Farmer stops Wilts & Berks Trust boat trips

Published: Thursday, 08 July 2021

THE Wilts and Berks Canal has been closed by the farmer whose land it crosses.

This has prevented the Wilts & Berks Trust operating its boat trips on the restored section as the farmer has erected a pole across the waterway, stopping all navigation.

PoleAcrossWiltsBerksForced to close

Farmer David Watkin has been forced to close part of a canal due to a legal requirement that requires his land to only be used for agricultural purposes.

A covenant means he cannot get public liability insurance for public use of the canal, as the canal breaches the covenant issue.

Swindon Borough Council has stepped in in an attempt to resolve the issue but admits the legal agreements around the covenant are not straightforward and are taking some time to unpick.

In favour of the canal

David Watkins is in favour of the canal claiming it has brought new life into that part of Swindon with the boat trips, and is working with the council and the trust to clarify the situation as he has plans for a marina.

The section of the canal was restored 20 years ago and is used by the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust to run its boat trips to raise cash towards further restoration.