Anniversary walk open to all as trust builds up restoration fund

A sponsored walk on the May Day bank holiday marks a decade of donations to the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust.

Annual walks since the first in 2004 have brought in £8,500 for the charity.

In the early days, most of the waterway was beneath undergrowth and just a few dozen supporters took part.

Since then, the trust has transformed the area and participants have neared 200.

Volunteers have dredged and rewatered the canal, raised and widened the towpath and rebuilt a bridge, wharf, spillweir and culvert.

People of all ages take part in the event, which passes from Chippenham through four miles of countryside to the Bell Inn at Lacock.

Organiser Peter Williams, of the Melksham, Chipp-enham and Calne branch, has been involved from the beginning and said when a stretch of towpath was used for a new cycle route to Lacock it was the first time in a century people could easily follow that section.

He said: “People don’t have to be sponsored, they can simply just pay the entry fee and enjoy the walk, but we also invite local youth groups to ‘walk a boat and back’, where they work as a team to carry canoes, dinghies and other craft.”

This year’s walk starts at the Buttercross, Chippenham, on May 6 at 10.30am.

The entry fee is £4. Email peter.williams@wbct.org.uk or see www.melkshamwater way.org.uk

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