Aylsham Navigation Project 2012

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The River Bure is at the very heart of our communities as it wends its way from Aylsham through Burgh, Brampton, Oxnead, Lammas, Buxton, Hautbois and Coltishall towards the sea. The river is ever present as a backdrop to our lives, but how many of us give a thought to its history?  It is simply not just a river as it has a rich and interesting story to tell.

The old mill before the fire of 1963
As far as we know it was first used for transport by the Romans carrying goods from the factories at Brampton, which was then an industrial town. By the late 18th Century this was a very rich agricultural area held back by the primitive means of transporting the goods produced at the time.

Many thanks for Black & White photos supplied below by, www.norfolkmills.co.uk  more can be seen via this web link
In 1779 the river was opened as the Aylsham Navigation, allowing water borne transport from Aylsham and all the communities along the way to Great Yarmouth and beyond. Trading wherries were able to carry agricultural produce to market and marl, as well as coal and consumer goods in the opposite direction. This was nothing short of revolutionary at the time.
The navigation still exists, but only as far as Coltishall .  There were five locks - Coltishall/Horstead, Buxton, Oxnead, Burgh and Aylsham. The navigation closed after all these locks were washed out in the great flood of August 26th 1912.  Boats were trapped upstream although one, the Zulu, was famously man-hauled around the obstructions to freedom. There is a famous photograph of it crossing the road near Buxton Mill to avoid the lock, which is now nearly all gone. In case you don't know, Buxton lock was to the side of the mill and is now filled in. The remains of Oxnead, Burgh and Coltishall locks can still be seen.
At the same time as all these locks where damaged beyond repair, the bridge between Coltishall and Horstead was washed away. It is also possible to see the height of the flood water by the marker on the cottage next to the Recruiting Sergeant in Horstead.
A committee has been formed to commemorate this event in various ways:  record what remains of the history, identify the wildlife of the river and incorporate these into a trail along the length of the river from Aylsham to Coltishall. Shorter walks along the river will also be described and published.

Most importantly we hope in 2012 to have a celebratory event to remember the rivers history and the people who worked on it (characters all). We hope to get one of the surviving wherries up to Coltishall in August 2012 and then carry the first cargo to Aylsham in 100 years using canoes.

The hope is to engage with all the riverside communities enroute. If you would like to be involved in some way – please contact me Peter Baker on 738573  or pete.coltishall@virgin.net or Stuart Wilson on 279510 or stu.wilson100@btinternet.com .  There is also a website at http://www.eastinvolve.net/aylsham-navigation/

Minutes of Aylsham Navigation Meeting in Coltishall Village Hall Lounge November 2011 Link

Aylsham Navigation Meeting in Coltishall Village Hall Lounge 7: 2011Aylsham Navigation Meeting in Coltishall Village Hall Lounge 7:30 pm Tuesday 18th January 2011

1. Apologies
2. Appointment of Chairman and Minute Taker
3. Minutes of last meeting - on the website under "our files"
4. Any matters arising
5. Opening Remarks
6. Reports from participating groups
7. Finance
8.. Website
9. Meeting Arrangements
10. Any other business (please notify)
11. Date of Next Meeting

Minutes of the meeting held in January can be found at this link: minutes_18 Jan

The next meeting will be held at 19:30 hrs at BUXTON VILLAGE HALL on 3rd March 2011. You are cordially invited to that meeting although please let me know that you are coming so we can keep an eye on numbers. I know this is quite close in time to the last meeting but there are reasons for that although the gap between meetings after this one should be wider. One of the agenda items is the possible formation of a charitable trust - if we go down that line I could do with some practical assistance if anybody is prepared to volunteer and we will also need an early core membership. In case you don't know BUXTON VILLAGE HALL is opposite the church and lies just off the main road right in the middle of the village. There is car parking at the rear.

Bure Navigation Conservation Trust

Several months ago I wrote a short piece about an event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the flood of 1912. This flood destroyed all the locks on and several bridges over the River Bure between Coltishall and Aylsham and as a consequence prevented wherries from carrying goods on the Bure Navigation.

Whilst the commemoration will mainly be a one day event the committee has always planned that it would leave a legacy. At a meeting held at the Alby Horse Shoes on 1st June 2011 the provision of this legacy moved one step further forward by agreeing the formation of a the Bure Navigation Conservation Trust. The main aims of the Trust will be the conservation and promotion of fauna and flora on this stretch of the River Bure and work towards the provision and maintenance of a continuous riverside footpath, which is accessible to all, between Aylsham and Coltishall. Such a charitable trust will be able to fund raise for these aims and also apply for grant aid in support of its objectives.

