Book a Boat Trip Along the River Avon

Popular boat trips are returning to the River Avon as part of next month’s Melksham Food & River Festival.

The annual event takes place in King George V Park on the Saturday and Sunday of 2 and 3 September.

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is offering rides aboard The Mary Archard throughout the festival, but the wheelchair-accessible boat is also available for pre-booked charter trips on Friday 1 September at 10am, 11am, 2pm and 3pm.

Passengers will enjoy slow and scenic journeys from the landing stage near the Adventure Centre, heading upstream and back again.

Weekend tickets will be available from the Trust gazebo by the river but charter tickets must be booked via the festival website by 26 August.

The boat journeys are organised by the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch of the charity.

Spokesperson Malcolm Hitchinson said: “We’re delighted to return to the festival and look forward to welcoming lots of visitors.

“People can charter the boat for the exclusive use of their own friends and family while the event is being set up on the Friday.

“The charter trips last around 45 minutes while the weekend trips last around 30 minutes.

“Passengers might see lots of local wildlife such as swans, kingfishers and moorhens.”

Malcolm added: “The festival always provides a big boost to our local fundraising efforts – last year we carried more than 360 passengers and raised more than £1,100, but it would be great if we could do even better this year.

“We’ll also have an information gazebo with lots of displays and photographs of our local projects, including our work near Lacock, and details of how people can support the restoration campaign.”

The Mary Archard carries up to eight passengers. Although it is wheelchair-accessible, please note it cannot take motorised wheelchairs and buggies.

Skippers and crew are fully-trained, volunteers will help with boarding and disembarking, and buoyancy aids will be available.

Tickets are just £6 for adults, £3 for children aged up to 16, and £15 for a family of two adults and two children. Children up to two years old go free.

Charter journeys are £30 per trip.

Visit for the boat trip schedule for the weekend and to arrange charter bookings for the Friday.

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is always keen to welcome new members.

The charity aims to restore the entire waterway from the Kennet & Avon Canal near Melksham to the Thames & Severn Canal near Cricklade and the River Thames near Abingdon, connecting Chippenham, Calne, Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon.


Photo: Wilts & Berks Canal Trust boats during last year’s festival. Photo by Chris Barry.