Melksham Food & River Festival

Hundreds of people enjoyed boat trips along the River Avon during this year’s Melksham Food & River Festival. The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust offered journeys throughout the weekend, aboard The Mary Archard and Damselfly. Passengers could charter their own private trip on the Friday or share the experience with others on the Saturday and Sunday. More than 40 journeys took place, carrying more than 300 people of all ages, and more than £1,100 was raised towards the restoration of the former waterway.

The boat trips were organised by the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch of the charity. Spokesperson John Goring said: “We would like to thank everyone involved in the festival for making it such a huge success. A few years ago we offered just 20 boat trips but this year we provided 42, and we continued operating later than expected because we didn’t want to disappoint the crowds. We carried a total of 330 people and were particularly pleased that The Mary Archard’s accessibility enabled us to host several wheelchair users too. Everyone said they really enjoyed the experience and they were amazed by the completely different view of their town. It also provided an opportunity for us to explain how the proposed Melksham Link would use the river to connect the Kennet & Avon Canal near Semington with the historic line of the Wilts & Berks Canal towards Lacock. We hope people went away with a greater appreciation of the river and its natural beauty, and the important part it could play in bringing the Wilts & Berks back to life. We also hope they may have been inspired to join our campaign – we were delighted to sign up several new supporters throughout the event.”

The Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch of the Trust is always keen to welcome new members. Membership starts from just £1.50 per month, with lots of opportunities to get involved with restoration, fundraising and social activities. You can sign up on our website here.