Saturday, 22 December 2012

The K&ACT's 2012 Annual Members’ Survey

The 2012 Annual Members’ Survey can be downloaded here. If we have your email address we will send you a link to the survey.  Therefore, please only fill in this survey if you have not provided us with your email address.
Please note that if you answer ‘no’ to Q4, you should proceed straight to Q7.
Once you have filled it in, please send it to:
Rebecca Wells, assistant administrator
The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust
Couch Lane
Devizes, Wiltshire
SN10 1EB
If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Sarah Chidgey at:
The deadline for responses is 15th January.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Amended Stoppage: Kennet & Avon Canal

Locks 68, 69 & 70

Monday 5 November 2012 - Friday 4 January 2013 UPDATE (11 December 2012): Works at Froxfield are progressing well, and water management challenges arising from intense rainfall events toward the end of November were successfully managed. The gate replacement works are running to plan.

The lock chambers are in worse condition than anticipated; with the scaffolds in place it has been possible to assess the full depth of damage. It has been necessary to break back to a depth of 500mm (approx. 20 inches) in places.  To date, over 6,000 bricks have been used to repair the chamber walls; in total the lock wall repairs will require around 12,000 bricks.

Although the brick laying is likely to be complete by the 21st December, time will be required to allow the lime mortar to cure. The use of lime mortar is important for repairing these historic structures correctly, but the recent dip in temperature could lengthen the curing time.  This section of the canal will therefore remain closed for the Christmas period; reopening will be reviewed during the first week of January.  Although this decision will doubtless cause some inconvenience to people in the short term, my priority is ensuring the long term durability of brick repairs that are intended to last the next 50 years and beyond.  Thank you for your patience and continued support of the Waterway.

BEng(Hons) CEng MICE

Kennet and Avon Waterways

Monday, 10 December 2012

Wasing Estate donates land for Aldermaston’s new cycle pathway

Aldermaston’s new cycling route, which links Aldermaston Wharf to the village, was officially unveiled on Sunday 25th November in front of over 200 villagers and cyclists.

The pathway, named Wasing Way, as the majority of land, nearing 2 kilometres, 5 metres wide, was donated by Wasing Estate, provides a safe route, avoiding the busy A340, between the two villages which were before only accessible by car. Not only does the pathway offer safety to walkers and cyclists but also creates a link between the national cycle path network and those using the towpath along the Kennet & Avon Canal that runs through the Estate, offering safety for barge users who will now be able to moor up and safely get to the local shops for provisions. 

West Berkshire Council oversaw the construction of this new pathway and plans were largely managed by the cycling charity Sustrans. Aldermaston Parish Council chairman Dave Shirt said:

“When this project started we had nothing but a blank piece of paper: We got in touch with Sustrans, and boy did they help us. They helped oversee everything from planning through to land negotiation. We are extremely grateful to Wasing Estate, who gave us the land at peppercorn rent, also to AWE who provided the finance, and to West Berkshire Council which managed the actual construction”.

The Parish Council hope that this new pathway will encourage more people to get on their bikes reinforcing the already strong sense of community in the area by offering a new way for people to get together.

John Pattison, Chief Executive of the Wasing Estate stated “This initiative is a model development from a community, showing how it can work together, with numerous stakeholders, to produce something for the benefit of all, which will have lasting benefits to the community. In particular it provides a safe transit for the communities in Aldermaston village and at the Wharf. Making them together, more than ever, a fully connected Parish where facilities at either end of the cycle path can be easily accessed. In particular the journey to school for the youngsters in the community will keep them clear of busy main roads”.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Ho, Ho, Ho! Santa Trips on the Kennet and Avon This Christmas

December Santa Trip Schedule:
Below are the details of each Santa boat trip being run out of the respective branches next month. The trips provide vital fundsfor the following year’s projects:

1) Bradford on Avon:(Barbara McLellan)
Such is the demand for the excursions that this year that the last date for booking places has been confirmed as 30th November, to give Santa’s helpers time to pack the presents.
Departs from: Wharf Cottage
Trip length: 1 hour
Times and Dates:
Saturday 15th December – 2pm
Sunday 16th December – 11.30am 
Wednesday 19th December – 2pm
Saturday 22nd December 11.30 am
Sunday 23rd December – 2pm

Ticket costs:£9 per person and includes the cost of refreshments and gift.  A bar is also available on board. To book, contact 0800 121 4679. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

2) Devizes (Kenavon Venture)
Departs from: Devizes Wharf
Trip length: 1 hour
Time: 11am
Dates:  (there is currently good availability on weekdays)
15th December
16th December
19th December
20th December
22nd December
23rd December

Ticket costs:£7 for adults and children and includes the cost of the gift/refreshments.  Places need to be booked in advance. Call:  01380 721 279, or call into the Trust shop/office at Devizes Wharf, Couch Lane.

