The Kennet and Avon Canal
The full canal walk and 20 day walks
Guidebook to walking along the Kennet & Avon Canal. The 94 mile route from Reading to Bristol is split into 7 stages of fairly easy walking, and includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bath and Bristol's Floating Harbour. 20 circular walks are also included, ranging from 4¼ to 9 miles, taking in the best sections of the canal.
SeasonsThe canal and walks can be undertaken at any time: summers tend to be fairly dry and mild, spring and autumn offer some of the best walking conditions. In winter some paths can be quite muddy and some routes may be impassable if rivers become flooded - however, walking alongside the canal on a clear, frosty winter's day can be a magical experience.
CentresReading, Newbury, Hungerford, Great Bedwyn, Pewsey, Devizes, Bradford-on-Avon, Bath, Keynsham and Bristol
DifficultyFairly easy walking on mostly good paths and tracks through fairly low-level terrain (below 286m above sea level). The stages on the canal walk range in length from 15.5 to 29.7 km (9¾ to 18½ miles); however, these can be easily split into shorter stages if required. The circular walks range from 6.8 to 14.5 km (4¼ to 9 miles) and include several, sometimes steep, ascents and descents, however, they should be suitable for most walkers.
Must SeeNumerous fascinating features along the canal, such as Crofton Pumping Station, the impressive Caen Hill flight of locks at Devizes, aqueducts at Avoncliff and Dundas; picturesque towns and villages, with pubs, ancient churches; Georgian splendour at Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, vibrant Bristol and its Floating Harbour; the canal travels through an interesting, gentle landscape, ranging from the rolling chalk hills of the North Wessex Downs AONB in the east to the limestone country in the west, touching on the southern edge of the Cotswolds AONB.
This guidebook to walking along the Kennet & Avon Canal covers the 94 mile (152km) route from Reading to Bristol. The canal walk is split into 7 stages of fairly easy, level walking, of between 9.5 and 18.5 miles, with advice on splitting or shortening the stages if needed. The book also includes 20 easy circular walks, ranging from 4.25to 9 miles, taking in the best sections of the canal and visiting sites nearby, making this two guidebooks in one.
Alongside OS map extracts and detailed route descriptions, there are plenty of details on the history, heritage and wildlife encountered along the way. An itinerary planner is included for walkers who want to create longer or shorter stages, and there is useful practical information including details on accessing the walks by public transport and a list of accommodation available along the route. The result is a highly useful and fascinating companion to exploring the canal and its surroundings.
In the early 1800s the Kennet and Avon Canal provided an important direct trade route between London and Bristol. Today the waterway weaves its way through the rolling chalk contours of the North Wessex Downs to the southern edge of the Cotswolds, passing vibrant towns and cities as well as picture-postcard villages with thatched cottages, ancient churches and cosy pubs. Fascinating features - such as Crofton Pumping Station and Beam Engines, the impressive Caen Hill flight of locks at Devizes, the aqueducts at Avoncliff and Dundas, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgian Bath and Bristol's vibrant Floating Harbour - are explored as the canal makes its journey across southern England.
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Steve Davison is a writer and photographer who has written a number of books, including eight guidebooks published by Cicerone. He has also written articles for a range of outdoor magazines and other publications. A keen hill walker for most of his life, with interests in nature, geology and the countryside, Steve is a qualified Mountain Leader and has also previously worked as a part time outdoor education instructor. He has been a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild for a number of years. Find out more about him at www.steve-davison.co.uk.View author profile
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