Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

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MikeVeal
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Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by MikeVeal » Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:53 am

The automated sluice gate at Woodmill in Southampton is going. The question is, what will replace it?

https://www.groundwork.org.uk/Sites/sou ... nsultation

Options are:
1. Replace like for like.
2. Remove it completely, making the Itchen navigation tidal to the next weir just past Mansbridge. This would do a lot of damage.
3. Replace with small (unpaddleable) weirs.
4. Use the ~2m drop to create a new white water course.

Those that can remember paddling on the wave downstream of the current sluice gate will know that it is probably the best playspot in Hampshire. Sadly closed due to iron spikes being found in the Salmon pool.

The website DOESN'T give timings of the consultation.

Please take the time to respond.

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John K
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Woodmill Sluice removal. Consultation, please participate.

Post by John K » Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:02 pm

Done. Let's hope they have enough imagination to make the most of what could be a really good facility for the area.

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Re: Woodmill Sluice removal. Consultation, please participate.

Post by Chas C » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:48 am

Me too.

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Re: Woodmill Sluice removal. Consultation, please participate.

Post by MikeVeal » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:38 am

Thanks guys.

Perhaps if I'd titled this: "Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton" more people here would respond.

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by Chas C » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:08 pm


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Adrian Cooper
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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by Adrian Cooper » Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:38 pm

2m drop?

Is this enough to provide a whitewater course with enough interest to justify the cost of construction?

I don't know what the existing feature is like so difficult for me to comment on the replacement option.

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by John K » Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:33 pm

According to the Lee Valley web site the Legacy has a total drop of 1.6m but that figure seems rather low to me.

https://www.gowhitewater.co.uk/faqs

I can't find any figures for the Nene which I guess would probably be a nearer comparison.

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by Conor Buckboy » Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:48 pm

I believe it should be turned into a similar wave feature, I don't believe there is enough space or flow to create a good WW course, and it would be easier to convince any constructors to make a wave rather than any complicated course.
I loved the wave as I live locally and it is the closest proper WW feature, maybe clean it up as well and remove those submerged spikes and make it a proper attraction.

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by Franky » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:43 pm

John K wrote:
Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:33 pm
According to the Lee Valley web site the Legacy has a total drop of 1.6m but that figure seems rather low to me.
https://www.gowhitewater.co.uk/faqs
I think the low total drop is compensated for by the speed of the pumped water.

There are 4 of 5 drops on the Legacy that must be over half a metre high, but the water beyond the foam piles rises again, so I can believe it.

I read somewhere that even the 6m drop of the Olympic wouldn't produce grade 4 water if it were flowing at the rate of a natural river.

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by davebrads » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:24 pm

The speed and grade of the water has nothing to do with whether it is pumped or not. If you built the Lee Valley course where it could be fed with a constant 16 cumecs (or whatever it is) from a natural river it will be exactly the same.

To a degree the speed of the water is determined by the gradient. Clearly at very low flows this doesn't apply, especially on pool drop rivers, but once the river is flowing properly additional water equals more power not speed.
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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by Andy Pt » Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:04 pm

There was a consultation in the Woodmill centre last week, I stumbled upon it by chance. They seemed very keen on the whitepaper course option, in fact it was the only option where they asked for a direct response. The reasoning appeared to be that they could apply for additional sports funding to reduce their costs. Its also easier and safer to dig a new channel than modify the existing river.

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by Adrian Cooper » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:06 am

Does anyone here know what the average flow rate for the river is?

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by MikeVeal » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:48 am

Adrian, here's the data:
http://nrfa.ceh.ac.uk/data/station/meanflow/42023

Mean Flow: 5.907 m3/s

And thanks to who ever changed the thread title.

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by James Hinves » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:03 pm

Hi Guys
to answer some of the questions above.

This is to replace the automatic sluice where the water enters into the Salmon pool not the weir that can be accessed from the estuary. The metal spikes in the estuary weir were removed when British Canoeing helped with the redesign of this weir about 10 years ago.

There is a drop of approx 2.5m over the site but you can take that drop over 1m or 500m depending on the route of the course. It was very nearly built in the 1990's but a change in local government structures prevented this at the time. Waterflow is difficult to assess dending on the route of the course you can now combine flows from the Itchen and Monks Brook an option that was not available last time around.

Thie consultation is to see what the options are rather than to ask what to do but I am hopefull that we may see change.

I am happy to discuss but please email me james.hinves@britishcanoeing.org.uk

thanks James

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by MikeVeal » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:39 am

Hi James,
At the consultation on Sunday a rather lovely young lady gave me your name and suggested I should get in touch.

