Author Archives: Bernard Illman

Chairman’s EMag – 12th June 2013

Greetings All,

My sincere apologies to several of our recent members whose E Mail addresses were lost between one database and another. You are now in the loop.

We were blessed with good weather for a change, for The Big Event at Cwmbran. We had three tents that we shared with the ‘Waterworks’ project from TY Coch, who were teaching the kids how to build brick arches, Torfaen Canal Watch, who also had hands on skills for the youngsters, Ursula’s Sales Table that did very well and a Membership and Duck Race sales table. Thanks to all those who helped and hope you had an enjoyable day. If YOU would like to help here are the next dates.

13th July Risca Park, same format as last Saturday.
13th July Fourteen Locks, Amateur Radio Day, Trip Boat on the pond.
21st July Fourteen Locks, Pirate Day, Trip Boat on the pond.
27-28th July Big Cheese at Caerphilly, same format as Cwmbran.

Don’t forget the Archaeological Dig this week, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 13,14 & 15th June, at Ty Coch. Parking at Pentre Lane or Hollybush Way. Please be on site by 9am for H & S and introduction to methods.

If you would like to be involved in any of the events, canoeing, Trip Boat, boat maintenance or organisation of any kind we would like to hear from you, AND still looking for a treasurer.

Finally, all members would have received notification of the AGM, our President, Lord German, will be speaking on 6th July.



Chairman’s EMag – 17th May 2013

Greetings All,

Archaeological Dig.

The date for the Research Visit to Gwent Archives at Ebbw Vale has been set for Wednesday 29th May, please contact me asap if you want to be included and I will confirm the programme and times. The Dig itself will take place on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 13, 14 and 15th June, please let me know which days you are available, lets pray for good weather.

The Crumlin Arm.

Very much in the news this time. Firstly a questionnaire from Cllr. Ken James, included as an attachment, please read and complete if you are in this area. Cllr. James is the obvious choice to continue where Stan Jenkins left off, having been a member of the Steering Committee for many years.

Cllr James Letter

Crumlin Arm Questionnaire

Secondly, thanks go to Lindsay Gauntlett, a volunteer, who has carried out a survey of all the water sources on the Crumlin Arm. Her very professional report has identified many new, old and damaged sources that could be utilised to get more water into the canal and ultimately to Fourteen Locks. Already, with the co operation of Brian Rigby of the Newport Golf Club, Newport C.C. and MBACT, a potential problem at Harry Roberts Bridge has been averted to the benefit of the canal.

Finally for your Diary.

Monday 20th May, volunteers are meeting at 10am, at Goytre, to sort the boat and trailer for:
Tuesday, Wednesday, 21st & 22nd Schools Event. Several volunteers are coming but if you can spare the time to get some “hands on” you will be very welcome.

The Shop Lock Dig at Ty Coch, as above.

Saturday 22nd June, the MBACT AGM, 11am at The Coach and Horses, Llangynidr.



Chairman’s EMag – 4th May 2013

Greetings All,

Two important notes for your diary.

Firstly the annual Schools Boat Event takes place at Goytre Wharf on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd May. This is co ordinated by Tom Maloney under “Education Through Restoration” (ETR) from Fourteen Locks, with the MBACT Trip Boat and several volunteers in attendance. Tom needs the boat on the water by 9.30am on Tuesday morning so we intend to launch it on Monday. Some of you will know that the boat trailer has been the subject of an extensive upgrading with hydraulic lift gear and launching rollers funded by a kind grant from The Big Lottery Fund, it subsequently needs a lick of paint and the boat, having been laid up all winter, also needs a spring clean. We therefore plan to meet at Goytre Wharf at 10am on Monday 20th May to do what is required to both and launch the boat for the following day. Please, could all those who have expressed an interest to help, and I understand that a week day is not convenient to many, give me some idea of numbers and preferred days. Council visitors are also welcome! Please reply by e-mail or phone 01873 812562 for more details.

Secondly, the Archaeological Dig at Shop Lock on the Ty Coch is now planned. A one day trip to Gwent Archives at Ebbw Vale has been scheduled for research purposes on Wednesday 29th May and the “dig” is scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 13th, 14th, & 15th June. These days have been chosen particularly to enable those who are more gainfully employed during the week to have a “go”. However, numbers are limited, all participants will have to be temporary members (free) of either the Archaeological Society or MBACT for insurance purposes,so get your name in early, by e-mail only please. An update on the site use seems to point to “shop” as in Workshop, possibly for repairing boats.

Chairman’s EMag – 30th April 2013

Greetings All,

Glad to have some warmer weather to enjoy the new tow path from bridge 113 to 130, thanks to CRT, however, the worst part, from 110 to 112 is still to be completed.

The subject of the Cross Party talks, last week at the Welsh Assembly, was Tourism in Wales and the fact that we are loosing ground to Scotland and England! So roll on,lets cut the budgets to the Tourist Centres like Crickhowell etc.! Please, do all you can to object to these cuts, our Canal industry depends on Tourists.

