Fleet Street, Swindon's Canal route?
Restoring Swindon's Canal
Not only could it be Swindon's biggest water feature but could bring boats back to the town centre...
It's been over a century since boating traffic has made its way through the centre of Swindon… but canal buffs are hoping to change all that.
It was in 1819 that the North Wilts Canal was officially opened. Cutting through the heart of Swindon, it was the canal version of a bypass for boating traffic wanting to give the Thames a wide berth between Lechlade and Abingdon.
Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map
For 30 years the canal prospered but when the Great Western Railway finally reached Swindon, the canal quickly became obsolete and finally ended up as an expensive embarrassment.
With the last of the boating traffic making its way through the centre of town in 1906, Swindon's canal quickly became weed choked and silted up and by 1914 was officially abandoned.
Soon after the Great War, a mile and a quarter of the urban stretch of waterway was filled in and largely forgotten.
Almost, but not quite....
Ninety odd years on and the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust, has not forgotten and is hoping to bring boating traffic back to the centre of Swindon.
Roderick Bluh and Ken Oliver at Station Road
They've already restored short lengths of the original canal at Kingshill, for instance, but have their eyes firmly fixed on a route from the Thames through to the Kennet and Avon Canal.
But to restore watery links to the Cotswold Canal would mean bringing the canal back to Swindon. The question is, though, should the canal take it's original route through the town centre?
Roderick Bluh, Deputy Leader of Swindon Borough Council, met up with Ken Oliver from the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust to walk the route of Swindon’s canal to find out just where Swindon’s new water feature could go…
last updated: 04/12/2008 at 11:38
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