About the Trust Trust News
Destination Lacock - opportunity to purchase length at Queenfield Farm - 25% raised towards target!
Friday, 06 May 2016 12:15

queenfield mapUpdate: £41,170 now raised, two thirds of the way to our target!

Kath Hatton, Fundraising Director, has sent the following letter to Trust members - to grasp an opportunity to purchase a critical 850m section of the canal route at Queenfield Farm between Melksham and Lacock. But you don't have to be a member to donate! As at 7th May £15,579 has been raised, over a quarter towards our target of £60,000.

Destination Lacock

Back in the summer of 2013, I appealed to all our members for funds to enable the Trust to purchase land at Seven Locks near Dauntsey. The response was overwhelming and in a matter of weeks we had the money to buy Locks 2, 3, 4 and part of Lock 5. This stretch is now being slowly cleared under a Habitat Management Plan in readiness for the continued restoration of the structures.

Today I am writing to tell you about another chance to purchase a significant length of the Wilts & Berks Canal between Melksham and Lacock and your help is again important.

When the expected Planning Permission for the Melksham Link is agreed, then we have plans in place to finance this symbolic stretch of our canal that will connect the Wilts & Berks Canal to the national waterway network. We are now looking at how we can follow on with the restoration of 3.8km between Melksham and the Bell Inn at Lacock which, with the Melksham Link and Avon river link, will push us nearly 10km from Semington. Showing that we have this in hand will send a big signal that we are well on our way towards meeting our 10-year restoration timetable.

An opportunity has arisen to purchase an 850m section of this critical stretch at Queenfield Farm and we need to secure it quickly. We have set ourselves a fund raising target of £60,000 for this, which should cover a fair market price including our legal fees. In addition, we will transfer a deduction to our General Fund to cover the cost of the appeal and related overheads.  Any surplus will be put towards the purchase of other canal track in this sector.

South of Queenfield the canal up from the river is owned by our partner Wiltshire Council and so with this purchase and the Melksham and Avon Links, it would total 80% of the route from the Kennet & Avon Canal to Lacock.

The current footpath between Melksham and the Bell Inn at Lacock (a canal side pub) runs across fields, stiles and sometimes walkers encounter electric fences or barbed wire. At the moment cyclists between the two centres have to use the twisty and rather dangerous Forest Lane.

We intend to put in a multi-user path alongside the canal with good surface for walkers, cyclists, pushchairs and disabled tricycles. It will link from the riverside walk in Melksham to the towpath along the new Wilts & Berks Canal section to Semington. We will turn the towpath into a wildlife trail as an amenity for the local community, to encourage endangered species like water voles to return and will plant a good mix of wild flowers to help our bee population. Our project at Studley Grange is a pilot for this and the local students and school children have really enjoyed being involved.

Can you help and make a contribution to this vital fund raising appeal? Or can you think of any friends or local companies that may be able to help us?

Please give as generously as you can. Every pound helps towards our goal. You can donate by cheque, bank transfer, online donation or text giving. All donated money, after the deduction for costs and overheads, will be put into a restricted fund for the acquisition of land relating to the canal. This may be used as matched funding, or to release a substantial grant from a Landfill Operator by funding a Third Party Contribution.

Thank You

Kath Hatton

Fundraising & Sponsorship Director