Tickets for the Duck Race, ( Bank Holiday Monday 26th August) are now available from Fourteen Locks, 33 Upper Dock Street and from most of our upcoming events.

Once more we are looking for a Treasurer, Martina has had to pull out due to preassure of work, so if you would like to become a member of the team PLEASE step up now, we need YOU!

The Ty-Coch project is moving on and the excavation of the “shop” foundations will take place in June, more on this when the dates are known.

There are 4 non canal based events coming up, Cwmbran Big Event 8th June, Risca 13th July, Caerphilly Big Cheese 27 & 28th July and Llangynidr Show 27th August, this is where we get new members and sell Duck Race tickets, it’s a good day out and you meet lots of people, please contact me if you can help.

The next “Reed Warbler” will be out soon, delivered to all members free, or £1 at Fourteen Lock and 33 Upper dock Street.

Finally, don’t forget the public meeting at LLangattock School Hall tonight to discuss the proposed new Hire Boat Base.

See you on the Cut.


Chairman’s EMag – 27th March 2013

Greetings All,

Just a quickie to let all members and supporters know that the event planned for Fourteen Locks this Easter Sunday has been postponed due to the cold weather.

Ty Coch “Waterworks Project”
On a more positive note, the foundations of the shop and possibly a cottage have been found at Shop Lock on the Ty Coch flight. MBACT and Torfaen C.B.C.are keen to investigate the full extent of the find with a view to establishing a future Visitor Centre on the site. We will be calling for anyone who fancies a “Time Team” experience to join us, under the supervision of Torfaen Archaeological section, for a “dig” in the summer.
The fish Rescue has taken place in the 2 side ponds and they have been dredged. More volunteers cannot be accommodated until the access road has been put in, which should be in about 3 weeks. Watch this space.

Land Rover
To those volunteers who offered to help with the Land Rover and Trailer this summer, I.W.A. testing (for insurance purposes) will take place in May once the modifications of the trailer have been completed. Thanks for your patience.


Chairman’s EMag – 24th February 2013

Greetings All,

If you have not seen what’s going on at the Ty-Coch site, do so on the next sunny day we have. I was there last Tuesday, hedges are being layed, brush cut back, the canal channel is full of water, Drapers Lock is finished and dozens of ducks and moorhens have taken up residence. Go along and give our volunteers a wave, you can access the tow path at Pentre Lane, Llantarnum, or Hollybush Way, Cwmbran. The site is about half a mile from either point.

A bridge at Pentre Lane is now the next objective, to link the Malpas section with the Ty-Coch flight, we are looking for a serious fund raiser for the job, or do YOU perhaps have a spare £800,000 laying about.

Meetings about water for the Crumlin Arm, and ultimately Fourteen Locks, have been taking place with Caerphilly and a source of water has been identified but it is lower than the level of the canal. It is possible it could be raised by a water wheel similar to that used at Lordings on the Wey and Arun Canal (see their web site). Anyone who has the ability to build a waterwheel would be very welcome on the team.

Our next event is at Fourteen Locks on Easter Sunday when the Trip Boat will be operating on the pond.

Finally, we desperately need the services of a Secretary, to attend the committee meeting once a month and produce the minutes, it is not a difficult job but requires the ability to turn two and a half hours waffle into 3 x A4’s of semi intelligent notes. And you could get a cup of tea and a biscuit. Please contact Phil at Fourteen Locks or me by e mail.

Thanks for all your replies and input.


Chairman’s EMag – 17th January 2013

Greetings All,

Welcome to another year on Planet Wales, especially to all those who have not had the MBACT E-Mag before.

It is with deep regret that we have to record the passing of Cllr. Stan Jenkins of Caerphilly on Monday 14th January. Stan has long been a stalwart behind the Iswlyn Canal Association on the Crumlin Arm and was the driving force to get a trip boat on the Pontywaun section. Tragically his stroke occurred the day before the “Iswlyn Lylily” was launched in October last and although he initially made good progress complications set in. Our sincere condolences go to Mrs Jenkins and
family. His funeral is at 1pm, 31st Jan at Mariah Chapel, Risca.

The events calendar for 2013 is being finalised and will be out by the end of January, however, there is no Five Locks Rally planned for this year as yet. Traditional organisers, Goytre Boat Owners Association are presently dormant but Cllr. Stewart Ashleigh from Pontnewydd is
looking at the possibility of a community driven event. The same needs to be considered for the Manor Road area on the Crumlin arm now that Stan is not with us.

The A.G.M. for the Inland Waters Association will be held on the 5th March in Cardiff, (full address at a later date), the chairman of the All Wales Group of Canal & River Trust,(the old B.W.) will be
speaking, so there should be an opportunity to question him on the future of Welsh Canals.

The” Waterworks” project at Ty-Coch, Cwmbran, is up and running and the team can be seen hard at work on the first 2 Locks most days of the week. However, we are still looking for a small Industrial Unit in the vicinity of Hollybush Way (at a next to nothing rental) to set up the Lock Gate fabrication workshop. Two volunteers are presently working at Fourteen Locks on fencing and landscaping.

