Walkers will find it easier to retrace the route of Melksham’s former waterway, thanks to grants which have paid for new signs.

Volunteers with the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust have just finished placing the markers at various points where the canal once passed through the town.

The 19 signs were paid for with a £200 grant from Melksham Town Council, £300 from the charity and almost £500 from Melksham Area Board.

That follows a £250 grant from Melksham Town Council for 3,000 leaflets about the trail.

The leaflets – with illustrations based on archive images from more than a century ago – are available from Melksham’s tourist information centre and highlight the remaining evidence of the route, such as bridge parapets and culverts.

Trust volunteer Brian De’ath said: “We are very grateful to Melksham Town Council and Wiltshire Council for funding the production of the new signs.

“We hope it will encourage people to learn more about our campaign to bring this important waterway back to life. The charity has already restored significant stretches in the local countryside, but we would have to avoid the original line through Melksham, due to modern housing and roads.

“A new route would probably have to travel through the town centre, using the River Avon.

“The signs will be an important reminder of our local heritage. We were pleased to see so many people coming up to us with questions about the canal, wondering where it went and how it might be rebuilt.”

The one-hour walk begins in southern Melksham, opposite the West End Inn, and follows part of the old towpath behind houses and round to the site of the Spa Road Bridge, lowered in 1924, which once carried the Devizes road over the canal. Melksham Wharf was on the left and the former Maggs rope factory on the right.

It continues on alleyways to Pembroke Road and the site of the old Gallows footbridge – possibly named after a place of execution for 19th century sheepstealers – past the Brookside residential home, and across the embankment, over Clackers Brook.

It continues to the junction of Sandridge Road and Forest Road, where a parapet is visible, and ends near Methuen Avenue.