The Wilts & Berks Canal linked Abingdon on the River Thames to Semington on the Kennet & Avon Canal and as such provided a useful link from Oxford and the South Midlands to Bristol and Somerset. There were branches off the main route of the canal which gave access to Calne and also Chippenham. The North Wilts branch of the canal linked it with the Thames & Severn Canal near Crickdale. This book was first published in 1971 and a revised edition became available in 1986. The late Jack Dalby has been acknowledged as the authority on this subject and in the long years since this book was last available the interest in this canal has grown dramatically due to the work of the Wilts & Berks Canal Amenity Group.
From just trying to preserve what remained of the old canal, the group decided that full restoration, using as much of the old line and infrastructure as possible, was practical. They had no doubt of the magnitude of the task before them, but were confident that a restored Wilts & Berks Canal was essential to the Wessex waterway network, forming, as it does, the central section. In the succeeding years nearly 10 percent of the the canal has been restored and a number of structures have been either restored or rebuilt. Doug Small of the Canal Amenity Group has written a new chapter, 'Into the 21st Century', which brings the story of the restoration up to date.