A small group, under the chairmanship of Stuart Wilson, has been formed to produce a draft Constitution and Aims and Objectives of the new Trust. These proposals will be presented to a further meeting on Wednesday 6th July at Alby Horse Shoes at 7:30pm with a view to taking the finalised proposals to an open meeting. date and venue to be agreed, to launch the Trust, elect a committee and appoint officers. It is the hope of the walking group that all the residents of the villages along the course of the river will be involved in the preservation and improvement of this local amenity.
If you are interested in any aspect of this project or would like further information please contact me on : 738573 or pete.coltishall@virgin.net or Stuart Wilson at stu.wilsonl00@btinternet.com.
Information on the Bure Navigation Project can be found on aylsham-navigation.norfolkparishes.gov.uk. Peter Baker


Notes of Meeting Held at The Reading Room, Burgh, 19.10.2011.

Present: Sue and Peter Baker, Amanda & Alan Davis, Tony Escritt (Aylsham & District Wildlife Association) David Harrison, Judith Holloway, Tony Jubb, Jim Pannell, Roger and Diana Polhill, Barbara Rix, Elaine and Bruce Rushin, Rosemary Topping, Smart Wilson.

1. Apologies: Spencer Greystrong, Ashe Hurst, Margaret Bird.

2. Minutes of the previous meeting were accepted.

3. Matters arising: none that are not on the agenda.

4. Constitution: The working group advised that a constitution following the limited liability route would be appropriate as it protected the Trustees from any liability exceeding £l. This resulted in using a model policy and adapting it to suit. It is lengthy but comprehensive.
Peter has been drafting a summary handbook to the constitution and found it a challenge. Barbara offered to comment.
Some main points from the constitution included the arrangements for Trustees to stand down, the number of Trustees, quorate numbers, proxy attendance and voting, and liability. It was agreed that the constitution should be adopted at the next meeting with two additions:
(i) the addition of a paragraph on arrangements for auditing accounts
(ii) expansion of objectives to more fully explain the benefits of the Trust, including key words such as visitors, heritage, community, improvement and health.
Barbara suggested the handbook should have a preface explaining the intent and objectives of the Trust, so that it could be used by anyone interested.

5.  Finances:   It was emphasised that we must have a constitution to open a bank account, and both to apply for grants. For this reason Trust House had refused our application.
Barbara advised that ‘Broadland — Grant Search’ website may be of help, and takes the applicant through the process, Violea also has funds for grants.
Rosemary advised that Sally Hoare at Broadland (01603 431 133) was very helpful. An application for a small grant of perhaps £500 might be appropriate for the centenary event. The Broadland Community Partnership offers grants of up to £5000, but not 100%.
Criteria are important and, again, words such as community benefit, health, environment, and Broadland residents are helpful. For a grant to be approved, the Trust would need a constitution, elected committee, equal opps statement, insurance cover, financial projections and a child protection policy, if applicable.
Grantnet at www.broadland.gov.uk/community grants provides top tips for funding
applications. These include ensuring that all documents include the name of the group, having someone independent to read them, showing a need, costings, illustrations of benefits, keeping copies, avoiding unnecessary paperwork.
The Broads Authority also has funds to grant.
Peter is following up on insurance.
In response to a question about subscriptions, Stuart explained that subs would go in to the Trust’s account for use in pursuing the aims of the Trust. If there was any doubt, Trustees would consult members.
6. Chairman’s report:
Stuart had written a constructive letter to the Coltishall Commons Trust about the centenary event, which he felt should progress matters even though he was
unable to attend their next meeting in person.
The Sea Scouts are engaging with us, and particularly keen to help in any practical way with conservation.
Correspondence had been received and exchanged by e-mail from and between Margaret Bird and Ashe Hurst. Whilst there was no doubt that all parties wish to improve access and enjoyment of the navigation, Stuart felt that the Trust should remain neutral wherever possible with contentious issues concerning rights, access and navigation use, except where they are directly in connection with the objectives of the Trust. Smart wanted the Trust, as far as possible, to maintain good relations with landowners and user interest groups, he said this was clearly good practise for us. This was unanimously agreed.
The editor of ‘Waterways World’ had visited and was very enthusiastic about the navigation. There may be an article from his visit.
Stuart also reported that we had been donated a laptop and projector by Monica Kirkland from Wensum School. This was a machine which was being recycled as it had been replaced.

7. Reports:
Roger presented a positive report on progress with the book. He anticipated that the planned timescale would be met, though gathering and collating information on the Coltishall end of the navigation will prove more challenging. Approaches have been made to printers and responses look good.

8. Any Other Business.
Jim pointed out the correspondence in the press recently about the County Council possibly withdrawing its service to maintain public rights of way. He felt that the Trust should be  cautious about providing a service which displaced the responsibilities of the authority. David felt it unlikely that the county would be able to afford any level of maintenance.
Following on from this, recent walking of the navigation supported the view that the stretch of footpath between Horstead and Mayten Bridge will be the most challenging to maintain for safe access.