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Book a boat trip along the River Avon

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POPULAR boat trips will return to the River Avon as part of next month’s Melksham Food & River Festival. 

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust will again be offering trips throughout the event, with the added option of being able to charter one of the craft for a private journey before the fun weekend begins. 

The festival takes place in King George V Park on Saturday and Sunday, 4/5 September, with two boats – the Mary Archard and the Damselfly – running at regular intervals except for short breaks to allow other river activities to take place. 

The Mary Archard is wheelchair-accessible and will also be available for pre-booked charter trips on the Friday. Passengers will enjoy slow and scenic journeys from the landing stage near the Adventure Centre, heading upstream and back again, with tickets available from the Trust tent.  

The boat trips are being organised by the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch of the charity. 

Spokesperson John Goring said, “We’re delighted to be returning to the festival and looking forward to welcoming lots of visitors. 

“The boat trips will last around 20-25 minutes and offer a rare glimpse of the surrounding countryside from a very different perspective, including the possibility of seeing lots of local wildlife. People can also charter their own special trips while the festival is being set up on the Friday, when they can book the boat just for their friends and family. 

“In addition, the Trust tent will have lots of information on our local projects and how people can get involved in the restoration campaign.” 

The Mary Archard carries up to eight passengers while the Damselfly carries up to ten passengers.  

Skippers and crew are fully-trained, volunteers will help with boarding and disembarking, and buoyancy aids will be available. Sanitising stations will be provided, and the boats and buoyancy aids will be cleaned between trips. 

Tickets are just £5 for adults, £2 for children aged up to 14, and £12 for a family of four, but free for infants not occupying a seat, and carers accompanying wheelchair passengers. Chartered journeys are £30 per trip. 

Visit www.melkshamfoodandriverfestival.co.uk for further information, including the boat trip schedule and how to arrange charter bookings for the Friday, or email john.goring@ wbct.org.uk 

The Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch of the Trust is always keen to welcome new members. Visit www.wbct.org.uk for more details.

Picture: The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust’s ‘Mary Archard’, which is wheelchair-accessible and available for charter trips 

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