The Kennet & Avon Canal
Devizes to Bath

Our holiday started at Devizes, famous for being the location of the 29-lock Caen Hill flight. This view of the main flight, which begins in earnest at Lock 8, was taken in February when I was in the area and paid a visit to the boatyard to look at the boat (even though we had already booked - fait accompli, you might think!). My intention had been to walk up the locks to the town but the weather was so - how shall we put it? - wintry, I gave up at Lock 7 and went back to the car.

Foxhangers Wharf is at the bottom of the locks. The new building on the right houses the electric pumps for the water back-pumping scheme which takes water from the bottom pound back to the top so that it can be used again rather than running away, eventually into the River Avon and the Bristol Channel! One of Foxhangers' boats is in the foreground.

Looking from the bridge in a westerly direction, the remains of the old bridge which carried the railway over the canal at this point can be seen.

The canal is peppered with these rather neat swing bridges most of which require the use of the BWB key. One or two are a bit stiff to move. They do have landing stages on either side onto which to deposit your bridge-swinging crew.

The first night we spent at Seend Locks just down from The Barge Inn, but for our evening drink we walked the extra half-mile to The Brewery in Seend village which suited our tastes better (it was cheaper!!).

We were treated to a superb sunset.

Another view of Seend Locks taken later in the week when we were on our way back to the boatyard.

Below Buckley's Lock at Semington there is a winding hole which is, in fact, the junction for the closed (but who knows) Wilts & Berks Canal.

In places progress is hampered with long lines of moored boats - more than I think we expected to see.

But it is always nice to come across old working boats, like "Mercury" which we found moored on the outskirts of Trowbridge.

The canal then winds through the countryside, skirting Trowbridge and follows the Avon valley. The next lock, and the last before the main Bath flight, is at Bradford-on-Avon.


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Gerry Cork - November 2004
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