ABOUT US - Neil Warren

I am 45 years old and married to Fenella. We have two children, Edward and Alicia and we live in Peaslake, a small village in the Surrey Hills.


I trained at The Royal Agricultural College Cirencester where I qualified as a chartered surveyor. Having worked as a land agent and in General Practice, I now work for Land & Water Estates, part of the Land & Water Group, a locally based company who specialise in dredging, particularly canals, estuaries, marinas, and lakes.

My principal role is to initiate and manage waterside developments, for example Kings Bromley Wharf Marina on the Trent & Mersey Canal and Hick's Boat Yard in Appledore, North Devon.

I enjoy fishing, and messing about in boats. I am not a man known for extreme bursts of physical activity and I am by no stretch of the imagination a rower. I have rowed yacht tenders and small boats to fish from, but this is the limit of my experience.

Having a personal and a professional interest in boats, I am fascinated by the craftsmanship of traditional wooden boat builders. A couple of years ago, I started reading around the subject and dreaming of the boats I would build one day.

When I started to think about a venture worthy of sponsorship for GOSHCC, I thought first of planning a challenge along a canal. Being a novice rower and an armchair boat builder, I decided that rowing the length of the Kennet & Avon Canal (87 miles) in a boat I built myself would be a worthwhile feat of endurance and a test of my boat building skills.

I chose the Kennet & Avon Canal for the number of reasons. It is extremely beautiful, the 105 locks pose another physical challenge and it is a canal that Land & Water Services have a long association with.

This is the background to how and why I chose to build a boat to row the Kennet & Avon Canal; the details of the venture are given on the following pages.