The Melksham, Calne and Chippenham Branch
of the
 Wilts & Berks Canal Trust


Press Releases  Back
August 2014

Melksham's River Avon plays host to River Festival

On Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th of September, the River Avon at Melksham will see an extensive flotilla of boats of all kinds, plus many other attractions, as the town enjoys its first River Festival run by the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust.

The Trust’s own narrow boat Dragonfly is being specially transported to the site from her usual mooring place at Kingshill Swindon, and from Saturday 30th August will be operating public trips from near the recently completed, purpose built slipway. Over the festival week-end, Dragonfly will be joined by Damsel Fly and Willow, the Trust’s other boats, to offer visitors the chance to experience scenic cruises up the river and back throughout the weekend.

Entry to the event is free, and visitors will also have the opportunity to view displays of unusual steam and wilderness boats, as well as canoe races and demonstrations by Wiltshire Youth Canoe Club, Wiltshire Fire Service and Bradford-on-Avon Diving Club.

King George V Playing Field will offer traditional fairground rides, food stalls, a beer tent and live music and volunteers will bring the event to life by dressing up in traditional canal costumes. There will also be a folk evening in the Activity Centre on Saturday but there will be a charge for entry.

In preparation for the festival, the Trust’s volunteers have been clearing the river banks of undergrowth and rubbish as well as pulling sunken trees, supermarket trolleys and remains of bikes from the river for a mile upstream of the Activity Centre

Ian Simpson, Festival Director,  said:

“This event is to both publicise the forthcoming Melksham Link, when boats will once more be able to travel to the centre of the town, and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the abandonment of the Wilts & Berks Canal.

“ Leekes of Melksham have very generously offered to support the event, and it promises to be an exciting and fascinating occasion which all the family can enjoy.

“We hope to welcome many members of the Melksham and the local community.”

For more information about the local Branch of the Trust you can visit their Web site

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