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4:31pm Wednesday 11th April 2012 in News
Hardworking volunteers are offering a rare glimpse into the restoration of a former waterway this weekend.
The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is holding an open day at Dauntsey Lock, between Dauntsey and Lyneham, on Sunday.
Visitors will be able to enjoy boat rides, refreshments, stalls, displays and children’s games.
Branch chairman Rachael Banyard said: “There are currently no rights of way along this part of the canal and all of our activities have to be agreed with landowners, so this is a rare opportunity for the wider community to take a closer look at an important piece of their local history.
“We think people will be surprised to see just how much has been achieved by our volunteers.
“The charity has already rebuilt several lock chambers, a wharf, spillweir and even a lift-bridge, as well as upgrading the towpath.
“In addition, several hundred metres have been dredged and refilled with water and now provide a wonderful wildlife corridor.
“We want to showcase all the benefits of a restored canal and demonstrate that the Wilts and Berks can, and will, be brought back to life.”
The open day will run from 10.30am to 5pm next to The Peterborough Arms, where parking is available. Admission is free.
The event is being organised by the Foxham and Lyneham branch of the charity, whose volunteers provided more than 5,000 hours of labour last year.
The tripboat Willow will offer journeys along the re-watered section, costing £3 for adults and £2 for children.
The event also includes an illustrated talk on the history of the canal, taking place inside The Peterborough Arms, and a raffle offering a top prize of a boat trip for up to 12 people along a restored stretch on the southern side of Swindon.
All funds raised will support the local restoration effort.
Ms Banyard said: “We hope people will want to learn more about the charity and how they can get involved, or simply come along to have a good time with their family and friends.”
The ultimate aim of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is to restore the former waterway from the Kennet & Avon Canal, near Melksham, to the Thames and Severn canal, near Cricklade, and the River Thames near Abingdon, Oxfordshire, linking Chippenham, Calne, Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon.
The charity hopes it will provide a multi-million pound boost to the local economy through increased tourism and employment, as well as providing an amenity for local walkers, riders and anglers.
Visit www.wbct.angar.uk or call (01249) 892289 for more.