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Funeral of Peter Konitzer
Friday, 14 October 2016 09:37

14th October 2016 

The thoughts of everyone at the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust are with the family and friends of our volunteer Peter Konitzer whose funeral takes place at Sheepdrove Farm near Lambourn this afternoon.
The MCC working party remembers Peter as a wonderful colleague with a wicked sense of humour, who was happiest when working on the habitat restoration side of our project. We have a special place in memory of him at the side of the canal, planted with spring bulbs and
wildflowers, all bee friendly, of which he would have approved.

For further information about this press release, please contact:
Scots Smith Farmyard
Dauntsey, Chippenham, Wilts, SN15 4JA
m: 07976 281586 e: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it w: www.wbct.org.uk

Annual General Meeting 2016 - documents
Friday, 30 September 2016 19:07

Documents for the Trust AGM on October 2016

Details of the day's programme here

Notice of Annual General Meeting here

Annual Report and Accounts here

Pen portraits of Trustees seeking re-election

Colin Fletcher

Peter Kinsman

Pen portraits of nominations to be Trustee representing membership

Steve Bacon

Luke Walker

Vaughan Welch









Notice is hereby given that the twenty eight Annual General Meeting of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust (company number 2267719) will take place at:

Sheldon School, Hardenhuish Lane, Chippenham, Wilts, SN14 6HJ,  (Grid Ref Explorer 156 ST 910746) on Saturday, 15th October 2016 at 2.00 pm.





1.     To receive any apologies for absence.


2.     To approve the Minutes of the twenty seventh AGM held on 17th October 2015 and to consider any matters arising.


3.     Tp approve the Minutes of the Extraordinary General Meeting held on 5th March 2016 and to consider any matters arising.


4.     To approve the Directors’ Annual Report for the year ended 31st March 2016.


5.     To approve the Trust’s accounts for the year ended 31st March 2016.


6.     To elect Members to the Board of Trustees:

    1. In accordance with Articles 41 and 42 of the Articles of Association David Cook, Colin Fletcher, Peter Kinsman and David Stirling retire from the Board in rotation.  All offer themselves for re-election.
    2. There were no members co-opted since the last AGM to be re-elected in accordance with Article 36 of the Articles of Association.
    3. To elect a Trustee to represent the Membership.  Nominations are invited using a form for nomination obtainable from the Company Secretary.
    4. In accordance with Article 44 any other nominations to the Board of Trustees should be notified to the Company Secretary at the Trust’s offices at Dauntsey Lock Canal Centre, Dauntsey Lock, Chippenham, SN15  4HD in writing to arrive no later than Friday 9th September 2016, in order to enable the Trust to inform members of nominations.  Nominations should be signed by at least five Proposers and by the person nominated, all of whom must be full members of the Trust.  A pen picture of the nominee and his/her interests and ideas towards the furtherance of the Trust’s aims should be included, and this will be made available at the meeting for the benefit of Members during voting.  [Note: to facilitate running of the meeting a form for the nomination of directors is obtainable from the Company Secretary.]


7.     To approve the reappointment of Messrs Morris Owen as accountants of the Trust at a remuneration to be determined by the Board.




8.     There is no Special Business proposed.   


9.     Any Other Business.




By order of the Board


C D Coyle

Company Secretary.



  1. As a member of the Trust you are invited to attend the AGM.  A member entitled to be present and vote at the AGM may appoint a proxy to attend, speak and vote on his or her behalf in the event of a poll being demanded on a resolution or a ballot being held for the elections to the Board.  A proxy MUST be a member of the Trust.  An instrument of proxy may be obtained from the Company Secretary, to whom it must be returned not later than forty-eight hours before the start of the meeting.


  1. A Member may propose a resolution at the meeting.  Such a resolution will be Special Business, requiring a majority of 75% of the votes cast at the meeting.  To assist in the orderly conduct of the meeting it would be helpful if members (or their duly appointed proxy) wishing to propose a resolution would indicate their intention to do so by informing the Company Secretary either in advance of the meeting or at the venue on the day of the meeting.


