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Newsletter Easter 2020

First things first …


Dear <<First Name>>

… and welcome back and thank you to all our members who rejoined the Friends at the beginning of April when subscriptions were renewed. And welcome also to new members.
Now is even more important for us to recruit new members to the Friends of Exeter Ship Canal so we build up our strength for when we are able to begin our normal activities again. Do you know anyone who loves Exeter’s waterways and may like to join? Why not ask them – from a safe distance of course! Information is on the website at
Keeping safe
The dreadful times we are experiencing will not last for ever. Meanwhile, we want to see the canal towpaths stay open but it depends on people’s safety.
We support the following advice from national bodies, the Inland Waterways Association and the Canal and River Trust.
The IWA says: ‘The advice from the government is that you can continue to use the towpaths only if they are local to you, as long as you are not showing any symptoms and are staying at least two metres from others. As many towpaths are less than 2 metres wide, think carefully about whether you need to use the towpath.’ 
And the CRT echoes this: ‘Our plea to everyone thinking of using the towpath is to be mindful of others and act always with consideration and respect. If we all continue to observe government guidance, follow advice to limit towpath use, try to avoid moored boats and strictly observe social distancing, together we can combat this pandemic—and be able to enjoy getting back out by our waterways when we’ve beaten it.’ 
Boaters and Businesses
The Friends are concerned for all groups of waterway users. Spare thoughts also for boaters’ health and access to facilities; those who live on boats may be self-isolating. And many waterway businesses, including hire boat companies, will be suffering through having to close down their operations especially now as this is the start of the season. 

Keeping the Canal navigable
The photograph at the top of this newsletter, taken by member Peter Nickol, is of the recent dredging to clear mud and silt that impeded the lock gates and entrance to the Canal Basin. It is necessary work and the Friends welcome it. 
The present crisis has halted equally vital weed clearing on the Canal, unfortunately. The Harbour Master, Grahame Forshaw, says: ‘We have started to try to control the spread of weed in the Exeter Ship Canal. So far the results of the efforts have been encouraging. This work will be augmented by spraying weed control as soon as the Covid-19 situation improves. However, the longer the lockdown continues, the harder it is going to be to make a real impact on the weed, due of course to the need to have two working together in close contact near the water.’
Coming up next
 In the next Newsletter we will bring you news of the campaign for the future of Maclaines Warehouses and an update on protecting the historic crane on the Canal Basin, plus another in our series of Poems About Canals. There will also be more on our ideas for the future of the Exeter Ship Canal. All good stuff!
To close
 The Canal and River Trust has created a virtual hub filled with activities and virtual canal experiences. So, if you fancy enjoying a trip to a canal without opening your front door—and it might be your only option for the time being—click on the link.
And to remind you of what the Friends of Exeter Ship Canal are all about, below is a preview of a display board we are creating for events and outdoor activities once things return to normal. Committee member Peter Nickol has been putting it together. There are still tweaks to be made to the design but we thought you would like a look at the work in progress.
Do look after yourselves, be safe and keep well.
We look forward to seeing you at a Canal Friends event as soon as can be.

With all best wishes

John Monks
Friends of Exeter Ship Canal
01392 493559



We are always keen to welcome new members who are supporters of the canal. If you know anyone who may be interested please feel free to forward this newsletter to them.

Membership is:
Individual – £8 a year
Family – £15 a year
Lifetime – £100

Corporate or business membership can also be arranged.
For all membership enquiries please contact Richard Crisp, membership secretary:
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