News
Public meeting backs Melksham Link project
Melksham Calne and Chippenham News
Friday, 07 December 2012 07:32

IMAG0112-1000Over 100 people attended a public meeting at the Assembly Rooms on Thursday night, 6th Dec to find out more details about the Melksham Link project.

Project delivery officer Ken Oliver showed  some of the detailed designs of the scheme which is now  being considered as a planning application by Wiltshire Council

The scheme includes a hydro power generator and some revolutionary ‘ arched bridges’ supplied as a flat-pack!.

The open meeting which was jointly arranged by the Melksham Trust and Melksham Community Area Partnership.

Many questions were raised and answered about the project and an informal show of hands gave  an overwhelming support for progressing the scheme.

 
MCC Bidders help to bring Waterway back to life
Melksham Calne and Chippenham News
Thursday, 01 November 2012 17:46

AuctionChequePresentationFundraisers have been delighted by the success of their first auction, which generated almost £2,000 towards the restoration of a local waterway.

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust received more than 60 donations from local businesses and supporters for the event at Derry Hill last month. Popular items included a footplate experience on a steam locomotive, a 40-inch HD-ready television, watercolours and boatrides.

Other items include sports and theatre tickets, passes for regional attractions, rounds of golf, meals, and even a tour of a brewery.  Organised by the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch of the charity, the auction raised £1,977 towards the ongoing campaign to bring the canal back to life.

Volunteer Val Melville presented the cheque to branch chairman Derek Flexer alongside a restored stretch of the waterway near Lacock.

Val said: “We were supported by a fantastic team, particularly Gordon Brockman from Chippenham Auction Rooms who conducted the auction in such an entertaining way.We would be delighted to hear from other members of the local community who would like to join our fundraising efforts.Our volunteers get involved in all sorts of events, from organising boatrides and sponsored walks to raffles and quizzes.It’s a great way to have lots of fun while raising money for a good cause.”

Derek said: “The Trust is very grateful to all of the businesses and individuals who donated so many items, and to everyone who attended on the night.The money will be used to fund our local restoration campaign so that we can bring this waterway back to life.”

 
Kingshill Swans go on Walkabout
Boat Trips News
Monday, 22 October 2012 06:39

SwansCrossingLingshill21-10-12-1000On Saturday 20th October 2012 the members of the Trust were holding their Annual General Meeting in Bourton when the Swans, resident on the Kingshill section of canal, decided that they wished to make a point regarding the omission of the canal through the town centre.

No one had told the Swans that the submission date for comments to Forward Swindon had passed. So wanting to make a point "Mummy" swan together with  her cygnets set off to locate a new home. They walked out of the water, onto the grass, and then straight across Kingshill Road onto Canal Walk.

After a short time they settled adjacent to the back yard of the Falcon Public House (what a delightful spot when the canal is restored in the area).

After soaking up the ambience of the new location they returned to share the news with "Daddy" swan.  Mummy and her cygnets were obviously happy with their find because the following morning "Daddy" was persuaded to join the family for a second visit! 
Swans-Sept-2012-1000

And so a message to all Wild Life Lovers

Join the Canal Trust in lobbying Forward Swindon and the Council suggesting that the canal should be restored across Kingshill Road and along Canal Walk in order to join up with the North Wilts Canal from Cricklade at the proposed new Basin  south of the railway close to Fleet Street.

SwansWestcottPlace20-10-12-1000The advantages for the swans would be a safe, slow, interesting trip between Swindon and Cricklade.

At the same time this would encourage the canal boats to transit the area with the associated economic benefits to the town.


The  photos were supplied by Derek Wiggins one of the regular towpath walkers.

We are very grateful  to Derek for allowing us to use his  photos.

 

Swans23OctAdver200

 

 

 Swindon Advertiser

23rd October 2012

 
Swindon Make a diffence day
Swindon Branch News
Sunday, 21 October 2012 08:24

Swindon volunteers urged to ‘make a difference’ to canal campaign

 Swindon volunteers are hoping to benefit from a national campaign which encourages people to play a more active role in their local community.The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust already enjoys strong support for the restoration of the former waterway and the potential boost to tourism and employment.So far this year, more than 2,000 hours have been donated by local people who help with digging, bricklaying and general maintenance, as well as running a popular tripboat at Kingshill and a shop in the town centre.Now the Swindon branch of the charity hopes to recruit even more supporters in advance of this year’s Make A Difference Day.

