£1m dredging project begins

Dredging taking place at Crofton
Dredging taking place at Crofton
Dredging taking place at Crofton
Dredging taking place at Crofton
One of the lifting bridges that is receiving a facelift
One of the lifting bridges that is receiving a facelift
Industry Database

Work has started on a project on a £1m project to dredge sections of the 78-mile Kennet & Avon Canal.

The work by the Canal & River Trust will last two years focusing on areas along the canal where boaters have difficulty mooring, navigating through bridges or get stuck on the approach to locks.

In total around 21,000 tonnes of silt – will be removed from the canal using a floating dredger. Once collected the silt will be recycled to agricultural land alongside the canal.

“We’ve already started dredging along the canal near Crofton and should be finished by Christmas. After Christmas we plan to start dredging in the Horton area and will be in this area for a few weeks,” explained the Trust’s Paul Fox.

“We plan to recycle as much of the silt as possible to agricultural land which has the benefit of being both environmentally friendly and cheaper.”

The project will also involve installing water vole friendly coir rolls to protect the canal bank from erosion while allowing water voles to burrow into to make homes. 

In addition, the Trust has begun a £1m project to repair and restore six historic lift bridges built by canal engineer James Brindley along the Oxford Canal over the next three years.

“These bridges have a fascinating story behind them and, while they may not be as the engineers originally intended, they are unique to this particular canal,” said Charles Baker from the Trust. “The original canal builders set out with grand designs but unfortunately they ran out of money and had to change their plans. It’s a classic tale of making-do and as a result they used a combination of brick, stone and oak which hasn’t aged as well as the more traditional brick arch bridge.”

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