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New book reveals hidden history of Wilts & Berks Canal
A FASCINATING new book reveals the hidden history of a local waterway which is steadily being brought back to life.
Wilts & Berks Canal Through Time contains nearly 200 photographs tracing the way in which it has changed and developed over the last century, as well as many local landmarks which have been restored by hardworking volunteers.
Archive images include Latton Junction, Skurrays Mill and Wroughton Wharf.
There are also more recent pictures of restored sections at Chaddington Lock, Templars Firs and Dauntsey Lock.
Many of the images, including before and after shots, have been provided by local volunteers.
Wilts & Berks Canal Through Time has been written by Trust volunteer Doug Small.
Doug said: “The rural nature of the Wilts & Berks helped to preserve much of the route after abandonment, whereas an urban canal would have disappeared under the developer’s shovel.
“What we now have is a photographic history showing the task of the charity as it works to overcome a hundred years of neglect.
“It shows the changing face of the canal from its once-bustling commercial period, to dereliction and eventual restoration.
“When rebuilt, the Wilts & Berks will form the central part of a much wider Wessex waterway network, opening up a vast amount of the local countryside as a public amenity.
“This new attraction isn’t only for boaters, but also for walkers, cyclists and anglers, as well as providing an excellent habitat for wildlife.
“I hope my book will encourage even more people to support the charity’s efforts to bring this wonderful waterway back to life.”
The aim of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is to restore the waterway from the Kennet & Avon Canal near Melksham to the Thames & Severn Canal near Cricklade and the River Thames near Abingdon, linking Chippenham, Calne and Swindon.
Wilts & Berks Canal Through Time, from Amberley Publishing, is available from http://www.amberleybooks.com.
In his role as Trust archivist, Doug is always pleased to receive any information relating to the canal. Email him with any information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And for more information on the Trust, visit http://www.wbct.org.uk/