tryside, and many people use it to travel between Chippenham and Lacock. However, there was a short distance where the period of dereliction had resulted in it sinking slightly due to poor drainage, so we wanted to raise it back to its original height in order to improve access for everyone” The stretch between Chippenham and Lacock already includes a significant length which has been excavated and refilled with water, and includes a restored bridge, spillweir and mooring points. Following completion of the towpath work, restoration of culverts and plugging of leaks, the earth bunds separating the sections of this length were removed at the end of June and there is now a continuous stretch of canal from the bottom of Pewsham Locs to Double Bridge near – a distance of almost 1.2 kilometres. Longer-term, the aim is to extend the line to south westwards Melksham. From there onwards, a planning application has already been submitted to diverge from the historic line and reroute the navigation along the River Avon through the town (bypassing the original route which has been built on) to reach a new junction with the Kennet & Avon Canal at Semington.
will take a further 18 months of hard work before the lock is completed. The project at Pewsham was particularly appropriate for veterans, as many of the structures, including Top Lock, were blown up by the military as part of explosives practice in the years prior to World War II. Meanwhile WBCT volunteers have completed the latest improvements to the adjacent restored stretch of canal between Pewsham and Double Bridge, near Lacock. The Trust’s Melksham, Chippeham & Calne Branch has finished raising a section of towpath which dropped after the waterway was abandoned in 1914. Supported by a grant of £4,685 from Chippenham Area Board, a team of volunteers spent more than a week transporting several tons of soil and hard core to the site near Double Bridge. The 150-metres of affected towpath have now been levelled off and pipes have been installed to improve drainage. The project has also allowed the water-level to be raised to improve access along the canal for the charity’s workboat. Branch chairman Dave Maloney said: “The towpath is a very popular route for walkers and cyclists to enjoy the open coun-
WBCT volunteers with the newly raised towpath and continuously watered canal length near Pewsham
Navvies 284 - September-October 2017. WRG's magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways.