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Edited by Alan H. Faulkner, 43 Oaks Drive, Colchester, Essex CO3 3PS

E-mail: alan-faulkner at lineone.net

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In the EASTERLING February 2014 issue...

The Easterling



The formal business of the Association's 44th Annual General Meeting will take place on Sunday 18th May 2014 starting at 2.30pm in St Mary's Church Hall in March Cambridgeshire.

As usual we will take this opportunity to also enjoy a more informal get-together, with a visit to an important Middle Level boating operation and an invitation to lunch at the Church Hall.

Prior to the meeting members will have the opportunity to take part in a visit to Fox’s Marina for a conducted tour by our long standing member Mrs Paula Syred, one of the directors of this leading Fenlands boat hiring concern. To take advantage of this members will need to assemble no later than 11am at St. Mary’s Church Hall where there is adequate parking and from where transport will be provided to the marina. 

The business was founded by Charlie Fox in 1959.  Having trained as a boat builder at Appleyard & Lincoln’s yard at Ely he began by building small rowing boats and canoes before moving on to his first narrow boat in the early 1970s.  The hiring out of narrow boats began in 1976 but stopped after a few years due to the economic situation.  It was re-started by his daughter Paula in 1986 and currently hires out a series of narrow boat type cruisers all of which bear a version of the Fox name such as “Silver Fox”, “Urban Fox” and “Fox Tail”.  

The business moved to its present location in 1980 since when the marina has been extended several times and can now accommodate over 200 boats.  Charlie Fox was involved in the Association’s Project Hereward campaign in the mid 1990s when he created the winding hole above Whittlesey Lock for us, using his own digger.  

After the marina visit members are invited to partake of lunch at the Church Hall where there will be a choice of the main course being either roast pork with apple sauce or chicken breast in wine sauce, both accompanied by roast and creamed potatoes and a selection of vegetables.  This will be followed by a sweet of either cheesecake or fresh fruit salad with cream, and the meal will end up with a cheese board and coffee all at a cost of £10.   

Members wishing to attend the marina visit and the luncheon will need to book in through our Chairman, Roger Sexton, with their menu choices and with payment (£10 per person) before the end of April.  

For space reasons the luncheon offer is limited to twenty people and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.  Special dietary requirements can be catered for, but please notify them to Roger.  For late comers there are other food outlets nearby and in the centre of March.  

And as before it would be helpful if those just wishing to attend the Annual General Meeting could advise the Chairman as soon as possible.   

Cheques for the cost of lunch should be made payable to the East Anglian Waterways Association but will not be presented for payment until early in May.                



The Association’s Web Site was set up several years ago on the initiative of our member Peter Bendall and not only did he put much of the material together he also generously covered the setting up costs and the annual fee. Peter lives out in Germany at Kaltenkirchen with his wife Christine, who suffers from multiple schlerosis.

 The arrangements under which Christine was being cared for have been withdrawn with the responsibility now falling back on Peter.  At the same time Peter’s eldest daughter Helen has been diagnosed with cancer meaning the couple will probably have to move back to England – possibly to either Reading or Plymouth. 

 In these circumstances Peter felt he had no choice but to relinquish his role as Web Master.  We are profoundly grateful for all that he has done for us and to mark his record of service the Council decided at its meeting on 10 October to make him an Honorary Member of the Association.

 To take his place we are fortunate to be able to announce that the web site will be looked after in future by directors John Hodgson and David Mercer.  They would welcome having any comments or suggestions from members - jhodgson@rivouse.fsnet.co.uk and djm@djmercer.co.uk .  

Peter Bendall


At its meeting on 10 October EAWA’s Council agreed that the organisation of the voluntary working parties on the canal would now be taken over by the North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust. This transfer was facilitated by the Trust now having suitable insurance cover arrangements via the Inland Waterways Association.  EAWA’s own cover with the IWA has now been lapsed; instead Council has agreed to continue to support the Trust by assuming responsibility to pay the annual insurance premium – for 2014 this amounts to £371.


........ Much more in 'The Easterling' or on our NWDCT web page.


NEW DIRECTOR:   We are pleased to be able to report that Jeff Walters was appointed as a new director of the Association at the Council meeting on 10 October last year.  Jeff is Chairman of the Middle Level Watermen’s Club and has been actively involved in creating the club’s new moorings in March.  His address is 99 Fleetwood Close, March, Cambridgeshire, PE15 9NB, phone 01354 660156; mobile 07785 787875; e-mail jwalters53@hotmail.com

WITHAM CONNECTIONS:  David Tomlinson’s trip up Timberland Delph off the river Witham has prompted interest in the other drainage channels in the area.   There are a series of channels south-west of the main river including Branston Delph (OS 710090 - 1.95 miles long, straight); Nocton Delph (O/S 125655, 2.9 miles long, straight); Metheringham Delph (O/S 156652 – 3.45 miles, straight); Timberland Delph (O/S 179610 – 3.25 miles, straight); Billinghay Skirth (O/S 915566 – 2.75 miles to Billinghay); Kyme Eau (O/S 210540 – River Slea, 12.5 miles to Sleaford);South Forty Foot Drain (O/S 327428 – 20.9 miles almost to the River Glen)

 The entrances to some, like Nocton, are guarded by pointing gates.  These are normally left open and as the water levels are the same, craft should be able to enter.  If the level of the main river should rise, however, the gates are designed to close automatically to prevent flooding of the enclosed land and this could then trap an unwary visiting boat.

