Category Archives: Archive News

Christmas 2016

We had a successful evening out raising money with Santa in Berkhampstead.



The Christmas Cruises are well underway with beautifully decorated boats,  Christmas songs, mulled wine, mince pies and a lovely, friendly crew.





Christmas Cruises are open for Booking:


We’re open for business through the winter; from 1st December to 6th January the boats will be in festive dress with mince pies and mulled wine included in the price.

Crisp bright winter days on the canal can be just as enjoyable as warm sunny ones, but even if we’re not so lucky with the weather, the centrally heated cabins will be cosy-warm. We’ve refreshed our collections of music cds and added playing cards, dominos and a few other games.

Read more about the trips here and check availability by calling our bookings team on 01923 723819.


Get Set Go Dacorum

Three of our members Richard, John and Brian set up our stall at the Get Set Go Dacorum event in mid January held at Hemel Hempstead Old Town Hall. The purpose of the event was to inspire people with physical and learning difficulties to get active.

Exhibitors offered a huge selection of opportunities to interest visitors and there was an excellent presentation by  Mitchell Camp, Athlete, World Games medalist and Special Olympic Ambassador .

Our donated raffle prize of a boat trip was won by a local charity and we look forward to meeting them again later in the year. All in all it was a most enjoyable morning with plenty of chat and net working opportunities.

The things we end up doing …

Earlier this year, one of the willows just South of the railway bridge fell down, greatly restricting the width of the canal. The Canal and River Trust are pretty speedy at clearing trees completely blocking the canal, but if you can still get a boat past, you may have to wait for a year or so for the Trust’s contractors to clear the whole channel.

It was fairly easy for a narrowboat to pass, but getting our wide beams through called for some pretty hazardous manoeuvres. So with a couple of hours to spare, Dave Lee and John Bennett took Sheldrake 2, some loppers and a bow saw, and managed to greatly improve the situation. However, the tree just sagged lower, and branches got in the way again … then another tree fell just beyond this, forcing our boats to ground again whilst trying to pass. More drastic action was called for.

After a short day trip, Nick Alexander, Marion Roberts and John Bennett set off again to have another go. Nick did a great job keeping the boat in just the right spot while Marion and John set to work on the greenery. Some delicate manoeuvring later (including making room for passing traffic) and further skilful use of loppers and saws, the deck was soon full of willow. Then ‘all’ that was needed was to transfer this onto the offside bank. This process repeated several times to leave a nice clear navigation channel for wide as well as narrow beams.

The odd thing is, that few would know that the work had even been done – you don’t notice what isn’t there. Everyone would comment on the blockage; no-one would notice that it wasn’t there. Still, those involved know that they made a real contribution, and made every trip we run a bit easier.


Crew training opportunities

Such is the demand for our boat trips this summer,  that our band of 55 volunteer skippers and crew are beginning to struggle to keep up.   We’re therefore offering training days on 21 June and 25 July  for anyone with boating experience who would like to join us as boat crew.

Crew volunteering is a great way of enjoying the local canal, and helping others to do the same. For many of our customers with disabilities, it’s the only way they can get afloat and join in with helping at locks and steering the boat.  We’re particularly looking for boaters prepared to give us a couple or more days per month between now and the end of October to help ensure that we meet demand for trips for the rest of the season.

Training days are free of charge, but having been trained, we expect you to sign up to crew at least 1-2 times per month, subject to the number of trip bookings we receive. Details of booked trips are circulated to all crew members by email and assignments allocated accordingly.  Training is a requirement regardless of the extent of prior boating experience.

Training days start promptly at 9.30 am and finish at 4.30 pm.

Click here  to register for a place on Sunday 21 June or Sunday 12 July.



Special message for gardeners

Bookings are coming in thick and fast and keeping our volunteer crews very busy over the coming weeks … which means they won’t have much time for their gardening.  Good thing that our partner charity, Sunnyside Trust at the Hemel Food Garden has great offers on summer bedding plants this coming Saturday.  Don’t miss out!  Click here for more details.

Link 4 Coffee!

On a bright and frosty Friday morning at the end of January, Waterways Experiences hosted a community-building event with the South West Herts branch of Link4Growth – the second time that we’ve made use of our excellent facilities at the boat base for hosting this type of free networking event. One of the guests was interested in volunteering for us while another was keen to find out more about the boats and their facilities as his wife works with a charity for children with learning difficulties. It’s not just about Waterways Experiences though – plenty of good conversation on other topics ensures most people leave the event with new contacts and ideas to help their particular business or interests.

Link4Growth’s Chris Ogle donned his Googlespecs to film Rick on a guided tour through our flagship Sheldrake 3, highlighting the work that Waterways Experiences does and the facilities that the boat provides.

The 4th Friday of every month is a regular fixture for these events so do come along. Book your place for the next one on 27th February (10am – 11.30) at and help spread the word! All welcome.

Find out more about Link4Growth


Special visitors

The boats, the visitor centre and the boat base were looking at their best, sparkling in the warm October sunshine, when a party of local dignitaries paid Waterways Experiences a visit last week.

On 31 October the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, Mr Fergus McMullen, the Mayor and Mayoress of Dacorum Borough Council, Allan and Wendy Lawson, the Deputy Mayor, Gbola Adeleke, Sally Marshall, Chief Executive of Dacorum Borough Council and Derek Townsend, the Deputy Lieutenant were on a whistle-stop tour of Dacorum, meeting people from a range of local charities and organisations. Waterways Experiences was thrilled to be chosen as one of only seven organisations to be visited.

Our visitors were very impressed with the Education and Visitor Centre, then they made their way to the boats. They were amazed to learn we had only started providing boat trips in June, yet had already transported 1,000 passengers, a high proportion of whom would not normally be able to enjoy the canals, including many with moderate or severe disabilities, their carers and companions. We showed them the special facilities we have to ensure everyone has a great day out, helping to steer the boat, working the locks or just enjoying the quiet of the countryside with friends or colleagues. They were struck by the space and facilities available on the boats. In fact, so much so that they went away with bundles of flyers about the charity for their own use and to pass on to others they felt would be interested. Watch this space for future bookings!!

John Bennett
Judy Mead
Andrew Murray