  1. After the formal business of the AGM there will be an Open Forum Session at which members may put questions from the floor to the Directors on any matter relating to the canal or the Trust’s activities.


Tragic accident at Pewsham
Monday, 29 August 2016 19:41

The Trust is extremely sad to inform members that there was a fatal accident at the Pewsham site on Wednesday 24 August.

The Trust sends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of our volunteer who tragically lost his life. The Trust also would like to express our thanks to the emergency services who responded so promptly and who took such great care of all of our volunteers at the scene.

WBCT is cooperating fully with the ongoing Health and Safety Executive investigation.

All enquiries should be directed to Sheila Wade on 07976 281586 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Studley Grange 5000: Donkeys and canals
Monday, 15 August 2016 10:19

donkey 7 locks history 2016-08-15Yes there is a connection…  many canals,  including the Wilts & Berks, when they were the main freight routes for the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, were “powered” by donkeys rather than, as is often imagined, large cart horses such as Shires or Clydesdales.

There were many reasons for this, including narrowness of towpaths, heights of bridges and the cheaper purchase and running costs of donkeys’ vs horses. Typically the barge donkeys worked as a pair or double hitch, or as a single hitch for small loads.  And donkeys were also used to “puddle” the clay to make the canal bed watertight.

The Trust has a number of archive photos showing working donkeys on the Wilts & Berks canal.  The photo above shows the lock keeper at 7 Locks in Dauntsey with his working donkey next to the lock stables. The Studley Grange section would have been no exception, and were you able to time travel back to the 1800’s, you would have seen many working donkeys along this stretch of the canal.

donkey 2016-08-15The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust continue to celebrate this connection by their sponsorship and attendance at the Wiltshire Donkey Show in Dauntsey every September  where the driving donkeys are driven up to the canal near 7 Locks to receive Wilts & Berks Canal Trust commemorative rosettes…  and of course some carrots!  

The show is affiliated to The Donkey Breed Society, www.donkeybreedsociety.co.uk  a charity working to further the welfare of donkeys in the UK. Winners of show classes qualify for DBS national championships. 

Come along on Sunday 4th September and see for yourself: for more information go to: www.wiltshiredonkeyshow.co.uk

Please help us celebrate the connection with donkeys at Studley Grange.  

Please go to: donate.wbct.org.uk   and help us to complete our Studley Grange flagship project

“Was that a water vole?” Studley Grange 5000
Wednesday, 10 August 2016 14:46

water vole feeding Tom Marshall cropThe first sight of a water vole is often as it swims across to the bank of the canal. It’s quick and not very big so it’s gone before you are sure what it is! But you feel lucky to see it.

Look out for the signs of water voles such as burrows in the bank, often with a nibbled 'lawn' of grass around the entrance. Water voles like to sit and eat in the same place, so piles of nibbled grass and stems may be found by the water's edge, showing a distinctive 45° angled-cut at the ends. 'Latrines' of rounded, cigar-shaped droppings may also be spotted.

The water vole is Britain's fastest declining wild mammal but we can give them a place they like to live. We have some in the restored canal at Royal Wootton Bassett. The new stretch at Studley Grange will be really good for water voles.

2016-07-31 richard at chaddingtonPlease help us increase water vole habitat along our route and allow Richard, Tilia and Phoebe to get down to the towpath at Studley Grange and see the water voles.  

Please go to: donate.wbct.org.uk   and help us to complete our Studley Grange flagship project



Phoebe and Tilia’s story
Saturday, 06 August 2016 11:09

2016-07-31 girls at chaddington 360Insect-Hotel-1024x1024Phoebe and Tilia live near Royal Wootton Bassett with their family and 2 dogs: Echo and Fern.
They love going on adventures and walking along the towpath is something all the family like to do together.
Canoeing along the canal all the way to Studley Grange would be even better
Phoebe and Tilia have made bird boxes and bee hotels and hope to go down the Studley Grange to see who is living in their boxes.
Phoebe says it will be butterflies: but Tilia wants it to be dragonflies.
Please help Phoebe and Tilia get down to the towpath at Studley Grange and see who is living in their insect boxes.




