The Bogtrotter

Taking the towpath from Bath to Bradford upon Avon

by on Jan.15, 2012, under British Walks, Walks

A beautiful and easy 9 mile walk along the Kennet and Avon canal from the centre of Bath to Bradford upon Avon.

Kennet and Avon Canal

Starting from Bath railway station, turn right out of the main entrance and go through the underpass beneath the station. This comes round to a footbridge that crosses the River Avon. Go across the bridge and turn left, following the road until it crosses the canal. Turn right onto the canal towpath and go up past a couple of locks. As the path levels out and you start to go past the backs of houses you catch glimses of the historic centre of Bath across the valley.

The rest of the route follows the tow-path, so it’s very easy to follow. Although it is all along the canal, the character of the walk evolves as you progress. Starting out you feel you are sneaking through the back streets of Bath, seeing a side of the City that many visitors miss. You go through a tunnel underneath an impressive house that straddles the canal, and after a short way emerge from the City to suddenly find yourself in the countryside.

Bridge over Kennet and Avon Canal

The view over the valley is quite striking as you slowly turn from walking NorthEast to South, following the contour of the valley edge as the river below loops round. The next notable features are the pub and church at Bathampton, ideal for an early stop. After another two miles through the countryside you suddenly appear at Dundas Aqueduct, which carries the canal across the River Avon to the other side of the valley. If you want a break – you can reach a great little cafe by taking the small path along the moorings that provide a side spur off the canal.

Carrying on along the canal, the next section is through woodland and again this gives a different character to the walk. After a couple of miles you come to a sharp right turn as the canal crosses Avoncliff Aqueduct, jumping back across the river valley below to the other side. Here you can see the railway station in the valley below, and just after the aqueduct is another canalside pub.

Canal Barge through swing bridge

The final stage of the walk is fairly stright as the canal moves towards Bradford. On your left you will see the old Tythe barn, which is worth a short detour to look around. Another few hundred metres takes you to a hump-backed bridge. TUrn left just before the bridge, and then follow the road down the hill into Bradford.

There is a regular train service between Bradford and Bath, so you can easily take the train back to the starting point. The railway also follows the Avon valley so you get another chance to see the views as you return.

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