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Abandoned Section of Canal to be brought back to life
Sunday, 03 May 2015 05:57

ABANDONED SECTION OF THE WILTS & BERKS  CANAL TO BE BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE THANKS TO £575,000 OF GRANTS

StudleyA DERELICT stretch of abandoned canal will soon be brought back to life after the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust has received £575,000 of grants.

This funding will be used to restore the canal  and create a wildlife corridor at Studley Grange.

Work will begin this month on transforming the 1.25km stretch between Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon, thanks to support from Viridor Credits through the Landfill Community Fund , and the People’s Millions, the Inland Waterways Association and the Underwood Trust.

It will link with the restored section at Chaddington Lock with the ultimate aim of forming a navigable waterway from the Kennet & Avon Canal near Melksham to the Thames & Severn Canal near Cricklade and the River Thames near Abingdon.

Chad

 

Kath Hatton is the vice-chairman of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust and the charity’s fundraising director. She said: “We are really excited that this section of the waterway will soon be restored thanks to the generous support of so many organisations. “It will be a complex operation as the canal was filled in when it was abandoned in the early part of the last century, so contractors will need to excavate the route and then dispose of the soil on the adjacent former landfill site as part of a new landscaping scheme. “The damaged towpath will be reinstated and piling work will be required to stabilise some of the canal bank. However, once the work has been completed we will have a wonderful new wildlife haven which will be freely accessible to the local community.”

 

The Viridor Credits Environmental Company was established in 2001 to distribute funding via the Landfill Communities Fund. Their award of more than £349,500 is the largest single grant ever made to the Canal Trust.

 

Location Map-1000The Underwood Trust, a long-time supporter, is co-funding the excavation of Studley Grange. It is also funding the planting of the wildlife corridor in association with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Friends of the Earth (The Bee Cause). The hope is that the corridor will be extended along the length of the canal.

A grant from the People’s Millions will provide a multi-use surface to the towpath and a share of the planting for the wildlife corridor, as well as bird and bat boxes, benches and leaning posts and support for community involvement in the project.

SG Location

 

Kath added: “This will be an amazing attraction when finished, but the Trust still needs to continue fundraising for some of the preliminary works including site clearance and ground investigations in order to release further funding. Our own members have already raised nearly £10,000 but we need to reach £25,000 to unlock the rest of the support which has been promised. Therefore we hope that local residents and businesses will recognise the value of this scheme and offer their own donations to help us bring the canal back to life.”

 

Studley Grange funding appeal  - Can you help ?

 

PLEASE NOTE  General access to the site will not be possible during the period of the works . Escorted visits may be possible by contacting Kath Hatton or Chris Coyle.

Images 
Studley Grange & Chaddington sections of the canal (Justin Guy) Location map and aerial view (Google)