3) Hungerford (Rose of Hungerford)
Departs from: Canal Wharf, just off Hungerford Street
Trip length: 1 hour
Times:10.30am, noon, 1.30pm and 3.00pm


8th December
15th December
16th December
22nd December
23rd December
24th December

Volunteers can also arrange ‘Santa charters’ to suit the particular needs of organisations, such as nursery schools, parent and toddler groups, as well as  youth groups such as Rainbows, Brownies, Beavers and Cubs.
Ticket costs: £7 per person all inclusive. To book, call 01635 255 367.

4) Newbury (Iceboat Jubilee)
Departs from: Newbury Wharf
Trip length: Up to 90 minutes
Times: 12 noon and 2pm
Days: Every Saturday and Sunday from 1st to 23rd December, inclusive
The boat will travel to the ‘Northcroft Pole’. Volunteers can also put on trips for local nurseries and playgroups.
Tickets costs: £8, which, for children, includes the cost of the present. To book, contact Newbury Tourist Information Centre on 01635 30267.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Devizes Branch News: 6 November 2012

Devizes Branch’s major late summer focus was the Celebration on Devizes Wharf on 23rd September to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Trust.  A great deal of work and planning went into the event, and we were encouraged by the number of friends in canal-based organisations, voluntary and commercial, who took part.  We had representation from Wiltshire Council, the CRT, the Wilts and Berks Trust, and the event was opened by the Mayor of Devizes, supported by David Bruce and Mike Rodd.

There was entertainment from the Regency Dancers, Roses Morrismen and Devizes Town Band.  Victoria from the Wharf Café fed us from a delicious barbeque, and Alan Smith’s family manned the beer tent.

Exhibitors included author Esther Smith and local artists Alan and Sarah Padwick.  The Trust was represented by the Museum, the Archives and a display by the Crofton branch.  The Residential Boat Owners Association were present, and Elaine Stanley from CRT provided children’s activities.

The Bruce Trust’s boat Rachel was moored alongside and welcomed visitors, as did White Horse Boat’s Moonraker.

Devizes own radio station, Fantasy FM, provided a running commentary as well as live hook-ups into their programming, and interviews with key participants.  The event was covered by the Gazette and Herald, and made it to the BBC news website.

The disappointment of the day was the appalling weather, however, and very few people not directly involved attended the event.  This was an obvious disappointment to all those who had made the effort to contribute to it, though there were benefits in terms of the ‘profile’ of the Trust in the Devizes area, and the positive feeling of teamwork among the committee and others involved.

Kenavon Venture has had a very successful season, with more trips and more passengers despite the inclement weather.

The Wharf Café is up and running, and provides very good food and drinks.  There is a discount for Trust members.  A new monthly social, “Canals and Coffee” is an informal get-together in the café at 2.30 on the first Sunday in every month. Much of the work to upgrade the Wharf building – and there is much more to be done – was achieved by a tiny group of members, to whom our thanks are due. 

We are now into the winter season, and various events are now planned.  Details are on the Devizes Branch page under Events Calendar which can be accessed here. Our next more formal Branch event is Carols on the Wharf on Saturday 8th December, led by Rev Sue Rodd, and accompanied by Devizes Town Band, to which all are welcome.

Given the cost of postage, most branch correspondence is now by e-mail.  Please let us know your up-to-date e-mail address.  Information on this website will also be updated regularly. Devizes residents can also check the notice board outside the office on the Wharf.

Further details from the Branch Secretary, Val Noviss on 01380 813227 or at

Monday, 29 October 2012

Kennet and Avon Canal Trust Calls for Volunteers to Take Waterway Into 21st Century

Give us your time and we will turn that into the equivalent of £5m, KACT tells people in theregion’s ‘canal counties’

People living in the counties through which the Kennet and Avon Canal passes are being encouraged to give their time, skills and resources to help the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust (KACT) complete £5m worth of vital work needed to keep the waterway relevant and enjoyable for the millions of people who use and visit it every year. The KACT, which is 50 this year, is planning a number of major restoration and improvement projects along the canal between Reading and Bristol,but it needs the talents of residents living alongside it to make them happen.

