A few weeks back The River Gipping Trust arranged for an Inland Waterways Association (IWA) officer to survey the river between Needham Market and Baylham, with a view to establishing feasibility and costs associated with restoring navigation along this length. We are awaiting his full report but indications are very positive. He remarked that the Trust has done an excellent job of restoring the locks and indicated that his recommendation would likely be to carry out a preliminary ecological appraisal (PEA) along this stretch of the waterway which will essentially identify what protected species are likely to be encountered and habitats affected. These surveys will provide us with valuable documentation to support a bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) for a grant to support a full detailed feasibility study.
The survey was carried out on a lovely sunny day with the surveyor taking lots of measurements, notes and photos along the three-mile stretch. It was good to see lots of people enjoying themselves at Needham Lakes, which would be the starting point of our planned trip boat to Baylham. The surveyor remarked that there is already sufficient foot traffic to support a trip boat, even without the new visitor centre and café planned lock-side of the canal, which will undoubtedly bring in more visitors.
The photo shows volunteers getting Pipps Ford By-wash ready for water. The by-wash had been dammed off so we could work on it and install a ford while it was dry. The dam was removed a few weeks back, allowing water to flow through. The by-wash was created and dug out by our volunteers as the old one disappeared many years ago, leaving no trace whatsoever. The ‘new’ by-wash will allow water to flow around the lock, essential when lock gates are installed as there will be no flow through the lock when gates are closed.
Restoration Manager, Ian Petchey