HUNGERFORD AND RETURN FROM HILPERTON
You can do this route from :
Cruise to the charming historic market town of Devizes through the fantastic Caen Hill flight of locks- 29 wide beam locks in just 2.25 miles to the pretty village of Pewsey, and the lovely Berkshire town of Hungerford.
An energetic 7 day cruise with lots of locks!
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
Pass Hilperton marina on your right, then you know you are going in the right direction to Devizes!
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.
Moor up here for the night it is 1 hour cruising from the marina.
36 locks today which includes the fantastic Caen Hill flight of 29 locks in just 2.25 miles.
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.
At Lower Foxhangers the first of 7 locks is reached which takes you to the bottom of the flight of 16 Caen Locks.
It is worth mooring up near here & take some photos of these fantastic locks as they really are quite a sight.
At the top of the locks is a cafe if you are in need of refreshment after the climb up the hill through the locks. The views from the top are well worth the effort, with views over Salisbury Plain to the south and the Avon Valley to the west charting the route taken from Bath.
You soon reach Devizes & there are moorings by Devizes Wharf. Stock up on supplies here as there are no towns until you get to Pewsey & Hungerford.
It is 9.5 hours to here
Devizes itself has the atmosphere of an old country market town. Handsome 18th century buildings now surround the square.
Devizes museum has one of the finest prehistoric collections in Europe including the Stourhead collection of relics excavated from burial mounds on Salisbury Plain.
Devizes visitor centre is home to an interactive exhibition introducing visitors to the medieval origins of the town.
Wharf Theatre is canalside and hosts a variety of performances throughout the year.
There are the usual pubs, restaurants, take-aways. Shops and a cinema in the town.
The battle of Roundway was fought near here in 1643 between the Roundheads and the Royalists and the Roundheads were all killed or captures. The battlefield is largely intact & can be explored on foot.
From Devizes wharf you set off again, with not such an energetic day as yesterday!
As you leave Devizes the route is lock free as you cruise through rural surroundings, the village of Bishops Cannings is accessed from Bridge 133 with a pub in the village, and All Cannings from bridge 128 where there is a small shop & pub. More small villages are passed but there is hardly any habitation canalside as you pass through the Vale of Pewsey. A miniature suspension bridge carries a private footpath from Stowell Park across the canal, as is the only surviving example of its kind. Stowell park House was built in the early 19 century, and can be clearly seen from the canal.
The Barge Inn is canalside in Honeystreet before bridge 124. Beyond the village to the north can be seen the white horse cut into the hill in 1812.
At Wilcot bridge 117 you can get to the small village of Wilcot where the Golden Swan Pub stands beyond the green at the far end of the village. A one handed ghost is said to haunt this pub.
Pewsey Wharf is a mile from the town centre but has a pub canalside. There are shops in the town which can be accessed to the north of Bridge 114. To the north, hills descend to the waters edge and to the south the land opens out, giving fine views over the Vale of Pewsey. Beyond Pewsey the 15 mile lock free stretch finishes at Wootton Rivers.
The pretty thatched timber framed houses in the village of Wootton Rivers lie to the north of Wootton Rivers Bottom Lock. The Royal oak is in the village. Before Bruce Tunnel the banks rise steeply on both banks, the tunnel has chains which were used to pull the boats through in the days of horse drawn boats.
The scenery is to be enjoyed for the laid back uneventful nature of the area, this section on the run to Hungerford still provides villages to stock up on essentials and occasional pubs to relax in, and rural farming and the woodland scenery of Savernake Forests to the north over low rises keeps the eyes busy.
You now have 7 more locks to keep you busy, but the end is nearly in sight, because you can moor just after Lock 61 at the end of the flight, the canal has risen 61 feet through the Crofton Locks .
It is 9 hours cruising to here.
