Category Archives: Chairman’s EMag (Archive)

EMagazine – 14th March 2016

Greetings all,

MBACT’S planning for the year is well under way and more details will be forth coming in the months ahead, however here are a few dates for your diary.

Saturday 12th March (this Saturday), The I.W.A. Wales, will be holding it’s AGM at The Fourteen Locks Centre starting at 11.00am. Food and Drink will be available afterwards in the Cafe’ and The Edith-Elizabeth trip boat will be operating on the pond.

Tuesday 22nd March MBACT committee meeting at The Fourteen Locks Centre for those involved, at 5.00pm.

Wednesday 23rd Meeting of the Canal-a-thon organizing team takes place at The Red Lion, Llangynidr, also at 5.00pm. Open to anyone who would like to help.

May (2 days) We hope to repeat our Education Days at Goytre Wharf. (Details still being formulated)

This year MBACT will be promoting membership and The Duck Race at three events in Torfaen during June.

Saturday 11th June “Cwmbran big Event”

Saturday 26th June “Blaenavon world Heritage Day”

Saturday 9th July “Pontypool Summer Festival”

On all three of these days we hope to have a Team on site selling Duck Race Tickets, and with a photo display of Restoration and Events, promote membership.

Saturday 23rd July Open Day at Fourteen locks Canal Centre where the Edith -Elizabeth trip boat will be operating, plus entertainment and stalls.

Monday 31st August The annual Duck Race will be held on the Canal outside The Coach & Horses, Llangynidr. Tickets will be available from after Easter until the day before when there will be a final push at The Llangynidr Show, Sunday 30th August. Thanks must go to Oakdale Printers for supplying these at no cost to MBACT.

Saturday 10th September. This is the big day for the Canal-a-thon, starting from Pontymoile at 8am and the Boat Gathering at Brecon Basin, all day. Entry details on our web site and follow the link.

Saturday 30th September– Sunday 1st October. There will be a 2 day event at the Ty-Coch Waterworks site with the Edith-Elizabeth trip boat operating up and down the newly restored locks. More details at a later date.

December. MBACT A.G.M. the AGM will be held in the Winter in future as the committee feel the Summer is already too busy. Date yet to be decided.

In other news, there has been no more from C.R.T. on the future arrangements at Goytre Wharf, even though MBACT have been invited to participate. Good news is the Cafe is worth a visit.

The culprits for last years break in at Ty-Coch restoration site have been apprehended and sentenced.

We would like to thank Hemple Paints and also Rontec (Esso Garage) for their kind donations in recognition for what MBACT is doing within the community.

Further dates for the Trip Boat will be advised once they have been finalised.

Thanks to all those who have renewed their membership, welcome to all the new members, and to all those who would like to join please see our web page for details.

Thanks also to those who support us just by being friends.


EMagazine – 10th January 2016

Greetings and a Happy New Year to all.
This will be the first e magazine that last years new members will have received, if anyone does not want to receive it, please reply.

Chairman Roger Francis’ report, at the last meeting, dwelt on restoration and funding. HLF have given MBACT a time extension to complete the last two locks at Ty-Coch, delayed due to the weather. However, it is a worrying fact that none of the partnership councils have a budget for maintenance of the completed structures in the future. Further more, Torfaen C.B.C. have set out plans to spend money on Pontymoile Basin,( a C.R.T. owned stretch of canal), whereas, MBACT would prefer to see the money spent further down the canal where there is certainly no chance of C.R.T. investing in a reciprocative manner. MBACT will be sending their objection to Torfaen.

Looking further ahead, plans are afoot to make a model of the structure required to navigate over the road near B & Q. This will incorporate a lift mechanism in the shape of two Forge Hammers which will hopefully create a Tourist Attraction as well as a practical solution.

The Modular Lock Gate programme will be launched with a day event at the restoration site on 11th May 2016 and will be devoted to Dignitaries and Media coverage.

The Ty-Coch site will be officially opened on 30th September and 1st October and will be opened to the public. Both days will see the trip boat,” Edith- Elizabeth”, taking passengers through the locks. Due to heavy rain, those on site recently had a preview of what the basin and locks look like when full of water!

