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News article created on 11 April 2016

Volunteers rebuild Bradford on Avon's waterway history

A team of volunteers in Bradford on Avon are repairing a historic stone wall that supports the towpath on the Kennet & Avon Canal

Volunteers in Bradford on Avon Volunteers in Bradford on Avon

Using traditional skills, the volunteers began last year to rebuild a stretch of Hen’s Orchard Wall, which had largely collapsed.

With the support of a professional stonemason, the group have been trained in a variety of techniques including lime mortaring and stone dressing and have so far restored a 25-metre section of the wall to its original condition.

This year the volunteers hope to make progress on the remaining 30 metres of the wall still in need of attention, and are appealing for more people to get involved.

An amazing effort

David Viner, heritage advisor at the Canal & River Trust, said: “What’s so impressive about this project is the high standard to which the repairs have been completed – it’s an amazing effort from the volunteers, who have maintained such a high level of attention to detail throughout the whole thing. 

“The wall is an important part of Bradford’s industrial heritage, and once completed will not only protect the towpath but also really improve the setting of Hen’s Orchard and the historic Tithe Barn. Put simply, we wouldn’t be able to do this kind of project without the help of the volunteers, who are incredibly dedicated and should be hugely proud of what they’ve achieved so far.”

Derrick Hunt, lead volunteer on the project, said: “We’re really pleased with the progress we’ve made so far, and are there’s always room for more people to get involved. We take on a wide range of practical tasks along the canal, so we’re looking for people with an interest in learning new skills as well as those who can bring professional experience to the table. We’re also keen to hear from anyone who could donate stone to the project.”