Chairman designate of the KACT Council of Trustees, Rob Dean, says, “This is not a traditional call for funds whereby local people hand over their cash and then lose the connection between their donation and the end result.  We want to harness the skills, talents and ability of all those living between Bristol in Avon, through to Somerset, Wiltshire, and onto Reading in Berkshire, to personalise their support for the Kennet and Avon by pledging their help in a number of key areas that will enable us to continue our vital role in promoting, enhancing and protecting the historic buildings and artefacts that line the 87-mile waterway.”
Every hour contributed by a KACT volunteer is equivalent to a £25 donation to the organisation, on average. Based on that figure, the KACT will need 40,000 hours of promised volunteer time in order to reach its £5m restoration target.

Volunteers will be directed to work on key projects local to them across the region. These range from redeveloping the KACT visitor centre at Newbury, Berks, restoring the historic Devizes Wharf building in Wiltshire, as well as large-scale, urgent, support for Crofton Pumping Station, near Marlborough and taking part in the redevelopment at Claverton Pumping station in Somerset with the Canal and River Trust; to create an education/visitor centre, a new car park and the setting up of a water taxi service to the site.  Finally, there are plans to develop a visitor and education centre for the western entrance to the canal at Bristol.
Rob adds, “We are looking for reliable, flexible people who enjoy working as part of a team and who think they can add value, for example, either by organising people and things, or who have experience applying for grants. In return, we can offer them the chance to learn new skills and gain valuable, high-quality experience and training, make new friends and also create a lasting impact on  one of the most historically important and stunning  features of the UK’s landscape.”

To volunteer, see, and follow the instructions from the home page.

Monday, 15 October 2012

KACT Trustees to Appoint New Council Chairman in 2013

Rob Dean chosen by KACT Trust Council to lead organisation from January next year

The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust (KACT), is to appoint a new Chairman of its Trust Council at the end of this year. Existing Trustee Rob Dean was chosen by the Council to take over from Mike Rodd from 1st January 2013.

Rob has been actively involved with the KACT for more than five years, first as Treasurer then Chairman of the Newbury Branch of the KACT, and he has successfully directed the annual Newbury Waterways Festival. This year he led the launch of the KACT trip boat Jubilee in the town. With 35 years' experience in the diplomatic service, Rob, who was awarded a CMG in the 2012
New Year's Honours List, was chosen to succeed Mike Rodd due to his wide-ranging skill set, drive and capacity to lead the organisation into the future. He says: "I am extremely honoured to be asked to chair the KACT Trust Council and I am looking forward to building on the excellent work by
Mike to ensure that the Trust continues to protect, enhance and promote the Kennet and Avon during these difficult economic times."

Mike Rodd re-organised much of the KACT's infrastructure to enable it to be run more efficiently after his appointment as General Manager in 2009. That goal was reached in 2011, when the organisation came under the management of a full-time administrator in conjunction with Trustees, rather than a salaried executive.

Mike Rodd subsequently become chairman of the Trust Council, and guided the organisation's engagement with Defra over the latter's intention to move British Waterways into the charitable sector by creating the Canal and River Trust (CRT). He was also fundamental in highlighting important aspects of the emerging CRT's governance structure by leading the Kennet and Avon trial Waterways Partnership. The KACT and CRT have since signed a formal agreement about the roles each will play in the future and intend to cooperate closely.

Mike says, "I feel this is an appropriate point at which to hand over the leadership of the KACT. I know that Rob, with his passion for, and commitment to, the Kennet and Avon will do an excellent job, and will bring a number of exciting ideas to the organisation."

Mike is to concentrate on leading innovative fund-raising activities and public awareness initiatives for the KACT in conjunction with the organisation's President, David Bruce. He will also continue his long-standing commitment as Boatmaster running frequent trip boats for the KACT.

Monday, 8 October 2012

KACT Volunteers Go On A Magical Mystery Tour During Beatles Commemorative Broadcast

Above: Volunteers Alan Smith and Janet Walker with BBC Radio Wiltshire presenter Graham Seaman

Devizes-based volunteers Alan Smith and Janet Walker gamely took part in a special outside broadcast by BBC Radio Wiltshire to commemorate 50 years since the first Beatles single was released, on Friday (5th October).