Five Locks Basin, Pontnewydd.  Torfaen have expressed an interest in having “The Lord Raglan” moored at Five locks as a floating classroom and Trip boat, so MBACT is looking at the possibility of building a Boat House on the basin there. In the same area, The Cross Keys Pub has been sold and the new owners want to change it into a private dwelling, this is being objected to by Torfaen, the Glenside/Pontnewydd residents and MBACT, as a public facility and space will be lost.

Plans are also afoot to start restoring Locks 3,4 and 5 at Pontnewydd once the Stone Masons have finished at Ty-Coch in September, subject to sufficient funding.

Canalathon and Boat Rally. This years Canalathon is planned for Saturday 10th September and boat owners are invited to come up to Brecon Basin to welcome the finishing teams and join in the general festivities. As usual there will music with live bands and food available to all. Entries for the Canalathon can be downloaded from from the beginning of February.

Pentre Lane. Purchase of the land required for the position of a new bridge is on going.


The Manor Road Feeder. Constructive talks between Caerphilly C.B.C. and Welsh Water, with MBACT observing, have taken place with an aim to repair the Penstocks at Manor Road, thus enabling the underground feeder to be directed back into the Canal. Not only will this help to maintain water levels in time of drought (!!!!), but hopefully help MBACT to operate the Trip Boat “Edith-Elizabeth” at Fourteen Locks. Further dredging is also required this year to enable the “Islwyn Lilly” to operate from “Whysom’s Wharf”.

Fourteen Locks. Work continues to seal the area above Lock 20, at the top pound, to allow the trip boat access to Locks 17,18.19 &20, for schools and the public to experience the use of a flight of locks.


Volunteers have always run MBACT and in recent years have been responsible for restoration at Ty-Coch and the running of the shop in Newport. Volunteers are now taking a major hand in running Fourteen Locks and operating the Trip Boat but with a greater demand made on them, more are needed. If you would like to help operate the trip boat, man a display table or sell Duck Race tickets at an event, please contact any member, Fourteen Locks or me, we would love to have you along!

See you on the Cut,


Chairman’s EMag – 5th March 2014

Greetings All,

The installation of the Rev. John Collier, conducted by the Bishop of Monmouth, the Rt. Rev. Richard Pain, took place at St Illtuds, Mamhilad, on Sat 22nd Feb. There was a good crowd of about 50 people there most of whom retired to” The Star” afterwards for snacks and a drink. Photos were taken at High Bridge and can be seen on the MBACT web site, www.churchinwales or the next edition of Waterways World.

Crumlin Arm
The Principal Engineer reports that CCBC are currently working to repair a long standing leak on the Pontywaun section. This consists of a new section of retaining wall and 70m of synthetic liner which will be extended further, subject to available funds. Partial infilling of the canal bed has been required to provide access and will be removed on completion of the works.
A short length of tow path behind Brynhyfryd Terrace is to be raised to prevent over topping.
Measures are being investigated to prevent silt blocking the canal, enabling the Islwyn Canal Associations trip boat to operate from Whysome’s Wharf.
Grass cutting and sapling treatment will start on 24th March and weed cutting in the channel will start in July.
A perceived conflict between cyclists and walkers is to be addressed by the introduction of a Cycleway Code of Conduct. Signs will be erected and information leaflets made available shortly, their effectiveness will be monitored over the next 12 months.

MBACT Regeneration Ltd.
The new company has managed to secure £64,000 which is match funding for the HLF Waterworks partnership with Torfaen. Now that the 10 year licences with TCBC has been signed for the land, a temporary road access can be constructed from Holly Bush way and the workshop can be erected, (in May). This money will also fund the new modular Top Lock Gate and the purchase of land at Pentre Lane required for further restoration of the canal.
TCBC and WG Vibrant and Viable Places project.
Torfaen C.B.C. have secured £8.5m from the WG for the above project which includes a “Canal Quarter” in Cwmbran centre. A “workshop” will be held after the next Cross Party Group meeting at the Senedd on 19th March to discuss priorities.

Fourteen Locks
In partnership with Newport City Council, work is due to start shortly to improve water flow into Lock 20 to enable access by trip boat, and to continue the education program at the Centre for Communities and Schools.

