Delighted fundraisers have set a new record for their annual sponsored walk in aid of a canal restoration project.

The Wilts and Berks Canal Trust collected an impressive £1,300 from the April event, which attracted more than 150 supporters.

The walkers enjoyed a four-mile route along the remains of the former stretch from Chippenham to Lacock, before work started to clear the canal bed ready for the return of water later this year.

The money will be used to train volunteers in the use of chainsaws and other equipment, which will speed up the restoration work.

Walk organiser Peter Williams, a member of the Melksham, Chippenham and Calne branch of the trust, said: “Whatever the weather, every year we seem to attract more people and raise more money.

“It’s a sign of the increasing popularity of our campaign.”

The popular event will take place next year during the morning of May 2, when organisers hope walkers will see a massive change in the canal.

“This was the last time that people saw such an empty stretch as we’ve now begun the next stage of restoration, which involves raising the towpath and clearing thousands of tonnes of earth from the overgrown canalbed,” said Mr Williams.

“Thanks to the efforts of our volunteers, we hope that next year’s event will see it looking like a waterway again for the first time in more than a century.”

Last year the branch was supported by more than 4,300 hours of free labour, an increase of more than a third on just two years earlier.

The aim of the trust is to restore the waterway from the Kennet and Avon Canal near Melksham to the Thames and Severn Canal near Cricklade and the River Thames near Abingdon, connecting Chippenham, Calne, Wootton Bassett and Swindon.

For details visit or to register an interest in taking part in next year’s walk email