Around 1,350 hours of free labour have been provided to local workparties this year, including teams from organisations including Nationwide and the National Trust.A further 800 hours has been provided to the shop in Theatre Square, which also acts as an information centre, and 20 hours are provided every week that the tripboat is operating.

Mike Lang, chairman of the Swindon branch, has been a member of the charity for more than 20 years and remembers the dried-out canalbed from the 1940s.He said: “We sincerely appreciate each and every hour offered by our volunteers as it brings us another step closer to the restoration of the Wilts & Berks.The various activities help to raise the profile of the charity which in turns leads to stronger public support and more donations from local businesses.We are looking for people of all ages and backgrounds who can help with the physical side of our workparties, or with fundraising, research, public talks and displays.They can help as much or as little as they wish, but we always offer a warm welcome.”

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, passing through Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon.Much of the original urban line has been lost under modern developments so new routes would have to be constructed.

However, significant stretches have already been restored in open countryside and alongside new housing developments.

The charity hopes to approach the Heritage Lottery Fund in order to finance the scheme.

MakeADifferenceAdver26OctMike said: “This is a great opportunity for people to play their part in safeguarding an important piece of their industrial heritage, as well as leaving a legacy for future generations.With the recent presentation of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which took place aboard our boat at Kingshill, there has never been a better time to join the campaign.

 Swindon Adveriser  26th Oct 2012

Call (01793) 851377 or email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Make A Difference Day is on Saturday October 27.

 
MCC Make A Difference Day
Melksham Calne and Chippenham News
Sunday, 21 October 2012 08:14

Volunteers donate more than a thousand hours to ‘make a difference’ to canal campaign

Volunteers are hoping to benefit from a national campaign which encourages people to play a more active role in their local community. The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust already enjoys strong support for the restoration of the former waterway and the potential boost to tourism and employment.

Now the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch of the charity hopes to recruit even more members in advance of this year’s Make A Difference DayFrom July-September alone, more than 1,200 hours were donated by local people who helped with digging, bricklaying, grasscutting and general maintenance. This had a value of more than £14,000 when applying for matched-funding.Other volunteers organised fundraising events or operated popular tripboats at local events.

Derek Flexer, chairman of the local branch, said: “We sincerely appreciate each and every hour offered by all of our volunteers.Recent activities have included clearing the former route on farmland north of Melksham and alongside the A4 between Chippenham and Calne, as well as around the restored stretch of waterway on the outskirts of Pewsham.We’ve also been running our tripboats at big events such as the Chippenham River Festival, and preparing to train more of the team on the use of quadbikes to help with the transport of equipment.There are all sorts of opportunities for people to get involved – from the physical side of our workparties, to fundraising, research, public talks and displays.They can help as much or as little as they wish, but we always offer a warm welcome.

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, Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon.Significant stretches have already been restored in open countryside and alongside new housing developments.The charity hopes to approach the Heritage Lottery Fund in order to finance the scheme.

Derek said: “This is a great opportunity for people to play their part in safeguarding an important piece of their industrial heritage, as well as leaving a legacy for future generations.With the recent presentation of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, there has never been a better time to join the campaign.”

Visit www.melkshamwaterway.org.uk

Make A Difference Day is on Saturday October 27.