Canalathon, 14th Sept 2014
This event will be open to 50 x 4 man (or woman, or mixed, to be totally PC) teams, paddling from Pontymoile to Goytre, Cycling from Goytre to Llangynidr and walking or running from Llangynidr to Brecon. It is not a race as such, but an event for anyone to compete in, including families. Entertainment and refreshment will be available at Brecon Basin during the afternoon. Click HERE for more details and enter online or download forms.

World Conference on Canals, Milan, Sept. 2014
Following on from Richard’s attendance at the WCC in Toulouse in 2013, a group from there will be visiting us later in the year to see what Wales has to offer and see our projects. Interaction of this kind broadens our scope for funding particularly when we are looking at European money and has been prepared through a partnership between Adventa, LAG, Monmouthshire C.C. and MBACT Regeneration Ltd.

And finally,
For those who like to do their boating from an arm chair, Timothy West and Prunella Scales will be back on their Narrowboat on “More4”, Monday nights at 9pm.


Chairman’s EMag – 3rd February 2014

Greetings All,
Looking out at the rain and the soggy garden it seems inconceivable that we have a full and vibrant year ahead of us, let us hope that all this precipitation will run out!

Chairman Roger Francis has passed on to me his strategy for the coming year which I will endeavour to pass on to you in précis form.
Future committee meetings will be held at 3 monthly intervals with more filling the gaps, this will cut down travelling expenses which can be high for some members. Alternative venues for these meetings are being considered on the length of the canal and any member will be welcome to attend as an observer. This may also encourage more members to help out on the committee as it is still short of officer holders.
Roger and others have also had a meeting with Costains, contractors for the new A465 (Heads of the Valleys Road), with a view to remodelling of Bridge 103, which was left as a potential hazard during road works many years ago.
His report from the Regeneration Steering Committee, (made up of all the partners and councils covered by the full length of the canal) shows increasing interest in the regeneration of Cwmbran Town Centre, The Crindau Marina at Newport and the imminent re watering of the Crumlin Arm.

In other news;
The Rev. John Collier is to become the Chaplin for the MBACT at a ceremony to be held at St Illtud’s Church, Mamhilad at 12.00 on Saturday 22nd February, conducted by the Bishop of Monmouth the Rt. Rev. Richard Pain. The church holds 100 and it would be great to fill it! Refreshments will be served afterwards so numbers, to this e mail or Fourteen Locks, would be a help.

Five Locks Rally planning is in progress and if you would like to help on the organising committee you will be most welcome.

The Shop has moved to the old Vision Express building in Newport and still has vacancies for mornings and afternoons.

The two Trading Companies, one for Fourteen Locks and the other for Ty Coch, have been formed.

Ty Coch Flight restoration continues but hampered by the weather and lack of access road.

Members are asked to please check their membership renewal dates and forward their subscriptions, if lapsed, asap, notices have not been sent out for the past 4 months due to a temporary hitch.

On the subject of membership, many people who receive this E Mag are not members but interested parties and supporters. Would you not like to give us also a little financial support AND receive the magazine four times a year? Membership ranges from £5 to £10 p.a. and forms can be filled in on line at our web site, at Fourteen Locks or I can facilitate it from here.

I have just heard that Torfaen has been successful in it’s “Vibrant and Viable Places” bid which makes money available to start the regeneration from Five Locks to the “Canal Quarter” in Cwmbran Town Centre. Well done to all concerned.

Chairman’s EMag – 10th December 2013

It has been a long time since the last E Mag and with so much happening I could not keep up, however, here is a brief catch up.

Long time volunteer and friend, Chris Annetts, died after a long illness bravely borne and was laid to rest yesterday. All our sympathies go out to Jenny.

The first composite Lock gate is now on site at Ty Coch.

The trading arm for Fourteen Locks is being set up as we speak.

The Newport Shop has moved into new premises in the pedestrian area in the centre of town. The old “Vision Express” premises.

Finally, after 4 years as chairman I retired in November for a rest, I ask everyone to give Roger Francis the same kind of support that I been privileged to receive.

Please take time to read the attached document that sets some of his plans out for the future.