There is a footpath south of lock 60 for ½ mile beside Wilton Water, leading to the village of Wilton. The Swan Inn is in the village. A bit further on along the footpath is Wilton Windmill which is the only working windmill in Wessex and still produces wholemeal, stone-ground flour . They are open every year from Easter to the end of September on Sundays and Bank Holidays from 2pm to 5pm when the windmill building is open for guided tours. The shepherd’s hut shop, serving refreshments and gifts and providing a seating area, is also open at this time, as are the toilets. Their
You can also access the village from the track to the south of the bridge 100 just after Lock 61.
Crofton Pumping station is a Grade 1 building built in 1807 to provide water to the summit of the canal. It houses 2 magnificent Cornish steam-driven engines, one of which is 200 years old, and is the oldest beam engine in the world. It is open every day 10.30 to 5 between March 10 to October 7 for a charge. There is also a cafe here. Their website is www.croftonbeamengines.org
After starting today you will have another lock to negotiate and then shortly afterwards another before Beech Grove Bridge.
The village of Great Bedwyn is to the north of Bedwyn Wharf bridge, the main street climbs gently away from the canal, the pubs are at the top. There are small stores here for supplies. Also here was the Bedwyn Stone museum which housed a collection of stone work showing the work of 7 generations of stone masons but it sadly closed in 2009, but examples can still be found on the walls of the Post office stores next door.
Just before Hungerford is the small village of Froxfield by bridge 90 , the Pelican Inn is a few minutes walk from the canal.
On reaching Hungerford turn just after bridge 84 and moor up for the night.
Hungerford is a clean and character rich market town and a welcome opportunity to relax in an urban environment thanks to superb mooring facilities in the centre of town, enjoy the many family run shops and nice food and ale at the many pubs or tearooms on offer here. As you would expect from a popular Wiltshire town there is a variety of different types of pubs and restaurants.
The handsome Hungerford Town Bridge gives easy access to the centre of the town which is set out along a wide main street.
It is 5.25 hours to here.
It is 24.75 hours back to Hilperton, so 8 hours cruising a day
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 Kings Arms||Wyke Road, Trowbridge BA14 7NZ||0.10 Miles||Full Details|
|The Brewery Inn||Seend Cleeve, Seend SN12 6PX||4.41 Miles||Full Details|
|The Three Magpies||Sells Green, Seend SN12 6RN||5.75 Miles||Full Details|
|The Bear Hotel||Market Place, Devizes SN10 1HS||8.95 Miles||Full Details|
|The Black Horse||Bath Road, Devizes SN10 2AU||8.42 Miles||Full Details|
|The Hourglass||Horton Avenue, Devizes SN10 2RH||10.32 Miles||Full Details|
|The Bridge Inn||Horton Road, Devizes SN10 2JS||11.27 Miles||Full Details|
|The Kings Arms||The Street, All Cannings, Devizes SN10 3PA||13.16 Miles||Full Details|
|The Barge Inn||Honey Street, Pewsey SN9 5PS||15.13 Miles||Full Details|
|The Golden Swan||Wilcot, Pewsey SN9 5NN||17.57 Miles||Full Details|
|The Crown Inn||60 Wilcot Road, Pewsey SN9 5NN||17.57 Miles||Full Details|
|The French Horn||Marlborough Road, Pewsey SN9 5NT||18.46 Miles||Full Details|
|The Waterfront||Pewsey Wharf, Marlborough Road, Pewsey SN9 5NU||18.65 Miles||Full Details|
|The Royal Oak||Wootton Rivers, Marlborough SN8 4NQ||21.05 Miles||Full Details|
|The Cross Keys||16 High Street, Great Bedwyn, Marlborough SN8 3NU||26.09 Miles||Full Details|
|The Pelican||Froxfield, Marlborough SN8 3JY||27.66 Miles||Full Details|
|The Railway Tavern||Station Road, Hungerford RG17 0DY||30.37 Miles||Full Details|
|The John O Gaunt||21 Bridge Street, Hungerford RG17 0EH||30.26 Miles||Full Details|
NB: Distances are as the crow flies and will vary for actual canal boating travel distance.