Wilts & Berks Canal

photo of old junction
The Wilts and Berks Canal (the name used in all Acts concerning its construction and abandonment - 'shire' should never feature in the name) connected the Kennet & Avon Canal with the River Thames at Abingdon. Completed in 1810, the 52-mile (84km) route brought cheap coal supplies to the market towns of Chippenham, Melksham, Calne and Wootton Bassett. The merger with the North Wilts Canal created a connection to the Thames & Severn Canal nine years later. It was formally abandoned in 1914 after a steady decline, but sections have already been restored, and the Wilts & Berks Canals Trust was formed in 1997. The original connection (see photo) is not to be used and various changes to original route have been forced by more recent building.

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