Canal tales for centenary

Canal Trust volunteers Derek Flexer, left, and Alan Lank prepare to welcome visitors

Canal Trust volunteers Derek Flexer, left, and Alan Lank prepare to welcome visitors

First published in News

A stretch of restored canal in Chippenham will be taken back in time this Saturday to mark 100 years since it was abandoned.

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is holding a free open day at Pewsham Locks on Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

The site pre-1914 included three locks, a lock keeper’s cottage, a lime kiln, a dry dock, a saw pit and a carpenter’s workshop.

It will be brought back to life with demonstrations of spinning, weaving and painting, and chances to have a go at brick-making, puddling clay and sawing logs.

Storytellers will act out the lives of people involved in the canal’s history, while there will also be folk music, tea, coffee and cakes.

The Melksham, Chippenham and Calne branch organised the event with a £7,900 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Branch chairman Derek Flexer said: “Pewsham Locks was once a very important part of the canal. Not only did it lift narrowboats on their journey from Melksham to Chippenham, but it also included a boat-building and repair business as well as other associated activities, which probably meant it was very busy during the canal’s heyday.

“Our volunteers will recreate many of those roles and invite visitors to have a go at some of those activities. All of the stories have been provided by local historians.”

A free 16-seater minibus will leave Chippenham bus station at 10am and every 40 minutes until 12.40pm, with return journeys from Pewsham Locks departing at 1.20pm and every 40 minutes until 4.40pm.

For a map of how to walk to the site, see www.melk shamwaterway.org.uk

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