Improving Access for Canoeing on Inland Waterways – A Study of the Feasibility of Access Agreements
Following the DEFRA/University of Brighton Report "Water Based Sport and Recreation - the facts" the Countryside Agency was asked to "take the lead in setting up some pilot projects in England to examine the feasibility of extending access for canoeing by voluntary agreement." Once again the University of Brighton was appointed to carry out the project.
The report was published in Spring 2004.
The Countryside Agency issued several progress reports:
Do have look at them as they do explain in greater detail what has been happening.
The four study areas selected by the Countryside Agency were set to determine the feasibility of access agreements on specific sections of river are as follows:
- Area 1: Mersey (inc Irwell, Goyt, Etherow)
It is proposed to concentrate efforts on the entire length of the R Mersey from its confluence with the R Tame and Goyt in Stockport to the Manchester Ship Canal. The aim is to provide a 30km length of flat water close to major conurbations for beginners and intermediate paddlers. There is support from a number of local authorities.
- Area 2: Little Ouse, Dove and Waveney
The Dove has been deemed unsuitable for canoeing along with the Little Ouse north of Thetford. The Thet has been added and combined with the Little Ouse downstream of Thetford that totals some 32 km to the confluence of the Ouse navigation. (NB The work generally benefits from a foundation of local BCU action that has gained and maintained access.)
- Area 3: Wear
Only 51 km of the 110km is being considered. The numerous riparian owners in the upper Weardale area are seen as presenting practical difficulties for the case study timetable to a backdrop of landowners who continue to object to access for canoeing.
- Area 4: Teme, Onny, Clun
The study is concerned with some 100km of river from the English/Welsh border at Knighton to the Severn. It is evident the overall resistance to canoeing from riparian owners to protect their fishing interests remains embedded, especially above Tenbury.
The University of Brighton, consultants for the Countryside Agency arranged open meetings with local landowners, farmers and their representatives in each study area. The aim was to determine the potential for negotiating access agreements for the sections of river as identified above. Following these meetings the Countryside Agency made a final decision concerning what they think possible in each area.