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.