#24. Bradford on Avon to Newbury, 8 nights

Unfortunately, this route is booked.

A mixture of relaxing scenery and the “engaging” locks of the famous Caen Hill Flight.

Bradford on Avon is one of Wiltshire’s beauty spots and a highlight on the canal. The town is well worth visiting. Until the 19th C, the town had 30 water-powered cloth factories in production. Some of these buildings have survived, ensuring Bradford remains rich in architectural treasures.

The scenery to the east of Bradford changes at almost every turn, with lots of open farmland and wooded areas. This is also one of the most popular routes on the English canal system, making some of the blind corners at least “interesting”.

Caen Hill Flight looking up near to Devizes

Caen Hill flight near Devizes

The scale of the famous Caen Hill flight of 29 locks is most impressive and the area is a magnet for on-lookers (gongoozlers in “canal-talk”). We are seldom alone as we transit the flight. A few locks further and we reach Devizes. The wharf is home of the K&A Trust Museum – well worth a visit. There’s also the Wadworth Brewery close by – also worth a visit.

Leaving Devizes, we slip through a long wooded cutting, spanned by several elegant stone bridges and enter the more remote landscape of the Wiltshire Wolds.

Passing by the Cannings villages, we will see the field terracing of Pickled Hill, a relic of Celtic and medieval cultivation. Soon after, we reach Pewsey Wharf, followed by the Vale of Pewsey and Wootton Rivers, a charming village with timber framed thatched houses and its church with letters instead of numbers. A close inspection of its mechanism shows it is assembled from a collection of old agricultural implements. We have just travelled 15 lock-free miles, so are ready for a bit of work!

Beyond the 502 yards of the Burbage Tunnel is the pumping station at Crofton, which houses the oldest working beam engine in the world, still performing its original duties on selected open days.

Hungerford Swing Bridge

Church Swing Bridge at Hungerford

Further on, woodland accompanies the canal to Hungerford. Fortunately, we will miss the annual Hocktide Ceremony, which takes place on the 2nd Tuesday after Easter. This medieval ceremony concludes when “all new commoners are shod by having a nail driven through their toes.”   That’s nice  !!

After escaping the shodding, half a day’s cruising brings us to Kintbury, a quiet and pretty village, with watermill and attractive canal-side buildings.

There is an extensive wharf area and park in the centre of Newbury. The canal cuts right through the town. This area was originally the terminus of the Kennet Navigation from Reading.

The route is 45 miles with 71 locks and 10 swing bridges – scenic and relaxing but with some effort needed! More than enough opportunities to help

Join us on Kailani at 1pm and we set off cruising at 2pm. Departure on your last day will be at 10am.

The closest railway stations are at Bradford on Avon and Newbury.


Unfortunately, this route is booked.

Hotel Boat Kailani