Stroll around the canal at Calne......
A walk of about one to one and a half hours along the course of the Wilts and Berks Canal in Calne.
From the Town Hall, walk south along the River Marden 1 towards Station Road. From Station Road follow the sign for Castle Park crossing the bridge 2 and the old lock, you are now on the canal side. Continue along the bank crossing a small spring 3. In front of you is Chaveywell wharf and bridge. From here you can cross the bridge and walk between the canal and river or continue down the towpath past the wetland habitat to the turning circle 4 and cross the canal at this point 5.
A short distance along the river from the turning circle you will find the new spillweir 6. Cross the stile and continue to follow the canal until you reach the weir on the river. Looking across the canal you will see a stile, if you wish you can cross the field and turn right to make your way along this path, Castle Walk, then Castle Street and down Cox's Hill to return to the start of the trail at the Town Hall.
If you continue to follow the canal you will notice, to your left, the remains of an old mill 7. You can identify the line of the canal for a short distance on from this point but after the farm track from Berhills Farm the canal has been completely in filled. The only real evidence of the canal is the occasional tree marking the line.
At the track, cross the stile and follow the contour of the hill until you can see the main road in front of you. The earthworks between you and the road mark the entrance to the tunnel 8 which took the canal under the road and through the hill beyond.
Up the hill to your right you will find a footpath sign and stile near to the road 9. DO NOT cross the stile but continue to follow the footpath across the field, keeping Berhills farm to your right. Cross the stile and track, and you will see another stile across the field to your right. From here a clearly defined footpath will take you to the junction with Castle Walk, as described earlier, and from here Castle Street then down Cox's Hill to the Town Hall.
Street maps and other guides are available from the Calne Visitor and Community Information Centre at Bank House.
1 This was the original location of the town wharf. It is interesting to note that cargo was loaded and unloaded on the road side of the canal.
2 This bridge was once the 'hatches, used to control the water level of the river and its junction with the canal.
3 This spring is known as Chavey Well and gives its name to the wharf, bridge and the pig farm which used to be on the site.
4 A rule of the canal stated 'No boat shall be navigated upon any part of this canal with the stern foremost (except in passing to the nearest turning place)'. The penalty for breaking this rule was a fine of not less than 20 shillings (£1.00).
5 This is the recommended route, although the tree between the canal and the riverside walk can be difficult to negotiate.
6 Built in May 1996, this weir will control the level of the canal from the town lock to the A4 when dredging is complete.
7 This is the site of Moss's Mill. There were two mills on the Calne branch, the other at Hazeland, although not a working mill, is still occupied.
8 The tunnel was approximately 100 yards (92m) long and was navigated by laying on the deck of the narrowboat and 'walking' along the roof of the tunnel. The horse was led over the top to meet the boat on the other side.
9 For the more adventurous! Cross the road and head down the hill until you meet a footpath sign on the right. This will take you over the old railway line and the river to the canal and Conigre Locks.