Bernard Illman

Chairman’s EMag – 23rd September 2013

Greetings All,

The Shop and Canal Information Centre at 33 Upper Dock Street has now closed. We knew that we had to be out by 20th September, but we had two other shops lined up. However, after waiting for 2 weeks for the agent to make contact with the owner, 24 hours before we were due to move, the owner declined and so all stock is now in storage and we start again. Thanks to Bob Coldwell, Darren, Jason, Jodie and Ursula for a smooth move on Friday.

Country File and Julia Bradbury were at Ty Coch, also on Friday, filming the volunteers in action and hearing their comments on what they are learning. Steve Price has been nominated for an Emmy award! The clip will be shown on a Sunday night within the next 6 weeks.

Heritage Day, Fourteen Locks, was a great success so full marks to Phil for postponing from the week before due to the weather! Our boat and the Newport Steam railway ran all day; there was a Choir and all the other activities expected on such a day out. Thanks to all the MBACT volunteers and all the clubs, associations and staff at the Centre, far to numerous to mention individually, who made the day a success.

Gilwern Boat Gathering, Saturday and Sunday. Nine boats arrived for the revival of what used to be an annual event which was a good turn out considering the short notice. Tea, Coffee and biscuits were supplied by Nigel and Sally of Road House Boats who were ably supported by Nick and Sharon from Castle Narrowboats. A musical quiz was held on the towpath on Saturday evening with the aid of someone’s hi tech gizmo (!) and boats started to depart after Sunday lunch. Remember this one for next year!


Chairman’s EMag – 10th September 2013

Greetings all,

Sunday, 15th September, Fourteen Locks.
This Sunday, the annual Heritage Day takes place. The trip boat will be operating on the pond, there will also be a steam train and many other side stands. Phil and Tom always put on a good show so come and support them.
Volunteers are needed to help with the boat from about 10am, it is always a good day out and we look forward to seeing new faces and old, please see Captains Roger Francis and Tony Pugh when you arrive.

Saturday & Sunday, 21st & 22nd September, Gilwern.
Nigel and Sally from Road House Boats invite all boaters to a revival of the Gilwern Boat Gala. This was big in the past and they are trying to gauge interest for a big one next year. The Bridgend Inn will do pub refreshments on Saturday evening and it is hoped that the Hope Church will be able to offer canalside refreshments from the Old School building on Sunday.

This is a chance for all those critics who say there is nothing happening on the canal to show their colours!

Stop Press!
The Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust is pleased to announce that it has just been successful in a bid for £64,000 from the Social Community Economic Fund for further restoration and development projects in the Torfaen area.

See you on the Cut,

Chairman’s EMag – 17th July 2013

Fourteen Locks

This Sunday, 21st July, is Pirates Day at Fourteen Locks, the Trip Boat will be operating on the Pond and among other activities, there will be a competition for the best dressed Pirate. All volunteers are welcome to help with the Trip Boat, selling Duck Race Tickets, Membership and to help Ursula with the Sales Table. Good weather has been arranged!

Ty Coch

The “Waterworks” project at Ty Coch continues apace and there are now 20 volunteers on the scheme. The stone work on lock 41 has been completed and the scaffold is being moved to lock 42. The Archaeological Dig next to lock 42 “Shop Lock” last month, revealed a perfectly preserved Saw Pit and it is hoped to include this feature in a future Visitor Centre.

Crumlin Arm

The quest for water on the Crumlin Arm, after the initial survey by volunteer Lindsay, is being supported by Caerphilly and Welsh Water, the later have been checking for “miss connections” and testing water quality with a view to reconnecting the underground water at manor Road to the Canal. However, water is urgently needed at “Wysomes Wharf”, further up, to be able to run Iswyln Canal Association’s Trip Boat.Plenty of water goes under the Canal at Pontywaun but an innovative way of delivering it into the Canal, like a Water Wheel, is required. This would be an interesting project for a volunteer with time and know-how in conjunction with Caerphilly C.B.C.

You may think this is a long way off but a Five Locks Rally is being planed for the weekend before the August Bank Holiday, and a Canalathon. for September 14th.

Don’t forget the Llangynidr Show on Sunday 25th and the DUCK RACE on Monday 26th August (this year!).


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.