Wendover Arm Trust Seek Funds for Complete Restoration

Nigel Williams, Publicity Director, WAT  |  Published: Nov 28th 2013

The Council of the Wendover Arm Trust has decided that renewed efforts need to be made to secure funding for restoration of Phase 11, and the final phase, 111.  Income in recent years has largely relied upon the annual Canal Festival held on the Wendover Arm at Little Tring but this has not been possible since 2011 following the land acquisition and intentions to develop the site with housing, subject to obtaining planning consent.

The Trust did hold a reduced Festival in 2012 at Boxmoor but the site had a number of limitations and a much reduced profit resulted, even with three day opening.  As a result the Trust decided to concentrate on other events and the “Walk an Arm’s Length” held in September 2012 produced a profit of over £13,500.  In 2013 two Open Days were held so that the restoration progress could be seen and this proved of much interest to several hundred members of the public and valuable additional funds were raised.

However, it is currently costing about £440 to restore one metre of canal and since all labour is voluntary all expenditure is incurred on plant and materials together with some associated overheads.  Each month the Working Party, held over five days, aims to complete 20 metres of lining but adverse weather conditions over winter 2012/2013 reduced progress.

In order to maintain income for the restoration of Phase 11 (Drayton Beauchamp to Little Tring where Phase 1 is complete) the Trust has now engaged the services of a Professional Fundraiser since about £350K to £400K is needed to complete Phase 11 with estimated completion in 8/9 years based upon voluntary workers.  Phase 111, from Drayton Beauchamp into Wendover basin is estimated at £2.6 million at today’s prices.  Should substantial funding be received then Phase 11 could be finished earlier if contractors are employed for part of the remaining link uo to Little Tring.  The Trust has already expended some £450K on this phase and has funds available to complete about half the remaining un-restored section.

Phase 11: £400,000 needed

Phase 111: £2.6 million needed

2014 is a milestone for the Trust since it will be 25 years since the original society, the Wendover Arm Group, was formed and they are hoping to complete the current section up to Bridge 4a (one of the two new footbridges) by the Autumn of this year so that re-watering of some 450 metres, over one quarter mile, can be arranged.

The canal was originally opened in 1797 but navigation west of Little Tring ceased in 1904 the downfall caused largely by severe water leakage.  In 2005 the Trust re-opened Little Tring Bridge which had been demolished in 1973, at a cost of £223,000 which was entirely funded by them but the work undertaken by contractors under British Waterways supervision.  British Waterways became the Canal & River Trust in 2012.

Published figures show that only about 7% of canal users are boaters; walkers, anglers, cyclists and naturalists being the predominant interests.  The Arm, extending to about 6.75 miles in total, passes through some beautiful countryside and, unlike the Aylesbury Arm, is lock free.  The Trust has been encouraged by the wildlife found on the restored sections. One of the “Green” benefits of restoration will be a considerable saving of electricity since water will no longer need to be pumped along the pipeline as at present.

If you are able to help the Trust, either by volunteering your services with restoration please telephone Roger Leishman, Restoration Director on 01442 874536 or, for general management, our Chairman, Paul Leech on  01702 584101.  Additional members are always very welcome and our Membership Secretary, Katherine Deaney, is contactable on 01442 246523 or, alternatively, visit our web site, www.wendoverarmtrust.co.uk. where donations may be given on line.  Membership is only £10 per annum and a quarterly Newsletter is circulated giving latest details of the restoration.  We are also currently seeking the services of a Fundraising Director so if you are able to help please get in touch.


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