See historic towns
Kennet Avon Canal
Take a canal boat
Take canal locks
up and down hills
Stop at peaceful
pubs and villages
Four Counties Ring
Base 47 is in rural Wiltshire close to the town of Trowbridge on the Kennet and Avon Canal. It is run by one of the best boat operators in the UK, with a friendly, professional service and a wide range of boats for all size of parties.
Boats are available for short break, week cruises and longer going west to Bath and Bristol or east to the Vale of White Horse, Hungerford, Newbury and Reading.
Bath Top Lock and Return: 24 miles 2 locks 8 hours
The canal passes very close to the city centre and Georgian Bath with its Roman Baths is worth exploration. Moorings at the top lock are a short walk from the centre. The medieval town of Bradford on Avon, just an hour from base, offers a very pleasant stopping point. The splendid Dundas and Avoncliff Aqueducts both take the canal over the River Avon as it follows the river valley to Bath. A further 6 locks each way descend to Bath centre and the famous Pulteney Bridge.
Bradford on Avon and Devizes (bottom lock) and Return: 18 miles 14 locks 10 hours
For an easy weekend to combine cruising and exploring, spend a day in Bradford on Avon and another cruising to the base of the Caen Hill flight of locks at Devizes.
Devizes and Return:
21 miles 72 locks 20 hours
The spectacular Devizes flight consists of 29 wide beam locks, rising by 237 feet over just two miles. The flight opens at 8am each day and navigation must start no later than 2pm to ensure that ascent or descent is completed by dark. Reward yourself after the strenuous rise studying Wadworth & Co, local brewers who still make local deliveries with a shire horse team!
Bristol and Return: 60 miles 28 locks 25 hours
The route includes Bradford on Avon, Bath, Bristol and many more towns and villages on the canal. After Bath the navigation uses the River itself, reverting to canal to divert into Bristol city centre. Museums and waterside features reflect the city's former importance as a sea port - see Brunel's iron steamship SS Great Britain or go hands-on in @Bristol. Visitor moorings are available right in the centre of the city in the Floating Harbour (mooring charges apply).
Hungerford and Return: 70 miles 120 locks 45 hours
Continue further east along the Kennet and Avon Canal to Devizes, this time ascending the Caen Hill flight of 29 locks (timed opening) through the Vale of the White Horse to Pewsey. Beyond Pewsey and through further lush Wiltshire countryside, the highest point of the Kennet and Avon is marked by the 502 yard Bruce Tunnel. The canal then follows close alongside the Great Western main railway line through the Bedwyns - Great & Little - and down to Hungerford. Pass by Savernake Forest, an ancient woodland mentioned in the Domesday Book, and see the Crofton Pump Station with the world's oldest working Beam Engine between Pewsey and Hungerford.
Newbury or Reading and Return: 88/128 miles 140/186 locks 55/81 hours
Beyond Hungerford the canal shares the valley with both the railway and the River Kennet, beginning to use the river course as the navigation. The Kennet & Avon Canal is so central to Newbury that the main shopping street passes directly over it. Perhaps continue to the end of the canal at Reading.
We would not advise first timers to cruise from Worcester to Stratford upon Avon.