Visiting Boats at the Festival

Every year, Festival goers enjoy the sight of boats on the River Avon for the duration of the Festival. We always get a number of ‘Wilderness’ boats which are locally built and can sleep up to 4 passengers and crew, as well as steam launches which add the sight, smell and sound of bygone boating days to the festive atmosphere.

The owners of the visiting Wilderness Boats are members of the Wilderness Boat Owners Club, which provides support to other owners cruising and exploring waterways in the UK and much of continental Europe. Previous Wilderness visitors include Ark, Matchbox, Toad Hall and Grey Owl. The boat owners and their boats are intrepid travellers, between them having visited canals and rivers across England, Wales, Scotland, France and Ireland.

The Festival has also been graced over the years with visits from owners of steam launches. These certainly add character and interest to the river activities.

The Festival organisers would love to welcome new boat owners as well as those who have been before. Please follow the link to the on-line booking form.

Invitation to Boat Owners

Dear Boater,

We invite you to join us again at the Melksham Food and River Festival, in King George V Park, Melksham, SN12 7ED on the 5th & 6th September 2020.


This year, the Festival will be a 2-day event again with a full range of stalls including food and drinks, crafts and charities. There will be cookery demonstrations, competitions, live music and plenty for the kids to enjoy including a climbing wall and zip-wire across the river and back. On the river there will be the raft race, ‘Try Canoeing’ sessions and various displays as well as trip boats giving passengers an opportunity to see the beautiful upstream stretch of the Avon. Full details of the programme will be rolled out on this Festival website as the summer progresses.

We are working hard to connect this section of the River Avon to the canal network. Until we can complete this project, we are only able to accept bookings from owners of trailable boats.


For visiting boaters, there will be help available from our Harbourmasters from Thursday to Monday of the Festival week-end on a 24/7 basis. On your arrival, we will give you a “Boaters’ Pack” that will include information about Melksham and the surrounding area. There will be onsite security overnight on Friday 4th September & Saturday 5th September


To ensure that we make your visit enjoyable and relaxed, please complete and submit the online boat booking form or email

Alternatively, you can call Paul on 07855 887547.

A Harbourmaster will contact you during the run-up to the Festival.


We look forward to seeing returning boaters and welcoming new ones.

Best wishes,

Melksham Food & River Committee