Wilts & Berks Canal Trust
The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, formed in 1987, has over 2,000 members, around 800 of whom are in the local Branch – Melksham, Calne & Chippenham. The Trust has an impressive track record of restoring locks, bridges, wharves and pounds; at Pewsham there is a mile long stretch that is navigable. There is much restoration to see there, and we run boat trips along it in the summer. We have a lease on a ½ Km stretch of canal at Naish Hill, which will allow us to extend navigable canal from near Chippenham almost to Lacock.
The Trust’s most ambitious project to date is the Melksham Link, that will create a new canal from the Kennet & Avon canal at Semington through Melksham using the River Avon. The newly-opened hall at Berryfield features the canal, and there are signs there giving more information. Much work has gone into this project and many hurdles have been overcome; we feel we are now close to applying for Planning Permission. Funding, from developers, is already in place. For more details, see https://www.wbct.org.uk/our-enthusiasts/mcc-fl
Elsewhere, we are planning for a canal crossing under the M4 near Junction 16 that will help take the canal from Swindon, where we also run boat trips, to Royal Wootton Bassett by water and towpath. To cope with these dramatic developments, the Trust has expanded & diversified its management structure – virtually all with volunteers – and by ramping up its fundraising capability. There is much to look forward to! For more information on the Trust, see our website www.wbct.org.uk – we welcome new members, who can help our project just by being members, and of course we welcome actual volunteers even more!