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Canal volunteers to share the secrets of their success

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VOLUNTEERS working on the restoration of a former waterway are sharing their stories with the public.

The Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is opening several of its branch meetings to the wider community.

Each session will begin with an illustrated talk by one of the team, with the public welcome to just listen to the presentation or stay for the whole evening.

The first talk is by Fiona Rivers, who will explain the traditional rural craft of hedgelaying and its importance to a restored canal.

The presentation is due to take place at the Rachel Flower Centre in Melksham Market Place on Tuesday 21st March from 7.45pm, followed by a break for refreshments and then the regular branch meeting from 8.30 to 9.30pm.

Fiona has led the charity’s hedgelaying efforts along the restored Wilts & Berks Canal between Pewsham and Naish Hill, near Reybridge. She said, “I’ve been volunteering with the Trust for seven years and really enjoy working outside, doing lots of different tasks, but hedgelaying is particularly rewarding.

“Many of the hedges were abandoned long ago when the waterway fell into disrepair so we cut the stems and create a lower and thicker hedge which provides food and shelter for birds, mammals and insects.

“Walk along the restored canal and you can see how it’s become a wonderful wildlife habitat.”

All talks are free to attend, although donations are welcome. For further information email john.goring@ wbct.org.uk. The aim of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is to restore the waterway from the Kennet & Avon Canal near Melksham to the Thames & Severn Canal near Cricklade and the River Thames near Abingdon, connecting Melksham, Chippenham, Calne, Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon.

Visit www.wbct.org.uk

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