BATH AND THE BREATHTAKING CAEN LOCKS
You can do this route from :
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, just an hour from Hilperton, offers a very pleasant stopping point. Weavers' cottages cling 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.
This route takes you to the bottom of the spectacular Caen Hill flight of Locks (does not include this flight, but you can walk up it to the lovely Cafe at the top!!).
If you have all your provisions you can begin your journey. If not if you walk back along the towpath
to Hilperton Road bridge 166, there is a convenient stores here.
Just an hour from Hilperton you reach the medieval town of Bradford on Avon . Here you will come across your first lock. With good moorings below the lock (and a choice of canalside hostelries) you can walk up to the lock and watch a few boats go through to gain confidence before you go through yourself. Being a wide beam canal, the locks take two narrowboats, so you can share the experience, and effort, with another boat.
It is 1 hours cruising from Hilperton to here so an ideal place for your 1st night.
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.
The River Avon rushes along beside the canal, Avoncliff is a nice place to stop with its tearoom and pub overlooking the river. 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.
Bathampton & Bathwick are on the outskirts of Bath, turnaround just after the Cleveland House Tunnel, or if you boat is under 50 foot long, you can turn a bit further along after Sydney Wharf Bridge 188.
Mooring here puts you in line with the rooftops of the city and an enjoyable walk away from the city centre.
Cruising into Bath is like gliding into Regency Britain.
(Cruising time 3.5 hours)
Cruise back past Hilperton Marina .
The canal sweeps through undulating woodland and arable farmland past the rural village of Semington through a series of swing bridges which are something of a hallmark of this section of canal.
There are 2 locks at Semington and a swing bridge, it is a very pretty village & best access is just before the lock.
As well as the many swing bridges around Seend there are 5 locks to navigate, luckily there are plentiful moorings at the ever-popular Seend Cleeve and close by pubs and quiet countryside to please the eye and fill the stomach. There is the Brewery Inn 200 yds south of Lock 19 and the Barge Inn by Lock 19. The Three magpies pub in Seend Cleeve has good quality food, nice beer garden and good ales- it is 200 yds south of Sells green bridge.
The hills to the south climb steeply up to the village of Seend and to the north flat pasture land stretches away.
Moor by Sells Green bridge 149 for the night as the Three Magpies pub is quite handy, just walk up the lane to your left by the bridge.
It is 8.5 hours cruising to here
Cruise the mile or so to Lower Foxhangers Bridge and then you reach the beginning of the Foxhangers Locks, so rather than go through them all to get to the bottom of the Caen Locks, just walk the 1/2 mile up the towpath.
You can then get photos of the boats making their way up this fantastic flight of locks, which is a marvellous feat of engineering.
Its about 5.5 hours back to the marina, so take yor time. You could even walk up the Caen Locks because at the top is a lovely cafe, so you can treat yourelf to a cream tea!!
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
Sorry, we have no pub guide for this route currently.