Canal volunteers celebrate work

This Is Wiltshire: Wilts and Berks Canal Trust work party organiser Doug Harris, left, toasts fellow volunteers during their final session of 2012 Wilts and Berks Canal Trust work party organiser Doug Harris, left, toasts fellow volunteers during their final session of 2012

Volunteers from the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust looked back on a year’s hard work, after celebrating their final work session of 2012.

Members of the Melksham, Chippenham and Calne branch of the trust enjoyed mince pies and mulled wine after their final day working to clear the former towpath near the bottom of Derry Hill.

They cut through 500 metres of brambles to allow engineers to survey the site. The charity hopes to connect it to the stretch already rebuilt in open countryside near Lacock, and eventually link with the Kennet and Avon Canal near Melksham.

Work party organiser Doug Harris said: “It was completely overgrown and almost impenetrable, but we had a good group of volunteers who worked together to clear the way.

“Many of the team said they were reminded of how the Lacock stretch used to look before the charity brought it back to life – now it’s a popular spot for walkers and cyclists as well as a haven for wildlife.”

In 2012 the local branch of the trust took part in more than 100 work parties with volunteers donating almost 4,700 hours of their own time.

Tools and safety equipment are provided, together with training.

Visit www.melksham waterway.org.uk

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