Wednesday, 10 December 2014


Chesterfield Canal at Retford     Map 5 of Richlow's guide, from
Baptisms in the Canal
We've recently learnt, from a family historian, that in the 1840s baptisms used to take place in the waters of the Chesterfield Canal, near Town Lock in Retford.  The lock-keeper's family well remembered the large crowds the ceremonies attracted, with the waterside singing heard at a considerable distance on still Sunday evenings.  The Rev William Fogg, who carried out the baptisms, was the local Baptist minister until 1853. 

Different canal users getting wet below Town Lock

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Images of - the Chesterfield Canal

Map 7  -  Chesterfield Canal, a Richlow Guide  from
A convenient mooring by the Priory Centre in Worksop - ideal for shopping.  Between Town Lock and Morse Lock.


Richlow's nb Madeley Wood moored.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Boston Tidal Barrier - Latest News

Lincolnshire Waterways
Pages 28 to 33.  Future Tidal Barrier at Boston.  The following information was obtained at an Environment Agency exhibition in the town, 11 November 2014.
The barrier will be located across the River Witham, a little downstream of the access lock into the Black Sluice Navigation, thereby managing the tide in the Witham and making access to the Black Sluice available for a longer period each day.  This will be more important when the Fens Waterways Link, via the Black Sluice, is completed to the Nene near Peterborough, via the rivers Welland and Glen - making a navigable circular route of the fens waterways.
Although the new barrier will be an aid to inland navigation its primary function is to prevent flooding in Boston, the town suffering greatly during the east coast tidal surge in December 2013 when over 800 properties were extensively damaged.
The barrier will rise up to block the water flow, and sink down to allow the natural flow of the tides, plus passage of boats through it. 


 A bird's-eye view of the planned barrier, raised up across the River Witham.  Downstream is on the right.

 From inland the Witham is already controlled by the Grand Sluice and its lock, on the western edge of Boston, holding the levels of freshwater.  The stretch between the Grand Sluice and the planned barrier passes through the centre of the town and is currently fully tidal, therefore resulting in extensive, some say "unsightly", mud-banks, during much of the day.  Therefore, many factors have to be considered when deciding on the levels at which the water will be held between the two control points, and at what times  -  boats going to/from the North Sea via The Wash and the lower Witham, those to/from the Black Sluice lock, fish habitats, high river flows from inland, the positive effect on the appearance of Boston's riverside areas, and the crucial flood-prevention in Boston and surrounding areas.
No definite decisions have yet been made about water-level management but it's likely that the new barrier will be closed during daylight hours.  The morning high tide will flow up to the Grand Sluice, as it does now, but its waters will be captured by the barrier when the levels have fallen to the desired level.  On the rising evening tide, when the levels are equal on both sides, the barrier would be opened.  The high and low tide would then occur naturally through the town overnight.  However, the barrier would not operate during high river flows, so allowing maximum discharge of freshwater out to the North Sea.  No decision has yet been made on the levels which will be held in the freshwater Witham above the Grand Sluice.  It may also be that annually, from 1 November to 1 April, the barrier will only operate when a tidal surge is predicted.
Project Timescales.  
Nov 2014  -  late 2015.   Preliminary designs and the preparation of a Transport and Works Act Order (TWOA).
Late 2015  -  spring 2017.    TWOA application considered by the Secretary of State.
Summer 2017  -  late 2019.   Multi-functional Boston Barrier and associated works completed.
The "associated works" will be raising the lowest sections of the Witham's banks upstream of the new Boston Barrier.
An Environment Agency video, using a 3D-printed model and a graphics mock-up, shows the planned enviroment of the barrier and a boat passing through.

The barrier closed, with raised river banks.   


We wait to see  -  but the prevention of tidal-flooding aspect of the scheme will ensure something is done.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Updates - November 2014

Chesterfield Canal
Page 5.  Boating.  The Chesterfield Canal Trust now has trip-boats operating at Retford, Worksop, Shireoaks, Kiveton Park, Staveley (Hollingwood Hub) and Chesterfield.
Cycling.  Between West Stockwith and Norwood Tunnel the canal is a Canal & River Trust waterway, therefore cycling is allowed throughout.
Page 33.  Map 12. Chesterfield.  The turning point, near Tapton Mill Bridge (1) is only suitable for boats 50ft or less.
Page 40.  Pubs & Cafes.  Delete Brickmakers Arms, and White Swan.
Page 41.  Contacts.
CCT Trip Boats.  Add Madeline at Hollingwood Hub, contact details the same as for the John Varley.
Tapton Lock Visitor Centre.  Summer (Easter to end of October)  Open every day 10.00 to 16.30.  Winter, open Saturday to Tuesday 10.00 to 16.00.  All year, closed on weekdays 13.00 to 13.45.

