The charity’s aim 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 Chippenham, Calne, Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon.
Aside from extending the canal network for narrowboats, it would also provide a new amenity for local runners, walkers, cyclists and others, and would create a new wildlife corridor and a major boost to tourism and employment.
The former route through Melksham is lost under modern development so the charity is working on ambitious plans for a new ‘Melksham Link’ which would utilise the River Avon instead. This would feature a new weir and a series of locks.
This would then reconnect with the original line upstream where volunteers have started clearance work as part of the ‘Destination Lacock’ project to continue onwards to The Bell Inn, a former canalside property at Bowden Hill.
A little further north is the charity’s longest stretch of restored waterway which reaches the edge of Pewsham and features a popular towpath together with a rebuilt wharf, bridge and other structures, with ongoing work to restore the flight of locks and the adjacent dry-dock.
The Melksham, Chippenham & Calne (MCC) branch has hundreds of members, and offers many ways for people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved.
There are also opportunities to train as skippers for the tripboats at local festivals and other events.
Members receive regular updates and newsletters, and invitations to enjoy lots of social events.
The website includes links to further details for the Melksham Link, plus videos on the history of the canal and its ongoing restoration, an interactive map and several local walks.
For further information: –
Visit local MCC Branch: https://www.wbct.org.uk/our-enthusiasts/mcc-fl