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


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October 2014

Canal Trust making waves on the local river

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is a restoration charity with a very ambitious aim: to restore 56 miles of abandoned canal so it can be used for navigation once again. The local section is the Melksham, Chippenham and Calne Branch. Our part of the canal originally connected the local market towns of Melksham, Chippenham and Calne to the Somerset coal fields and to Bath, Bristol, London and the Midlands.

Before railways or tarmac roads, canals were the motorways of their time; nowadays, people in search of escape from the stresses of modern life, appreciate the slow peaceful pace, the chance to venture deep into the countryside and the opportunity to get close to the wildlife that lives along these green corridors. Several disused canals are being slowly brought back to life.

2014 has been a momentous year for the Wilts & Berks Trust. Not content with the ongoing task of restoring bridges, locks, culverts and weirs, members also decided to undertake the unfamiliar challenges of Event Organisation. The idea was to commemorate 100 years since the Act of Parliament which formally closed the canal, and to this end, the Trust organised Heritage Open Days at Pewsham Locks near Chippenham and a River Festival in Melksham. Both events were a huge success, with many local people learning much more about this wonderful project.

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust has many local volunteers who undertake a multitude of tasks from driving diggers, bricklaying and clearing towpaths, to giving talks, raising funds, organising workshops for schools and dressing up as canal-folk there are as many different jobs as there are volunteers! All give their time freely to this excellent project, which so enhances the local environment.

New members and volunteers are always welcome.

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