Visitors will be able to walk down into the drained chamber of Lock 18 to see the brand-new lock gates which have just been installed and talk to engineers about the challenges and rewards of repairing 19 Century engineering with 21 Century technology. There will also be family activities, poetry recitals and a chance to take a virtual tour along stretches of the 2,000 miles of waterway that we care for.
Caroline Robson, our development & engagement manager says: "We're delighted to be able to offer this unusual chance to walk along the bottom of lock 18 to see the much loved Kennet & Avon Canal from a very different perspective. Our apprentice bricklayer will be teaching people some skills in bricklaying as well as talking about the Canal & River Trust's apprentice programme and all that we do as a charity to keep the canal open for people to use and enjoy. And if you're in need of a special handmade present for the mums in your life for Mothering Sunday, then you can make a bat or bird box or make something in the yarn workshop. There will be a lot going on to celebrate this important work so we look forward to seeing you on Saturday!"
We're spending £281,000 on Wiltshire locks 17, 18 and 19 to ensure they are working smoothly for the busy boating season.
The works are being carried out as part of our annual £38 million, five-month programmer of repairs to England and Wales' waterways between November and March. We carry out an annual programme of restoration and repairs to the nation's waterways during the winter to minimise the inconvenience of navigation closures to boaters during the busy summer season.
The free public open day is on Saturday 10 March, 10am to 4pm. Parking will be at The Barge Inn, Seend, Melksham SN12 6QB.
Please wear sensible and waterproof footwear i.e. flat boots, trainers. Dogs are welcome but will not be allowed in the locks. There will be a space to leave bikes and buggies. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult to go in the locks. Unfortunately, the locks are not suitable for wheelchairs but people will be able to view the lock from the bridge.