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Canal towpath collapses in Wiltshire

Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage caused on Kennet and Avon Canal Credit: Kennet & Avon Canal

Part of a towpath on the Kennet and Avon Canal has collapsed after a lock gate was left open next to the Caen Hill locks.

The weight of water released washed away part of the embankment.

The Canal and River Trust say the damage caused could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and it does not know if the damage was caused by "carelessness or deliberate vandalism".

It really couldn’t have happened in a worse spot – the pound above Kennet Lock is the longest on the whole canal, so we’re talking about a lot of water rushing down the Caen Hill flight, which has caused the damage.

The Kennet & Avon Canal is over 200 years old, and needs constant maintenance to keep it going, so to have such significant damage to deal with on top of that is very disheartening.

At the end of the day, it’s our heritage, and is enjoyed more than ever by the communities around it, but if we don’t take care of it, we’ll lose it. Please, please don’t let this kind of mindlessness cost us such a valuable part of the landscape.

– Mark Evans, Canal & River Trust


Canal to be reopened

Spectators gather for grand reopening of the Grand Western Canal in Halberton near Tiverton. Credit: ITV News West Country

The Grand Western Canal and towpath will officially re-open today more than a year after its banks were breached during a severe winter storm.

Narrow boats preparing for the grand reopening of the Grand Western Canal in Halberton near Tiverton. Credit: ITV News West Country


Latest on collapsed canal near Tiverton

Little if any of the water which flooded out of the Grand Western Canal into surrounding fields when an embankment collapsed seems to have drained away this morning.

The canal is fairly empty but the fields are full of water this morning Credit: ITV Westcountry

Several gulls have taken up residence, perhaps finding easy pickings in this new lake with all the fish which were washed out of the canal in the flood.

Work to shore up emergency dams is continuing today to try to stop any more water leaking out of this canal. It will be some time before any attempt to rebuild the embankment and repair this stretch of canal.

It is likely to take years but officials hope to have it reopened in time for the 200th anniversary of the canal in 2014.

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