Bath to Bradford-on-Avon canal walk: Colourful boats & peaceful waters

The Bath to Bradford-on-Avon canal walk offers a peaceful escape along the enchanting waters of the Kennet & Avon canal. Throughout this walk, you can admire the colourful narrowboats lazily cruising on the waters and moored to the banks, the picturesque and intricate locks, as well as the meandering River Avon.

You can start this walk at either Bath or Bradford-on-Avon and take the train between the two cities. If you’re after a shorter walk, you can stroll along the canal for as long as you wish and just turn around and walk back when you’re ready. This canal walk is part of the River Avon walk series and explores one of the key places along the River Avon.

Location: Bath, Somerset & Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire

Walk difficulty: Intermediate

Time: 4 to 4 ½ hours

Distance:  10 miles (16 km)

The Georgian city of Bath

The Bath to Bradford-on-Avon walk first leads you through the spa city along the charming Kennet & Avon canal. In Bath, you’ll discover striking Georgian architecture, picturesque locks and stunning views of the city and its rows of terraced houses. At the very start of this walk, you can marvel at the myriads of locks linking the canal to the River Avon. If a narrowboat is being raised or lowered in a lock, you can stop and discover the intricate lock system.

Kennet & Avon canal in Bath with colourful canal boats and Georgian town houses
Kennet & Avon canal in Bath

Along the canal, you’ll find several Georgian landmarks. After the intersection with Pulteney Gardens, you can admire the Pumphouse Chimney. Among the stunning town houses lining the canal, you’ll discover Cleveland House which was built over the waters. You’ll also cross Sydney Gardens, a park which was popular in Georgian times and boasts beautiful cast-iron bridges.

The Kennet & Avon canal flowing through the Georgian park of Sydney Gardens, a stop in the Bath walking tour
The canal crossing Sydney Gardens

Built in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Kennet & Avon canal flows for 87 miles and links London to the Bristol Channel. The canal runs from Widcombe Parade, south of Bath, to Bathampton, Claverton, Bradford-on-Avon and beyond. Many strollers, boaters, dog walkers and cyclists enjoy the canal path, especially in the summer.

The Cotswold village of Bathampton

The Bath to Bradford-on-Avon canal walk then slowly leaves the spa city behind and takes you across the open Cotswold countryside. From there, you can enjoy lovely views of both Bath’s rows of terraced houses and the rolling Cotswold hills. Soon after leaving Bath, you reach the village of Bathampton with its Cotswold cottages lining the canal. Like Bath, Bathampton was the site of a Roman settlement and prospered in Georgian times.

Cotswold cottage with white fence in Bathampton
Cotswold cottage in Bathampton

A short distance from the canal, Bathampton Weir is the main attraction of the village. A popular spot for wild swimming, the weir was built 600 years ago on the River Avon to supply depth to the waterwheels of the grain mill (now a riverside pub). St Nicholas’ Church is another key attraction. Rebuilt in the 18th century, the church boasts an eerily attractive churchyard.

Blue canal boat on the canal in Bathampton
The canal path in Bathampton

Before continuing further along the Kennet & Avon canal, you can stop for refreshments at the George Inn, a 17th century pub by the side of the canal. As you make your way across the Cotswold countryside, you can spot the village of Batheaston as well as the railway and the River Avon at the bottom of the valley.

The scenic area of Claverton

After several bends in the canal, you reach the small village of Claverton. You’ll know you’re there when you spot a small car park by the side of the canal. From the canal, you can’t spot the beautiful Cotswold cottages that make up the village, but you can make a detour and explore the quaint village (be careful when crossing the main road).

People swimming in the River Avon and playing near the cascades of Warleigh Weir
Warleigh Weir

A short distance from the canal, Warleigh Weir is the main landmark in Claverton. Also a popular spot for wild swimming, the weir was built on the River Avon to supply water to the pumping station. Built in 1812, the Claverton Pumping Station supplied water to the canal.

The imposing Dundas Aqueduct

Further down the canal, the Bath to Bradford-on-Avon walk reaches Dundas Aqueduct. An 18th century arch bridge built in the typical Bath stone, the aqueduct is an impressive sight. Set high over the River Avon, the aqueduct enjoys lovely views over the river and the surrounding valley. You can walk down steps to the foot of the aqueduct and admire the towering structure from the riverside.

Canal boat and Kennet & Avon canal over the Dundas Aqueduct on the Bath to Bradford-on-Avon canal walk
The canal over the Dundas Aqueduct

At the Dundas Aqueduct, the Kennet & Avon canal links up with the Somerset Coal canal. Built in the 18th century to transport coal, the Somerset Coal canal is currently under restoration. The section closest to the aqueduct, however, has been restored and is simply charming and worth a small detour.