I remember the discussion 25 years ago about placing a WW course here, I was a regular paddler on the freshwater Itchen at the time.

I think the spikes that are being referred to above are in the Salmon Pool, not on the tidal Woodmill weir. Expainding on what Conor said, there used to be an active club at woodmill (actually with several sections for different disciplines). The white water guys used to paddle on the wave created by the automated sluice gate. That wave was easily the best thing in a 50 mile radius.

Sadly spikes in the Salmon pool were discovered and the pool was closed to paddlers. If a white water course were to be built, the pool would need to be drained and made safe.

I'm not currently a member of either of the local clubs, Hamble or New Forest, but I have good friends in both. However, I do a lot of kayaking with Southampton Central Scouts and have good friends in the Eastleigh District. I think I can offer to organise the support of the local Scout groups and if needed get you talking to the right people in the local clubs.

So what can we do to help?
Do you know who is making the decisions? Or what the timetable is?
Who do we need to lobby? I assume that the answer is going to be both the decision makers and potential funders.

Has any of this been costed?

I've sent you an email with my contact details.

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by James Hinves » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:26 pm

Hi Mike

I was also a member of the Woodmill club then - the Pool was closed not due to spikes but due to the concrete sill starting to collapse due to the wooden frame rotting, this has now fallen away and paddling is allowed to happen in the pool currently.

Clive, Geordie and others have attended the briefing on the consultation and I think are organising separate Scouting sessions but if people could be encouraged to do the online course that would be awesome.

there are no costings as of yet as the consultation has to happen first then a design can be drawn up that could be costed.

thanks
james

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by MikeVeal » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:22 pm

James,
Thanks for setting me straight. I wasn't a member of the Woodmill club at the time the Salmon Pool was closed.

The Scouting consultation session was cancelled. I don't know Geordie, but I do know Clive. Are you in touch with Steve Moore and the Eastleigh district?

I'd still like the answers to these questions please:
So what can we do to help?
Do you know who is making the decisions? Or what the timetable is?
Who do we need to lobby? I assume that the answer is going to be both the decision makers and potential funders.

Or if you don't have the facts, are you able to point me at someone who does?
I'm happy to do some lobbying, but at the moment I don't have the information needed to be effective.

Many thanks,

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by James Hinves » Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:00 pm

Hi Mike

The plan is for a 12 month consultation process, the online survey will close at the end of july - this will then provide evidence to the next stage.

In terms of who to gently lobby we will need support from the council so councillors and officers, the EA and Groundworks charity are part of the program but currently the university are not.

many thanks
James

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by Jim » Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:33 pm

So to summarise there is a mean of 6 cumecs of water available, and a head of 2-2.5m with enough land to have a channel up to 500m long if necessary.

Pinkston Watersports has 1.5m head, pumped flow of 7 cumecs and a 100m long channel. There are 4 significant drops, 2 or 3 of which usually form reasonable play features (not especially deep, but I'm told it is deeper than Cardiff?) plus there is a surf wave on another smaller drop. Not including the pump pool there are 19 eddies (10 right, 9 left - there are 2 90 degree left bends so the river right side is longer), the last 2 of which are in the basin at the bottom of the course. The outflow creates a circular flow around the basin for another 100m and there are some boards which can be angled out to create some more eddies.

The 7 cumecs is created by 3 pumps which can be used in any combination, although certain combinations have been found more favourable.

With 1 pump (usually middle) the drops seem quite big but there is very little power and we get kids as young as 8 years old learning the basics of moving water - the slalom club even have them doing gates although we don't get them surifng across the stoppers yet. We hold a division 3 race each year with 1 pump, although the surf wave is difficult for adults as the blocks are too shallow to get cleanly over.

On 2 pumps (outer 2?) the course is much the same as on full flow, but with much less power in the eddies, waves and holes making it perfect for introducing older kids and adults to WW. Several clubs and youth groups use the course on 2 pumps for exactly these kind of coaching sessions. We also run a div 2 slalom each year with 2 pumps, it is the same course as the division 3, we just alter the flow and adjust gate heights depending on which division is currently racing, but the step up in difficulty is quite noticeable and sometimes recent promotees from div 3 have problems adjusting to the higher flow.

