Chester to host 2014 IWA Campaign Festival

Over the weekend of 6 – 8th June 2014 Chester will be the venue for a major National Campaign Festival by the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) on the Shropshire Union Canal, hosted by the association’s Chester & Merseyside Branch.

Tower Wharf rally 2010

It will be centred around the Tower Wharf area, close by the junction with entrance to the branch to the River Dee. The site is already popular  as a boat rally venue as it is close to the amenities and tourist attractions of Chester’s historic city centre. The last local IWA Branch rally in Chester attracted over 100 visiting craft as well as traders of all kinds. (Image above)

For over a year, IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch has been working in partnership with the Canal & River Trust (CRT) and other groups to develop a strategy for improving Chester’s waterways.  Chester has a unique linked system – canal, tidal and non-tidal river – but compared with other cities it has been left behind in realising their regeneration potential for use.

As we reported in our May 21st News article Chester Lock may Unlock Deserted Waterways an IWA & CRT joint report claimed ‘Chester has canals, a tidal & a non tidal river but they’re under used, often derelict, unkempt & deserted. The top tourist destination has a unique waterway system but its regeneration and tourism potential has been neglected compared with other cities.’

The prime need is to connect the upper reaches of the Dee with the tidal Dee and the Shropshire Union Canal so that Chester becomes a worthwhile boating destination.  This could be achieved by building a lock adjacent to the Dee Weir on the Handbridge side of the river and promoting navigation up to Farndon.  Improvements are also required to the canal’s Dee Branch.

These aims will be promoted by the National Campaign Festival, which will also provide a colourful public event with music, entertainment and children’s activities.

Brian Phillips, IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch Chairman said “We are delighted with the national support for our waterways festival in Chester in 2014. The event will raise awareness about the neglected Dee Branch, raise funds, and demonstrate how a vibrant waterway can boost the local economy.”

For more information and booking details contact –

Thanks to Harry Arnold and Waterway Images for some content and images.

All materials and images © Canal Junction Ltd. Dalton House, 35 Chester St, Wrexham LL13 8AH. No unauthorised reproduction.

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