Short
Breaks

Bath and return from Hilperton Marina

3 - 4 Nights
TOTAL LOCKS: 14
CRUISING TIME PER DAY: 7 HOURS (9 HOURS IN TOTAL)

Hilperton to Bath – through Bradford on Avon, over Avoncliff & Dundas Aqueducts and back.

A journey quietly shadowing the River Avon, crossing historic aqueducts and cruising waters lined with distinctive local stone that grips your anticipation as you make your way towards the charismatic city of Bath.

Setting off from Hilperton Marina, the outskirts of Trowbridge are left behind as the canal crosses the Avon valley and railway below over two consecutive aqueducts – Ladydown Aqueduct and Biss Aqueduct. It’s then a short gentle cruise through open countryside before you arrive on the edge of Bradford on Avon.

The canal rounds a long bend and passes a long stretch of moored boats on the approach to Bradford Lock. This is a busy wharf area with convenient teashop and pubs opposite and below the lock, so expect a few happy gongoozlers watching you work through the lock. Bradford on Avon, sometimes described as a miniature Bath, is built in terraces on the hillside overlooking the Avon valley. The town was once a thriving centre for weaving, and the banks of the river through the town are lined with former warehouses, mostly now converted into modern flats. 

Just beyond the lock, the canalside medieval Tithe Barn is surrounded by artists’ studios, galleries, shops and a tearoom. 168ft long with timber cruck roof, this awesome barn was built in the early 14th century, and is one of the finest examples in the UK of a monastic stone barn.

The canal follows the tree-lined river Avon below for the next mile or so along a popular mooring stretch, before the views open up as you approach Avoncliff Aqueduct, where the canal takes a sharp turn to the right. Avoncliff Aqueduct, designed and built by John Rennie and his chief engineer John Thomas, is an architectural gem, and the cluster of buildings around the aqueduct include a pub and tearoom.

Beyond the aqueduct, the canal is bordered by the trees of Conkwell Wood, allowing fleeting glimpses of the Avon valley and fields of sheep to your left. Dundas Aqueduct again carries the Kennet & Avon Canal over the river Avon and railway below. The aqueduct is a monumental work of classical art built in 1804 with John Rennie’s distinctive mix of architecture and engineering Look out for the carved signatures of stonemasons who worked on the aqueduct. 

At its end, the former Somersetshire Coal Canal heads off to the left. This is now a short mooring stretch with Canal Visitor Centre, café and restaurant.

The tree-lined canal soon passes Claverton Pumping Station, worth a diversion down from the canal and over the railway alongside. It used to pump water up from the river to the canal and, restored by the volunteers, can still be seen working on special ‘Pumping Days’.

Shortly beyond Claverton, the canal veers round to the west as it heads into Bathampton, passing the George pub and popular moorings. The George is a vision of Olde England in a building which was once a 12th-century monastery, and is packed with character including priest holes, low ceilings and creaking beams. 

The next mile towards the city of Bath is high above the valley as you pass long lines of moored boats and the encroaching sound of the busy A4 below. The canal enters a tighter cutting as it sweeps under ornate cast-iron bridges through Sydney Gardens and under Cleveland House Tunnel, which used to be the canal company’s headquarters.

Bath’s trademark Georgian houses line the canal, and there are sweeping views over the city from the top lock. The original locks 8 & 9 were merged to create Bath Deep Lock which is one of the deepest on the entire canal network, and the canal finally joins the river Avon at Bath Bottom Lock (no.7). The city lies across the river, and has much to explore with its Royal Crescents, Jane Austen, Roman soldiers, Palladian mansions and Regency houses, and of course chic shopping and choice of places to eat. Once you have had your fill, it’s time to turn the boat and make your way back along this stunning route to Hilperton. 

Featured Boats

Featured Boats from Hilperton Marina, Wiltshire

Two to Five berth Boats

Alvechurch Grebe

Max: 4 People

Length: 47ft

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Alvechurch Heron

Max: 5 People

Length: 58ft

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Alvechurch Bunting

Max: 5 People

Length: 47ft

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Alvechurch Wren

Max: 4 People

Length: 47ft

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Alvechurch Weaver

Max: 4 People

Length: 47ft

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Six to eight berth Boats

Alvechurch Eagle

Max: 7 People

Length: 66ft

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Alvechurch Goose

Max: 8 People

Length: 69ft

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Alvechurch Gull

Max: 6 People

Length: 66ft

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Alvechurch Lark

Max: 6 People

Length: 66ft (63ft from Falkirk)

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Alvechurch Thrush

Max: 6 People

Length: 66ft

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Alvechurch Warbler

Max: 8 People

Length: 69ft

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Up to twelve berth Boats

Alvechurch Owl

Max: 10 People

Length: 70ft

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Alvechurch Swan

Max: 12 People

Length: 70ft

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