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Heathcoat 200 Walk
Friday, 01 July 2016 17:22

Long distance walkers will use canal towpaths and rights of way to retrace the journey of 500 men, women and children who walked from Loughborough to Tiverton in 1816, to save their jobs.
Lacemakers in Leicestershire were caught up in industrial unrest when Luddites burnt down John Heathcoat’s factory in Loughborough. Heathcoat set up a new factory in Devon, and the lacemakers and their families made the long trek to the West Country using the canal towpaths.

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is pleased to welcome the long distance walkers to our patch over the weekend of July 2nd to 4th.

Tim Pyatt who is organising our own Towpath Challenge 2017, will join them and guide them through our area.
For more information, contact Tim on: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

A Heroes' Return to the Wilts & Berks Canal
Tuesday, 14 June 2016 12:27

 Heritage Heroes logo 1000

Press release 14th June 2016

  • Injured servicemen and women rebuild their lives through a project to restore the country’s historic canals
  • Canal & River Trust and Help for Heroes team up to deliver ambitious £1/2 million canal restoration and career recovery programme
  •  “Heritage Heroes will help with my transition back into civilian life,” said Help for Heroes veteran


Injured servicemen and women are being given the opportunity to re-build their lives, gain qualifications and learn new skills by transforming and restoring the lost canal and lock in Pewsham.

The Canal & River Trust and Help for Heroes have come together for the first time to deliver an ambitious canal restoration and career recovery programme for wounded, injured or sick servicemen, women and veterans.

Up to 60 veterans, from across the country, will join the Heritage Heroes project and work alongside local canal societies and Canal & River Trust engineers and heritage advisors to transform four forgotten canals. The 18-month project will also see 1,000 new volunteers recruited from nearby local communities.

Veterans working at Ryeford 1000The project, made possible by £500,000 funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, aims to bring pride and purpose back to our heroic veterans while restoring canals, some of which have been left neglected for decades.

A soldier returning from service often has their whole life ahead of them. These highly-skilled and capable individuals, with a great deal to contribute to society, are often ill-prepared for the transition back into the civilian world. The Heritage Heroes project will equip the wounded, injured or sick heroes with City and Guilds qualifications in construction, health and safety, horticulture and land-based management which can be used to help them identify a new, purposeful career.

Giles Woodhouse, Head of Recovery South at Help for Heroes, said: “Leaving the military or realising that your career choice may no longer be possible can be daunting, especially for those who are living with life-changing injuries and illnesses. Working towards a new goal in life through career recovery can be extremely beneficial to an individual’s overall wellbeing, often accelerating their personal recovery journey. This project will resonate with many of our military men and women who will already have some of the necessary skills and enjoy working outdoors, as part of a team.”

Help for Heroes veteran David Teague, 26, served as a Sapper with the Royal Engineers before he was medically discharged in April 2016 following a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  At his lowest, he would refuse to leave his house and stopped contact with friends. He now feels ready to kick-start his life again and hopes Heritage Heroes will improve his career prospects.

David said: “Having joined the Army at 16, I feel massively institutionalised and my hope is that Heritage Heroes will help with my transition into civilian life. I really want to get back into working as part of a team and build up my confidence again. I’m really excited to take the next step in my new life and I’m grateful for this opportunity.”

The project will see the Wilts & Berks Canal brought back to life by the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust. Veterans and volunteers will make a major contribution towards rebuilding an abandoned stretch of canal and lock. Ironically the lock was used for military demolition practice during the Second World War and needs a complete restoration. Veterans will learn masonry skills as they piece together the lost lock and bridge. The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust has started the restoration with the help of volunteers and local grants, and will welcome the veterans early next year to the project.

Looking up the lock with old brickwork exposedRoderick Bluh, Chairman, Wilts & Berks Canal Trust said: “We can’t wait for the veterans to join us in the restoration at Pewsham. This project will really benefit local communities and will give us the opportunity to share our passion, knowledge and skills with the military heroes. We are particularly excited about being able to give them something back for the hard work they have done for this country.”

Jason Leach, Enterprise and Restoration Team Manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “Heritage Heroes is such an exciting project for us. It gives the Canal & River Trust the opportunity to work with a new charity to transform waterways as well as helping to rebuild our wounded heroes’ lives.”

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery said: “We are delighted that the ‘Dream Fund’ has enabled this partnership between the Canal & River Trust and Help for Heroes. Heritage Heroes will make such a difference to the lives of our injured servicemen and women and I’m looking forward to seeing the results of their hard work on our historic canals.”

