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Developing from a visioning exercise on the future of Calne held in January 1999, CARP (Castlefields Canal and River Park association) is a group of organisations and individuals interested in the development of an area west of the town known generally as castlefields. CARP finally gained its charitable status in 2001 and has drawn up a buisiness plan with a view to seeking major funding for this project.

The Area in question forms part of the Marden valley and includes the River Marden and a section of the Calne branch of the Wilts & Berks Canal. 'Route 403' of SUSTRANS, national cycleway network, also passes through the park.

The main thrust of the scheme comes from the report of a study, commissioned by North Wiltshire District Council, into the river Marden through Calne. The study concluded that certain improvements to the river, landscaping in the area of Castle Park and the reinstatement of the flood plain through the valley, could have wide reaching benifits for the environment and wildlife of the area.

The aims of the association are: 'To preserve, protect, develop and improve the environment of the River Marden Valley and surrounding area and to provide amenities and facilities for recreation and leisure activities for the benefit of the public'.

On paper, ambitious plans have been drawn up which include:

  • Improving the visual aspect of the Castle Park area. To include selective removal of trees and shrubs to improve views across the valley from the castle mound.
  • Restoring the natural characteristics of the river through the valley, re-establishing the flood plain.
  • Continued restoration of the canal, in stages, to the Conigre tunnel under the A4.
  • Improved footpaths and cycle routes.
  • The creation of a visitor center and parking facilities.

As well as individual members, CARP has the support of the following organisations:

Wiltshire Council, Calne Town Council, Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, Calne Artists Group, Calne Civic Society, Community First and Calne Community Area Partnership. There are also a number of expert consultants on hand to give advice on particular aspects of the project

Castle Park itself is in the ownership of Calne Town Council while Lord Lansdowne of Bowood owns much of the rest of the area included in the scheme.



CARP has at its disposal the following:
• Two local professional advisors, one the Chairman of the UK River Restoration Centre with extensive experience in promoting and implementing large scale river management projects, the other an experienced Landscape Architect working for a large local practice on many green and open space restoration schemes.
• Support from officers of Wiltshire Council.
• Local volunteers covering the fields of public administration, wildlife, canals, artistry, nature volunteers and Calne Schools, who all provide free time to support the committee




Project Benefits

Potential benefits to be derived from the Castlefields Canal and River Park project programme are: :

(a) Enhancement of existing green open spaces near the town centre through:
• Development of a local park
• Walks along the river corridor
• Provision of hay and flood plain meadows
• Provision of a nature and wildlife reserve
• Countryside vistas
(b) Improvements to the Castlefields Park as a local amenity by being:
• Made more attractive and hence used more
• A catalyst for reducing crime and anti-social behaviour in the immediate area
• An additional asset for the town to be proud of
(c) The opportunities for improved play and recreational activities through:
• Fitness trail
• Walking footpaths
• Fishing
• Boating
• Bird watching
• Children’s play area
• Access facilities for the disabled
(d) The provision of a community resource for formal and informal events such as:
• Festival venue
• Fetes
• Outdoor markets
• Shows
(e) A focal point for nature conservation and biodiversity education for:
• School projects
• General public enjoyment
• Environmental benefits
• Developing nature trails
(f) A living museum for interpreting the local heritage relating to the:
• River Marden’s historic use for milling
• Wilts and Berks Canal
• Calne branch of the Great Western Railway
• Castle House
• Landscape and ecology of floodplains, meadows and woodlands
(g) Economic Benefits through:
• Added attraction to the Town portfolio
• Improved commercial opportunities
• Links to the Heritage centre



Castlefields park
Local events can be held in the park



Achievements to Date

A summary of the principal achievements to date include:

  • Visioning Group Established (1998)
    • Resolutions passed by the Calne Town Council to support the Castlefields Project (1998)
    • River Marden and Castlefields Technical Feasibility Study (1999)
    • Community Consultations and Awareness Programme (2000 onwards)
    • Media coverage by both local radio, press and Calne Connections (2000 onwards)
    • Participated in the Public exhibition for the Queen s visit (2001)
    • CARP established as an unincorporated Association with Charitable status (2001)
    • Web site established (2002)
    • Land Surveys undertaken (2002)
    • Business and Vision plans prepared (2002)
    • Project Officer appointed (2003)
    • Funding initiatives established (2003)
    • Preparation of interpretation boards (2003)
    • Hay meadow resown. (2004)
    • Fitness trail completed (2005)
    • Pocket Park established (2006)
    • Castle House Garden and access improvements. (2008)
    • Vision plan updated. (2009)
    • Chaveywell Spring project completed (2010)
    • Calne Lock project completed May (2012)
    • Jubilee Tree Planting & QEII Field status awarded (2012)
    • Castle Re-discovered Project (2015)
    • Outdoor gym installed (2016)
    • Additional gym equipment added (2018)
    • Trail leaflet updated (2019)


Future programme

A synopsis of CARP’s future planned programme includes:
• Making additional Grant applications to fund works through sources such as:


• Awards for all/lottery fund
• Landfill Tax Credit through Community First

• Commence planning and design of the Phase 2 works for:

  • Improvements to the River Marden valley from Cheveywell to Black Dog.
  • Improvements to the River Marden from town hall to Marden House.



Sustrans Cycleway Through The Park
River Marden Valley At The Western End Of The Park