Founded in Norman times, Devizes is a compact town and is easy to appreciate on foot. Some of Devizes’s 500 listed buildings survive from the 16th century though most were erected in Georgian times. The Market Square and its adjacent streets and alleys host many of the town’s coffee shops, restaurants, pubs, independent shops and an indoor market.
Devizes was a major centre for the construction of the Kennet and Avon canal, and especially the spectacular Caen Hill flight of 29 locks; this was a major engineering feat when it was built at the end of the 18th century. An easy walk from the Wharf to the top of the flight provides excellent views of surrounding countryside. The tow path in both directions from Devizes is well used by walkers, cyclists and fishermen.
Devizes Branch supports the Trust’s goals through volunteering and fundraising. We are based around the Trust Headquarters building, an historic bonded warehouse on Devizes Wharf. On the upper floor, the Trust’s museum tells the tale of the construction, operation, closure and restoration of the canal. A tea room provides drinks, snacks and meals.
What we do:
- We run the trip boat Kenavon Venture, a 40 seater passenger boat with a busy schedule of public trips, ‘specials’, and private charters from Mother’s Day to Christmas. For details of the boat and the trips that are available or to book on a trip, please click HERE. Skipper and crew for all trips are volunteers, with training provided to meet the safety requirements of the government’s MCA inspectors; new volunteers are always welcome.
- We run social and fundraising events through the year with all proceeds going straight to the Trust. During the winter we have a “We’ve survived Christmas” party, and an informal evening with a meal and a speaker. We also have an annual skittles match against the local branch of the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust. Throughout the year we try to have a stand at other local events to provide information about the canal, and to raise funds. In the past we have organised a major raffle in support of the Trust.
- We run Music by the Canal, an evening of music and food on Devizes Wharf in association with Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts. This has become an established feature in the late summer, with good crowds gathering. It provides an opportunity for Devizes residents to visit the canal, and for the branch to raise money.
- We help with the maintenance of the Canal Trust’s historic headquarters building, so are always on the lookout for people with trade or DIY skills to offer – though unskilled labour is also needed. Boat maintenance during the winter usually requires painting to be done, but other relevant skills are often needed. We encourage all members to help look after the canal, for example by collecting litter when walking on the tow path.
- Our volunteers help with a range of educational activities, from entertaining children on boat trips to giving talks about the canal to other groups or organisations.
- We are a friendly bunch, and welcome others to join us in supporting the Trust’s aims while having a lot of fun in doing so.
For office, museum and tea room, please ring 01380 721279
To book a public or ‘special’ trip on Kenavon Venture, you can buy tickets online at tickets.katrust.org.uk. Alternatively you can phone 01380 721279, visit the Trust HQ office, purchase at Devizes Books in Sidmouth Street or just turn up on the day (we don’t recommend this as seats are limited.) Please note that initial enquiries about private charters, and about all Santa trips, have to be made on the phone. To avoid misunderstandings, please read the terms and conditions of your booking carefully.
To enquire about chartering the boat for a party or special event, phone 01380 721279 or by email to our Bookings Administrator
For branch matters, please contact 01380 721279 and we will pass your message on.