This story on the BBC web-site


Further information on the restoration at Pewsham available at: www.wbct.org.uk

Sheila Wade, PR Communications & IT Director: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Val Melville, PR & Communications MCC Branch: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Heritage Heroes restoration locations:

Stroudwater (Cotswolds)

Pocklington (Yorkshire)

Pewsham (Wilts & Berks)

Kennet and Avon Canal

Further information about the project’s ‘Dream Fund’ award win available at: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/news-and-views/news/canals-and-veterans-come-together

About Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes offers comprehensive support to those who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses while serving our country. This support is provided through grants direct to our Heroes and their families, grants to other charities and through four Help for Heroes Recovery Centres across the UK. A recent study launched in January 2016 by Help for Heroes and King’s College London found of the 750,000 men and women who served as Regulars between 1991 and 2014, at least 66,000 need long term support.

www.helpforheroes.org.uk                                         @HelpforHeroes

About Canal & River Trust

The Canal & River Trust is the guardian of 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales, caring for the nation’s third largest collection of listed structures, as well as museums, archives, and hundreds of important wildlife sites. 

We believe that living waterways transform places and enrich lives and our role is to make sure there is always a place on your doorstep where you can escape the pressures of everyday life, stretch your legs and simply feel closer to nature.

www.canalrivertrust.org.uk                     @CanalRiverTrust  @crtcomms


Waitrose cheque presentation in the Swindon Advertiser
Friday, 03 June 2016 09:48

Waitrose cheque presentation in the Swindon Adver

2016-05-27 waitrose cheque bluh morehead P1010231

Presentation of donation cheque by Waitrose
27.05.16 Press release
Wilts & Berks Canal Trust are pleased to announce that we have received a donation cheque from Waitrose at the
Wichelstowe Waitrose landing stage on 27 May 2016.
Rod Bluh, Chairman of WBCT received the cheque from Waitrose Wichelstowe store manager Dan Morehead.
Waitrose has donated £7,000 to WBCT as a contribution towards the installation of the landing stage.
Rod Bluh said: “The Trust is delighted to receive this contribution from Waitrose towards this great facility, which has
enhanced the canal side at Waitrose Wichelstowe and has allowed many people who visit the store, to access the
canal and discover the pleasures of enjoying the canal environment from our trip boat Dragonfly. We are very
grateful to Waitrose for their generous contribution, and look forward to working with them again in the future.”
This new landing stage, which is a popular viewing point for wildlife on the canal, is the departure and landing point
for the canal trips run by WBCT volunteers using nb Dragonfly between Kingshill and Wichelstowe. The canal trips
provide canal boat experiences for visitors to the Waitrose store at Wichelstowe, for residents from Swindon and for
many people from further afield, in order for them to enjoy this section of the canal, its tranquillity and its wildlife.
The construction of the new landing stage is part of the development and restoration works of the historic Wilts &
Berks Canal through Swindon, and has been made possible by a partnership relationship between WBCT and
Swindon Borough Council and with the contribution from Waitrose.
Back Story:
Wilts & Berks Canal Trust has, as its central aim, the creation of a sustainable, accessible and desirable destination
for people and wildlife, through the restoration of the historic Wilts & Berks canal as a blue and green corridor
winding its way through communities and landscapes of the region, adding value wherever it goes, in terms of
economic, lifestyle, health and wellbeing and biodiversity benefits.
We are committed to the ongoing and evolving restoration of the whole of the Wilts & Berks Canal, throughout its
length, to create a regional treasure, and to be cherished by all.
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 …
This is the largest and most complex waterway restoration project now taking place in the UK.
Join us on our journey.

For further information about this press release, please contact:

Melksham Town Council recommends approval of Melksham Link planning application
Tuesday, 31 May 2016 12:05

2014-09-06 13.17.16 

Exciting news to announce: significant progress in restoring the Wilts & Berks Canal in the western sector. 

On Monday 23rd May, Melksham Town Council recommended for approval , the planning application for the creation of a new waterway and towpath for the Wilts & Berks Canal between the K&A Canal and the River Avon, together with associated footpath, cycleway, 10 bridges and new access roads to Berryfields. 

The Planning Committee also stated that they were pleased to see another step taken on the road to getting the canal through Melksham: they were appreciative of the benefits this development will bring to the town. This was unanimous. WBCT are very pleased and grateful for the Town Council’s support.
The next step in the process is for the application to go to Wiltshire Council Planning: and you have already taken part in this process by responding to the recent Wiltshire Council consultation process.


27.05.16 SW/JS

Getting the canal round Swindon - how you helped
Monday, 30 May 2016 00:00


How you helped

Swindon Borough Council have released the results of the recent consultation. The total number of representations received relating to the New Eastern Villages Planning Obligations draft Supplementary Planning Document was 369.  330 of those responses relate to, or reference, restoration of the Wilts & Berks Canal. 

