THE NORTH WILTS CANAL

STATUS
The North Wilts Canal is the subject of a bid to the Living Landmarks National Lottery Fund.
This is in the early stages of preparation, and the exact scope of the length to be restored is not yet finalised.
Potentially, this could complete the Thames to Swindon length, including the eastern end of the Thames and Severn Canal

The North Wilts Canal was launched at a meeting on 14th July 1810.
Royal assent to the Bill was granted on 2nd July 1814.
The navigation was formally opened on 2nd. April 1819.

Total cost was 59,750, under the estimated cost of 60,000.

The length of the original Canal was 8 miles 3 furlongs; 13.5 km. and the Canal had 12 locks including the regulating lock at Latton.
The original junction in Swindon was in The Parade, just outside Debenhams. This is clearly not recoverable in the short term, so a new junction will be made just south of Skew Bridge.

The restored North Wilts Canal falls into three sections:

Work is in now complete on the section of the main line which will form Rushey Platt Junction or Swindon Cross, and it is envisaged that construction of the first two locks will start within the next 5 years.
To the north of Swindon, Mouldon Lock and Moredon Aqueduct have been restored, and the Canal has been dredged to Purton Road, the northern boundary of the new cut around Swindon, and a major culvert under Purton Road has been constructed.
Plans are being made to extend northwards from Moredon Aqueduct to Crosslanes within the next 3 years, under the auspices of the Cricklade Country Way Trust.
Hayes Knoll Lock has been purchased, the site cleared and the chamber excavated. It is in very poor condition.
Work is nearly complete on the River Key Aqueduct, a fine 3- arched structure; the arches are brick-built with stonework above, and a brick parapet.
Through Cricklade, the Canal line, including Cricklade Tunnel and its approaches, has been built over. A potential new route, to the east of the town, has been identified.
A further point of interest is that the Swindon and Cricklade Railway, itself under restoration, runs close by and when it is extended, will probably have to cross the Canal at two points. This will probably be another first - for 100 years or more - the crossing of a new railway over a new canal.

Home North Wilts Canal Index Section 1

Updated 1.4.2005