CRT has stated that it will remove any items left on or beside the towpath between Smelly Bridge (Bridge 173) and Avoncliff if these are not removed before April 2021. Due to the pandemic, CRT has provided a skip at Bridge 173 for boaters to dispose of any unwanted items.
CRT is threatening to terminate the licences of boaters who “persistently obstruct the towpath or use Trust land for storing items from their boat”. This is another reason to oppose and resist CRT’s proposed changes to the Boat Licence Terms and Conditions
The notices pictured below went up along the towpath between Smelly Bridge and Avoncliff at the beginning of March warning boaters that any items or rubbish on CRT land would be removed. Most of the items on the towpath in this area were salvaged from the historic wooden boat that was sunk due to a speeding hire boat
Although it is an offence under the Byelaw 31 of the General Canal Byelaws 1965-1976 to obstruct the towpath, the boaters’ belongings in question are not obstructing the towpath and in any case CRT is not seeking to use its Byelaw powers to remove boaters’ property.
Whilst the Navigation Rules within the Boat Licence Terms and Conditions state at 4e that “you must not… obstruct the towpath or use our land for storing items from your Boat”, storage implies a degree of permanence. Boaters without home moorings are not storing items such as bicycles and childrens’ toys on the towpath, they are using them daily for periods of up to 14 days in any one place.
If CRT seizes your possessions it will be violating your rights to peaceful enjoyment of your property under Article 1, Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. More importantly, if your boat is your home, case law has established that your home includes the immediate environs of your home, such as the towpath directly outside your boat when it is moored, and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights entitles you to respect for your home and family life, and that any interference with your home has to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate end. We believe that for CRT to seize your possessions that have been left outside your boat temporarily, which are not obstructing the towpath, is a disproportionate interference with your home.
If you have a CRT permanent mooring, the mooring agreement states that you may store items on CRT land beside the mooring with the permission of CRT, which should not be unreasonably withheld.
If you wish to complain to CRT about this, write to Mark Evans, Regional Director, Wales and South West:
firstname.lastname@example.org and copy your complaint to:
For information on making a complaint to CRT see:
The map below shows the extent of CRT land within the parish of Bradford on Avon, covering part of the stretch of the K&A between Smelly Bridge and Avoncliff.