Alan and Janet spoke to presenter Graham Seaman about the work of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust (KACT) in its 50th anniversary year, and their particular roles inside the organisation for the two-hour Lunchtime show, which was broadcast from a ‘pirate ship’ moored at Devizes Wharf for the day.

The programme commemorated the release of the Fab Four’s first single Love me Do, on 5th October 1962, and also contained a number of interviews with people from the Devizes area, as well as boat owner and KACT member Suzanne Hayes, who turned her vessel over to the radio station for the duration of the broadcast, and decorated it for the occasion.

The programme also provided the opportunity for Alan, who works on the Trust’s trip boat Kenavon Venture and who has also helped refurbish the Wharf building, to relate a couple of entertaining encounters with members of the Beatles when working as a pilot, as well as from earlier in his life in London.

Janet, who volunteers in the Trust shop on the Wharf, says, “It was a completely nerve-wracking experience, but also very enjoyable to meet the presenter, who was brilliant at putting us at our ease. It was fascinating to see how much work goes into making an outside broadcast programme. I distinctly remember listening to the latest tunes on pirate radio as a teenager, which of course is how the Beatles first got noticed, so it was a great trip down memory lane in that respect as well.

“It was also a very good opportunity to point out the fantastic role that our volunteers play in championing the waterway, and also how the Devizes building is integral to the local community and economy.”

The full programme can be heard until 11th October here:

Trust Council Minutes August 2012

Trust Council Minutes August 2012 - Click here to view

Trust Council minutes September 2012

Trust Council minutes September 2012 - Click here to view

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Last Chance to See World-Renowned Wiltshire Pumping Station in Action This Weekend

1812 Bolton & Watt Engine to be fired up ahead of vital winter work at Crofton Pumping Station

26 September 2012: This weekend (29th and 30th September) is the last chance Wiltshire residents and steam enthusiasts will have to see one of the wonders of the Industrial Revolution in action.

Crofton Pumping Station, at Great Bedwyn, near Marlborough (SN8 3DW), will open its doors to visitors for the last time until Easter 2013, for its annual Steam Gala. The site is owned and operated by the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust (KACT), which has worked tirelessly over the past 50 years to restore the canal and historic buildings along the 87-mile waterway.

In addition to seeing the station’s world-famous 1812 Bolton and Watt engine - the oldest working beam engine in the world - there will be a number of activities, including country dancing, a BBQ and real ale bar, as well as vintage tractor ploughing demonstrations in a nearby field.

During the winter, Crofton’s skilled band of volunteers will undertake a number of restoration projects at the station, one of which includes the raising of a pump’s six tonne plunger, which pulls water 40 feet up the hill to supply the canal. It’s believed to be the first time the 10-ft long plunger will have been examined in over 150 years.

Jon Willis, the station’s chairman, says: “We are very excited about this last steaming event of the year, which takes a lot of co-ordination and planning to ensure that we put on the best possible show for members of the public. After that, the volunteers will have to get down to the time-consuming job of making sure the mechanisms and machinery are in tip top condition for next year.

“We very much hope that people will come along and support the station, much of which is under cover, and so can cope with whatever the weather throws at us!”

Entry to the site for the general public and for KACT members will be £4. Entry to the engines will be at a reduced price for the general public and free for KACT members. Every KACT member who brings along a non-member will enable that friend to gain half price access to the steam engines.

Kennet and Avon Canal Trust Volunteers Brave the Elements to Hold Sunday’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations

Above: (from left) Michael Messam, quartermaster for the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust’s boat Kenavon Venture and member of the Devizes branch of the KACT in traditional boatman garb, and John Binmore, part of the Devizes Regency Dancers dressed as a Royal Engineer circa 1812, aboard a canal boat on Devises Wharf on Sunday (23 September) to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust. Images courtesy of Camelot Media Ltd.

The 50th anniversary celebrations of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust (KACT) kicked off on Sunday (23 September) with the arrival of the Mayor of Devizes and other dignitaries by boat.

Kelvin Nash also officially opened the event at Devizes Wharf which celebrated the hundreds of thousands of hours dedicated volunteers from the area have given over the years to bring the waterway back to life.

