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jonesthenuke

Droitwich canal, Culvert water levels

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We are thinking of cruising the Droitwich next week (probably mid week or later). Last time we passed though it was mid-summer and there was not a lot of spare air draught. Given the recent rainfall this will presumably be reduced.

 

How sensitive is the culvert level to rainfall? What are conditions like currently and is there a way of check before setting off towards the culvert. Can anyone  with local knowledge advise? 

 

Thanks in advance.

Edited by jonesthenuke
Typo!

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I have been through a few times and there is never much air draft.  It is sensitive to rainfall and goes up and down very quickly, one afternoon it to was too high to go through when we arrived and levels were if anything still rising, but by mid morning the next day it was ok.

 

I found the 2 nearest environment agency measuring stations, unfortunately neither is by the M5 but they show if the river is above normal or not.  They are -

North of Droitwich  - https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/station/2075?direction=u

South of Droitwich - https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/station/2007?direction=u

 

Unfortunately Zero on the chart is not the normal water level, just some arbitary site datum, but it does show if the levels are close to overflowing ie too high

 

Hope this helps.

 

Edited by Chewbacka

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The rivers are sensitive and rise and fall quickly. The Salwarpe is currently fairly high although OK for navigation but there is plenty of rain forecast between now and the middle of next week. There is a board at Hanbury top lock that shows the state of both the Salwarpe at Droitwich and the Severn at Hawford. If you get that far - assuming you’re coming down the Worcs & Bham - and things don’t look good you can always head to Worcester instead or wait it out at Hanbury.

 

JP

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5 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

Dont CRT put it on the stoppage when closed

Yes but I’m not sure it’s always timely in relation to what has been done on the ground which in part might be because it rises and falls quickly. They padlock the flood lock in Vines Park and the lock above the M5.

 

Depending on the boat, problems may be encountered before its closed, not least because the closure may be in relation to levels on the Salwarpe which can over top the channel in Droitwich but isn’t the water course that is common with the canal under the M5.

 

JP

Edited by Captain Pegg

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1 hour ago, jonesthenuke said:

We are thinking of cruising the Droitwich next week (probably mid week or later). Last time we passed though it was mid-summer and there was not a lot of spare air draught. Given the recent rainfall this will presumably be reduced.

 

How sensitive is the culvert level to rainfall? What are conditions like currently and is there a way of check before setting off towards the culvert. Can anyone  with local knowledge advise? 

 

Thanks in advance.

I'd also be looking closely at the levels of the Severn with the amount of rain we've had and have forecast for up here at it's head.

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15 minutes ago, Graham Davis said:

I'd also be looking closely at the levels of the Severn with the amount of rain we've had and have forecast for up here at it's head.

Indeed, this may be the determining factor. The severn catchment is showing rising levels. May be time for plan B.

 

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21 minutes ago, Graham Davis said:

I'd also be looking closely at the levels of the Severn

The Boards at Diglis are currently showing amber, with the amount of rain forecast, it’s hard to see how the river will not be close by the end of the week.

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1 hour ago, ditchcrawler said:

Don't CRT put it on the stoppage when closed

Not usually as far as I have seen. They do not have to close anything. The barge lock just below is normally level or near but can be used as a lock when river is up. Doesn't stay up too long. 

 

 

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The Salwarpe is a little river with a sting in its tail. It can rise a couple of feet in minutes but most of that by passes the culvert. The warning board is only slightly pessimistic and the centre of the culvert dips maybe a centimetre or two.

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21 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

Not usually as far as I have seen. They do not have to close anything. The barge lock just below is normally level or near but can be used as a lock when river is up. Doesn't stay up too long. 

 

 

That’s not so. When the Salwarpe (and possibly the Body Brook) is high the lock gates above the M5 and those in Vines Park are padlocked to prevent passage. Notices have previously been published to say that the canal is closed due to ‘water resources’.

 

JP

Edited by Captain Pegg

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10 hours ago, Captain Pegg said:

That’s not so. When the Salwarpe (and possibly the Body Brook) is high the lock gates above the M5 and those in Vines Park are padlocked to prevent passage. Notices have previously been published to say that the canal is closed due to ‘water resources’.

