Walking the Kennet and Avon Canal         Day 9: Sunday 14th September 2008

MAP     use maps.google.co.uk     open kml file (?Google Earth)

 
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REAL TIME COMMENTS
time grid ref comments
1 1058 ST826606 I think it's going to get warm but at the moment it's still a bit misty and chilly.
2 1100 ST825602 I've got back to the canal (at Bradford Lock).
3 1206 ST803601 Avoncliff Aqueduct is impressive. Towpath is busy and noisy.
4 1213 ST803601 Everett, as you say, it's very pretty around here.
5 1435 ST782621 Again attempted to go to a pub that is no more. Went to a cafe instead and had a bottle of 6X and Ham, Egg and Chips.
6 1635 ST756643 In Bath, at the first of 6 locks that take the canal down 64 feet.
7 1705 ST753643 Cue fanfare! I've got to the other end of the K and A Canal. Yippee! Holiday over. Bummer!

TRAVEL PLANS
Radley        0911,0924,1011
Didcot        0920,0949,1020
Didcot        0930,     1030,1130
replacement bus
Swindon       1020,     1120,1220
Swindon  0940,1040,     1159,1257
Bath     1005,1105,     1224,1322
Bath     1022,1127,1222,1327,1357
BrOAvon  1037,1139,1237,1339,1414

Bath     1517,1634,1717,1817
Swindon  1545,1705,1747,1845
Swindon  1600,1710,1800,1910
Didcot   1650,1800,1850,2000
Didcot   1709,1809,1909,2009
Radley   1717,1820,1917,2017

Bath     1530,1625,1730,1759
BrOAvon  1541,1640,1741,1815

R-Br Advance  7.00
R-Br S/C     26.00
B-R  S/C     13.00
B-R  Open    19.60
B-Br S/C      4.40
R-Br Open     3.40

drive to Swindon
Abingdon dep 0810
Swindon  arr 0910
Car park arr 0920
Car park dep 0925
SRS      arr 0930

car park     1.80
OPR S-Br    11.20
total       13.00
DIARY OF TODAY'S WALK

Use this link to see the photos for today.

Click on the middle of the photo to get the title of the photo. The photos together with the titles give a sort-of-diary for today.

That's it. I hope you enjoyed the trip. I certainly did. If you did, please e-mail me to let me know. And, if you are one of the boat people I met whilst walking, then thanks again for your company. Please let me know you visited these web pages. You can contact me by e-mailing barry.cornelius@oucs.ox.ac.uk. Thanks.

   
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PREVIEW OF TODAY'S WALK

It's the last day. The weather forecast says that there may be early mist and fog patches but these will disperse during the morning and then on the whole it will be a dry day with bright or sunny spells. ... Maximum temperature 19 degrees C.

Today, I'm walking just over 9 miles from Bradford on Avon to Bath. As you can see from the map, the canal meanders a bit: it's a lot quicker as the crow flys.

There's a replacement bus service today for the rail service between Didcot and Swindon. I'm a bit unhappy concerning the 10 minute and the 20 minute connections. So I think I'll drive to Swindon. I should do it in under an hour and it'll cost 1.80 UKP to park in a long stay near to the railway station. (I think the car park at the railway station is about twice the cost.)

There's a lot on offer today: Bradford Lock, Avoncliff Aqueduct, Dundas Aqueduct, Somersetshire Coal Channel, Claverton Pumping Station, Sydney Gardens Tunnel, Cleveland Tunnel, six locks from Bath Top Lock down to Bath Bottom Lock, including the deepest on the canal (Bath Deep Lock at 19'5"), and finishing with the junction of the Canal with the River Avon.

The walk first returns the 0.3 mile from Bradford Railway Station to the canal at Bradford Lock. It's about 0.5 mile from there to Bradford Swing Bridge. This is what it looked like in 1977:
ST8160 : Bradford Swing Bridge, Kennet and Avon Canal by Dr Neil Clifton
Bradford Swing Bridge, Kennet and Avon Canal
  © Copyright Dr Neil Clifton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

