The Kennet and Avon Canal was opened for business back in 1810. The idea was to connect London to Bristol, both busy ports, but also linking the towns of Reading, Newbury and Bath too. There is a Bath to Bradford-on-Avon trail, that is mostly the towpath of the canal, and a lovely walk it is too! After a quick walk around the City of Bath, I joined the route just behind the railway station.
Above is Lock 7, as you look at this photo above, once a barge has passed through this lock and under the bridge it will find it’s self on the River Avon, turning my back on this scene I started to walk away from Bath and towards Bradford -on-Avon.
Just a few steps away from the A36 is the double lock 8/9, I assume there is a drop of water level down to the River Avon that is too great for one lock only. It is here that the walk away from the hustle ‘n bustle of Bath really begins. Slowly the trail becomes greener, with less noise and the drone of traffic starts to fade.
The trail continues on out of Bath, through Bathwick Meadow, the rear of Sydney Buildings make a picturesque back drop to the canal. Boats pass through a tunnel at Bathwick Hill, while walkers, have to go up, cross over the road and drop down the other side. There is a conveniently situated Tesco Express, should one need refreshment!!
The towpath continues on and like the canal, and the railway line, runs through Sydney Park. The gardens were opened in 1795, as a commercial leisure space, and originally funded by selling £100 shares! In it’s time it had a grotto, pretend castle, labyrinth, and at night was lit by 15,000 lamps! Amazingly it is now the only remaining eighteenth-century pleasure gardens in the country! There is an entry into the park from the Canal, the bridge below marks the point, but no time to wander on this visit, it’s a long way to Bradford-on-Avon!
The journey continues on out into the county, and becomes rural, and at Bathampton turns from it’s North-East course to one more or less south.
Eventually I reach the Dundas Aqueduct, a Grade 1 listed structure. With the help of a lottery grant in 2002 it has been conserved and repaired. This involved taking out some inappropriate bricks that had been put in, and replacing them with Bath limestone.
A few miles later the Avoncliff Aqueduct, a grade 2 listed structure appears. During the 80’s the clay lining was replaced with concrete so it leaked less! The arrival of the railway meant that a fourth arch had to be added, but it also means that Avoncliff is the only aqueduct to have it’s own railway station!
It’s only just over a mile and the outskirts of Bradford-on-Avon appear. It’s 168ft long Tithe Barn is impressive. It’s vast timber roof supports it’s tiled roof estimated to weigh more than 100 tons!
I keep to the canal path and walk on a little bit, below is the last photo taken on this walk, and is just a small flight of steps away from the car. I parked here and took the train into Bath at the start of the day and about 9.3 miles walking. Another great day out with the Pentax ME Super and Agfa Vista film!