UK. IWA supports Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 December 2005
Waterways news:

As part of its 2006 Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has announced that it has offered its support to Wilts & Berks Canal Trust’s Abingdon Junction project. This ambitious project, to construct a new junction of the Wilts & Berks Canal to the river Thames at Abingdon with a new 150-metre canal, was seen by IWA’s Council of Management as a fitting commemoration of the Association’s 60 years of work restoring and conserving Britain’s waterway network. Support will be given in three forms - financial, advisory and physical and the total cost of the project is likely to be in excess of £150,000.

The work to build the new canal should be complete by August 2006, and the 150-metre waterway will link into a former gravel pit to provide visitor mooring facilities 400-metres from the Thames. The work will also include a wheelchair friendly footpath from Peep-o-Day Lane to the Thames Junction, fishing platforms and seating for disabled users. It will be the first part of the Wilts & Berks canal to be accessible to boats from the connected inland waterway network.

Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Chairman Ken Oliver said:

"I am delighted that the Abingdon Junction project has won approval from the organisation that has been campaigning for 60 years to restore the nation's waterways. We intend to help IWA to celebrate its Diamond Jubilee by officially re-opening the eastern end of our canal on Wednesday 30th August 2006. This will follow IWA’s National Festival and Inland Boat Show over the late August Bank Holiday at Beale Park, Pangbourne, and we hope that many of the boats attending will join us and navigate a small part of the Wilts & Berks Canal - connected to the national waterways network for the first time in a century.”

Ken Oliver added:

“In 2003 the Trust and its partners announced this connection as one of our four flagship schemes and in that year the Environment Agency, as navigation authority, erected a sign on the riverbank to mark the site of the junction. Three years on, after what will be a hectic six months for the Trust, we will be thrilled to have actually built the Eastern gateway to our rural waterway. The Canal will follow the Vale of White Horse to Wantage, Uffington and Swindon and eventually travel for over 60 miles to the Kennet and Avon Canal near Devizes."

Vaughan Welch Chairman of IWA’s Restoration Committee said:

“IWA is delighted to support this project as it will provide, in our Diamond Jubilee year, a legacy for generations to come. The link with the Thames will open up the Wilts & Berks Canal not only to boaters but also to the existing Sustrans cycle network as well as creating a new circular walking route. This will enable greater enjoyment of both the Wilts & Berks Canal and the river Thames.”

Vaughan Welch added:

“Much of the work will be carried out by IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) and Wilts & Berks Canal Trust volunteers on weekend work parties and week-long Canal Camps in 2006. WRG have already committed to 4 weeks Canal Camps on the project and will commit more resources as the plans develop.”
Last Updated ( Thursday, 01 December 2005 )
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