Melksham, Calne & Chippenham (MCC) Branch - incorporating Foxham & Lyneham Branch
Last Updated 31 Aug 2020
The Branch story
The MCC branch is at the western end of the line of the Wilts & Berks canal and covers the section from Semington at the junction with the Kennet and Avon canal to Wick Bridge Lat 51.470126N Long 2.045549W (just outside of East Tytherton).
The branch area also covers the Chippenham and Calne branch lines and the proposed Melksham Link.
The line at this western end was one of the first stretches to be completed when the canal was built in 1797.
At the time of writing we have work sites at the A4 North (Chippenham), Pewsham (Chippenham), Queenfield Farm (Melksham) and carry out biannual maintenance at Seven Locks (Lyneham).
The main site of activity is at Pewsham where we have dredged a large section and it’s the longest section of navigable waterway on the Wilts & Berks. At the Pewsham Locks site we have a pocket of industrial archaeology that is being slowly restored.
In recent years we have had significant achievements at Pewsham restoring a horseshoe spill weir, building a wharf, the restoration of the 30 metre long Cocklemore culvert and the conversion of a narrow boat to a tug and butty.
A bid had been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund to help restore the Pewsham Locks site which contains two further locks, dry dock, saw pit, carpenters workshop and a lime kiln. Unfortunately this bid was unsuccessful due to the amount requested. Despite this setback branch volunteers continued to fund raise and through the generosity of Players of the Post Code Lottery and a grant from Chippenham Area Board over £100,000 was raised for Pewsham Locks projects.
We have planning permission for all the works at Pewsham Locks and are currently concentrating on getting all the relevant paperwork in place so that when opportunities arise we have spade ready projects to go. Current projects include a pound waiting wall, incorporating a by-wash system and Pewsham Top Lock Bridge,
We have cleared an 800m stretch of canal north of the A4, which is not yet open due to ongoing works and hope to have a lease on another 700m stretch north of the A4 which, when restored will leave us some 50m short of the infamous Stanley Aqueduct.
See MCC Projects for details of all past and current projects.
The branch has a healthy membership with active work party teams (clean and dirty boots), committee and branch officers. Skills within the branch include brick laying, dumper and digger driving, quad bike operation, chainsaw operation, woodworking, metal working, painting, welding, strimmer and all terrain mower operation, horticulture (including hard and soft landscaping), fund raising, event management, educational co-ordination, people management, team building and so much more. If you are fit and able please consider joining us. All that is necessary is willingness to help progress our work. If you bring extra skills that’s a bonus and you can work as often as you like/are able in any of the clean or dirty boots roles we have.
Although we hope to import the branch website information to these pages in the near future please visit the external branch website for more information in the interim.
Branch meetings (Currently cancelled due to COVID-19 however monthly officers reports continue to be sent out to Branch members)
Meetings are held on the 1st Tuesday of each month at the Rachel Fowler Centre, Melksham, SN12 6EX. Start time 7:45pm and all are welcome.
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