The Kennet & Avon from Devizes to Bath

14 February, 2014

From Devizes we head down the first 6 locks before we reach the Caen Hill flight of 16 locks.. The splendid views of the Avon Valley accompany us as we descend these locks.You will notice large pounds on the right hand size which were designed to hold sufficient water to follow the slope. The whole flight is very impressive. There are actually three sets of locks, six at the Devizes end, 16 in the flight and seven at the bottom at Foxhangers which lower or raise the canal by 237 feet in the space of 2 miles.

Caen-Hill-flight from overheadFrom there we head off through peaceful countryside and the little villages like Seend, Semington and Hilperton Marsh before arriving at stunning Bradford on Avon.  Beware of cyclists as this is the Wiltshire Cycleway route.

We allow time for people to wander round and to take in the architectural treasures from the Saxon period to the 19th Century while the abundance of 18th century houses makes this place a positive pleasure.  Bradford has a wealth of convivial pubs and a number of genteel tearooms and is also a pleasant shopping experience.Dundas Aqueduct

We then head off from Bradford on Avon along the pretty stretch to the Avoncliff Aqueduct, a three-arched structure of Bath stone carrying the canal high above the River Avon. Many people regard this as the prettiest section of the entire canal. We go through heavily wooded Limpley Stoke valley and come to the Dundas Aqueduct, which is more impressive than the Avoncliff. Then on to Claverton and its Pumping Station which was built to bring the water up from the Avon below.

The canal meanders around Bathampton and heads towards Bath.  Before long you are treated to wide-ranging views of the Georgian City laid out before you like a lavish picnic in a sun-kissed meadow. The canal passes under a few cast iron bridges and two tunnels before we reach the top of the Bath flight of seven locks. The bottom lock is impressive and perhaps intimidating as it has a depth of 19 ft 5 inches and is the result of two previous chambers being merged in 1976.

There is so much to see and do in Bath with its extensive Roman remains and not least the baths themselves.  The terraces that adorn the steep northern slope of the Avon valley contain some of the best Georgian Architecture in Britain.

 

Hotel Boat Kailani
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