 
Canal Trust urges Public Support
Melksham Calne and Chippenham News
Sunday, 21 October 2012 07:59

Workparty-1000Canal Trust urges public support for ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to transform town

 An award-winning charity is urging Melksham residents to show their support for a former canal to be brought back through the town. The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust has described the ambitious plan as a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity to transform local tourism and employment. The charity, which recently received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of its restoration campaign, is seeking planning permission from Wiltshire Council. The current consultation has been extended until Friday November 2. Residents and businesses can register their support online by visiting the West Wiltshire section of www.wiltshire.gov.uk/planninganddevelopment and entering W/12/01080/FUL

The plans include a new junction with the Kennet & Avon Canal near the Semington bridge where there would be a potential site for a new marina.
The route heads north to Berryfield before joining the River Avon near the Challymead roundabout, where a new weir would raise the water level to allow boats to navigate through the town centre. The existing floodgate above the town bridge would remain exactly as it is today, but a new river lock and a hydro-electric turbine would be built alongside. The canal would continue north along the edge of Melksham Forest and then rejoin the original route towards Lacock, where significant stretches have already been restored and reopened. The proposed changes could even reduce the risk of flooding.

Kath Hatton is vice-chairman of the Trust and a member of the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch.She said: "This is one of the most significant moments in the history of the restoration of the Wilts & Berks Canal, and presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform Melksham. Instead of turning our backs on the river, we'll turn it into one of the town's most important assets. The project would provide a much-needed boost to local tourism and employment, as well as creating new wildlife habitats and safe routes for walking and cycling.The social, economic, environmental and cultural benefits of a restored waterway have already been demonstrated across the UK, where towns have seen the creation of new wildlife habitats and the establishment of canalside cafes and bars and other facilities."

Kath added: "We admit it's ambitious, but we won't be expecting local taxpayers to foot the bill. Instead we'll be approaching national organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund and other bodies to provide the necessary grants. This is how the nearby Kennet & Avon was restored and reopened, and we see no reason why it shouldn't be the same for the Wilts & Berks through Melksham. We are so sincerely grateful to everyone who has already registered their support for the plans, but we really need the maximum number of people to increase our chance of success – every voice really will count."

For further information on the local branch of the charity, visit www.melkshamwaterway.org.uk
More details on the Melksham Link can also be found at www.wiltsandberkscanal.org.uk/projects/melksham-link

 
Trust Annual General Meeting Oct 2012
Trust News
Saturday, 20 October 2012 00:00

AGM1-IMAG0083Trust Annual General Meeting held on Saturday October 20th

- first pictures

 

 

 

 

 AGM2-IMAG0087 AGM3-IMAG0082  AGM4-IMAG0085
 
Melksham Link wins approval of Town Council
Melksham Calne and Chippenham News
Friday, 19 October 2012 00:00

The scheme to run the restored Wilts & Berks Canal through Melksham has won the backing of Melksham Town Council.

Councillors voted on Monday to support an application to extend the existing canal from Semington to the River Avon in the town centre, in the first part of an ambitious scheme which will eventually connect the town to Abingdon and the River Thames.

Three kilometres of new waterway will be built, along with a pedestrian and cycle path. Three new locks, two road bridges and a weir in the river will also be added, allowing boats to travel through the town.

Melksham will be the first town directly located on the restored 19th century canal, which was abandoned in the 1920s.

The application from the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust was unanimously approved by the development control committee on Monday and will now go to Wiltshire Council for a final decision.

Cllr Richard Wiltshire, chairman of the council's canal working group, said: "This proposal will add much interest and character to Melksham and the Berry-fields area, in particular. "It will revitalise the river at Melksham and increase visitors for boating and other recreational activities associated with canals, footpaths and cycleways".

The scheme is the next phase of the 58-mile project to renovate the canal.

Cllr Terri Welch said: "As a town council we should support this scheme, as it will bring large benefits to our town."

 
Holiday Inn have a Work Day Out at West Vale
West Vale News
Monday, 24 September 2012 13:42

September, 2012

West Vale Branch held another of their popular work-parties for company volunteers. This time, we had a dozen eager staff from Holiday Inn, supplemented by 7 Trust volunteers. Work continued on creating the new towpath between Station Road, Shrivenham and Steppingstone Bridge.

The strongest tested their strength against the tree stumps still left in the towpath, several others helped to move the gravel surface from the closed section of the bridleway to the new approach to Steppingstone Bridge and a third team continued to clear the towpath westwards. The weather stayed dry (just) and all said that they had had a jolly good time!

Moving gravel  Stump removal I'm told there is a canal here somewhere!

 
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