IWA Northampton Branch

11 March 2024

We at IWA Northampton Branch have some fantastic volunteers who keep our canal environment, the canal and towpath maintained in good order ready for all users to enjoy. So, since November we’ve been busy working through our winter jobs schedule. Our task party on 20th February completed the work.

Our winter works focus on: clearing by-passes, narrows kept clear, tracks to maintain and litter picking.

So, here’s a summary of the work done by our gallant team of volunteers this winter:

  • Clearing the Bypass channel at Pineham Lock. These are the channels that carry water around the back of the lock, any excess water in the the canal should be able to go around the lock to avoid overflow over lock gates or adjacent land. Our guys are doing lots of scraping and raking!
  • Narrows, these are where the canal narrows, most are the site of an old lift bridge. As they are narrow, same width as locks , its important we keep them clear for boats to get through. In order to get over to the offside a temporary bridge called a ‘Youngmans Bridge’ is required to be set up over the Narrow, the volunteers can then strim, and lop back the vegetation.
  • Tracks: there are access tracks to allow vehicular access to the canal, these get rutted, pot-holed and overgrown if not maintained. So, gravel is spread into ruts and potholes, and vegetation is cut back, for clear access.
New Bollard at lock 17
New Bollard at lock 17
  • In addition, this year, we also installed a new bollard to assist with mooring at lock 17. It is now much easier to use the lock, especially for a single handed boater.
  • Litter picking is an all year job, but winter is a good opportunity to ‘deep’ clean, as vegetation has died back and more litter is revealed or becomes accessible.

Whilst doing all that, they had fun as well! Altogether it’s a great result.

So due to all this hard work we’ve improved the towpath as a good place for all users, and it makes boaters lives so much easier if locks are maintained!

Why not come and enjoy a day or days with the team? The volunteer work parties normally take place twice a month along the Northampton Arm as part of the adoption by IWA Northampton Branch. Volunteer with us.

Anyone interested in coming along can look at the volunteering page for more info and check the events pages to check upcoming task party dates and details.


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