Other attractions included decorated narrowboats, historic photographs and exhibitions, as well as face painting, craft stalls, food and refreshments, including beer supplied by Devizes-based Wadworth brewery. Entertainment was provided by Devizes Town Band, and the Regency Dance Group. Visitors were also able to sample the lifestyle of narrowboating aboard the Trust’s trip boat Kenavon Venture.

Above: (from left) John Binmore, part of the Devizes Regency Dancers dressed as a Royal Engineer circa 1812, with Michael Messam, quartermaster for the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust and member of the Devizes branch of the KACT in front of a canal boat on Devises Wharf on Sunday (23 September) to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust. Image courtesy of Camelot Media Ltd.

Funds from the day will go towards the organisation’s work in maintaining of the historic buildings and artefacts along the canal, which the Trust has been a custodian of since the organisation was formed in 1962 by a group of local residents. It will also help kick start a £1m fund-raising campaign to upgrade the historic Devizes Wharf building.

Mike Rodd, Chairman of the Council of Trustees at the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, says: “A 50th anniversary is a great achievement for any organisation, especially for one that relies so heavily on local people to provide their time and expertise in making sure that the canal is protected for years to come.

“The volunteers of our Devizes branch have worked tirelessly for months to ensure the event went ahead as scheduled for the whole community, in spite of Sunday’s weather."

To make a donation, go to and follow the instructions on the front page, call 01380 721279 or email:

Friday, 21 September 2012

Trust interviewed by BBC Radio Wiltshire ahead of Devizes Wharf 50th Celebration

Above: Butty Editors Alan & Amy Whitewick, Trust Council Chairman Mike Rodd and Kenavon Venture’s Alan Smith are interviewed by Marie Lennon.

The Trust was interviewed yesterday (September 20th) by BBC Wiltshire Radio’s Marie Lennon for her Saturday show, with a prerecording on the towpath opposite the Trust’s HQ in Devizes. The interview will be aired tomorrow on Saturday 22nd September between 12 midday and 1pm, ahead of the Trust’s 50th anniversary celebration on Sunday 23rd.

Not about on Saturday? Catch up with the interview on iplayer after air here:

Don’t forget to join us on Sunday at Devizes Wharf for the K&ACT's special 50th anniversary celebration starting from 12.30pm – see the poster below for more details.

Click for larger:

Thursday, 20 September 2012


The Diana is now on the final stage of her 5-week, 165-mile, return voyage to the Paralympics. During her time moored on the Regent’s Canal, as near to the Olympic Stadium as security would allow, The Diana has provided accommodation to dozens of disabled visitors from all over the UK who have been visiting the Paralympics.

It was a particular honour for the Bruce Trust to welcome aboard a group of men and women of the Armed Services who are going through rehabilitation at Headley Court.

For the final part of The Diana’s epic journey back to her base at Great Bedwyn, she will again be crewed by members of local Rotary Clubs who are offering day trips to groups of people with special needs.

Stated Trust founder, David Bruce: “This whole adventure to the Paralympics has been a huge success in every way. It has given my Trust a unique opportunity not only to provide day trips en route each way to local groups of disabled people but also to provide an invaluable overnight base near the Olympic Stadium for dozens of disabled visitors to the Paralympics from throughout the UK. None of this would have been possible without my Trust’s wonderful voluntary helpers and, of course, the many members of Newbury, Hungerford and Thatcham Rotary Clubs”.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Reading Rescue Event

The theme is Waterways and Woodlands and will focus on the Kennet & Avon Canal, the River Thames and several small water bodies and woodlands through the area.

The event is open to anyone who wants to join to help keep Reading litter free.

More details and the events timetable can be found on the website or check out the Facebook page for the latest news.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Three cheers for brave Jubilee crew member

Three cheers for crew member, John Brodie. My first solo trip as Boatmaster was disrupted just as we were about to leave the Wharf.

Three Newbury yobs were brutally attacking an elderly angler just in front of us. John charged in without a moment’s hesitation. Chased off two of them, and grappled with the third to perform a citizen’s arrest. No mean feat whilst wearing a lifejacket!

He held him until the police arrived which was thankfully prompt as we had a boat full of passengers and I needed my crew member back! John subsequently received a letter of commendation from the police area commander.

The local anglers were so pleased that John’s been made a senior bailiff.

The victim was badly cut and bruised but is OK. The perpetrator is due for sentencing next month.

