Monthly Archives: April 2013

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.

Chairman’s EMag – 7th October 2012

Greetings All,

And especially to those Councillors whose Wards encompass parts of the Canal. The MBACT is presently talking to Canoe Wales with the idea of encouraging canoeing on the Canal in the Malpas area. We would like from you any information on Schools, Youth Clubs or others in the area who may be interested in this project, there is talk of a Small Boat Regatta at Kimberly Park in the spring so now is the time to come forward.

On the subject of Next Years Events, the MBACT will be doing another calendar as its Winter “Reed Warbler” magazine. Could those who would like their event dates included in it, similar to the last one, please let me or Tom at Fourteen Locks, have them by 1st November. Likewise, let us know who may require the Trip Boat but please be prepared to ADVERTISE your event.

The” Duck Race” organisers have already had their first meeting for next Augusts event and promise something different, watch this space.

The Canal shop at 33 Upper Dock Street, Newport, is going from strength to strength and is always looking for more stock. We are now selling paintings by Jean Wilding of Gilwern.

Finally, we still need someone to head up the production of the “Reed Warbler” for next year from the Spring issue, OR THERE WONT BE ONE! Tom cannot do it!

We also need a Secretary for committee meetings at Fourteen Locks Centre and a temporary Membership secretary for 4 months while Theresa is incapacitated. Only qualification required is a willingness to help!



Chairman’s EMag – 25th September 2012

Greetings All,

The “Cwmbran Big Event” on Saturday 22nd Sept. had glorious weather for the thousands of people who came out for the day. We had 3 gazebos accommodating a Sales Table, The Torfaen Canal Watch, a Membership Table and a demonstration of carpentry by volunteers Alan and Tony,
working on a Lock Gate section.

MBACT has recently been in touch with Canoe Wales and several other individuals with an idea to promote canoeing on the Malpas Section between Kimberly Park and Pentre Lane. There is a great deal of interest in this project and we are now in a position to get all the interested parties together, therefore, any Councillor, Youth Group, Sports Club or individual who has an interest and/or would like to get involved, please register your interest now, or pass this on to anyone
you may think could be interested. Who knows, we may find an new Olympian.

The Crickhowell History Weekend takes place this weekend 28th to 30th September. Organised by the Chrickhowell District Archive Centre and the Crickhowell and District History Society, it starts at 7.30pm in the Clarence Hall with a Photographic Presentation by Chris Lewis on the history of Businesses and Villages in the area. Commentary will be provided by John Webb and Robert Gant with contributions from the floor.

From 9.30am on Saturday in the Clarence Hall, there will be 3 talks on the Canal, one on it’s history, one on it’s future and one on related features around Gilwern and Llangattock, finishing at 1pm. In the afternoon there will be a choice of 3 walks, one on Canal and Associated Features around Gilwern,(meeting at the Canal side car park off Church Road, Gilwern); the second on Llangattock, Village, Canal and Tramroads, (meeting at the car park off Hillside Road, access off
Plas Derwen); the third being a Historical Tour of Crickhowell, meeting at the Clarence Halll. All start times at 2.30pm. The Photographic Exhibition will be upstairs in the CriC Centre from 10am to 5 pm Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday. Tickets for all sessions are available from the CriC Centre.



Chairman’s EMag – 14th July 2012

Greetings All,


The AGM took place on 30th June at The Coach and Horses, Llangynidr. With a fair attendance, a good lunch and some very interesting suggestions from Lord German on our future association with the new Canal and River Trust (the old, never to be mentioned again “BW”), the next year will be busier and more exiting than the last. The 200th Year is half way through, but with several events being cancelled due to the weather, there will be a lot more happening before December. For next years AGM we must look at a time that may be more convenient for the Hire Companies.

Tomorrow, Sunday 15th July, there will be a Male Voice Choir, our Trip Boat and a Beer Tent at Castle Narrowboats, Gilwern, from 2pm. We will also have a Membership and Sales Table at the Pontypool Awareness Day on 18th July in the leisure Centre, and at the Cwmdu Show on Saturday 21st July. On Sunday August 26th the annual Duck Race will take place outside The Coach and Horses and we will have a Stand at the Llangynidr Show the same day. September 8th sees an Open Day at Goytre and the following day, 9th September, will be a big day at Fourteen Locks Centre with the Trip Boat on the top pond.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall made a brief visit to Brecon Basin on 10th July, where she was given a guided tour and presented with a brass Plaque commemorating the 200yrs and her visit. She showed particular interest in the HLF funded project with young work seekers at Ty-Coch.

