Kennet and Avon Canal walk

Follow the historic canal that helped link London to Bristol at the height of the industrial revolution, passing through some awesome countryside.

Duration: 3 hours
Start at Newbury station
Highlights: Horse-drawn barges, rolling countryside and wartime heritage

Completed in 1810, the Kennet and Avon Canal links London to Bristol via the River Thames and River Avon. It was heralded as a major commercial innovation, carrying tin, copper, coal, tea and salt, but within 30 years was superseded by the even more visionary Great Western Railway.

Today, the towpath, where horses once hauled barges, is a splendid walk into the past, with train stations conveniently located for many easy day walks.

The canal runs through the middle of Newbury, Berkshire and the tree-lined towpath follows the canal in both directions, but the walk west to Kintbury is the most attractive.

Swing bridges, locks and beautifully crafted 18th-century brick bridges provide plenty of interest, while breaks in the treeline showcase the rolling countryside of the Kennet Valley.

Walkers are only ever a few feet from passing narrow boats and the occasional horse-drawn barge. Although weirs and sluice gates tip high water into the nearby River Kennet, the canal water is slow-moving, with plenty of fish, indicating a healthy environment.

Every half-mile there is an overgrown pillbox left over from WWII. After the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940, General Sir Edmund Ironside envisaged the canal as a potential defensive battle location in the event of an attack.

At Kintbury there’s the option to carry on to Hungerford or to stop for refreshment at The Dundas Arms, which is conveniently located next to the canal and Kintbury Station.

Newbury train station

8 June 2017
Family fun I History and culture I Sports and adventure I

Exclusive news and offers

Sign up today and receive exclusive promotions, Nectar bonus points, inspirational content and much more.

Sign up

You may also like

10 iconic landmarks you need to visit
From soaring towers to ancient spa retreats, the UK is home to some of the world’s most breathtaking sights. Tick off these top attractions from your wish list and explore the best of what dear ol’ Blighty has to offer, right across the network.
Read post
Bargain-hunter's guide to Cardiff
Check out the best places to bag a bargain in the Welsh capital, including flea markets, a remarkable record shop and a brill book store.
Read post
Come visit the Cotswolds with GWR
Thatched-roof cottages, golden stone buildings, great pubs and British countryside. Visit the Cotswolds with GWR. Check out one of the prettiest patches of rural England, only a short journey London Paddington.
Read post