RESTORATION of a former waterway between Melksham and Chippenham has
been given a major boost, with recent grants totalling almost £14,000.
The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is using the money to rebuild a
wharf, improve the towpath and research a new route around modern homes.
The charity hopes much of the work will be complete in time for this
year’s annual sponsored walk in May when visitors will be able to see
the latest progress of the restoration campaign.
Awards for All, awarding funds from the National Lottery, has given
£6,091 to provide a wharf and landing stage which will make it easier
for boats to use the existing rewatered stretch near Lacock.
In addition, Chippenham Area Board has given £4,929 to raise the
towpath and maintain the canalbank between Bottom Lock and Squirrel’s
Rest, and Melksham Area Board has given £2,832 to examine a potential
new route to the north of the town.
Colin Fletcher (pictured by the wharf) is a director of the Trust and a member of the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch.
He said: “We are sincerely grateful for the generous support of
Awards4All and the Chippenham Area Board, which will improve a stretch
of the canal which is already hugely popular with the local community.
“The wharf lies at the bottom of Pewsham Locks and includes a landing
stage, hardstanding area and bollards to enable the use of boats.
“This will allow volunteers to transport their equipment along the
waterway or to work on the opposite bank. It will also make it easier
to run tripboats during special events.
“Meanwhile the towpath improvements will provide a more even surface for people with pushchairs or wheelchairs.
“All of the labour is being provided by local volunteers but we
are confident much of the work will be finished by the time of our
sponsored walk in May.
“Further south, the generous support of Melksham Area Board will help to fund a topographical survey.
“Following the recent submission of our plans to bring the waterway
back through the town centre, the work will examine a new cut coming
out of the River Avon near the Adventure Centre and going as far as
“The ultimate aim would be to connect the Melksham Link with the stretch which has already been restored near Lacock.
“We hope this latest progress will encourage even more organisations
and businesses to lend their support to the restoration campaign.”
For further information on donating to the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the local Branch of the Trust you can visit their Web site www.melkshamwaterway.org.uk