The Bath And Return From Hilperton Canal Boating Cruising Route
Bath has been designated a 'World Heritage City' with a history stretching back to the Roman Baths after which it is named and that can still be visited today. Moorings are available very close to the city centre and Bath is, without doubt, worthy of at least a couple of days of exploration.
The medieval town of Bradford on Avon, just an hour from Hilperton, offers a very pleasant stopping point. Weavers' cottages cling to the side of the Avon valley, looking down across the old mills to the 'Broad Ford' on the river that gave the town its name.
The splendid Dundas and Avoncliff Aqueducts both take the canal over the River Avon as it follows the river alley between Bradford and Bath.
Claverton's pumping station and American Museum may be incongruent with each other but certainly offer to satisfy differing interests!
Bath City and the spectacular Pulteney Weir and Bridge.
Bath and the surrounding area is brimming with things to see and do. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Bath presents some of the finest architectural sights in Europe such as the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney Bridge, alongside a diverse collection of museums and attractions including the Roman baths, Jane Austen centre and Thermae Bath Spa. Bath's compact city centre offers irresistible shopping and there are plenty of activities to enjoy in the surrounding area.
If you moor at the top of the Bath locks you can walk into the city from there, and Bath is worthy of at least a couple of days of exploration.
If you have all your provisions you can begin your journey. If not if you walk back along the towpath
to Hilperton Road bridge 166, there is a convenient stores here.
Just an hour from Hilperton you reach the medieval town of Bradford on Avon . Here you will come across your first lock. With good moorings below the lock (and a choice of canalside hostelries) you can walk up to the lock and watch a few boats go through to gain confidence before you go through yourself. Being a wide beam canal, the locks take two narrowboats, so you can share the experience, and effort, with another boat.
It is 1 hours cruising from Hilperton to here so an ideal place for your 1st night.
Bradford on Avon to the North of the canal, is a lovely town, one of the beauty spots of Wiltshire, and one of the highlights of the Canal. It is a miniature Bath, rich with architectural treasures from the Saxon period to the 19th Century. Bradford upper Wharf is very attractive, with a small dock with some of its original buildings still standing, and an old canal pub by the lock. The town centre is very compact, you can walk down the hill from the Canal wharf. There is also a swimming pool near the canal. The Great Tithe barn stands below the canal embankment and is one of the finest in the UK, dating from the 14th century with a massive cathedral like structure. The splendid 9 arch Town Bridge is very unusual as it has a chapel in the middle, dating from medieval times, but used during the 17th & 18th centuries as the town prison.
Westwood manor lies 1 mile south west of Bradford on Avon, a 15th C stone manor house open through the National Trust.
The River Avon rushes along beside the canal, Avoncliff is a nice place to stop with its tearoom and pub overlooking the river.
It is at this point you cross over the Avoncliffe Aqueduct, this aqueduct carries the canal over the River Avon and the Bath to Westbury railway line. It was built by John Rennie and chief engineer John Thomas, between 1797 and 1801.
Further along, if you moor at Limpley Stoke Bridge, walk down the the Railway bridge & turn left you will find a lovely 400 year old Pub called the Hop Pole, which was originally a monks wine lodge.
After crossing Dundas Aqueduct you will see a restored ¼ mile section of the old Somerset Coal Canal, the canal collected coal from 30 collieries throughout the 19th C.
The Dundas Aqueduct was built in 1804 and is one of the most well known features of the canal.
It is best viewed from the valley below to appreciate its full beauty and architecture.
West of Claverton Road bridge is the American Museum in Britain, housed in a manor built in 1820. The museum houses American decorative arts from the late 17C to the mid 19C.
Claverton Pumping station to the east of the canal has a waterwheel pump which is the only one of its kind on British canals. The pumping station is run by volunteers and is open every weekend during the season.
Bathampton & Bathwick are on the outskirts of Bath, if you want to avoid the Bath Locks the best place to moor up for Bath is at the top of the Bath Lock, Mooring here puts you in line with the rooftops of the city and an enjoyable walk away from the city centre.
Cruising into Bath is like gliding into Regency Britain.
(Cruising time 3.5 hours)
A few locks onwards and moorings are available very close to the city centre, near to the spectacular Pulteney Weir and Bridge. Bath has much to explore and plenty of good places to eat.
(Cruising time an extra 2 hours, if passing through all 6 Bath locks).
You can spend the morning exploring Bath.
Bath was first developed as a spa town by the Romans because if its natural warm springs.
There are extensive Roman buildings to be seen, the Roman Baths are in the heart of the city which is a World heritage Site.
The fantastic sweeping architecture of the Royal Crescent built around 1770 and the Circus which dates from 1760 have to be seen. In the Royal Crescent is the Jane Austen centre- a tribute to Bath's famous resident.
The Thermae Bath Spa the only place in the UK where you can bathe in natural warm waters.
Bath Abbey in also in the centre of the city, it was established in 1499, and is famous for its fan vaulted ceiling, also it has interesting memorials to the vast range of people who in times gone by have died in Bath.
In the afternoon you can start cruising back to Bradford on Avon & moor there for the night.
3.5 hours cruising from top of Bath Lock, or 5.5 hours from bottom Bath flight of locks.
Return to the marina to vacate by 9.30am
I hours cruising from Bradford on Avon to Hilperton