Please help us in 2 ways:

  • By donating all you can by 28th August 2016, when we need to have started this final phase of our flagship project. Donate by sending a cheque to the Trust:The Trust Office, Dauntsey Lock Canal Centre, Dauntsey Lock, Chippenham SN15 4HD Or go to our new crowdfunding page and donate there: donate.wbct.org.uk.
  • By immediately sharing, tweeting, blogging and emailing our Studley Grange 5000 message and appeal to all your friends, family and contacts as soon as you can. Please ask them to go to our crowdfunding web page at donate.wbct.org.uk. and donate as much as they can. And ask them in turn to send the message to their contacts.



Studley Grange 5000
Thursday, 04 August 2016 11:59

2016-07-31 girls at chaddington 360Our flagship project Studley Grange, which is part of the canal section joining Royal Wootton Bassett with Swindon, needs your help to complete the work.

We need to move the last 5,000 cubic metres of clay (equates to about  550 skips) from the old canal line at Studley Grange and place it right next door in the landfill site operated by BIFFA.  We have done so much here already in the last year and moved 20,000 cubic metres. BIFFA has closed the site to general access and we have only a few months left to complete the work before the site is finally closed later this year: otherwise we may be paying up to £50 per cubic metre in additional costs.

This final push will see this project finished, with this section in water and the towpath created for all to enjoy.

Please help us in 2 ways:

  • By donating all you can by 28th August 2016, when we need to have started this final phase of our flagship project. Donate by sending a cheque to the Trust:The Trust Office, Dauntsey Lock Canal Centre, Dauntsey Lock, Chippenham SN15 4HD Or go to our new crowdfunding page and donate there: donate.wbct.org.uk.


  • By immediately sharing, tweeting, blogging and emailing our Studley Grange 5000 message and appeal to all your friends, family and contacts as soon as you can. Please ask them to go to our crowdfunding web page at donate.wbct.org.uk. and donate as much as they can. And ask them in turn to send the message to their contacts.


The Trust will be sending the message out to all our contacts as well: but crowd funding works best when our supporters help by sending the message out to their networks. The more people who hear about Studley Grange 5000, and as soon as possible, the more donations we will get.

With your help we can create this section of our beautiful canal, for us and for future generations to enjoy and cherish.


It’s time to create an environment both we and our children can be proud of…

                                                                 It’s time to inspire and excite…            

It’s time to put our canal at the heart of everyday life…

Wednesday boat trips on Dragonfly in the school holidays
Tuesday, 02 August 2016 16:20

During the school holidays we are running extra trips every Wednesday on our narrowboat Dragonfly from the landing stage at Waitrose. Come and see Swindon as the Duchess of Cornwall saw it. Trips on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10.30, 11.45, 13.30 and 14.45. Ring 07401 220076 to book or check availability.

Patronage By HRH Duchess of Cornwall extended.
Monday, 25 July 2016 15:51


Waitrose 13-07-SP1-1000It has been announced that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall has graciously agreed to continue as Patron of The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust.
Trust Chairman Roderick Bluh commented: “this is wonderful news for the Trust, and we are really grateful to Her Royal Highness for this continued support. Her interest in this historic canal and our work has helped to inspire our 2700 members. We have recently undergone our own reorganisation to help us meet the challenge of re-opening the full 70 mile length of the canal within the next ten years or so.
Last year we were delighted that the Duchess of Cornwall joined us at Wichelstowe to open the new landing stage, which represented an important milestone in bringing the restoration project to the edge of Swindon. Support for the canal is growing as more and more people get to hear about our work; we are part of a nationwide movement to re-open historic waterways championed by our Local Authority Partners and the Canal and River Trust. The Wilts & Berks will help to create a new waterways network in the South of England, providing a wide range of leisure facilities as well as economic benefits to the community, and not least a safe and welcoming habitat for wildlife. We do need more and continuing support, and we are always looking for new members, as well as the involvement of local businesses.”

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