South Yorkshire Waterways
Page 32, map 12.  Navigation Notes.  Rotherham
Shopping.  The canalside Tesco, just below Rotherham Lock, has now closed.  However, what was its car-park remains in use, as does the footbridge across the River Don to the town centre.  At the end of the footbridge Norris's very good greengrocers is still there, as are a butchers, fish and chips, and a cafe.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Updates - September 2014

South Yorkshire Waterways
Page 32.  Moorings above Rotherham Lock.  Although lined with bollards the river deposits mud along this bank and these "moorings" are once again shallow and unusable, other than immediately outside the lock's top gates.  The stretch of moorings below the lock is OK.
North Yorkshire Waterways
Page 40.  Pocklington Canal - Swing-bridge 8.  This bridge is now operational again.  Although on the un-navigable section it's completion is a mark of faith in the future full restoration of this waterway.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Updates - August 2014 (2)

Narrowboat on the Trent
Page 38  Aegre Timetable.  The annual timetable for the aegre (tidal bore) on the River Trent is not now available on the public-access website

Richlow raised this problem with the EA, and asked that the information be, once again, available via their public-access website. And that the search terms be expanded to include eg Trent tidal bore, etc, instead of expecting the public to know yet another spelling of the name of this event.
EA replied that they no longer display the information because it is not the navigation authority for the Trent, and, therefore, will not be doing so in the future.
However, the same aegre timetable, same data, same format, is available on   It's the first item on the drop-down menu under the Local Information tab.
We have also found that the timetable can still be obtained by telephoning EA on 08708 506506 or via  You will need to ask them to search their in-house system for "aegir" (the spelling the EA uses).  They will then email, or post, the timetable to you.  It's not clear how long this facility will remain.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Updates - August 2014

North Yorkshire Waterways
Page 38 and Maps 11, 13.  Pocklington Canal - Hagg Bridge.  The difficult to access water-point at Hagg Bridge has been removed by CRT.  Water is available at the head of navigation at Melbourne.
Page 42 and Map 13.  River Derwent - Sutton (Elvington) Lock.  Navigation through this lock is not possible at the moment.  It is the subject of an IWA campaign owing to the confused legal situation regarding what is now usually referred to as Elvington Lock.  There is no Navigation Authority for the river.  The Environment Agency is responsible for the top guillotine gate and took it out of use in February to undertake a structural assessment.  Work has since stalled.
Furthermore, the bottom wooden mitre gates will soon need to be replaced.  However, a court case in the 1980s failed to clearly state the ownership of these gates, nor who is responsible for maintenance or repairs.
The IWA is keen to provide funding and practical help to resolve the situation and restore full long-term navigation.
Meanwhile, the lower reaches of the Derwent are still open to navigation as the access waterway to the Pocklington Canal.  The barrage-keeper at Barmby will know the latest situation (p50).

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Checking River Levels

English and Welsh Rivers
A customer has told us about the very useful website .
Please be aware that it's an unofficial site, but it uses the Environment Agency data, from the EA's levels-measuring stations, on the rivers throughout England and Wales (Scotland promised to follow).
The site's creator thinks the EA could display its data more effectively, so he set out to do so.  In his own words...
" While the Environment Agency's own website does provide river level information, it has to be said that the presentation of the data is somewhat limited. So I decided to set up my own version.
In particular, what I thought I could do better was to present the data in a more accessible visual format, and with better cross-referencing between different sites (so, for example, when viewing the data for the River Avon at Evesham, there are also quick links to other locations on the Avon and other rivers near Evesham). Putting the locations onto a Google map also makes it easier to find those which are relevant as you don't need to know precise names. " 
Zoom in on the map and it will clearly show, with rising/falling red or green arrows, the situation in an area, thereby giving warning of water levels rising upstream of any point where you may be visiting.  Or, of course, lack of water flowing down in drought conditions.
Clicking on an arrow gives a box with location, waterway, and levels  -  clicking on the "More" link in the box will give more information for the site.
There's also a Locations List with rivers shown within their catchments.  Again, very useful for a quick check on everything which may change the water levels, in the near future, where you are.
Richlow has no connection with the creator of the website  -  we just thought his initiative should be applauded, and that our customers may benefit from a visit to .

Friday, 25 July 2014

Updates - July 2014 (2)

Chesterfield Canal
Page 24. Navigation box. Shireoaks Marina. From 28 July work will be underway to move the CRT Visitor Moorings from inside the Marina, to outside on the towpath where there are bollards. The water-point will be moved to the sanitary station - for access to all its facilities there will be a new gate from the towpath moorings, via a standard CRT key.  A second gate will give access to the marina for disposal of rubbish. 

