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 www.melkshamwaterway.org.uk