The Ty-Coch Flight has been well and truly started with a 2 week visit by WRG (Waterways Recovery Group) and our own volunteers. Trdegar Lock, the bottom of the flight, has been cleared and much stonework stabilised and grouted, there is however, a long way to go. Newport C.C.are currently installing a coffer dam at Fourteen Locks to investigate a leak from the top pond into lock 24.

Situations Vacant.

Karen wishes to devote more time to Fourteen Locks Centre so we need a secretary to look after Correspondence and the yearly AGM.

Retired Civil “engineer”.
Someone from the construction industry who can look at the plans for Five Locks, Pontnewydd, and come up with ideas for sequential or alternative construction methods.

Retired “engineer”.
To look at improving water supply to Fourteen Locks on the Crumlin Arm.

Volunteer Co coordinator.
To advertise for volunteers,follow up offers of help,to list available volunteers for restoration, events or shop,and to log hours for match funding.

Roger Francis, our Vice Chairman, approached Waitrose, Abergavenny about funding for the Community Boat restoration, we were allocated one of those bins where customers put their green tokens and the result was a cheque for £313 towards fitting out of the boat. Many thanks to Waitrose.

The Shop.
Mr Maggs has made a model of a lock and its surroundings for the shop window, it is a beautiful model with great detail and worth a visit to the shop if for nothing else.

The Reed Warbler. Copy deadline for the next edition is 31st August 2012.

Chairman’s EMag – 12th May 2012

Greetings All,

Three big subjects tonight!

The News is out, we can now reveal that with our partners Torfaen C.B.C. we have won funding up to a total of £1.4million for a three year project to restore the 8 locks in the Ty-Coch Flight, Lower
Cwmbran. This is a project to bring young unemployed into the workforce and teach them life and work skills. Details will explained later, suffice to say it is a great boost for the area and our plans
to restore the remaining sections of the Canal.

Our new web page is up and running! Thanks to all those who have put so much work into it, it is still the same address there will be a few details to sort out as we progress so please let us have your comments.

Finally, on a sadder note, John Smith previously of Roadhouse boats, Gilwern, died recently. The funeral service will be held at Llangattock Church at 10.30am on Wednesday 23rd May and the cremation will be at Croesyceiliog at 12 noon. All are welcome but his daughter Lucy on 07796445651 would like to know numbers.

Thanks everyone for your continued support, we’re getting there!


Chairman’s EMag – 12th March 2012

Greetings All,

Welsh Waterways Festival, Pontymoile 28th April.

Details for this event are now available and augers well for a good days entertainment. To start with there will be Craft Stalls, Food Producers and Local produce including Cheese, Beer, Wine and Cider. For the children there will be Fair Ground Rides, Stalls, Bouncy Castle and Face Painting. Arena Events will include Wild Birds, Trained Dogs, Tug of War and Children’s Workshops. Evening entertainment will consist of a Hog Roast (by ticket only), Jacket Potatoes, Salads, a live Country Band and a discounted Bar. Also, food and drink will be available all day at the Narrowboat Tea Room. Add to this the attraction of Boats, for which there will be prizes
for Best Dressed and Best Illuminated Boat and the Trust Trip Boat will be taking rides along the Canal. All in all it is going to be a Great Day.

On the subject of the Trip Boat, we have a busy year ahead and all those who have offered to help ( and those who haven’t, yet,) are welcome to come and learn the “ropes” on the day. Also on the subject of Trip Boat, the Trust has applied for a Grant from the Argus to improve the lifting gear on the trailer. This has to be voted for and voting coupons will be published in the Argus from
12th to 24th March, i.e.TODAY!!! Please vote for us!!!

Cameo. Continuing with how the Trust is run.

The Fourteen Locks Canal
Centre is run by Phil Hughes ably assisted by Tom Maloney, Educational Consultant, Colin Westacott, Retail and the ever helpful Karen Wozencoft, Trust Secretary. The Cafe is normally sub let but at the moment is closed due to the arson damage inflicted just before
Christmas. There will be a Grand Reopening shortly so watch this space.

BBC 2,WALES, 6.30pm, 19th March is the time and place where you can see John Sargent’s new programme and our Community Boat which is being refurbished at Scottish and Southern Power. Don’t miss it.

The Shop is now open from Tuesday to Friday but we still need 3 more volunteers to help. Drop in and see us when you are in Newport.