Bruce Boats, part of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, has been based at Great Bedwyn Wharf for over 30 years. Our fleet of four accessible wide-beam boats use the wharf for passenger access, storage and boat maintenance. Our facilities are basic and in need of modernisation to meet the needs of wheelchair users and vulnerable people.
In late 2020 we were awarded a grant to employ a professional architectural practice with a good track record in restoration and heritage works. The brief for the architects was to develop a feasibility study with design concepts to restore Bedwyn Wharf in a style sympathetic to the history and heritage of the canal but with modern, accessible facilities.
That work will lead to a major fundraising programme and, eventually, upgrading the wharf to become a site which benefits our hirers and passengers, boaters and towpath walkers, and the Great Bedwyn Community. It should be a superb reflection of the canal’s fascinating history whilst providing superb accommodation for our volunteer engineers, crews – and the vulnerable people who so desperately need a relaxing and safe holiday on the canal.
The architectural proposal will research the history of the wharf and determine how best to:
- Remove and replace the existing portacabins and container sheds
- Restore the existing engineering shed with its original chimney and create a new building to offer:
- Engineering workshop
- Reception area
- Kitchen facilities, accessible toilets, indoor and outdoor seating area
- Training room
- Electric points for boats and cars
- Parking and access to our boats
- Possible covered area with charging point for an electric ‘golf buggy’
- Public interpretation and display of canal ephemera
- Boat maintenance area
We expect to have the planning stage completed in late Spring 2021 and the fundraising programme to start during the summer with, hopefully, construction starting in 2022 and opened to the public in 2023.
If you would like to contribute towards this exciting new future for Bruce Boats please email email@example.com and we’ll put you in touch with our fundraising team