Docks Gala Increases Focus on Bridgwater’s Waterways

Bridgwater's waterways - an asset in waiting.
Bridgwater’s waterways – an asset in waiting.

Last week a flotilla of 10 cabin cruisers came across the Bristol Channel and went up the Avon into Bristol harbour basin with large numbers of people on board each craft. At a  estimated spend of £250 -£300  per craft by those on board into the local economy it is easy to see how Bridgwater’s economy might benefit similarly  if our own Dock and River were able to accept such visitors regularly.

It was with this obvious regeneration opportunity in mind that this weeks ‘Town Development Forum’ meeting focused on the idea of opening up our waterways for navigation. Town Council Leader Brian Smedley (Westover) said “We have a major opportunity right now with the Parrett Barrier to futureproof our waterways for regeneration. If we get the barrier right we can ensure there are the possibilities in future to open up the river for navigation, which means opening up the docks, which means opening up the canal. Bridgwater’s hidden assets have been all around us all along.”

Docks Gala

Royal Marines on maneuvres
Royal Marines on maneuvres

Last Sunday 17th July the second Bridgwater Docks Gala was held to promote the area and our waterways as a community asset. The sun shone and the people turn out.

The Gala was larger this year with 25 stallholders attending plus various children’s activities such as  bungee jumping, a choice of bouncy castles and fairground rides. Griffins Carnival Club also had a fun golf game on site near Brewery Field dock entrance.

There was a much higher footfall this year due in part to  the warmer weather and the stall holders were happy.

With the addition of a public address and music system at the Event some local talented singers had the opportunity to entertain the visitors.

The Community makes good use of it's docks
The Community makes good use of it’s docks

So Many People

Organiser Mike Slade of the Inland Waterways Association said “The best thing for me was to see so many people milling around on the Dockside and the Admirals Landing having to bring many extra tables out side for diners to eat and enjoy their food whilst watching the  Royal Marine Cadets perform within the Docks Basins.”

The Event, which was opened by the Mayor Alex Glassford, ran smoothly with no incidents.

Photos by Jana Branecka