Wilts and Berks Canal

The Wilts & Berks Canal opened in 1810 and links the Kennet and Avon Canal at Semington near Melksham, to the River Thames at Abingdon. It had a chequered career until its legal closure in 1914, its demise hastened by the collapse of Stanley Aqueduct in 1901. In 1977, restoration of the canal began in a few places but in 2004 full restoration of the entire 62 miles was decided upon.

This talk looks at the historical, restoration progress and future proposals for this major East to West canal link.

Pre-booking is required because places are limited. Full joining instructions will be emailed to attendees in advance. Bookings close one day before the event.

This is the third talk of five in the Autumn Potpourri of Social History Talks Series. Book all five talks in one multi-ticket for the discounted price of four.

To join this talk, you will need a computer device with speakers. Ideally, also a webcam and microphone. You also need to be able to access the internet from it. First-time users of Zoom, will be asked to download a small piece of software, which will be sent in advance. Technical help is available, please contact

Image: Doug Lee / Disused canal under renovation / CC BY -SA 2.0

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  • Martin Buckland
    Martin Buckland

    Martin Buckland has been interested in Industrial Archaeology from the age of 4 when watching Great Western trains with his Dad at Iver, where he was born.

    Nearly seven decades later he is involved with the Great Western Society at Didcot Railway Centre and with the restoration of the Wilts & Berks and other canals.

    He gives talks at Abingdon Museum to primary school children about what it was like to live on a working narrow boat and leads walks along the historic and proposed routes of the Wilts & Berks Canal and another covering the rivers of Abingdon.

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