3 pumps is probably what get used the most, most clubs run their normal uncoached sessions (and sometimes coached) on 3 pumps which makes the playspots work and adds a decent amount of power to the eddies and waves and holes. People run it in creek boats to practice boofing the drops or catching some of the eddies. At least one commercial operator runs raft sessions on 3 pumps. Several slalom clubs train on 3 pumps and SCA performance slalom squad also use 3 pumps. There is a div 1 race on 3 pumps each year which draws large numbers of competitors and contains a significant challenge. The Scottish Slalom Champs have also been held there a couple of times for a course is set that will test div prem paddlers making full use of the most awkward features and packing lots of gates in close together. There are WWR sprints down the course on 3 pumps (we have one this coming Sunday), SCA Freestyle committee have a monthly session on 3 pumps and have sometimes run BoaterX or other fun events during the sessions. The local fire and rescue and ambulance services use the course to train in swift water rescue techniques, there is even provision to open a side door and roll an old car (oils etc. cleaned out) into the course and strap it down to create realistic rescue scenarios.

I haven't even mentioned that there is a second short channel that can be configured to create a single big chunky drop or a play feature (there is a group currently working on creating a serious play feature, altghough they have a way to go yet).

The centre has been open for 3 years and the user base is still expanding. Several clubs have storage on-site, youth organisations, schools, colleges, a couple of outdoor centres have containers and run some of their sessions there, along side a couple of smaller outdoor businesses. I already mentioned the emergency services. The basin (and old canal basin/dock) is big enough for 3 polo pitches, 2 are permanent the other has to be set up where the WW course outflow runs - there are currently 3 different groups doing polo training each week covering various levels of ability. The basin is also a favourite with open water swimmers and triathlon clubs who often book up both for training and local events. The changing complex includes 2 classrooms which can be hired for coaching sessions or meetings, one of them is pre-wired for all the slalom timing and communication equipment (which could probably be utilised for WWR and BoaterX if we were organised enough and had compatible equipment to plug in).

EPD have done a fantastic job creating a small footprint WW course and watersports centre (in conjunction with Scottish Canals) on a small piece of industrial wasteland just outside Glasgow city centre which has considerably less head than seems to be avaialble at Woodmill. It may be that at 6 cumecs (mean) the flow is a bit less than ideal (presumably there are times when it is more and other times it is less), but I suspect that there could be potential to add some pumps to augment the flow when necesssary. For 7 cumecs at 1.5m head the hourly running cost for Pinkston is around £70 - getting a bigger head will likely require more expensive pumps and maybe more power, but since it would be augmenting natural flow I would expect the hourly running cost would be similarly low, or lower. With 2.5m head there are options to create bigger drops within 100m channel, or I would think more usefully, to create a 150m or maybe 175m channel with a similar gradient to Pinkston - the only real criticism people tend to have is that the course is quite short if you are running straight down (but it is entirely possible to make a single run last 40 minutes if you are playing and/or repeating sections by eddy hopping back up)

I am quite sure that there are enough potential users within an hour of Woodmill that it could be equally successful, perhaps more so given the sparsity of quality WW rivers with an hours drive and the high cost of using Lee Valley (which is bigger and better, but too expensive for most people to use on a regular basis).

To be honest whether the end result is to create a new WW course, or to simply replace the old wave with something similar, EPD seem to have built up a lot experience in these areas and it would be well worth talking to them about possibilities. I am friends with EPD but have no business connection with them.

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by garya » Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:35 am

Have a look at what was done on the river Lea by the Environment Agency after consultation with the local club.

It works year round at most water levels and is great for beginners, a good surf wave appears at the right water levels. The environment agency are open to doing this type of project if there has been long term use of the site as it promotes safe use with minimum maintenance.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartham_Weir

Cardington is also another good example of a smaller river diversion course that doesn't need pumps if you can get a channel dug

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by Mike A » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:40 pm

Pinkerton is a great course, just right for the regions. We need more, cheap, pumped courses.

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Re: Woodmill Sluice - Please vote for a new WW course in Southampton

Post by John K » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:56 am

On a road trip last week we stumbled across the Parc des eaux vives at Huningue in France. They have a really nice grade two whitewater course which might make a good model for Woodmill. The course has been built alongside the feeder canal between the River Loire and the Loire Canal, and has a much more natural feel than other courses I've paddled.

In true French fashion they send novices down it on hired sit on tops, and as the biggest drop is at the top of the course immediately followed by a sticky hole it provides much entertainment for the locals. Having said that, we also met some pretty serious looking stick dodgers practising there, so it clearly meets a wide range of needs.

http://www.ville-huningue.fr/en/white-water-sport/

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