The Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal | Oxfordshire County Council

The Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal

Information about the restoration of the Wiltshire and Berkshire canal.

Wiltshire and Berkshire canal

The Wiltshire & Berkshire Canal was abandoned in 1914 and is currently thought to be the longest restoration project in Britain. Restoration is underway due to the dedication and extraordinary efforts of volunteers, and the enabling works of the Wiltshire & Berkshire Canal Partnership.

Several miles of the waterway have been returned to water with numerous structures, including bridges, locks and lengths of towpath, restored or in the process of restoration. The Partnership is aiming to complete the restoration of this important recreational and wildlife resource by 2025.

The main line of the canal runs for 52 miles between the Kennet and Avon Canal at Semington and Abingdon on the River Thames, with the eight mile North Wilts branch connecting to the Thames and Severn Canal at Cricklade, and a further four branches at Chippenham, Calne, Longcot, and Wantage. Our Wantage circular walks follow parts of the canal route.

The Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal in Oxfordshire

Why is the canal not in Berkshire ?

When it was built the canal was in Berkshire, but in 1974 Local Government boundary changes moved a section of Berkshire into Oxfordshire.

Oxfordshire County Council is a key member of the Wiltshire & Berkshire Canal Partnership and assists with the restoration of the canal through the provision of financial contributions and technical assistance.

Restoration projects on the canal have been completed in Oxfordshire at Shrivenham, West Challow and Wantage – where the start of the new route for the canal from the River Thames opened at Jubilee Junction in 2006. Current projects are restoring the waterway at Childrey and rebuilding the bridge at Steppingstones Lane near Bourton.

Not all of the original line of the canal is currently accessible, but significant sections have towpath access. Details of these sections can be found on the BBC Things to Do website.

The restoration of the North Wiltshire branch of the Wiltshire & Berkshire Canal is part of separate multi-partner project to create the Cricklade Country Way, connecting Swindon to Cricklade, the Cotswold Water Park and the River Thames using the restored canal, railway, cycleways, bridleways and footpaths. See Wiltshire Council's website for more information on the Cricklade Country Way project.

More information

For more information about the project in Wiltshire, Swindon and Oxfordshire, please contact the Wilts and Berks Canal Partnership.

Email: canals@wiltshire.gov.uk
Telephone: 01249 706494
Postal Address: Canal Officer, Countryside & Amenity, Wiltshire Council, Monkton Park, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 1ER.

If you would like tot get involved with this project by volunteering please contact the The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust.

For further information about the projects partners and other related organisations please follow the links below:

Last reviewed
18 February 2016
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