Branches Melksham Calne & Chippenham News
MCC branch sponsored walk 2012
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 08:49


THE RESTORATION of a former waterway is expected to reach another major milestone later this year.

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust has been making steady progress breathing new life into the old line between Melksham and Chippenham. Last year the charity's annual sponsored walk saw the official opening of a newly-restored stretch near Pewsham Locks.

This year, event organisers hope to celebrate the next stage of their campaign as they extend the rewatered section closer towards the locks themselves. Funds raised from the latest walk will then be used to help complete the restoration of the original structures.

The event is due to be held on Bank Holiday Monday, May 7th, starting from Chippenham Market Place at 10.30am. Entry is just £4 per family/group. Sponsorship is optional.

The five-mile route heads south through open countryside towards Melksham, ending at The Bell in Lacock. Originally a canalside pub, it even has the remains of a Wilts & Berks lockgate on display in the garden. Walkers will enjoy a tree-lined towpath passing the remains of locks, dry-docks and lime-kilns as well as seeing restored culverts, spillweirs and even an entire bridge.

The charity also hopes to provide a tripboat to carry passengers along the rewatered section.


Canal Trust volunteer Peter Williams said: "Last year we raised more than £1,300 towards our local projects, thanks to the support of around 200 walkers, but this year we hope to do even better. Workparties are currently preparing to dredge the last remaining stretch of dry canalbed north from Reybridge towards Pewsham Locks. All being well, it will be ready to be filled with water again in time for the sponsored walk. As each year passes, we move another step closer to fulfilling our dream of a fully-restored waterway linking Melksham and Chippenham."

For further information, call Peter on 01249 652248 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

There is also the added fun of the 'walk a boat and back' event which encourages schools and other youth groups to carry canoes or other lightweight craft, with small plaques for those taking part.

The aim of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is to restore the waterway from the Kennet & Avon Canal near Melksham to the Thames & Severn Canal near Cricklade and the River Thames near Abingdon, linking Chippenham, Calne, Wootton Bassett and Swindon.