A TOP Wiltshire tourist attraction has had to close as the water supply at the Crofton pumping station on the Kennet and Avon Canal was condemned as unfit to drink.

Committee members of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, which runs the centre, fear that the pollutants in the borehole that supplies the pumping station and its neighbouring cottages might come from fields in the area.

Mike Rodd, chairman of the trust’s council, said: “At first we thought it was seepage from the canal but tests have shown that the pollutants might come from animals, which leads us to think it is coming from the fields.

“We are doing all we can to get the pumping station open. We are having a tank brought in and water will be delivered by tanker. We may have to dig a new borehole.”

The pumping station houses the oldest steam-driven beam engines still in operation anywhere in the county and the “steam days” during the summer are hugely popular.

It is the latest blow to hit the charity which oversees the canal. The trust’s headquarters at Devizes Wharf has structural defects and need hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on it. The trust has been in negotiation with Kennet District Council and then its successor, Wiltshire Council, over a new lease for almost a decade.

The council wanted to charge the charity a commercial rent for the dilapidated building and the trust refused to sign a lease.

It is a rough start for the new wardens of the pumping station. Diane and Roger Edwards took over only last month, with their daughter Joanna running the cafe.