The Stour Valley Navigation Survey support page is now live online to help people wishing to get involved with the project.
The background to this project is the idea of surveying what is left of the infrastructure put in place during the period of high use of the river Stour for navigation and transport of goods. We hope to create a compendium for the project which details everything that is currently left of locks, jetties and other parts of the navigation infrastructure. This project is a excellent chance for those wishing to get involved with community projects, to do something worthwhile for the Stour valley community.
With this in mind, in late January 2011 we ran a training day at the River Stour Trust Education Centre in Great Cornard. The idea was to teach a group of volunteers how to survey the river banks, look for and record the details of anything they find relating to navigation. The course was well attended with 15 members of the local and wider Stour valley community.
The day started with a lecture from Sean O'Dell (Essex University Department of History) on what is known about the navigation of the river during its heyday. Everybody really enjoyed this part of the day and it was much discussed over the following coffee break. Sean will also be helping us pull together all the records generated by this project and adding them to the River Stour Navigation Compendium.
We went on to a lecture from Adam Garwood (Essex County Council Historic Environment Department) on how we should go about recording what we find on the river bank. Adam has designed a recording form which will aid volunteers as they go about recording evidence of the navigation infrastructure.
Adam's detailed explanation of how recording should be carried out in principle was followed by a practical session after lunch out at Wormingford Cut. This is the location of one of the former locks on the river which has almost disappeared. We were however, able to find quite a lot of evidence of the lock and how it was constructed.
If you are interested in taking part in this project please get in touch, this is a community project and everyone is welcome to get involved. You don't have to be able to get out to the river either, we are always in need of people who can help co-ordinate projects in the background.
You will need a long tape measure which you can find online for around £10, alternatively we have a small number of these and may be able to lend you one. It would be useful to have a 1:25,000 OS map of the section of river you wish to survey (these can be found online and such small sections printed off) or alternatively a GPS device or phone with GPS built in which will allow you to record the location of finds with some accuracy.
There are a number of resources available for those wishing to get involved in the project. We have an open letter for volunteers to carry when surveying the river and when meeting landowner to get approval to walk the river edge. There is guidance on how to complete the recording form available and there is also a photographic recording form.
Maps are available to volunteers which help to allocate sections of the river to whoever wishes to do that part. Finally we have copies of the HER records for Essex and Suffolk which are noted on the maps for each section of the survey area.
Map block 1, map block 2, map block 3, map block 4, map block 5, map block 6, map block 7, map block 8, map block 9, map block 10, map block 11, map block 12, map block 13, map block 14, map block 15, map block 16, map block 17, map block 18, map block 19, map block 20, map block 21, map block 22, map block 23, map block 24, map block 25, map block 26, map block 27, map block 28, map block 29, map block 30, map block 31, map block 32, map block 33, map block 34, map block 35, map block 36, map block 37.
View Survey of River Structures in a larger map