Please note that you will need to cross a small stone bridge to the other side of the canal as you reach the aqueduct.

The picturesque Avoncliff Aqueduct

From the Dundas Aqueduct, you then continue along the canal and through lush woodland. Through the trees, you can catch a glimpse of the River Avon and the rolling Cotswold valley. You then reach the Avoncliff Aqueduct. Built by the same architect, John Rennie, both aqueducts are similar in stature.

Views of the River Avon from the Avoncliff Aqueduct
Views of the River Avon from Avoncliff Aqueduct

Once again, you can enjoy lovely views over the river and the valley from the aqueduct. You can also spot the picturesque Avoncliff Weir. Built for the grain mills bordering the waters, the weir adds undeniable charm to the river setting. You can stop to take in the scenery and for refreshments at the 17th century riverside pub, the Cross Guns.

Please note that you will need to go under the bridge and to the other side of the canal after you cross the aqueduct.

The medieval town of Bradford-on-Avon

The Bath to Bradford-on-Avon canal walk then continues along the canal, across the open Cotswold countryside and through further woodland to the medieval town of Bradford-on-Avon. As you reach the Tithe Barn, a medieval barn measuring 51 meters long and one of the town’s main attractions, you leave the canal behind and make your way along the meandering River Avon to the town centre.

Canal boats and the Kennet & Avon canal on the Bath to Bradford-on-Avon canal walk
Kennet & Avon canal in Bradford-on-Avon

Located in Wiltshire, Bradford-on-Avon is a quaint market town and offers charming Cotswold cottages, narrow medieval streets and delightful shops, cafés and restaurants. Built along the River Avon, the town is best explored from the river- and canal-side.

Bath to Bradford-on-Avon canal walk instructions

1. From the front entrance of the Bath Spa Railway Station, go under the archway to the right of the building. Cross the Halfpenny Bridge and turn left onto Rossiter Road. When you spot the canal and its picturesque locks, veer left onto the canal path.

2. At the intersection with St Matthews Place, walk under the bridge, up the steps to street level and cross the bridge to the other side of the canal. When you reach Pulteney Gardens, cross the road and continue straight ahead.

3. At the intersection with Bathwick Hill, walk up the steps to street level, cross the road and continue along the other side of the canal. At Cleveland House, follow the path as it crosses over the waters to the other side of the canal.

4. Detour to Bathampton Weir: When you reach the George Inn in Bathampton, turn left onto Mill Lane and follow the road to the River Avon bridge.

5. Detour to Warleigh Weir: When you reach Claverton and the small car park to the left of the canal, turn sharply left down Ferry Lane, cross the railway tracks, go through the gate and continue straight ahead to the weir.

6. As you reach Dundas Aqueduct, cross a small stone bridge to the other side of the canal and continue along the canal path. After you cross Avoncliff Aqueduct, turn right onto the downhill path, go under the bridge and turn right onto the uphill path to the other side of the canal.

7. As you reach the medieval Tithe Barn in Bradford-on-Avon, go down steps on your left, following signposts for the city centre. Level with the bridge, veer left onto a smaller path, keeping the river on your left. Go under the railway bridge and turn right into the car park. Continue straight ahead to the Bradford-on-Avon Railway Station.

From Bradford-on-Avon, you can take the train back to Bath Spa Railway Station. Trains run twice every hour (except Sundays) and the train journey takes approximately 17 minutes. You can find the train times on the Great Western Railway website.

Find the walk itinerary pdf file: Bath to Bradford-on-Avon canal walk by adragonsescape.com

Download the walk GPX file: Bath to Bradford-on-Avon canal walk on my.viewranger.com

Canal boats moored to the banks and cruising on the waters on the Bath to Bradford-on-Avon canal walk
The canal across the Cotswold countryside

Bath to Bradford-on-Avon canal walk details

Location: Bath, Somerset & Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire

Walk difficulty: Intermediate

Time: 4 to 4 ½ hours

Distance:  10 miles (16 km)

Ascent: Gentle

Trail condition: Smooth

Accessibility: Suitable for pushchairs and bikes if you don’t mind climbing a few steps

Parking: Streets and car parks of Bath

Facilities: Toilets, shops and pubs in Bath and Bradford-on-Avon, and refreshments in Bathampton and Avoncliff

Explore more: Walks near Bath

Bath offers many splendid walks across the beautiful Cotswold countryside. From the Bath Skyline walk to the St Catherine walk, you’ll discover splendid views of the city of Bath and the surrounding Cotswold Hills. Find walks in and around Bath.

Views of top Bath landmarks on the Bath Skyline walk
Views of Bath on the Bath Skyline walk

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