And then it's just under a mile to the first of today's aqueducts: this first one is at Avoncliff:
ST8059 : Kennet & Avon Canal on Avoncliff Aqueduct by P L Chadwick
Kennet & Avon Canal on Avoncliff Aqueduct
  © Copyright P L Chadwick and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The canal then passes Limpley Stoke. Wikipedia says that it has two pubs, one of which, The Hop Pole, was used in the filming of The Remains of the Day with Anthony Hopkins. It also says that Limpley Stoke's railway station (now closed) was the junction station for the former branch line to Camerton, Somerset, on which The Titfield Thunderbolt was filmed.
ST7861 : Kennet and Avon Canal, Limpley Stoke: canal bed under repair by Dr Neil Clifton
Kennet and Avon Canal, Limpley Stoke: canal bed under repair
  © Copyright Dr Neil Clifton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Then the canal crosses the River Avon and the railway by means of Dundas Aqueduct:
ST7862 : Dundas Aqueduct by Martin Clark
Dundas Aqueduct
  © Copyright Martin Clark and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Immediately at the western end of Dundas Aqueduct, there is the junction with the Somersetshire Coal Canal. According to the Pearson Canal Companion, the Somersetshire Coal Canal was built to carry coal from the colleries located south of Bath. From Dundas it ran two miles to Midford where it divided, one arm extending to Radstock and the other to Paulton.
ST7862 : Somerset Coal Canal viewed from Canal Basin by Betty Longbottom
Somerset Coal Canal viewed from Canal Basin
  © Copyright Betty Longbottom and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The Milbrook Swing Bridge is about 0.5 miles north of the junction with the SCC. This is what it looked like before restoration:
ST7863 : Kennet and Avon Canal: Milbrook Swing Bridge by Dr Neil Clifton
Kennet and Avon Canal: Milbrook Swing Bridge
  © Copyright Dr Neil Clifton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

And here is a more recent photo:
ST7863 : Kennet & Avon Canal, Milbrook Swing Bridge by Pierre Terre
Kennet & Avon Canal, Milbrook Swing Bridge
  © Copyright Pierre Terre and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

It's about 0.5 mile from Milbrook Swing Bridge to the pumping station at Claverton. A publicity leaflet produced by the K&A Canal Trust says that the pumping station is capable of pumping up to 100000 gallons [of water] an hour from the ruver Avon into the canal 48 feet above it. The pump is operated by a giant waterwheel driven by the water itself. The pump and waterwheel worked continuously for some 140 years until 1952, when a log trapped in the waterwheel caused some of the wooden teeth on the 16 foot pitwheeel to be torn off.

The Wikipedia page for the pumping station says that water is diverted from the river [Avon] by Warleigh Weir, about 200 yd (180 m) upstream. The water flows down a leat to the pumping station, where it powers a water wheel, 24 ft (7.3 m) wide and 17 ft (5.2 m) in diameter, with 48 wooden slats. ... Each pump stroke raises 50 imperial gallons (230 litres) of water to the canal.

The Pearson Canal Companion explains that whilst electric pumps do most of the work nowadays, the water-wheels perform their ancient rites on special days to an admiring public.

And one of those days is today. So that'll be a treat.

It's about 1.75 miles from the pumping station to Bathampton. There seem to be about three pubs at Bathampton. That may be where I'll be getting lunch today.

And then it's about another 0.5 miles to Candy's Bridge:
ST7666 : Waterbus at Candy's Bridge, Kennet and Avon Canal by Dr Neil Clifton
Waterbus at Candy's Bridge, Kennet and Avon Canal
  © Copyright Dr Neil Clifton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Things go quiet for about a mile. Then there are a couple of short tunnels. Here's one of them:
ST7565 : Tunnel entrance, Bath by Roger Cornfoot
Tunnel entrance, Bath
  © Copyright Roger Cornfoot and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The canal will soon end and join the River Avon. The end is not far from here. However, the canal does not wimper out. Instead, within its last 0.5 miles, there are six aggressive locks. There's Bath Top Lock (9'0"), Pulteney Lock (9'5") and Abbey View Lock (9'0"). Here's a photo of Abbey View Lock:
ST7564 : Abbey View Lock, Kennet and Avon Canal by Pierre Terre
Abbey View Lock, Kennet and Avon Canal
  © Copyright Pierre Terre and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Then there's Wash House Lock (8'6") and Bath Deep Lock (19'5"). That is so deep. It used to be the deepest in the UK, but Tuel Lane Lock (at 19'8.5") on the Rochdale Canal now holds that honour. Here's a photo from below Bath Deep Lock:
ST7564 : Below Bath Deep Lock, Kennet and Avon Canal by Pierre Terre
Below Bath Deep Lock, Kennet and Avon Canal
  © Copyright Pierre Terre and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Here's a photo of an old GWR sign besides Pulteney Road:
ST7564 : Old GWR Canal Bridge Sign, Pulteney Road by mark harrington
Old GWR Canal Bridge Sign, Pulteney Road
  © Copyright mark harrington and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

There's one more lock which is Bath Bottom Lock (9'3") and then my journey ends. It ends where the Canal joins the River Avon:
ST7564 : Start of Kennet and Avon Canal by Derek Harper
Start of Kennet and Avon Canal
  © Copyright Derek Harper and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

   
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