The current Visitor Moorings will be fenced off from pedestrian access and will become part of the berth-holder-only moorings.
Visiting boats will no longer need to enter Shireoaks Marina.  The new CRT Visitor Moorings will be alongside the towpath, immediately upstream of the marina entrance bridge.
The work to carry out the above changes is due for completion by 12 August.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Updates - July 2014

Lincolnshire Waterways
All of the Fossdyke and River Witham maps and Navigation Notes  -  Visitor Moorings
The permitted duration of stay at CRT Visitor Moorings has been increased from 24hrs to 48hrs  -  with the exception of the following  -
Torksey Cut (Trent side)  -  72 hrs
Torksey Lock (Fossdyke side)  -  72 hrs
Saxilby  -  72 hrs
River Witham
Bardney Lock - 72 hrs
Boston visitor moorings  -  5 days  (even though an incorrect sign by the moorings currently says "7 days"!  This situation will be corrected by CRT.
The signage to indicate the general increase to 48 hr stay duration is due to be installed by the end of August, but is in force now. (July 2014).

Friday, 30 May 2014

Updates - May 2014

Chesterfield Canal
Page 16, Map 4.  Clarborough, new shop
The Kings Arms, on the village's Main Street, now has a new, well-stocked, Spar shop in its car-park.  Currently open every day, 6am to 10pm.  It's a pleasant walk up from Clarborough Top Bridge (62).  (Our thanks to Tony and Helen of nb Holderness for letting us know the shop had actually opened.)

Page 41. Contacts.  Tapton Lock Visitor Centre. 
The telephone number is now 01629 533020.  Calls will be answered by the Clay Cross Countryside Centre and forwarded to the appropriate staff at Tapton Lock.
Lincolnshire Waterways
Page 40, Map 13.  Slea Navigation.  Halfpenny Hatch Bridge.
The lowest bridge on this waterway, it now has arrows on both faces indicating the location of the main channel.


Monday, 28 April 2014

Updates - April 2014

South Yorkshire Waterways
Page 44.  Contacts.  Add.  Narrowboat hire.  Yorkshire Narrowboats at Sprotbrough.
07831 862607    Post code DN5 7NB

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Updates - March 2014

South Pennine Ring - General
Over recent years CRT have been reducing the amount of pre-booking required on the South Pennine Ring.  There are now only two places that need booking for the 2014 season  -  Tuel Lane Lock on the Rochdale Canal, and Standedge Tunnel on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

South Pennine Ring  -  Part 1
Map 1.  Tuel Lane Lock.  The 2014 hours and booking requirements are as previous years.
Pages 30, 32, and maps 7, 8.  The previous requirement to book accompanied passages of the locks in Manchester, and over the Summit, no longer applies.  We are not aware of the locks being padlocked at night, but this may change if circumstances warrant it in the future.
Map 4, and p40.  Please note the Bird I'th Hand pub at Warland has closed.
South Pennine Ring  -  Part 2
Pages 18, 24.  Maps 12, 14.  Bookings for Standedge Tunnel remain as in previous years.  However, there are no longer any restrictions on the Diggle and Marsden flights of locks.
Page 21.  CRT Instructions are -
Heading eastwards from Diggle to Marsden.  Boats are asked to be at the Diggle portal for 11.30am on the day of passage.  Once through the tunnel, boats are welcome to moor above Lock 42E for a maximum of 24hrs.  Further mooring space is available below Lock 32E which is between Marsden and Slaithwaite villages.
Heading westwards from Marsden to Diggle.  Boats are asked to moor above Lock 42E on the day before passage of the tunnel and not to proceed past the railway bridge until after 4pm.  This is to avoid the trip-boat which will be operating from the Visitor Centre into the tunnel until 4pm.  After 4pm boats can moor at the tunnel entrance ready for their passage the following day.  Passage preparations will start at 8am.
Note that the flight of locks 32E to 42E is no longer manned.
Page 32, map 17.  Huddersfield Broad Canal.  Number plates have been affixed to the bridges of this waterway.
North Yorkshire Waterways
Page 20, map 5.  Boaters' Facilities in York.  There is currently no elsan disposal on the 48hr visitor moorings near Lendal Bridge.  The public toilets in Museum Gardens, which used to house the boaters' facilities, have been demolished.  Planning permission for the new Starr Inn on the site was dependent on these facilities being fully replaced  -  they have not been.  Discussions continue!
The good news is that the water-point has been relocated nearer the river.
We are grateful to Mike Cadoux, Chair, IWA North Riding for this information.
Chesterfield Canal
Page 36.  Supplies.  Insert  -  Fennessy Fuels (Retford0 and Grimes Coal Merchants (Newark) will deliver coal and gas to boats.
Page 41.  Contacts.  Insert  -  Smokeless fuels, bottled gas.  Free delivery.  Fennessey Fuels, Bolham Lane, Retford DN22 6SU  01777 702428.
G&R Grimes, Willow Farm, Darlton, Newark NG22 0TF  01777 228273.