Back Rivers finally reopen to boats and K&A gets dredged

June 2017 - We do like to pass on some of the output of C&RT's team of public relations people and the Trust has been blowing its trumpet about East London and the Kennet and Avon, as Peter Underwood reports.

Canal & Rriver Trust says it's 'welcoming boaters back to the Bow Back Rivers' that run through East London’s Olympic Park.

It follows a 10-year project that has turned the derelict, virtually unnavigable waterways into a major new route for the capital, using an investment of over £60 million as part of the wider regeneration of the area in the lead up to and following the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Jon Guest, C&RT London waterway manager, said: "Those with long memories will remember that the rivers in this part of the East End were all but unnavigable, subject to the tides and full of fly-tipped fridges, cars and tyres.

“I’m over the moon to see the changes and I’m excited for everyone who will get to explore them, at a time when the capital’s canals and rivers are arguably more popular than any time in history.”

The three and a bit miles of rivers in the Park were largely closed in the 1960s. The London Games offered the opportunity to unlock the commercial and leisure potential of the Bow Back Rivers and five years after Games the waterways will be once again open to boaters.

This summer the Loop of waterways around the London Stadium, which includes the Old River Lea, City Mill River and St Thomas Creek, will open to public navigation for cruising without the need for prior booking.

Closures will occur from time to time as part of the security requirements for high profile events in the Park. Boaters will be notified in advance of any closures via the Trust’s stoppage notifications and notices on site.

But don't expect to stay for any length of time. C&RT is only planning to create a 100-metre stretch of short stay visitor moorings on a length of towpath on the Lee Navigation near the Hertford Union Canal and it is planning to charge for the privilege - £10 a night – although it claims there will be other spots free for up to two days stay.

These moorings won't be available until the end of the year and there will be no mooring within the Park itself.

From autumn Waterworks River and Three Mills Wall River, which runs adjacent to the loop, will be opened to navigation via the soon to be completed Carpenters Road Lock. A booking system will be trialled over the summer with full launch after the East London Waterways Festival on Monday 28 August.

Down on the Keannet & Avon a six months, dredging effort has seen the removal of 17,000 tonnes of silt – the equivalent of 38 Boeing 747 planes.

In its press release C&RT tells us “The dredging between Pewsey and Wootton Rivers makes the canal deeper and therefore easier for boats to enjoy the 200-year old manmade waterway.”

The silt removed from the canal was spread on adjacent fields.

Paul Fox, from the Canal & River Trust, said: "It has been great working on the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal. The waterway is such a wonderful resource and the work the Canal & River Trust does is really important as it ensures the canal is here for local people to enjoy as well as all the tourists who flock to the Kennet & Avon Canal each summer and support local shops and restaurants."

Photos: (1st) Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Waterways Cruise, (2nd) The Kennet & Avon Canal, gets some long overdue dredging.

Bow Back Riivers now open for bookings only
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