The day in began in thick icy fog, but the Met Office promised sunshine later so after a lovely early morning session at a local day spa, I headed out. My plan was for a figure of eight walk, beginning and ending in Bradford-on-Avon (BOA). I had purchased a walking book, and found a lovely route which would take in the River Avon, the Kennet and Avon Canal and some of the countryside above them both. The walk was to begin beside the river, but first I had to capture some of the frost.

I stayed beside the river, walking through thick mud as well as fog. At one point I think I had 3 inch mud heels! It wasn’t long before I was beside my first piece of incredible canal architecture – Avoncliff Aqueduct, now more than 220 years old. It was built by John Rennie, the Scottish civil engineer. It crosses both the river and railway.

Within minutes of leaving Avoncliff Aqueduct, the sun broke through and I decided I wouldn’t do a figure of eight walk afterall, instead I would enjoy a simple circular walk. The sunshine on the canal was too good to leave, plus I knew the tow path would be much easier to walk on than the muddy fields.

I enjoyed a narrowboat holiday on this canal in 1993, only three years after it reopened after extensive renovation work by volunteers. Back then there were only a few boats on the canal, but these days it is a really popular canal for leisure breaks and also permanent mooring. I was pleased though there were some stretches where I was completely alone apart from kingfishers, cormorants, swans and multiple robins.

It was beautiful, although there were odd moments when I wish canals had more bends in them. The big bends at Dundas Aqueduct would more than make up for the lack of others. A striking piece of civil engineering, this was the first canal structure to be designated as aΒ Scheduled Ancient Monument. John Rennie designed and built this one too, and it is named after the first chairman of the Kennet and Avon Canal Company. I recall being so proud of myself for executing a perfect 90 degree turn on the narrow boat here in 1993. Not always easy to achieve in a narrow boat and 30 years later much easier on foot.

There are two canals at this point. The other one is the Somerset Coal Canal – a truly narrow canal. In the early 19th century coal from the collieries in north east Somerset came through there en route to London. By the end of the century it has closed, and currently very little of it is now navigable. However if your boat is narrow enough (7ft compared to 13ft on Kennet & Avon) you can enjoy a short stretch from this point.

Dundas Aqueduct is also the point at which I was meant to head away from the canal, into the surrounding hills and make my way back to Bradford on Avon. However I got sidetracked by the towpath. It switches from one side to another here, as it is an over rather than under switch it meant I got to look down upon the canal.

And of course once I switched sides, and spotted it was only now a few miles to Bath I had to keep going.

The Kennet and Avon Canal is 87 miles in length, but not all of it is canal. The sections from Bath to Bristol and from Newbury to Reading are navigable river. There are 105 locks, including an amazing flight (Caen Hill locks) at Devizes but no locks along the stretch I was walking on this day. There were a couple of swing bridges though, and of course lots of sections where a road went over us.

The final section from Bathampton into Bath I have to admit my feet were feeling weary, and I was beginning to lose interest in my surroundings. Not helped by the fact the towpath was suddenly very busy. Bathampton is a quaint village with lots of pubs, and only 2 miles from Bath. My destination was around the corner, and I couldn’t wait. The canal was looking rather lovely in Bath in the late afternoon light.

The photographs above are the point at which I left the canal, as there was a train to catch back to my starting point. Before I could get to the railway station however there were crowds to avoid and a few Bath landmarks to negotiate.

It was a fabulous walk, and knowing that Bath would be on my doorstep has helped make BOA an almost certainty for being my new home. Lots though still to happen before a move including a major anniversary to survive in five weeks. But if the move to BOA does happen, maybe one day, I might walk to Bristol, or back the other way by boat (or foot) through the Vale of Pewsey, up Caen Hill Locks and on to Reading, the place of my birth. Now that would be an epic Monday Walk.

PS The title is six which is why I’m hoping I can sneak this in as a Six Word Saturday!

73 thoughts

  1. Lovely walk Becky. That’s a great part of the country. I lived in Bath for three years and enjoyed getting out into the countryside around there. I think you’d like living there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh didn’t realise you’d lived in Bath. You’re so right about the surrounding countryside and thanks for the encouragement. It’s such a big decision, so I really appreciate the support

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Creative shots of the hoar frost. Idyllic times you have had exploring the Cotswolds. It’s such a picturesque area of the UK, we loved the people and homes we housesat not forgetting the interesting walks. Enjoyable post, Becky.

