CAEN AND RETURN FROM HILPERTON
You can do this route from :
Lovely country route along the Kennet & Avon Canal including a visit to the historic unspoilt town of Bradford on Avon & 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!!).
Once seen, never forgotten, Bradford on Avon is an architectural treasure chest. Its ranks of dwellings, from tiny weavers' cottages to grand clothiers' houses; handsome public buildings and places of worship and its ancient alleyways and modern estates, reflect the town's development from Iron Age settlement to 21st century working town.
Read our cruising notes to help you plan your canal boat holidayRead our cruising notes.
You are on the outskirts of the delightful town of Trowbridge, the county town of Wiltshire, it is one of the three largest towns in Wiltshire.
The town's lengthy history is recorded in the museum, which tells the fascinating story of Trowbridge's people and past. The museum has also won the Association of Industrial Archaeologists award for 'best site visited' in 2008 & it is located in the last woollen mill in Trowbridge, which closed its doors as a mill in 1982. The fascinating collections in the Trowbridge Museum are accessed via The Shires Shopping Centre - built on the site of part of the woollen mill and home to a diverse selection of more than 50 shops all on one level and undercover
Just an hour from Hilperton you reach the medieval town of Bradford on Avon (left from the marina towards Bath). 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.
The unspoilt market town of Bradford on Avon is the last outpost of the Cotswolds in the western corner of Wiltshire close to the borders of Somerset.
The magical appeal of the towns position on the banks of the River Avon gives visitors a wonderful setting for leisure, cultural and tourist activities.
Bradford on Avon has delightful shops, restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfasts lining the narrow streets of the town centre. The surrounding hillside is covered with cotswold stone houses and cottages of every shape and size. 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.
There is a winding hole past bridge 173 towards Bristol, so turn around & 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 6 hours cruising to here.
At Lower Foxhangers the first of 7 locks is reached which takes you to the bottom of the Caen Locks.
There is a turning point at the bottom of the locks and it is worth mooring up near here & take some photos of these fantastic locks.
Time to negotiate the 7 locks again at Foxhangers and make your way back to Hilperton.
It is 8 hours cruising back to the marina, but you can moor at Semington by the Wharf & walk into the village from there.
7 hours cruising to Semington
It is 1 hours cruising back to the marina from Semington
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 Hilperton||More Info|
|The Bear Hotel||Market Place, Devizes SN10 1HS||Full Details|
|The Brewery Inn||Seend Cleeve, Seend SN12 6PX||Full Details|
|The Hourglass||Horton Avenue, Devizes SN10 2RH||Full Details|
|The Kings Arms||The Street, All Cannings, Devizes SN10 3PA||Full Details|
|The Kings Arms||Wyke Road, Trowbridge BA14 7NZ||Full Details|
|The Barge Inn||Seend Cleve, Seend SN12 6QB||Full Details|
|The Black Horse||Bath Road, Devizes SN10 2AU||Full Details|
|The Bridge Inn||Horton Road, Devizes SN10 2JS||Full Details|
|The Three Magpies||Sells Green, Seend SN12 6RN||Full Details|
NB: Distances are as the crow flies and will vary for actual canal boating travel distance.