North West Wiltshire Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale

Ours is a very active branch with over 20 members turning up at our branch meetings held on the 2nd Tuesday of the month, at a pub within the branch area.

We are an eclectic mix who enjoy real ale or cider, support real ale pubs, have varied social events, and have a strong group of ‘active’ members who regularly turn up at branch meetings. We encourage more pubs to take part in CAMRA’s LocAle scheme.  We run one of the most successful and friendly beer festivals in the country, and have featured in the Good Beer Guide for that very reason.

Why not consider joining us?  You can come along to a branch meeting - contact our secretary Don - for details of our next meeting and see how you feel. Or you can just dive in, get more information, and join CAMRA via this link.

Alex Dewar
Membership secretary

A brief history of the branch

In July, 1980, Steve Beasley rounded up some other CAMRA members (including Pete Dunningham and Stewart Matthews who are both still active in the branch) posing the question "Is there any interest in setting up a sub branch of the Swindon and North West Wilts Branch".  At a meeting on the 14th July, 1980, in the Rose and Crown, Chippenham, it was agreed a sub branch should be set up. Jim Rose was voted to be Chair with Barbara Matthews as Secretary and Alan Rutherford as Coordinator. They agreed to meet once a month; subsequently holding the first annual dinner at the White Hart in Ford on the 22nd December, 1980.

In September, 1981, fourteen months later, on the 16th, the North West Wiltshire branch of CAMRA was created and our group became a branch in its own right. Pete Dunningham and& Stewart Matthews maintain their branch activity, and Stewart's mother, Barbara, also continues to take a keen interest in branch activities. Lawrence Bristow was around in those early days and is still an active branch member.

In 1992, eleven years later we held our first beer festival in the Neeld Hall, Chippenham. It was organized by Paul Hawkins assisted by branch stalwarts Ed Spearey, Pete Dunningham,  Mike Hamyln, and Cliff Mason, who all remain active members.