-01-03%20at%2014_13_

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3 hours ago, ChrisB said:

Could one of the tech team make these into proper links please. I don't know why they are not working. The East Anglian Waterways Association were very active but as I say they seem to have died. 

The  links are worth pasting into you browser.

done

 

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A very interesting discussion but could anyone please clear up one point.The East Anglian Waterways Website http://www.eawa.co.uk/walsham-2.html clearly states 

"The 1812 Act contains a special provision preventing the original canal company from charging any tolls or dues "For any Boat, Barge , or Vessel which shall be navigated or pass upon any part of the river Ant which at the Time of passing this Act is navigable to Dilham:"

 

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Unfortunately a senior, influential and knowledgeable member of the EAWA passed away some time ago, and I've even advised the EAWA that parts of their website are now quite out of date.  The EAWA held their AGM during April of this year at Sutton Staithe Hotel

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