|Shrivenham, Watchfield, and Bourton Parish News. July 2012|
I am delighted to report that on the Queens Jubilee Day it was announced that Her Majesty had conferred the Queens Award for Voluntary Service to the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust. What a fantastic acknowledgement and reward for the hard work all the volunteers put in to restore the canal - Well done to every single one of them.
Now to the more mundane – Rain and yet more rain has again refilled the canal, but it has also made the grass and weeds grow and kept our volunteers with mowers indoors so the towpaths did become a little overgrown, but thanks to a day or two of dry weather and mowers and volunteers in working order most are now clear, except for the path between the Station Road and Steppingstone Bridges which is largely under water and very muddy. We do have plans and permission from the landowners to re-locate this path to its original position on the north side of the canal well above the water line but we are short on volunteer manpower at the moment – anyone care to take up the challenge?
Although visits from volunteers from local businesses continue with a large workforce due in the middle of the month – the usual vegetation clearance can't be done at this time so amongst other work they are to mend gates and fences and level and repair towpaths damaged by rabbits.
Talking of towpaths, Tim Pyatt, a Trust Director, has recently walked the entire length of the towpath from Semmington to Abingdon, over 50 miles in four days! Well not quite! He did do 50 miles but not all on the towpath, just as much as he could, the rest he used roads and footpaths that were as close to the canal as he could get. You may have spotted him and his entourage walking the towpath here in Shrivenham! Negotiations with landowners are in progress for further access to the canal and towpaths.
The Trust has been challenged by the Canal Partnership to restore and reopen all of the towpaths along the entire canal within 5 years –a mighty challenge! Tim has agreed to champion the cause.
West Vale are hoping to have Tim come to us to give a public talk in Shrivenham to explain, more details later when arrangements are finalized.
Talking of arrangements, they are well in hand for the Trust AGM on 20th October which we have the honor to host this year. All are welcome to attend. As well as the formal meeting at 2 o'clock in Bourton Club, there will be guided site visits, exhibitions, displays, and addresses by waterway celebrities; we expect members, visitors and volunteers from all over the world. Yes, the world! Indeed we even had a volunteer from Canada turn up at a recent West Vale work party!
At the Branch AGM in June, all the local faithful and committed volunteers thankfully agreed to serve in their respective roles for yet another year.
Always much more Info on our web-site but if you are not connected, just stop any of us volunteers for a chat when you see us down the cut, we will always explain what we are up to!
Alan Norris - Branch Chairman