Rob Dean
Chairman & Treasurer
Newbury Branch
Kennet & Avon Canal Trust

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Wharf Café Back in Devizes Thanks to Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Volunteers

Hundreds of Volunteering Hours Go Into Creating New Community Space

14 August, Devizes: A new café has been installed at one of Devizes’ most well-known tourist spots thanks to the efforts of volunteers of The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust (KACT), which preserves, enhances and protects the canal in the face of changing economic, social and political landscapes. The café was officially opened by Kelvin Nash, Mayor of Devizes, on Friday (10th August), followed by a celebratory reception for KACT supporters and volunteers, prepared from café’s refurbished kitchen.

The 28-seater Canal Trust Café, on the first floor of the KACT’s Devizes Wharf building, was updated by dedicated volunteers to provide a new, bright and airy meeting place for local residents and tourists.
The three-month project, which also saw the creation of easier access for disabled people and improved toilet facilities, is part of a larger initiative to attract more visitors to the building, which also houses the KACT Museum, and which describes the Kennet and Avon’s history from medieval times through to the securing of cruiseway status in 2010.

The café is being run by husband and wife team Tarkan and Victoria Kisioglu, who already oversee a successful fundraising KACT café at Bradford on Avon. This partnership between the Trust and professional catering partners generates income for the KACT and provides new work for local people.

Dr Mike Rodd, Chairman at the KACT says, “The renovation of the Canal Trust Café has been an unpaid labour of love by a number of our volunteers, ensuring that this historic building continues to contribute to the local economy and to the enjoyment of Devizes residents, leisure groups, tourists, and of course providing a much-needed stop-off point for boat owners and holidaymakers travelling along the canal. Our volunteers give thousands of unpaid hours every year to ensure the entire stretch of the Kennet and Avon canal‘s historic buildings and artefacts can be enjoyed by, and preserved for, future generations. Our volunteers have done an absolutely tremendous job in revitalising this landmark space for all those communities that have a relationship with the Kennet and Avon.”

The café will be available for functions seating up to 40 people and there are hopes to apply for an alcohol license to increase the types of events that can be held at the site. There are also plans to move the KACT’s shop upstairs as part of a wider plan to refurbish the Wharf building.

Mr Kisioglu says, “We are looking forward to working in partnership with the fantastic KACT volunteers to breathe new life back into this part of town.”
Kelvin Nash, Mayor of Devizes concludes, “I am thrilled to see the return of a café to one of the most distinctive parts of the town, but also the creation of a much-needed new community space for residents to meet up and browse for goods that have a direct fund-raising effect on one of the region’s most long-standing and effective organisations.”

He adds, “It’s going to be a lovely place to have a cup of tea and a piece of cake with friends, overlooking the canal.”

The café was closed several years ago. Its re-opening is part of a larger redevelopment of the KACT’s historic Wharf building and its preservation for future generations during the organisation’s 50th anniversary year. To make a donation, go to and follow the instructions on the front page, call 01380 721279 or email

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Over 150 disabled people to stay on a unique canal boat adjacent to Olympic Stadium while visiting the Paralympic Games

The Great Bedwyn-based Bruce Trust which provides holidays for disabled people on the Kennet & Avon Canal is sending one of its boats on an 82-mile canal and river journey to provide accommodation at the Paralympics for disabled visitors from throughout the UK.

The Bruce Trust is dispatching The Diana, one of its four specially-designed, purpose-built, wide-beam canal boats, at 11.30 am on Saturday 18th August from Great Bedwyn Wharf. Among the many dignitaries who will be helping to send off The Diana on her epic, once-in-a-lifetime voyage, will be Christine Crisp, Chair of Wiltshire Council and Edwina Fogg, Mayor of Marlborough and Patron of East Wiltshire Mencap.

During the voyage, various Rotary Clubs along the Kennet & Avon Canal will be crewing the boat and providing day trips to local groups of people with special needs.

The Diana, named in memory of the late Princess of Wales, is scheduled to arrive on her mooring, as near to the Olympic Stadium as security will allow, in time for the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics on Wednesday 29th August. Bruce Trust volunteers will man her throughout the Games and a wide range of charities for disabled people have been invited to apply for low cost accommodation and entry tickets to the Paralympics. Charges are just £25 per night per person and The Diana can accommodate up to 10 people including carers per night.

