Chelmer Canal Trust
Registered Charity No 1086112

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The Chelmer Canal Trust Limited is a registered charity, and voluntary group whose main focus is The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation and its environs.

The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation runs through a largely unspoilt part of rural Essex and connects the county town of Chelmsford with the tidal estuary of the River Blackwater at Heybridge Basin. It has remained open and independently run throughout its history. Never having been nationalised, it continued to carry commercial freight till 1972, and an increasing number of leisure users since that time. It was designed by the renowned canal engineer John Rennie and most of his original structures are intact together with the entire length of the original waterway. It is a local treasure, which is well worth defending for present and future generations to enjoy.

Our aims are to preserve the waterway, and it's associated conservation area, from Chelmsford to the sea and to enhance the quality of its public enjoyment and appreciation. The Trust provides a forum for the assembly and focus of the views of all interested people, and organises special events, lectures, socials, cruises, and working parties.

June 2008 saw the launch of the brand new work boat Buddy Buster. The Chelmer Canal Trust, worked in close partnership with the Inland Waterways Association to provide this boat to assist the work of volunteers on the navigation. A major source of funding was a grant from Awards for All obtained through the work of the Trust. You can read about the launch of this boat Here, and you can read many accounts of her in action together with photographs on our work party reports pages.

We publish a newsletter and you can read the back issues on this site. To encourage boat users to enjoy the waterway, we organise boat rallies and have special waterway plaques available to encourage navigation. Our activities also include organising working parties to improve the riverside, providing information boards at key locations and working to improve water access to sites of interest.

You can read about the ongoing work and achievements of our working parties here

Historical background

A small group of us started out to form our organisation in October 1995. At that time we were named 'The Friends of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation'. The name was changed to Chelmer Canal Trust, when we became a company, limited by guarantee, and achieved charitable status. We felt that we could provide positive support to the navigation authority by identifying schemes for enhancements that would be beyond the scope of their operations, but where voluntary helpers could make a real contribution to the public enjoyment of the waterway.

Our official launch was at Moulsham Mill, Chelmsford on June 7th, 1996. Lord Petre of Writtle Park kindly agreed to become our President and he officiated at the formal signing of our constitution. You can read our Objects and Memorandum of Association Here

Our first major event was in 1997, the celebrations of the bi-centenary of the completion of the navigation. This was organised jointly with the IWA and Chelmsford Borough Council. Boats on the navigation were joined by trailboats from all over the country for the IWA National Trailboat Rally, a procession of boats and the unveiling by the mayor, of a plaque to Richard Coates, the engineer who was in day to day charge of the navigation's original construction.

Since that time, the Chelmer Canal Trust has been very active; events have been promoted, surveys contributed to, and measures taken to benefit the long term survival of the navigation. Details of all our activities can be read in the online archive of our newsletters.

Home FAQ Forthcoming Events Work Parties Library About us Contact Us Join Us!

Supported by The National Lottery through Awards for All
These pages are maintained by William Marriage
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