Many thanks to all who helped the Trust in this way.

Wiltshire Council to transfer land to the Trust
Friday, 27 May 2016 16:21

2015-12-05 dog walkers at chaddington 1500The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is pleased to announce that last week Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet Capital Assets Committee approved the transfer of a number of sections of the waterway owned by the Authority.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE, said: “Wiltshire Council is a long standing partner in this restoration and we are pleased be able to assist the volunteers to progress work on the Wilts & Berks Canal. Wiltshire continues to benefit from the great tourism attraction of the Kennet & Avon canal, which was similarly restored with the passion and enthusiasm of volunteers: it is a wonderful success story and is a great benefit to the community”
Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Chairman Roderick Bluh said: “The Trust is extremely grateful for this support and demonstration of the confidence of Wiltshire Council in the work of the volunteers. In practical terms it represents at least 15% of the canal route in Wiltshire. This will help considerably with the ability to fundraise, and we hope it will also encourage other landowners to consider helping with this inspiring community led project.”



Waitrose to present us a donation cheque
Friday, 20 May 2016 12:42

The Trust is pleased to announce that we will be receiving a donation cheque from Waitrose at the Wichelstowe Waitrose landing stage on 27 May 2016 at 11 am.

Waitrose has donated £7,000 to W&BCT as a contribution towards the installation of this landing stage.

W&BCT is very grateful for the support shown by Waitrose to this project, which is an important part of the development and restoration of the Wilts & Berks Canal through Swindon.

More details and photos later

Death of Doreen Darby, past Chairman of the Wilts & Berks Canal Partnership
Friday, 20 May 2016 11:29

We heard the sad news that Doreen Darby died the night of Friday 13th May. As a North Wilts District Councillor she was Chairman of the Wilts & Berks Canal Partnership in the 2000s.  This page on our web-site shows her with Juanita Davy and Ken Oliver at the opening of Chaddington Lock in 2005. 


Anne O'Donoghue said of that day 

"I remember her so well with her advice and help- Even preparing teas and washing up at Chaddington Lock ‘Topping Out’ for us because we were so busy, and she was the Guest of Honour."

Her funeral is on Thursday 26th May at 11.30 in Colerne church and at the pub afterwards. No flowers, donations to the Canal Trust.

Rest in peace, Doreen.

The Melksham Link project - how you can help us get planning permission
Thursday, 12 May 2016 16:21

three speech bubbles showing Have your say!Dear Supporters,

Our aim is to see the construction of the Melksham Link to create a new waterway and towpath for the Wilts and Berks Canal between the Kennet and Avon Canal and the River Avon at Melksham. 

The plans are now currently out for consultation with a closing date of 17th May 2016.

In 2012 we asked supporters to comment on the original proposal, and we are now asking you to comment further on this planning proposal which has a new Environmental Statement, prepared by the Trust, which confirms the feasibility and benefits of the project

How can you help?

You can help us by responding, as an individual, to the online consultation of planning application W/12/01080/FUL on the Wiltshire Council website.

The more responses Wiltshire Council receives on this subject, the more likely they are to consider supporting this planning proposal.

Please respond with your individual comments of support by using the web site consultation form on the website link: http://bit.ly/1y4sn3Y
or by email to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Or by post to: Development Management, Wiltshire Council, County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 8JN

What do you need to say?

You need to use your own words but we would like to suggest the following bullet points that you might want to select from:
• Major boost for tourist trade in Melksham, and will bring increased prosperity to the Town.
• Catalyst for Avon riverside developments to transform the landscape of the north bank through the Town from industrial to leisure.
• New towpath enabling walkers and cyclists to get from the K&A to Melksham and beyond, with benefits from sustainable transport as well as health and well-being benefits.
• Distinctive and vibrant identity created for Berryfield with the new canal, lock and towpath.
• New wildlife corridor from the K&A to the river, creating wonderful new habitats with major biodiversity benefits.
• Major step in opening up the W&B canal to create new cruising rings, which will bring economic and recreational benefits to many communities throughout Wiltshire.
• Hydro-electric scheme will be the first significant renewable energy supply into the Town.
• The additional detail contained in the new Environmental Statement confirms the feasibility and benefits of the project.

The last point is particularly important as it relates to the new report the Trust has submitted.

I know it comes very soon after the NEV consultation response, when many of you helped in the same way. I do urge you to do so again with this consultation. Together we can achieve our goal of restoring the canal, and this is an important way that you can help.

Thank you for your help in this very important aspect of the work of the Trust.

Jonathan Till
Chief Executive Officer, Wilts & Berks canal Trust
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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