The Chippenham River Festival
The Festival, now in its third year, celebrates and highlights the River Avon as it winds its way through the centre of the town. Local people have said they want the river to be made more of a feature of the town and the festival does just that by showcasing a wide range of on and along the river.
Chippenham River Festival
The Rivergreen Project
In 1996 North Wiltshire District Council, Chippenham Town Council, with many of their partners, applied for funds from the Millennium Commission for the Chippenham RiverGreen Millenium project. At a total cost of £5M, it was a community based scheme to restore and enhance the 3 mile stretch of the River Avon passing through Chippenham. The application was not successful, but during the intervening 13 years much has been done by the local authorities and their partners to bring to reality parts of the RiverGreen vision.
The North Wiltshire Rivers Route (part of National Cycle Route 4)
The 28 mile long North Wiltshire Rivers Route is part of National Cycle Route 4, connecting Melksham, Lacock, Chippenham, Calne and Avebury, along traffic free paths, minor roads and town centre streets. In Chippenham it generally follows the River Avon, crossing it in 4 places including Baydons and Black bridges.
In 2002 a new cycle/ footbridge bridge was constructed to complete the North Wiltshire Rivers Route on its route from Chippenham to Calne, Avebury and beyond. The bridge is an unusual design, resembling a bird in flight, with a viewing platform over the river.
Another bridge built as part of the project is the spectacular timber structure over the A4 at Black Dog Hill, which is one of 8 Millennium Bridges in Britain.
The Town Bridge
The graceful old town bridge was demolished in 1965 and replaced with a concrete structure. The functional railings on the bridge were replaced by more attractive ones depicting the swirling river and arches of the old bridge designed by local artist Melissa Cole.
The Millennium Wall
The Millennium Wall was built in 2000 to celebrate the Millennium and displays 4000 tiles designed and made by school children. Each of the 11 schools in Chippenham was designated a theme and every child designed and made a ceramic tile which was then cast into the wall.
This forms part of the Chippenham Borough Lands, and was planned in 1996 to be turned into a Countryside Park. In the intervening years much has been done to realize this vision, with construction of the North Wiltshire Rivers Route along the river, and extensive tree planting ongoing.
Prior to the 1960s the Avon was used for milling with a stone weir containing the water providing power for mill on the town bridge. This was removed in 1965 to be replaced by the sluice gate by the Gladstone Road Bridge.