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Open Day to celebrate canal restoration

The fascinating history of a restored canal will be highlighted to visitors next month.

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is supporting this year’s Heritage Open Days by celebrating a popular stretch of the former waterway between Melksham and Chippenham.

The charity is hosting its own open day at Pewsham Locks, in the countryside near Lacock, on Saturday 8th September from 10am-3pm.

Visitors will see Trust volunteers working on the restoration of the locks, as well as enjoying a pop-up cafe serving refreshments including tea and cake.

There may even be boat-rides, depending on the water-level within the canal.

 Dave Maloney, chairman of the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch of the Trust said,“We’re delighted to be supporting Heritage Open Days by sharing the history of Pewsham Locks.

“This was an important stretch of the Wilts & Berks Canal, with three locks which lifted narrowboats almost 30 feet on their journey from Melksham to Chippenham.

“It featured a lock-keeper’s cottage, dry-dock, workshop, saw-pit and lime-kiln, the remains of which can still be seen today.

“We’ve already restored a wharf, spillweir and bridge, and there’s now more than a kilometre of canal and towpath which is very popular with the local community.

“It’s a wonderful walk through the Wiltshire countryside and demonstrates what we hope to achieve if we can continue the link all the way to Melksham.”

 The canal originally transported coal, corn, stone, iron, timber, lime and chalk from the Kennet & Avon Canal at Semington to the Thames & Severn Canal near Cricklade and the River Thames near Abingdon.

Displays at Pewsham Locks will trace the history of the local restoration campaign, including a wide range of photographs showing the impressive progress which has already been made.

In addition, maps will highlight the proposed new route through Melksham using the River Avon through the town centre.

Full details on how to reach Pewsham Locks are available by visiting www.wbct.org.uk/images/ wbct-pdf/Pewsham_Access .pdf

 For further information on joining the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch of the Trust, visit www.wbct.org.uk

 Above: Trust volunteer Dave Maloney, alongside the restored Wilts & Berks Canal near Lacock.

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