The Kennet & Avon is unquestionably one of the UK’s most rewarding canals, with a wide range of impressive sights to take in along with the general rural charm of the towpath. If you want to explore the canal and enjoy the outdoors life at the same time, an excellent base is the campsite at Devizes, a friendly and popular place to pitch located right beside the canal. The campsite is just a short distance from the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Museum, as well as the stunning lock flight at Caen Hill.
The Kennet & Avon Canal consists of two navigable rivers linked by a canal. It stretches 87 miles from Bristol all the way to Reading, where it meets the River Thames. This vast east-west watercourse was completed in 1810 and featured a variety of important architectural structures, including the Dundas and Avoncliff Aqueducts and a couple of lovely pumping stations at Claverton and Crofton. One of the final engineering challenges involved the construction of the vast Caen Hill Locks at Devizes. This flight of 29 locks raises the canal 237 feet in two miles, and is one of the most magnificent sights on the Trust’s network. The flight was designed by engineer John Rennie and it can take boaters as long as six hours to travel through. The locks fell into disuse shortly after the Second World War, but were restored following a conservation campaign and were officially reopened in 1990 by Queen Elizabeth II.
The campsite is close to the Caen Hill Locks and well placed for trips into the market town of Devizes, where you’ll find the Wadworth Brewery and the Wiltshire Heritage Museum, which has an excellent collection of Bronze Age artefacts. There’s also a museum run by the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust, which has a tearoom and a wide range of historical canal artefacts. The Trust also run boat trips from the wharf at Devizes, which last a couple of hours and offer the chance to get to see a little more of the canal from the water. The campsite has space for tents and motorhomes, with all the usual facilities including children’s play area, washing facilities and a shop.
Plan your stay at Devizes Campsite, and find out more about the Kennet & Avon Canal on the Canal & River Trust website.