CEO's New Year Message

The 2021 year was one of real progress at the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust. We recruited experienced and capable people to fill key roles, Jon Coates as Chief Engineer and Alex Hutchings, Rob Whittle, Ian Mitchell and Richard Shackleton as Branch Chairs. The regular newsletters from the Branches tell the same story, with people in our canalside communities taking on a variety of roles that will help us get Back to Business.

We want to do even better in 2022, by building on the good work, now complete, of totally updating our Masterplan. We have selected key stretches for restoration, Semington to Pewsham and Royal Wootton Bassett to Swindon. We have set up teams to pursue these objectives and supervise the detailed work now required on a wetlands project at Melksham and the replacement of Chaddington Lane bridge.

We have received the results of the first studies on the M4 Crossing project. The rapid pace of the Canalside homes development at Wichelstowe makes it likely that the canal from there to East Wichel will be built sooner than originally expected. The Shrivenham Canal Park upgrades and canal rewatering project are back on track, with funding from the IWA.

Please accept my grateful thanks for all the hard work you have done for our worthy cause during 2021, together with my best wishes to everybody involved as we push forward again in 2022.

Gordon Olson