In the past we have featured websites of navigation authorities, such as BW and the Environment Agency, but have overlooked the Broads Authority www.broads-authority.gov.uk who have some well presented and informative pages about the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads. I have also found some sites for less well known navigation authorities such as the Port of Sunderland www.portofsunderland.org.uk managing the River Wear as well as the port; the Port of Tyne www.portoftyne.co.uk who are the authority for the River Tyne and the Stroudwater Navigation www.stroudwater.co.uk giving information about the Company of Proprietors of the Stroudwater Navigation and their canal. The River Hamble Harbour Authority www.hants.gov.uk/hambleharbour is part of the website of the Hampshire County Council, the navigation authority of the River Hamble. Devon County Council www.devon.gov.uk are the owners and managers of the Grand Western Canal, which meanders through 11 miles of countryside between Tiverton and the Somerset border and Chester City Council www.chestercc.gov.uk control the river Dee from above Chester Weir to Almere Ferry. Littlehampton Harbour Board www.littlehampton.org.uk manage the River Arun below Arundel Bridge and a little further along the coast the Shoreham Port Authority www.portshoreham.co.uk has responsibility for the river Adur below Old Shoreham Bridge. Exeter City Council www.exeter.gov.uk are the navigation authority for the Exeter Ship Canal, one of our oldest canals, and the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Ltd www.cbn.co.uk concludes waterway authority sites.
Other sites that have recently come to my attention are Boni-boats www.boni-boats.co.uk which concentrates on finding at least 45 of the 60 boats built by the late Ken Bonikowski; Pipeline Online www.piperowners.co.uk a website that was originally set up for the owners of David Piper's Narrowboats and which has more recently been extended to cover Simon Piper's range of steel boats and Waterwaydays.com www.waterwaydays.com offering calendars and Josher towels to buy on-line. The River Weaver Navigation Society www.rwns.co.uk has the aim of improving facilities for boaters, walkers, horse riders, cyclists and anglers as well as preserving the waterway's history and wildlife. Based at Bourne End, on the River Thames, Tim Crew www.crewmarine.co.uk is an independent Boat Safety Scheme Examiner who also covers the Wey, Basingstoke Canal, Oxford Canal, Kennet & Avon, & Grand Union areas. Bradford Waterways www.bradfordwaterways.co.uk is dedicated to the re-opening of Bradford's Canal. The plan includes the building of two retail parks, a business park and 4½ km of new canal with 6 marinas and various water features.
This section concludes with three personal sites. Chris, Kate & James Brown's - Website www.christopher.j.brown.btinternet.co.uk contains information about their boat Louisa May and extending its length to 55 feet as well as canal cruising and non-canal pages. Michael Clarke's Home Page http://users.skynet.be/sky34301/ has full details, photographs, history, construction, fit out etc. of narrow boat Sika, based on a 62' Northwich Trader Class shell from R. W. Davis, plus more about traditional narrowboat diesel engines. Narrowboat Liberty Belle www.nblibertybelle.co.uk is all about the building of a narrowboat and the trips made on her.
Site of the Month
Gloucester Docks and the Sharpness Canal http://home.freeuk.net/gdsc2/ is a comparatively new site so it is pleasing to find that it has already reached the high standard required to be recommended as Site of the Month. Its main attraction is that it concentrates on the canal and the docks in "Past, Present and Future" as the site's sub-title states. Maps, old paintings and photographs are used to demonstrate the changes in use of the waterway over the years with old views placed alongside modern photographs in many cases. The page dealing with new developments has plans and illustrations of proposed developments in Gloucester Docks and links to developers' sites that have more information. There are separate sections covering Gloucester, Sharpness, the canal, vessels and people as well as other pages that can be accessed directly from the Home page. It is a site that covers its subject in some depth with well presented text and illustrations on simple but attractive pages. As you would expect, the swing bridges and the bridge keepers' houses that are such a well-known feature of the canal are covered in some detail using contrasting historic and modern pictures of the same scenes. Current activities on the waterway are not neglected as demonstrated by the News page and an interesting article on the recent restoration of mileposts, again using excellent photographs of the process. A website with no technical complications where content is king.
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