Welcome to number four of The Oriel.

Matt’s work on the financial records continues in the background. He will get there, but we’ve had to reach out to a Chartered Accountant who’s a Trustee of another canal restoration project to give him the benefit of her advice on how to write the words to explain a few things.

As reported in The Oriel number three, now that Covid restrictions have been lifted slightly, and with lots of effort put in to enable it to happen, the four Trustees met in one place for the first time. Judy Handford duly took the photo to record this – thanks for that and for acting as Mike’s driver from Leicestershire to Wiltshire and back home safely. It will be a while before we do another physical meeting like this – it’s time-consuming for three out of the four of us (the Trustees who hosts the meeting gets the shortest journey but funds the coffees) and we’ve learned to use the Zoom application (like millions of others across the world) to share thoughts and make decisions with much less impact on the environment.

Left to right:
Matt, Luke, Mike, Rachael, photo taken by Judy Handford on 4 July 2021.
Since The Oriel number 3 went out over the internet, and by Royal Mail to a few of our readers, working parties have continued. Given the weather and the time of year, mowing towpaths has been a recurring theme. Having put effort into clearing the towpaths – particularly the eastern section at Dauntsey – many years ago, we wouldn’t want to see that work lost. We have two mowers bought new since WWRT was formed – many thanks to the Awards for All programme backed by those who play the National Lottery. One mower recently went back to the shop for a service and a minor repair, but both have given good service early on Saturday mornings before the regular team turns up at the Lock at Dauntsey around 9:00. Anthony turns up a bit later as he has regular employment on a Saturday morning.

The team has worked on a task we were unable to complete when (as Foxham Branch, WBCT) we weren’t able to remove one last evergreen tree and lay a neat area of block paving behind the lock chamber wall.

There was a telephone line very close to that last remaining tree, so ropes were used to guide the top section when it was cut. The line stayed where it was and serviceable to the great relief of all concerned, including our good neighbours Trevor and Linda. Rachael helped with her chainsaw on the stump, and the first few vertical slabs went in on 7 August

Mike and Larry made more progress with the paved area beside the lock last Saturday morning.
Elsewhere, at Foxham, there was a farm gate across the towpath which had been damaged and given a temporary repair involving a heavy steel gate which was a challenge to move when mowing the towpath. Two timbers from Vastern Timber, and a bit of outdoor carpentry, and the gate is fit for purpose again – and the old gate left ready for the farmer to collect.
As was expected when The Oriel number three went out, the new website went live a few days afterwards, and is at:


Do please take a look at it and send any comments to us. There’s an email address on the website for that purpose – or you can email one of the three Trustees whose addresses were in The Oriel number Two, or you can email Luke who emails out The Oriel. Paper mail can be sent to Luke at 3 Loudoun House, Mill Street, Evesham WR11 4HT.

On the website welcome page right now (but will be removed after the event) is a news item about a sponsored walk that Luke will be doing in support of Wessex Waterways on 11 September this year. His colleagues in his day job and members of his extended family have been told of this so that they can make contributions directly to Wessex Waterways through our Virgin Money Giving spot. You can search for us on the Virgin Money Giving website or use the ‘Donate’ links in our website. Please do so – all contributions are appreciated and will help us with our big objective of bringing the Wilts & Berks and North Wilts Canals back as sustainable and useful green infrastructure for a wide range of activities forpeople and for wildlife.