RWB Branch Restoration Timeline

1977       Wilts & Berks Canal Amenity Group formed

1977-1987 Ron Churchill winning Local Authority Support

1980-1996 Templars Firs Project

1980       Wiltshire County Council refuse planning permission for Templars Firs restoration

1980       Towpath to first bridge cleared by Wootton Bassett Town Council

1981       WCC refusal for Templars Firs restoration overturned on Appeal

1981       Woodshaw contractors lay new sewage pipe across canal rather than under it

1987       Wilts & Berks Canal Liaison Group formed with Local Authorities

1989       Wootton Bassett Group formed, led by John Allen

1990      New oil pipeline built across canal line at Harris Croft Farm

1990-1993 First 300 Metres restored for navigation on Town-Council-owned land

1993       Wilts & Berks 200-year Pageant with first boats on restored canal, 25th September

1994       Dredging westwards beyond first bridge site

1995-1996 Templars Firs Slipway created

1995       Wiltshire County Council put plans for Swindon-Lyneham cycleway partly using towpath on-hold

1995       Wootton Bassett Canal Open Day with first narrowboat on water, 19th August

1995       Dunnington Aqueduct canal work-camp

1995       Studley Grange restoration - a false start?

1996       Trail Boat Rally, 13th-14th July

1997       Wilts & Berks Canal Trust (a Local Authority partnership) formed; marked with celebration at Templars Firs by Johnny Morris

1997       Friends of the Canal and Crazy Raft Racing Day, 16th August 1997

1998       Dunnington Lower Lock uncovered

1998       Sewer pipe in canal lowered at last

1998       National Trail-Boat Rally at Templars Firs, 23rd-25th May; David Bellamy launches Vic Miller’s boat ’Nonsuch’

1999       North Wilts District Council purchases Morningside Farm for W&BCT, 31st March

1999       Building a permanent bridge at Noremarsh, 1999

2000       New Project Officer Chaloner Chute starts work with NWDC, September

2000-2005 Chaddington Lock restored

2001       Foot & Mouth Disease outbreak stops restoration work

2001       W&BCT becomes W&B Canal Partnership

2001       W&B Canal Amenity Group finally changes name to W&B Canal Trust

2002       Wiltshire Waterways Festival at Templars Firs

2004       Boat float built for Town Carnival - wins first prize

2004       Trust Office opens at 117 High Street with Ann o'Donoghue as Administrator

2005       Templars Firs section stocked with fish for Angling Club

2005       Chaddington Lock Topping-Off Ceremony marked by Emily the Skiff on 13th April

2006       Contract placed for Bincknoll Lane - Hay Lane restoration with White, Young & Green

2006       Highworth Canoe Club event at Templars Firs

2006-2009 Chaddington Spill-Weir built

2006       Highworth Canoe Club second event at Templars Firs

2008       North Avon Canoe Club visit to Templars Firs

2010       Trust HQ moves from Hight Street to nearby Spittleborough Farm

2011       Land leased for first 130 metres east of Bincknoll Lane

2011-2012 Butterfly World extension

2011       Wootton Bassett given Royal prefix

2011       Plans announced for through footpath link between RWB and Swindon

2012       W&B Canal Partnership renamed Wiltshire, Swindon & Oxfordshire Canal Partnership

2012       RWB Sea Cadets launch new 2-person rowing boat at Templars Firs

2012       Agreement with Biffa to work on scrub clearance at Studley Grange

2012       Plans announced for Templars Firs Extension through old Council Depot

2012-2013 Extension of channel from Chaddington Lock to Morningside Farm boundary

2014       Biffa sign long lease on Studley Grange section

2014       Big Lottery Fund award £50K for Studley Wildlife Trail

2014       Indoor working parties pack and send Dragonfly magazines from Spittleborough Farm

2015       Contractors on site at Studley Grange, aiming to finish by October 2015

2015       WSO Canal Partnership meet in RWB to review progress

2016       Work on Studley Grange restarts in Autumn

2017       Work-party install twin spill-pipes to regulate Studley Grange water level

2017       NB 'Nonsuch' visits Templars Firs in September

2017       Trust members at Swindon AGM visit Studley Grange in October

2017       Boxing Day walk at Studley Grange by groups in hi-viz

2018       Official opening of Studley Grange, July 4th

2018      Trip-boat 'The Mary Archard' visits Templars Firs, September

2019       Footbridge over Hancock's Water destroyed by vandals; replacement kit bought; site prepared

2019       Trip-boat 'The Mary Archard' visits Templars Firs in July, August, September

2020       Replacement footbridge over Hancock's Water ready for use just before Lockdown

2020       Canal towpath and northern footpath very popular for exercise during Lockdown and after


NOTE: If anyone wishes to see the original Dragonfly articles from which this timeline was created, please contact Steve Bacon on .