Kennet & Avon Canal
The name of this canal is derived from the entire length of the 87 mile long canal which runs through the River Avon which links to River Kenneth in Newbury, before it flows through Reading where it connects to the River Thames.
The canal runs from the Bristol Channel to London via breathtaking scenery through towns, villages and countryside along the county of Wiltshire county and Cotswold AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).
There are several ways to explore this canal, walking, cycling, kayaking or on a canal boat. The scenery along this route is just breathtaking!
Warleigh Weir and pumping station
This weir was built to supply water for the operations of the grist mills in Claverton, while the pumping station next to the railway line, was built in 1813 to pump water up to the Kenneth & Avon Canal.
It was a few weeks after England had come out of their second lockdown in mid-2021 when I did this walk, and the weir was crowded with swimmers cooling off on a hot summer day.
Was soooo tempted to jump in myself!
Look out for dragonflies, damselflies and kingfishers hoping to catch a meal at the mill pond and enjoy the amazing views along the railway line.
Named after Charles Dundas, the first chairman of the Kenneth & Avon Canal Co., this aqueduct was completed in 1810 by Scottish civil engineer John Rennie to lift the canal over the River Avon.
It forms a junction between the Kennet & Avon Canal and the derelict Somerset coal canal (now known as Brassknocker Basin) which was built to transport coal from Paulton and Radstock coal mines to the Kennet & Avon Canal at Dundas.
An old crane that was used as part of the operations to supply coal to southern England is still visible on Dundas wharf near the canal.
The basin closed in 1900, with parts of it drained for safety reasons, it is now used for boat moorings, cycle rentals, cafes and houses a visitor centre. Good place to take a break, have a meal or drink and use amenities like toilets before heading on to Monkton Combe.
Supercentenarian Harry Patch is buried at the St. Michael’s church yard in this quaint village.
Patch who died at age 111 in 2009 was known as the ‘Last Fighting Tommy’ as he was one of the longest surviving combat soldiers of World War I. He was viewed as a symbol for men who lost their lives in that war. His death marked the last of living memory of men who fought and survived WWI.
Next week: Port Isaac Circular Trail along the Cornish coast.