 

JP

I would not bank on the absence of a notice as implying that it is OK - I have seen the contrary.

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1 minute ago, Mike Todd said:

I would not bank on the absence of a notice as implying that it is OK - I have seen the contrary.

As per post #5

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2 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

As per post #5

Whilst the level of the river is lower than the channel at the M5, am I not right in recalling that the river can, rarely admittedly, back up to the culvert by rising over the level of the modest weir alongside the lock just below the culvert?

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33 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

Whilst the level of the river is lower than the channel at the M5, am I not right in recalling that the river can, rarely admittedly, back up to the culvert by rising over the level of the modest weir alongside the lock just below the culvert?

I think the levels are too great for any backing up but the flow down to the culvert are such that the already limited airdraft is reduced still further.

 

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13 minutes ago, Capt Ahab said:

I think the levels are too great for any backing up but the flow down to the culvert are such that the already limited airdraft is reduced still further.

 

Agreed. I’m not aware of that ever happening and I think widespread flooding of Droitwich would occur first. The Salwarpe backs up from the weir in Vines Park and over tops the tow path under bridge 8. I’m not sure the closure is necessarily just about safety to canal craft. The system at Droitwich is designed to segregate the salty river water from ‘fresh’ canal water as far as possible.

 

The M5 culvert levels are influenced by the Body Brook which is the watercourse that the culvert originally carried.

 

Incidentally both the Salwarpe and the Body Brook cross beneath the Worcs & Bham Canal between the bottom two locks of the Stoke flight. They are very similarly influenced by the weather.

 

JP

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33 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

That’s well beyond the point where navigation is impossible but at no point does it show the Salwarpe in danger of backing up along the canal to the M5 culvert. I’m assuming you know the area and can see that?

 

The video starts showing the Body Brook flowing into the canal below lock no. 6 which is east of the M5 culvert and then shows the resulting fast flow through the M5 culvert in the downstream direction. It goes on to show the canal discharging into the Salwarpe to the west of the M5 culvert both over the weir that is provided for that purpose above lock no. 7, and over the gates of the lock itself. The Salwarpe is shown still 4-5’ below the level that the canal is at as it passes through the M5 culvert.

 

The later shots are of the flood lock in Vines Park and show how the Salwarpe has over-topped the bank of the canalised river although the river itself hasn’t backed up over the weir.

 

JP

Edited by Captain Pegg

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This was the eastern end of the M5 culvert at 1600 this afternoon. There is still 6’ of air draft and a boat had recently passed through. The Body Brook was swollen and the forecast for the next few days suggests the canal will be closed at some point this coming week and possibly even tomorrow.

E79115A0-9FBF-49C9-9B91-BCE903AD94F1.jpeg

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In the Youtube video the tunnel isn't full of water but the air draft in shown at 13 seconds  and is only1.5m

Not many boats have an air draft that small.

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19 minutes ago, Chewbacka said:

In the Youtube video the tunnel isn't full of water but the air draft in shown at 13 seconds  and is only1.5m

Not many boats have an air draft that small.

Indeed. The canal would not be passable through the culvert, this isn’t uncommon.

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3 hours ago, Capt Ahab said:

Thats a really interesting clip - 2012 was about as bad as it gets (when Tewkesbury flooded) so its useful to see where the levels can get to.

That was my intent in citing it, not to make any more subtle point.

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Just for clarity, the culvert carries the Body Brook under the M5 not the Salwarpe. Whilst clearly any rain over the catchment of the Salwarpe is likely to also fall on the Body Brook the Salwarpe levels are not, per se, an indicator of the level in the brook.

 

The lock down into the Salwarpe has a drop of about 4 feet. If water backs up the culvert from the Salwarpe then there is a far bigger problem than just the culvert! However, there is a pipe linking the canal above this lock to the canal in Vines park - this is in part a water supply measure to the barge canal and in part a flood prevention measure to ensure the Body Brook doesn't overfill an already swollen Salwarpe. 

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