Passing through Staverton, just north of Trowbridge, this world-famous canal stretches for 87 miles between Reading and Bristol, and has lots for history buffs, and also nature lovers – its length is home to over 100 recorded species of birds. Making its way through the glorious Wiltshire countryside, its towpath is ideal for walkers and cyclists staying in the area. Visitors can walk or cycle to Bradford-on-Avon, just under four miles’ walk along the canal towpath from Trowbridge. This peaceful stretch of the canal is mostly rural, so look out for herons amongst other waterfowl, or maybe take a turn off the towpath and enjoy the lovely woodlands around Widbrook.
Be sure to give yourself time to enjoy the beautiful Anglo-Saxon town of Bradford-on-Avon (if you’d like to get out on the water yourself, canoes can be hired from https://www.towpathtrail.co.uk/ or why not take a leisurely cruise on the Barbara McLellan https://bmac.katrust.org.uk.) After exploring the town and maybe spending time in one of the town’s pubs, restaurants or cafes, why not grab the train back to Trowbridge. With regular services every hour (weekend and Bank Holiday timetables may vary), the journey only takes a matter of minutes. Link Boa explore.
If you want to continue further along the canal, why not walk a mile-and-a-half further to Avoncliff, where you can admire the aqueduct (which collapsed soon after its construction in the early 19th century due to the qualities of the stone used – don’t worry, it’s remained perfectly safe for the past 200 years!) – you can catch the train back to Trowbridge from the charming little halt – and keep an eye open for the ‘lady on the roof’, a mannequin whose owners dress her to suit the seasons. …. link Cross guns website. The Cross Guns pub near the aqueduct is one of the most popular spots along this stretch of the canal, with its terraced beer garden affording wonderful views of the River Avon and the aqueduct itself. The pub serves food which is renowned throughout the area, and you can choose from its range of local ales and ciders for a true taste of the West Country.
You can also walk or cycle to Bath (approximately 12 miles). This beautiful World Heritage city is a must-visit for many visitors to the West Country and, indeed, the UK itself. With the famous Roman Baths, its beautiful Abbey, Thermae Spa (be sure to find out about their Twilight Package – a relaxing end to a day’s exploring), it’s not hard to see why the city is such a popular tourist destination. Bath is home to more bars and restaurants than you could hope for, making it a foodie paradise. Link Visit Bath website.
Heading east along the canal, you’ll find the lovely market town of Devizes. Just before you reach the town along the towpath, you can’t miss the Caen Hill Flight. This hill has a series of 29 locks, installed to negotiate a rise of 237 feet over approximately two miles, and was the last major engineering project undertaken on the canal prior to its opening in 1810. Full of independent shops, listed buildings and a thriving Thursday market, the town is also home to Wadworths brewery – be sure to try a pint of the famous 6X bitter.
Nearer to Trowbridge, why not walk to the village of Staverton and have a traditional pub lunch at the Old Bear Inn? If you’re visiting the area over the weekend, the Sunday carvery is not to be missed (please note, bookings are advised).
You’re sure to be able to find out more by visiting the K&A website.