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      1. I know, I just wish I had more time but sadly finances are such I have to do this sooner than I want. However at same time the change will help me.

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  3. The pictures are just stellar, and what a switch from the misty fog to the stunning blue skies. With only 2 k. Left you could have stopped for a pint! I’ve seen those locks at Devizes, and they are quite something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was an incredible switch, and you are so right about stopping for a pint. I did consider it but my feet were so tired I was worried they’d never let me leave the pub!

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      1. We did look into doing one from Manchester but the cost was exorbitant. We could have afforded it but decided the money was better spent on other experiences. Perhaps the answer is to do it with friends and share the cost.

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      2. yeah they can be very pricey. I’ve been lucky as I first went when it wasn’t that popular, and then subsequent visits were on a friend’s boat. I think sharing with friends is definitely the way to go

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  4. Oh, Becky, Bradford-on-Avon looks like a delightful place to call home with all that beautiful scenery to walk past and through. It’s a stark contrast to the view I have each day but I was thinking of you yesterday when I was walking in the rain and feeling all those benefits I read about thanx to a link in one of your posts. I am looking forward to all the other benefits that come with walking in the colder weather that will be here in a few months as I’m sure you are looking forward to warmer weather. Love and hugs from down under.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Clare, really appreciate your support and thoughts. Glad you enjoyed walking in the rain! Love how we both look forward to the changing seasons πŸ™Œ

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nothing like thinking on your feet! At least two changes of plan there, you impetuous creature. And what a contrast in the weather at the beginning compared to the lovely sun later. I wondered when I saw your pics on Twitter if this was connected with house hunting. It does look a lovely place to be.

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  6. A lovely walk Becky, I like walking along tow paths, for one thing they tend to be flat! And peaceful. It did look rather a chilly start though so I admire your fortitude to continue, I might have scuttled off to a cosy tea room! It is nice around BOA but I did find it quite busy around that area when I drove through on our way back from Lacock to Wells a couple of years ago. I suppose a lot of traffic around there is heading to and from the M4. Devizes is a place I’d like to visit. The locks there are amazing! Doing that route on a narrowboat would be fun. In fact living on a narrowboat would be fun too! Just a thought… πŸ€”

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    1. Yes BOA is best avoided if travelling by car – if on foot, boat or train it’s okay πŸ˜‰

      Devizes is an interesting place, and that flight is fun but hard work!!

      Yeah I quite like thought of a widebirth boat. Think a true narrow might be too narrow!!

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  7. What a beautiful walk, and I admire you for making it all the way to Bath! I love that city and also Bradford on Avon, although I’ve not been to the latter for years. I once spent four weeks living there during a uni work placement and really fell for the place and its surroundings πŸ™‚ I can see it could be a perfect place for you to live – quiet but not isolated, beautiful countryside and lots of great walks.

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  8. What a wonderful walk, Becky! Fog, frost, then glorious sun, fabulous canal and boats, what more to love? I think BOA would definitely be a good move for you

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  9. What an amazing walk you accomplished with such beautiful photos to remember it by until the next time!

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  10. A marvellous walk, and yours, like mine, began in fog – in a good way. I enjoyed every step of this journey with you, because I sensed that you too were able to relish it fully. I’m thinking that BOA could be a very good move for you. Hope your new home, when you find it, will have a room for a guest, because I think there might be a queue of us wanting to visit you πŸ˜‰

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    1. You’re right Margaret I did relish it. An extremely rare feeling these days, so it really helped me. And don’t worry there’ll definitely be a spare room πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What a wonderful surprise this morning to find myself walking the towpath alongside you! I loved those first few frosty, foggy images, though I couldn’t help shivering. And then glorious blue skies! Boats, reflections, bridges- all the things that put a smile on my face. But best of all, sharing them with you. Thanks so much, Becky. I hope it all works out.

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    1. I was shivering too πŸ₯Ά but so glad you enjoyed the first part too. And how could I not share with you, it was calling you this walk πŸ€—

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