 Similar connections on the north east side of the Witham include Barlings Eau (old course of the Witham, O/S 104770 below Bardney Lock); Former junction with the Horncastle Canal (O/S 194572 – closed off); River Bain (O/S 209555 from Horncastle, Coningsby and Tattershall); Entrance to the Witham Navigable Drains (O/S 300474 via Anton’s Gowt Lock); Maud Foster Drain (O/S 335430 – via fixed sluice in Boston); Hobhole Drain (O/S 366398 via sluice into the tideway)       


RIVER SLEA:  After the problems experienced last year the Slea Navigation Trust has launched an appeal for funds to help it carry out important dredging work to enable boats to reach the first lock.  At its meeting on 10 October our Council has agreed to contribute £1,000 towards this appeal and these funds are available just as soon as the work goes ahead.  The Environment Agency which should be doing this says it lacks the necessary funds but it will provide guidance into how the work is to be carried out.  Meanwhile the Trust has been making enquiries with local farmers as some may have equipment that could be used towards carrying out the work.    

 The Trust has had plans to improve the facilities at South Kyme by providing moorings for some considerable time but the project was been delayed by problems over the ownership of the land involved.  Sometime ago EAWA donated £1,000 towards the project but so far it has not proved possible for these funds to be used.  Council has now agreed that our donation can be re-directed through WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental Limited) to enable it to qualify for matched funding.


This was the scene at Wissington, a village on the A.134 road halfway between King’s Lynn and Thetford where the Grange Farm Moorings are situated, overseen by Roger Warner who sent in this picture.


Ivan Cane, the Association’s North Walsham & Dilham Canal archivist, keeps his boat “NAVI” at Grange Farm and here it is being backed into the slipway, by Ivan and fellow EAWA member Darren Cooke, prior to being slipped out for the winter


MUSEUM OF THE BROADS:  2013 was a successful year for the museum boosted by a series of ten special event days. The first, organised by curator Nicola Hems, dealt with the “Lost Railways of the Broads”, and featured the story of the Midland & Great Northern Railway, or the Muddle and Get Nowhere line as some detractors would have it.  Meanwhile the steam launch “Falcon” that gave such great service for the members attending our Annual General Meeting in 2011 is now enjoying a well-earned rest and has undergone a thorough maintenance check during the winter.  She will be back in service when the museum reopens in March.  Amongst her duties last year was a trip down to Yarmouth in very cold and unpleasant weather in May to pick up a barrel of Lacons beer for delivery back at the museum. 

 Her place was taken by “Esox Lucius” (Latin for North Pike), the pike fishing boat that had been the pride and joy of Ken Latham, founder of the well known store at Potter Heigham.  The boat has been painstakingly restored by museum volunteers and was re-launched on 14 July at a ceremony at the Stalham Staithe museum.    


WORKING WITH NATURE:  The Broads Authority’s innovative restoration of the reed bed at Salhouse Broad has won international recognition as a pioneering way of re-using dredged sediment.  To mark this, the authority has been awarded the UK’s first “Working with Nature Certificate of Recognition”.  The restoration met the certificate criteria by being developed through stakeholder engagement, with no net loss of biodiversity, by using natural processes and with sustainability at the heart of the project.  The awarding authority rec

Dredged sediment from the nearby River Bure was used to create 7,000 square metres of reed bed.  Turfs were scraped from reed beds on the Bure Marshes National Nature Reserve at Woodbastwick and planted on the huge geotextile bags used in the restoration while the seed of common reed and reed mace was scattered by hand over the bare sediment.  The aim was to restore the eroded reed bed as it was 60 years ago.   Less than a year after the work began 30 plant species, several of them rare, are now colonising the restored reed bed.  

