The history of Chippenham’s former canal will be revealed during a guided walk on Saturday October 6th, plus the possibility of boat trips.
At 10am. volunteers from the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust will take visitors from the site of the former wharf in the town centre to the newly-restored stretch at Pewsham Locks. Along the way they will be told about the history of the waterway and where some of the remains can still be seen today. A pop-up café will be available at Pewsham Locks where visitors will enjoy refreshments and take a boat-ride on the "Mary Archard" depending on the water levels within the canal.
Dave Maloney, chairman of the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch, will lead the walk.
He said: “There are still so many people who remain unaware that Chippenham once had a canal reaching into the town centre, so we hope this event will help to raise awareness of our local heritage.
Our walk begins at The Buttercross near Chippenham bus station, which was the site of the former coal wharf and terminus. Then we’ll retrace the original line as much as possible, passing where a canal tunnel once emerged in Wood Lane before walking parallel to the A4 around the edge of Pewsham where several of the streets have related names including Pewsham Lock and Canal Road. Part of Pewsham Way was built on top of the canal but you can still see the dip in the ground besides the road, sometimes still in water, and if the vegetation is low you can also see the remains of the brick parapet where a bridge once crossed the canal.
Then we’ll cross the road to follow the footpath to Pewsham Locks which featured a lock-keep’s cottage, dry-dock, saw-pit, lime-kiln and other structures. The locks are still being restored, but we’ve already rebuilt the wharf where people will be able to enjoy tea, coffee and cakes, and displays about our local work.
Depending on the water level within the canal, we hope also to provide boat-rides to Double Bridge near Reybridge, which should be a beautiful way to end the day.”
The pop-up café will be available to all visitors, regardless of whether or not they participate in the guided walk and will be open from 10am-3pm. See our Events Page for details and access.