The water supply along the Crumlin Arm is also being investigated with the full co operation of Caerphilly C.B.C.and Welsh Water.

Another group of Sea Scouts have shown an interest in canoeing on the Malplas section and we hope to hear from Canoe Wales soon.


Chairman’s EMag – 18th December 2012

Festive Greetings All,

Santa’s Grotto at Fourteen Locks was well attended again last weekend, the first for this year. In spite of heavy persistent rain, everyone had a good time and once again Santa’s Team did a marvellous job. If you haven’t taken the kids or grand kids there yet, there is still this Saturday and Sunday, 22nd & 23rd Dec.

The Shop at 33 Upper Dock Street will be closed from Sat 22nd Dec to Tues 1st Jan. Good news is Newport have extended our lease to June 2013.

The Reed Warbler Calendar for 2013 is now available at the Shop or Fourteen Locks Centre at £1.00 each. Sales of this help to finance the magazine during the rest of the year.

The committee of the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust would like to thank everyone for their support over the Anniversary Year and look forward to your continued support in the New Year, lets make it another good one.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.


Chairman’s EMag – 23rd November 2012

Greetings All,

With the end of the year approaching fast there are still a few dates to remember for Canal related events.

Saturday 1st December there will be a Trail of Bells and Lantern Activities from Pontymoile Basin starting at 11.30am.

11.30am Male Voice Choir.

12noon The Bell will be rung by Cllr Bob Wellington and Robin Hurbert who will also unveil a plaque commemorating the Year.

The Male Voice Choir will continue until 12.30pm.

Treasure Hunt starts from Pontymoile and continues to Brecon basin to arrive by 5pm.

Church Bells Ring from Pontymoile to Brecon and Newport, and Hay on Wye to Brecon.At Brecon Christmas Fair at George Hotel 10am to 4pm.

At Brecon Basin and Theatre there will be a Lantern Workshop from 5 to 6pm.

At 6pm there will be Floating Lanterns. and Display.

At 7pm the Pantomine Dick Whittington starts.


Dec 19th Light Up the Canal and Sing, Carols at Llanfoist Community Hall.

Santas Grotto at Fourteen Locks 15/16th and 22/23rd.

Drapers Lock has been completed and work has started on Tredegar Lock.

The Canoe Project is coming together and will be “launched” next year.

Watch this space.


Chairman’s EMag – 30th October 2012

Greetings All,

Crumlin Arm.

Last Saturday Cllr. Stan Jenkins baby “The Iswlyn Lily” was “launched” at Wysom’s Wharf, however, Stan was not there to see it having had a stroke the night before. Happily Stan is on the mend and we all send him our best regards. The Mayor of Caerphilly Borough Council, Cllr. Gaynor Oliver, gave a short speech and then embarked on the first trip with a number of other guests. Nobody should underestimate the amount of effort required to get a project such as this up and running and the Iswlyn Canal Association must be congratulated on their resolve. Trips for the public will start in the spring.

200th Anniversary Year.

There are still events taking place up and down the Canal organised by various groups.

Oct 31st Pirates and Lanterns, 6pm Church Road bridge, Gilwern 01873 830772 for more info.

Oct 31st Spooky Stories in the Clydach Gorge. 2pm. 01495 742333 for more info.

Oct 31st Make your own Halloween Mask at Fourteen Locks, free!

Oct 31st to 4th Nov. Halloween Trails from Fourteen Locks. 01633 892167.

Nov 4th Electric Boats and Canoes. Brecon Basin 10am to 1pm 07966 461819 for more info.

Nov 19th Towpath Walk and Talk, 11am Elim Church, Brecon. 01874 711484 for more info.

Dec 1st Lighting up the Canal. Brecon Basin, JOIN A WORKSHOP NOW TO MAKE YOUR LANTERNS. 01873 811579 for more info.

Dec 15-16, Santas Grotto at Fourteen Locks.

Dec 22-23, Santas Grotto at Fourteen Locks. 01633 892167.

Dec 19th Lanterns and Carols, Llanfoist Church Lych Gate at 6pm 01873 858277 for more info.


As can be seen from the above, volunteering on the Mon and Brec is alive and thriving, the I.W.A., the MBACT, and many other groups have been working for years to raise money and interest to, initially, save the South Wales Canals from dereliction and unsympathetic development but also for restoration. Through their efforts the All Party Waterways Group at the Assembly was initiated, County Councils have recognised a Canal’s worth and are initiating restoration projects, and communities have found a common interest to work for.

It was therefore surprising to note that at the recent launch of Glandwr Cymru ( the Welsh Canal and River Trust) at the Welsh Assembly, there was no representative from any of the volunteer
groups already in existence. Canal & River Trust are spending £housands on recruiting volunteers but is this just for the Lock Keeper image and donations? The existing Canal Volunteers, who look
after and restore many miles of Canal not in C&RT ownership, would also like the opportunity to meet the “movers and shakers” of Wales.

Is this another case of BRITISH WATERWAYS “us and them”, do C&RT intend to continue as BW with it’s hand picked volunteers, or was this a genuine mistake of a fledgling Charity?

Bernard Illman

Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust.