Wilts & Berks Canal Trust receive funding boost

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Wilts & Berks Canal volunteers at Pewsham Wilts & Berks Canal volunteers at Pewsham

A team of committed canal enthusiasts have received a major grant to help share Wiltshire’s proud canalside heritage.

The Wilts and Berks Canal Trust have been awarded £7,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to stage a series of public events in Chippenham to mark the centenary of the canal’s abandonment.

Held in partnership with Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre, Pewsham Locks: A Centenary Commemoration project will include half-term of activities in the museum and a series of open days at the locks in the summer.

Melissa Barnett, curator of Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre, said: “This is a fantastic community-led project that will introduce more people to a largely unsung and unexplored part of our local heritage with an exciting range of activities and events.

“Chippenham Museum is delighted to be supporting the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust with this project and with its long-term plans to protect, conserve and improve this part of the canal system.”

Trust fundraising director Kath Hatton said: “We are delighted by the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and look forward to encouraging interest in the hidden gem of Pewsham Locks.

“Many people are aware of the existence of the canal but few know about the history of the locks, which once lifted narrowboats almost 29 feet on their journey between Melksham and Chippenham.

“We hope the Open Days will include storytellers in period costumes, traditional music, craft demonstrations and workshops.

“Local primary and secondary schools will also be invited to get involved in role-play activities and challenges.

“The aim is to encourage people to learn more about their heritage and understand the significance of the site, and perhaps inspire them to join the ongoing restoration campaign.”

For more information about the trust and its restoration campaign, email Kath Hatton at kath.hatton@wbct.org.uk

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