Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud!
Mud is considered to be excellent for the complexion, so volunteers
with the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust should have the most gorgeous
skin tone and texture…
Members of the local Melksham, Chippenham and Calne Branch have been
toiling in sludge since the middle of summer 2014, working to restore a
200 year old culvert, which collapsed during last year’s
record-breaking wet winter.
The fantastic donation of £10,000 from the Yorkshire Building Society,
received in December, has inspired members to redouble their efforts.
They have spent many hours working in thick, sticky mud rebuilding the
historic structure of Cocklemore Brook Culvert at Pewsham Locks,
continuing through the worst that the weather has thrown at them.
Project leader Ray Canter said: “We will probably have to hire in a
second 4” pump to try to reduce the water flow through the culvert
sufficiently – it is very difficult laying bricks under water, even
when wearing waders. Local company Wavin Plastics were kind enough to
donate some 400mm twin-wall plastic piping; this piping, with the aid
of the second pump, will enable us to control the water flow whilst
repair work is carried out. We have to clear the mud and bricks from
the culvert bed by hand, and then build three layers of overlapping
bricks in an arch, to create what will be effectively an underground
tunnel beneath the canal and towpath.
The mud has been so thick and sticky, several members have been banned
from entering their houses until they have been hosed down! But despite
the mud, we have made excellent progress with the restoration, and our
only regret is, that once it’s completed, the culvert will be entirely
hidden from view.”
Members of the public are invited to see for themselves, and hear
first-hand accounts of the progress made on the culvert, and also on
clearing out Pewsham Top Lock. Guides will be on hand to explain
developments during the Sponsored Walk on Sunday May 10th, starting at
10am at the Butter Cross in Chippenham.
The Wilts & Berks Trust recently received planning permission for
Top Lock and the Lock Cottage, both of which will be restored through
fund raising and volunteer labour. The Sponsored Walk plus a Charity
Auction at The Angel Hotel Chippenham on March 26th starting at 7pm
(free entry), a Quiz Night on 30th March at Derry Hill starting at 7pm,
and a Race Night on the 18th April at the Woodside Social Club at Calne
starting at 7.30pm (free entry) will all help to raise much needed
funds for these ambitious and costly restorations.
Chairman of the Events Committee, Malcolm Hitchinson said: “Not
everyone enjoys being a mud lark but everyone can help by supporting
the events set out above. The fact that all the work is done by our
volunteers, means that every penny raised will go towards the
maintenance and restoration of the canal.
Other fund raising events are planned throughout 2015, so please keep
checking our web site www.melkshamwaterwat.org.uk for details of all
We hope that as many people as possible will come along to as many
events as possible to enjoy themselves and to support the restoration
of this wonderful community amenity and the resulting wildlife
It is hoped to complete the culvert restoration this summer, so that
progress can be made on the restoration of the canal between Pewsham
Anyone interesting in finding out more about the canal trust, or in volunteering, please visit the website www.melkshamwaterway.org.uk
Back to top