BATH AND THE RIVER AVON TO SALTFORD FROM BRADFORD ON AVON
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Cruise along the Kennet & Avon canal over 2 major aqueducts to Bath, visit this historical city and then cruise through the Bath Locks to the River Avon and to the town of Saltford.
Bath has been designated a 'World Heritage City' with a history stretching back to the Roman Baths after which it is named and that can still be visited today. Moorings are available very close to the city centre and Bath is, without doubt, worthy of at least a couple of days of exploration.
The medieval town of Bradford on Avon with its Weavers' cottages clinging to the side of the Avon valley, looking down across the old mills to the 'Broad Ford' on the river that gave the town its name.
The splendid Dundas and Avoncliff Aqueducts both take the canal over the River Avon as it follows the river alley between Bradford and Bath.
Claverton's pumping station and American Museum may be incongruent with each other but certainly offer to satisfy differing interests!
Bath City and the spectacular Pulteney Weir and Bridge.
Bath and the surrounding area is brimming with things to see and do. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Bath presents some of the finest architectural sights in Europe such as the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney Bridge, alongside a diverse collection of museums and attractions including the Roman baths, Jane Austen centre and Thermae Bath Spa. Bath's compact city centre offers irresistible shopping and there are plenty of activities to enjoy in the surrounding area.
Turning left out of the Marina within a mile you come to your first lock at Bradford on Avon
Bradford on Avon to the North of the canal, is a lovely town, one of the beauty spots of Wiltshire, and one of the highlights of the Canal. It is a miniature Bath, rich with architectural treasures from the Saxon period to the 19th Century. Bradford upper Wharf is very attractive, with a small dock with some of its original buildings still standing, and an old canal pub by the lock. The town centre is very compact, you can walk down the hill from the Canal wharf. There is also a swimming pool near the canal. The Great Tithe barn stands below the canal embankment and is one of the finest in the UK, dating from the 14th century with a massive cathedral like structure. The splendid 9 arch Town Bridge is very unusual as it has a chapel in the middle, dating from medieval times, but used during the 17th & 18th centuries as the town prison.
Westwood manor lies 1 mile south west of Bradford on Avon, a 15th C stone manor house open through the National Trust.
If you want to stop at one of the best pubs on this navigation then continue to the Avoncliff Aqueduct, where the Cross Guns is in a lovely setting, right by this major aqueduct, there also a Tea room, the River Avon rushes by below you.
It is an hours cruising to here.
Further along, if you moor at Limpley Stoke Bridge, walk down the the Railway bridge & turn left you will find a lovely 400 year old Pub called the Hop Pole, which was originally a monks wine lodge.
After crossing Dundas Aqueduct you will see a restored ¼ mile section of the old Somerset Coal Canal, the canal collected coal from 30 collieries throughout the 19th C.
The Dundas Aqueduct was built in 1804 and is one of the most well known features of the canal.
It is best viewed from the valley below to appreciate its full beauty and architecture.
West of Claverton Road bridge is the American Museum in Britain, housed in a manor built in 1820. The museum houses American decorative arts from the late 17C to the mid 19C.
Claverton Pumping station to the east of the canal has a waterwheel pump which is the only one of its kind on British canals. The pumping station is run by volunteers and is open every weekend during the season.
Cruising into Bath is like gliding into Regency Britain.
Bath was first developed as a spa town by the Romans because of its natural warm springs.
There are extensive Roman buildings to be seen, the Roman Baths are in the heart of the city which is a World heritage Site.
The fantastic sweeping architecture of the Royal Crescent built around 1770 and the Circus which dates from 1760 have to be seen. In the Royal Crescent is the Jane Austen centre- a tribute to Bath's famous resident.
The Thermae Bath Spa the only place in the UK where you can bathe in natural warm waters.
Bath Abbey in also in the centre of the city, it was established in 1499, and is famous for its fan vaulted ceiling, also it has interesting memorials to the vast range of people who in times gone by have died in Bath.
Georgian buildings line the Canal past Sydney Gardens, as the Canal enters an ornamental tunnel , Cleveland House is above, the old canal company's HQ. A trap-door in the tunnel roof was employed to exchange paperwork between clerks above and barges below
There are useful shops west of Bridge 188.
The six locks take the canal down through Bath , locks 8/9 were combined to make one deep lock with a fall of over 19 ft, making it one of the deepest locks on the Waterways. All the locks are accompanied by weirs, so boaters should take care turning into the lock cuts and avoid the weir channels.
Most of the bridges over the canal are also listed buildings.
The canal joins the River Avon immediately below Bottom Lock 7. The junction (and moorings to the north) are the best point to access Bath. When mooring on the river allow enough slack in the mooring ropes , and in locks hold the boat by the ropes as well as there is a strong flow of current in these large locks. The River Avon is usually only tidal to Hanham which you will not reach on this trip.
There are also good moorings east of Churchill Road bridges , near a supermarket.
There is a lot of new development going on here , with new flats being built with fine river views.
Weston Lock is on the outskirts of Bath, the Locksbrook Inn is a fine Canalside gastro pub just before the lock.
The Boathouse Pub is just west of New Bridge, another large gastro pub. The canal now enters open countryside passing Kelston park to the right.
Saltford is soon reached , Best access for visiting the town is by Kelston Lock where mooring is possible. The Riverside Inn is Canalside and the Jolly sailor by Saltford lock. You can get supplies in the town.
It is just under 6 hours to here from the Avoncliff Aqueduct.
Cruise the 6.75 hours back to Bradford on Avon and enjoy the fine Regency buildings in Bath once again
NB: This route has been provided as a guide only. Information may become inaccurate or out of date. You should always check with the marina that the route is possible within your time frame, current weather conditions and canal stoppages etc.
Maps and Guides
Pubs available on this canal route:-
|Pub Name||Pub Address||Distance from Bradford-on-Avon||More Info|
|The Locksbrook Inn||BA1 3EN||Full Details|
|George Inn||BA2 6TR||5.63 Miles||Full Details|
|The Boathouse||Newbridge Road, Bath BA1 3NB||8.36 Miles||Full Details|
|Riverside Inn||BS31 3EZ||10.23 Miles||Full Details|
|Bird In Hand||High Street, Saltford BS31 3EJ||10.51 Miles||Full Details|
NB: Distances are as the crow flies and will vary for actual canal boating travel distance.