CANOE TRAILS: An Integrated Access Strategy was adopted by the Broads Authority in May 2013 and this identified the increasing demand for canoe access to the Broads and the need to improve the information available to the public on access to the navigation area.  Working in conjunction with the Broads Canoe Hire Network a series of four canoe trails have been created.  These cover the Barton Broad area on the river Ant, the Salhouse area on the river Bure, the Geldeston to Beccles reach and the Bungay loop on the river Waveney.  All are based on canoe hire centres and have been well received and new trails are being considered for the upper reaches of the rivers Waveney, Yare, Thurne, Ant and Bure which will result in most of the areas that are appropriate being covered.  As part of the Upper Waveney Canoe Trail and in partnership with the Environment Agency and a local landowner a canoe launch point is being considered immediately downstream of Ellingham sluice.  On completion the River Waveney Trust will maintain the structure.
BACK TO THE OLD DAYS: In its issue of Saturday 7 September the Eastern Daily Press published a series of pictures featuring local waterways when they were used for commercial traffic. Several Thames sailing barges were shown such as the Northdown at Surlingham in the 1960s and the Ethel Ada tied up on the Yare at Coldham Hall.
The steam tug Richard Lee Barber is pictured at Great Yarmouth in September 1965 as is the Genstram towing three empty barges at Coldham Hall in the winter of 1958. Copies are available via or via Diane Townsend on 01603 772449 (Monday to Friday).
TOM MOORE:  Our member Dr Tom Moore has done absolute wonders on the North Walsham & Dilham Canal at places such as Honing Staithe and Briggate Mill pond by using his own digger to clean out sections of the waterway after years of neglect.  But his contribution is not confined to the canal as he has served as a volunteer doctor with the East Anglian Air Ambulance for 12 years and has received an Eastern Daily Press “Stars of Norfolk” award.  The award is sponsored by the Broads Authority and included a trip on the authority’s electric Eel boat.  Tom moved to Norfolk in 2002 and regularly sails on the Broads.   We can only add our belated congratulations for this well deserved award.      

MYSTERY PICTURE - Can you identify the location? 

This picture purports to depict a scene on the River Witham.   It appears in a book called “Tractors at Work. A Pictorial Review. 1904–1994” by Stuart Gibbard and is credited to Stuart Green.  A Fowler engine is shown surrounded by many of Fowler’s management on what appears to be a specially constructed barge. There have been suggestions that this might not be on the Witham at all, but could be on one of the waterways further north such as the Aire & Calder Navigation.  At one time many parts of the Witham were virtually inaccessible by land and there would have been plenty of scope for equipment such as this to carry the engine around the navigation and off load it at suitable places using the folded back ramps at the back of the barge.  We would be glad to receive any views or comments about the picture.


Much more in the February 2014 "Easterling" 

The current copy of the "Easterling" should be read in "Back Numbers," at the foot of the page:

A Guide to the River Stour,
Special Printount - Courtesy of Ivan Cane.

The version here is reduced size to enable it to fit on your printout paper!
A copy costs 50p please, either down-line-loaded or by applying to Ivan Cane direct!
A Guide to the River Stour, For Canoes And Similar Small Craft

A few notes on the history of the Bedford Boat Club

Formed in April 1950, the Club now occupies its' fourth site, but only the third with moorings! Originally having “premises” at Hillgrounds in Kempston, the first mooring was at Batts Ford in 1953, transferring to a site between Cardington and the Barns hotel in 1958.
Moving to part of the present site in early 1966, extending this later that year by exchanging part of the present site for that at Cardington. Electricity arrived at the moorings in 1969, by means of the Club's own generator!
The Club was instrumental in the various projects involved in opening the upper reaches of the river to the rest of the system in the mid 1970s, along with the Great Ouse Restoration Society.

In part because of being “land locked,” in those early days there were no cruisers, but rowing boats and the like and the type and size of boat has changed over the years to the modern (and some not so modern) cruisers we see now.
The present site is the only one to have a club house and before that various pubs and hotels were used for all kinds of meetings and functions. From those early beginnings, various social events have always been enjoyed by Members complementing their boating trips and this continues to the present day.

John Hodgson.

Back Numbers of the EASTERLING!

Volume Eight, Number Seven - February 2007 (2.38 Mb) Volume Eight, Number Eight - June 2007 (2.08 Mb) A CD-rom of 20 years of Back Numbers of 'The Easterling' from
1991 is available on request for a minimum donation of £5
Volume Eight, Number Nine - October 2007 (1.66 Mb) Volume Eight, Number Ten - February 2008 (1,87 Mb)
Volume Eight, Number Eleven - June 2008 (1.06 Mb) Volume Eight, Number Twelve - October 2008 (3.43 Mb)
Volume Eight, Number Thirteen - February 2009 (1.76 Mb) Volume Eight, Number Fourteen - June 2009
Volume Eight, Number Fifteen - October 2009 (1.76 Mb) Volume Eight, Number Sixteen - February 2010 (1.76 Mb)
Volume Eight, Number Seventeen - June 2010 ( Mb)  Vol 8, 17 - Colour Supplement June 2010 Supplement 2010 
Volume Eight, Number Eighteen - October 2010 Volume Eight, Number Nineteen - February 2011
Volume Eight, Number Twenty - June 2011 Volume Nine, Number One- October 2011
Volume Nine, Number Two - February 2012 Volume Nine, Number Three - June 2012
Volume Nine, Number Four - October 2012 Volume Nine, Number Five - February 2013
Volume Nine, Number Six - June 2013 Volume Nine, Number Seven - October 2013
Volume, Nine, Number Eight - February 2014 -- Contact the editor

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The East Anglian Waterways Association is a believer in "Waterways for All" - promoting access to our navigations for the community - whether walkers, nature lovers, anglers, canoeists, boaters or gongoozlers.  We work with and support many local societies, trusts and other user bodies in the area  -  Please visit our LINKS page for more information.
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