The East Anglian Waterways Association

Promoting access to the navigations of East Anglia for all

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About us  -  a few snippets from past activities of the East Anglian Waterways Association:

Work on Cardington Lock on the River Great Ouse in 1962.  This marked the first major step in re-opening the navigation 

an important landmark in the work of the Great Ouse Restoration Society, supported by East Anglian Waterways Association.

For fifty years the East Anglian Waterways Association has been campaigning for the preservation, restoration and good management of all inland and tidal waterways in East Anglia, and through its website is intending to provide an opportunity for people to share information on the past, present and future of the waterways of East Anglia.
These pages of information on the various waterways are not intended to be a gazetteer, as that is covered more than adequately by other websites (see our links page), but a place where our members and others can share information, pictures past and present on the history, industrial archaeology, plans, reminiscences and future of our eastern waterways.
The EAWA is interested in the past, present and future of the waterways from the rivers Ancholme and Louth in the north, to the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation and the river Crouch in the south, from the Nene, the Fens Waterways Link and the Sleaford Navigation in the west to the Norfolk & Suffolk Broads and the rivers Gipping and Stour in the east, together with the river Great Ouse and Middle Level Navigations in the middle. Contributions on all of these and other waterways are always welcome.
Over 50 years the EAWA has worked hand-in-hand with other organizations, towards the reopening of the river Great Ouse to Bedford; the reopening of Well Creek; the dredging of the Old West River in the mid 1960's; the restoration of Welches Dam Lock; the purchase, restoration and declaration of a public right of navigation for Dilham Dyke on the Broads; lock lengthening on the Middle Level navigations and recently, donations to help the Sleaford Navigation Trust purchase part of its navigation and to the Peterborough Branch of the Inland Waterways Association to help raise the Ramsey Hollow Bridge on the Forty Foot River. Please see our history page for detail.
Currently the Association, working with partners, is encouraging the second phase of the Fens Waterways Link from Donnington to the river Glen; supporting the Sleaford Trust towards reopening the upper part of the navigation within the town; encouraging local organisations towards the further extension of the Little Ouse river from Santon Downham up to Thetford. EAWA also liaises with the Broads Authority and other bodies with an interest in the Broads, and with the Environment Agency and Middle Level Commissioners over matters pertaining to their waterways - And the Great Ouse Boating Association.
In January 2008, EAWA assisted in the launch of the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust, whose aim is to work with the canal owners, landowners and partners towards the reopening of the privately owned canal for the benefit of all users - whether boaters, anglers, walkers or gongoozlers.

The Association participated in work parties in the 1970s on the upper reaches of the Great Ouse and this century its “project” has been on the North Walsham and Dilham Canal. These work parties started in December 2000, and over the past seven years have done much to prevent further damage to the locks (Dilham, Briggate, Ebridge and Bacton Wood) and associated structures, caused by years of neglect and unmanaged tree growth.
They have also discovered and cleared the overflow weir at Ebridge; cleared a turning area for small boats below Honing (Dilham) Lock and during 2007/8 much work has been carried out to rediscover Honing Staithe Cut, clearing the woodland around the former basin and establishing a Honing Staithe Canal Circular Walk that connects to the Weavers Way.
Monthly work parties continue to be held, mainly on the last Sunday of the month. See our work party pages for further information.

Each year the East Anglian Waterways Association holds its Annual General Meeting in a different part of the region, usually linking a cruise or visit along a local waterway with the official business. This gives members the opportunity to explore the more remote waters of Eastern England:

2002 - Cruise - River Stour, Sudbury to Henny
2003 - Dilham Dyke and North Walsham & Dilham Canal
2004 - Sleaford Navigation
2005 - Cruise - Great Ouse, St Neots to Paper Mill Lock
2006 - Cruise - Middle Level, Marmount Priory Lock to March
2007 - Cruise - Chelmer & Blackwater, Heybridge to Beeleigh
2008 - Cruise - Coronation Channel & River Welland, Spalding

2009 - Cruise - Black Sluice - the first phase of the Fens Waterways Link
2010 - Cruise - River Stour - Stratford St Mary Lock.
2011 - Visit - Museum of the Broads and cruise on steam launch 'Falcon'.
2012 - Visit - Baylam Lock on the River Gipping.
2013 -  No cruise this year, but exciting plans ahead for 2014!

The Association publishes “The Easterling”, a journal which gives members up to date information on the latest news concerning our local waterways, plus historical articles and reviews. Recent copies can be seen on the Easterling pages.

To join the East Anglian Waterways Association costs a minimum of £5 a year, although most members pay more, and we greatly appreciate donations and contributions under the Gift Aid scheme. The funds are then utilised to further the work of the Association such as for the publication of “The Easterling”, and to provide small grants to waterway projects, which have included the Sleaford Navigation towards purchase of part of the navigation's freehold; the raising of the Ramsey Hollow Bridge over the Forty Foot; the North Walsham & Dilham Canal work parties and the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterways Trust.

Looking towards the future we aim to:
  • Continued support to the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust 
  • Encourage the reopening of the Little Ouse from Brandon to Thetford.
  • Support the efforts for the Fens Waterways Link joining the cathedral cities of Lincoln, Peterborough and Ely
  • Back the propositions for the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway
  • Encourage the continued use of the Cambridgeshire Lodes as navigable waterways

    Work in partnership with the many smaller waterways trusts and other organisations in the area:
    Chelmer Canal Trust, River Stour Trust, River Gipping Trust, Sleaford Navigation Trust, Little Ouse Group, Great Ouse Boating Association, Middle Level Waterman's Club, Louth Navigation Trust - to name but a few - and to assist other groups to be formed to tend to their local waterways.

  • 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.
    ©2013 - East Anglian Waterways Association Limited - Reg. 895405    -     Registered Charity No. 251382