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Wilts & Berks Canal

The restoration of the Wilts & Berks Canal is possibly the most ambitious of all the current projects because of its length, its urban position and the amount of time it has been derelict.

Things to do nearby

A section of the Wilts & Berks canal in water
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Facts & Stats

51 miles

(82.1km)

The length of the Wilts & Berks Canal restoration.

6 miles

(9.7km)

The length of the branches of the Wilts & Berks Canal.

6 locks

restored

Plus 1 new lock built.

Restoring the Wilts & Berks Canal

The restoration of the Wilts & Berks Canal is possibly the most ambitious of all the current projects. This is because:

  • the canal is 51 miles long,
  • it has been derelict for nearly a century,
  • it has been largely built over in urban areas such as Swindon, Melksham and Abingdon.

The Trust, IWA, local authorities along the line and others have formed a consortium Wiltshire Swindon and Oxfordshire Canal Partnership to progress political promotion of the restoration.

£13,960 was awarded to the Shrivenham Canal Park project as part of IWA’s Waterways in Progress Grants in 2019.

The Shrivenham Canal Park project aims to establish a small 4-acre park, owned by the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, as a community and environmental asset. The Waterways in Progress grant will help fund activities designed to increase the biodiversity, aesthetics and wildlife of the area, including the refilling of the 125m section of canal that forms part of the park.

A brand-new length of canal is being created through the application of s.106 funds in the new residential development of Wichelstowe. Obscured by a run of sound-deflecting hillocks, the new stretch is very close to the M4, roughly mid-way between Junctions 16 and 15.

In 2012 a planning application was submitted to Wiltshire Council for the Melksham Link. This will run between the Kennet & Avon Canal at or near Semington, through the town of Melksham, reconnecting to the old line of the canal to the north-east of Melksham.

In 2006, IWA provided another grant of about £60,000, to celebrate its diamond jubilee that year. It was a major funder for the construction of a new length of waterway to connect the canal to the Thames near Abingdon.  The work was supported by Waterway Recovery Group volunteers, and was opened during the week following IWA’s National Festival at Beale Park on the Thames in late August 2006.

Waterway restoration

Restoring the UK’s blue infrastructure – our inherited network of navigable canals and rivers – is good for people and places.

Waterway underfunding

Hundreds of miles of waterways – along with their unique heritage and habitats – are currently starved of funding and rely on constant lobbying by us to safeguard their future.

Waterways heritage

Our waterways heritage is what makes Britain’s canals and rivers special and it must be actively protected – through the local planning system and sufficient funding – for the future.

Waterway news

Waterways in Progress Grant: Wilts & Berks Canal

£13,960 was awarded the Shrivenham Canal Park Project as part of IWA’s Waterways in Progress Grants.