Hope for extension to Wilts & Berks Canal

Published: Friday, 06 January 2023

THOUGH very little is heard of the Wilts & Berks Canal, progress is being made.

This is the waterway that joined the Kennet & Avon at Semington and originally connected to the Thames at Abingdon, until a breach on the Stanley Aqueduct in 1914 caused its closure.

Since the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust started the first restoration of the canal in Swindon over 25 years ago it has opened eight miles, and now with the purchase of land there is the possibility of more of the disused waterway being restored.

WiltsBerk CanallAlready restored

The already restored stretch of canal between Chippenham and Lacock could be extended now that agreement has been reached to purchase 500 metres of land that would take the canal towards Reybridge, with the trust's Chairman, Dave Maloney telling:

“Walkers, runners and cyclists enjoy this beautiful corridor through the local countryside and we run trip boats through the summer for local families and community groups.

“However, the re-watered section currently ends at Double Bridge and the towpath becomes more uneven after this point. This new lease, which will be automatically renewed every seven years at a peppercorn rent, gives us the confidence to start investing in plans to restore and re-water this length too.”

After the work the waterway would connect with a proposed ‘Melksham Link’, that would itself connect with the Kennet & Avon Canal utilising the Avon.