Stated Trust founder, David Bruce: “This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only attend the Paralympics but also to stay on one of our special boats in a unique location. The Diana is fully equipped and accessible for disabled visitors and we are only a few minutes wheelchair ride away from the main Olympic Stadium.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity, thanks entirely to the crewing of The Diana by Rotary Club members, to provide day trips to local groups of people with special needs, thereby enabling them to experience cruising along the Kennet & Avon Canal. Sadly, after Reading we are unable to offer day trips to disabled people as there is very little suitable access along the River Thames until we reach our Stratford mooring,” continued David Bruce.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Heritage Open Days: Somersetshire Coal Canal Society

The Somersetshire Coal Canal Society was founded in 1992 with the aim of focussing interest on the past, present and future of the old Somersetshire Coal Canal. The Society is aimed at those people who are interested in finding out more about the history of the canal, preserving what is still there and walking the parts that are still accessible to the public (most is private land).

The Society will be holding an Open Day at the site of the Combe Hay Locks and Pumping Engine providing talks, tours and an exhibition.

Venue: Railway arch opposite Bridge Farm, Combe Hay, BA2 7EE

Date: 8th/9th September

Time: 10:30am – 4pm

Event is free

Further details:


Trust Council minutes June 2012

Click here to read the Trust Council minutes June 2012

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Devizes Branch update - 18 July 2012

Devizes Branch held a successful Quiz Night at 7pm in April, and a cheese and wine party in June. The summer has been very damp – good for water levels but not much more – but volunteer crews have kept Kenavon Venture running both public cruises and charter. Our branch chairman did a ‘secret shopper’ trip as a passenger recently and was impressed by the organisation of the boat crew and the amount of enjoyment had by the passengers.

The major focus now is on the Celebration to be held on Devizes Wharf on Sunday 23rd September. This is to mark the Jubilee of the Trust, and will include a parade of boats, and a range of promotional and entertainment events for the family. For more information watch this space, but do put the date in your diary now and come and join us, by boat or on foot. If you would like to help by getting involved in the planning of the programme or taking responsibility for some aspect of the event, please get in touch.

Given the cost of postage, most branch correspondence is now by e-mail. Please let us know your current e-mail address. Information on this website will also be updated regularly.

Further details from the Branch Secretary, Val Noviss on:
01380 813227 or at:

Monday, 18 June 2012


Fred has devoted all his spare time for well over 50 years to the cause of the UK’s Inland Waterways, particularly in the South West. At a time when many were fighting to retain canals that were open, he never wavered from the belief that even abandoned canals could be brought back to service when many thought they were a lost cause. The Kennet and Avon Canal is a classic example, once known as “The Sleeping Beauty”, it was finally restored and formally reopened by The Queen in 1990. Largely in recognition of the amazing work by volunteers, the Heritage Lottery Fund then provided its’ largest-ever grant of £25 million to undertake additional work, ensuring that the Canal is now one of the finest waterways in the UK.

Fred was an early member of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust and is still an active contributor. In 1961 he assisted in the building and operation of a trip boat, on a section of the K&A canal near Bath, to demonstrate the leisure potential of waterways. This was a paddle wheel craft that was the only type of boat able to operate due to the poor condition of the waterway.

Fred has been an active member of the Bath Branch of the Trust from 1960 and was involved with the organisation and work undertaken on the “Dry” Limpley Stoke length in 1965/6 as well as the restoration of the Bath Flight of locks, which were formally re-opened in 1976. He has been an active campaigner for the canal throughout his many years as a Trust member and has contributed to (or indeed initiated) all of the many campaigns to raise funds and the image of the Canal. He still, to this day, attends meetings and makes many important contributions.

His greatest contribution, though, to the K&A restoration was his involvement in stopping the partial closure and Right of Navigation through Bristol docks in the 1970’s. This kept alive the possibility that the canal could one day be completely restored. It took over 30 years to achieve this ambition and fully restore the only canal in the South of the country able to provide a through passage from Bristol to the Thames, accommodating wide beam boats.

The 87 miles of the K&A Canal is now a thriving waterway with over 11 million visitors per year, over 3000 private and hire boats, fishing and boat clubs, all bringing money and work to the waterways and the surrounding villages. Amongst its many attractions are the world-renowned Crofton steam-driven pumping station, the uniquely "green" Claverton waterwheel-driven pumping station, and the scheduled ancient monument, the Caen Hill Locks.

Fred has played an important role in this remarkable recovery and, on behalf of the K&A Canal Trust, I am pleased to announce he has been awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Dr M G Rodd CEng Chairman of the Trust Council