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East Vale Branch
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Wilts & Berks Canal Trust



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Latton Basin

Summer 2005

    It has been all go in the East since the last report.  Thanks, by the way to Doug Small for compiling the reports for the last couple of years and saving me another job.  However it is back to me for a while so you'll just have to put up with my quirky humour.

    We have been continuing to work on the stretch of canal to the east of Childrey New Road.  For those of you who want to look it up on the map or even visit, New Road runs from Childrey (to the west of Wantage) down to the A417 near where it crosses the railway.  By kind permission of Mr. & Mrs. Brewis, the landowners, scrub bashing has been taking place, now finished (just before the bird-nesting season).

    Over the summer it is intended to hold a week Canal Camp to rebuild the wharf wall (started during the fabled Big Dig).  The next project is to construct a means of controlling the flow of water out of the section.  This is in design and once we obtain the necessary permissions will be constructed.  I hope this will he before the autumn when we should expect to receive at least some rain, although judging by this autumn/winter that is asking a lot.

    On a political level we await the Local Plan Enquiry in May.  The Local Plan as amended contains strong protection for the canal route and also includes the new route around Abingdon.  There has been much correspondence in the local paper as regards the proposed Waterside development in Grove.  If you have not already seen it take a look at www.ourwaywaterway.org.  Talking of web sites Doug Small (thanks again) maintains the local canal website i.e. www.wantage-waterway.co.uk. This has lots of information with photos and links.  I really must send Doug more up to date photos of the canal locally.

    Before the Local Plan Enquiry we wanted to demonstrate local support for the canal restoration in the community and as such the branch held an “OPEN DAY and CANAL MASS WALK” on 30th April.

    The East Challow Village Hall was used as a centre of activities where people could drop in during the day to sign a book of support, look at displays, ask questions, offer help.  It was he a chance for local member's who do not normally come to branch meetings to come along and meet the group, and get involved.  The hall was open from 10 to 4.  The main events of the day were Canal Walks between Grove and East Challow.  All in all we had around 55 people on the walks.  I led the first walk and spent much too much time chatting away.  As a result of this and other factors my timings went completely to pot within the first half hour.

    Ed Vaisey, the then prospective Conservative candidate and now MP for Wantage etc visited us during a break in electioneering and showed great interest in the restoration.  We hope to get him along to a meeting at some time.  In the afternoon we took another group along to Childrey New Road.  I was very pleased by the comments received during the day. and the upshot was we felt the day went better than expected.

    Getting right up to date today we held the first guided walk as part of the annual Wantage Sum­mer festival.  I was pleasantly surprised by the vast number of people who turned up for the walk..around a dozen.  We had a nice stroll west from West Challow across the fields (no foot-path on the towpath for a long stretch) to the Childrey New Road section.  A second walk should take place in a fortnight this time going back to Grove.

All in all it is getting very interesting over in the East Vale.

Brian Stovold
branch chairman

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This page was last updated on....
January 15, 2009

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