Welcome to number three of The Oriel. Matt has been busy trying to piece together our Financial Report for the year ending March 2020, but has not yet reached the point where we can submit it to the Charity Commission – and similarly we aren’t yet fixing a date for the remainder of the adjourned AGM. He has made measurable progress and will continue – working with the records as handed-over by former Trustees. Progress has continued on the ground – with at least some work done on the line of the canal in the Dauntsey Vale area on every Saturday since February, and we can now include a bit more of the story about ‘the Toybox’ which appeared as a photo in The Oriel number one.

The Toybox was the name given to an old van body which was donated, and delivered to its present home in Dauntsey, by a transport company in Swindon, for whom one of our regular volunteers worked (and probably still does). The van had been used to deliver for a famous High Street toyshop, and the branding was still just visible when it arrived.

In the early years some patching of the door panels was done – without a door we could open the Toybox would not have been a useful area for plant maintenance.

By early 2021 the door was becoming very hard to open. Something needed to be done – to swap out each panel and to re-connect one of the spring-loaded steel cables which make lifting the door possible for one human.

Apart from fixing the door illustrated above, and some work to keep items of plant in working order, the regular Saturday working parties have included mowing the 3 ½ miles of towpath in our care. We have a stock of signs to deploy to inform members of the public that it is us doing that  work:
Around the lock chamber at Dauntsey we have now made things a lot tidier. The grassed area between the lock and the low wall is being mown regularly and a start has been made on removing the solitary evergreen tree. We have been gathering the necessary materials to form a brindle-block paved area behind the lock chamber wall, with a row of paving slabs laid vertically to support the edge of the driveway to Wharf House. We are grateful to Trevor and Linda who live in Wharf House for being so accommodating to us, and for suggesting a reliable supplier for the sharp sand and ballast that were delivered to site last week. There’s a shortage of some building materials at present – both sharp sand and ballast were not in stock, and no firm delivery dates for material coming into stock when we tried to order from our more usual supplier. Following on from the request in The Oriel number two for more people to offer to become more involved, there was one volunteer – willing to be co-opted as a Trustee. The decision was duly taken, and the records on the Charity Commission website were updated very soon afterwards. There are still spaces so if you’d like to help us – without having to do hard physical work on a Saturday – please do get in touch. Work on the new website has continued. It will include an email address for contacting us (now operational) and we have the arrangements in place with Virgin Money Giving so that donations can easily be made on-line starting from within our website. There are just a few more slight adjustments to be made – details of them were emailed to the company which is working with us earlier this week. We’re expecting that, a few days after you receive this, you will be able to visit us at:


In the next issue of The Oriel, we’ll be including the first photo of all the Trustees in one place – our first physical meeting since October of last year. We’ve shown that meetings can be done by zoom, but it will be good for Mike, particularly, to see some of the sites which are familiar to the rest of us.