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Kennet & Avon Canal

If you are looking for some where to take a walk in the Vale of Pewsey then the Kennet & Avon Canal is the place to go. With some great walks and pubs along the way what more could be asked from on a summers day.


1723: The Kennet Navigation was opened.

1727: The River Avon was made navigable between Bath and Bristol.

1810: The 57-mile long canal joining these two separate river navigations was completed.

1846: The Kennet and Avon Canal Company submitted a bill to develop the London, Newbury and Bath Railway along the line of the canal.

1852: The Great Western Railway Company took over the running of the canal from the Kennet & Avon Canal Company.

1950’s: One stretch of the canal was closed when some of the locks fell into a dangerous condition. Kennet & Avon Canal Association was formed, later to become The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust.

1956: The Kennet and Avon Canal Association successfully petitioned against closure of the canal.

1961: The Inland Waterway Redevelopment Committee recommended that restoration work on the canal should begin.

1963: The newly-formed British Waterways Board took over responsibility for the canal.

1960’s and 1970’s: Extensive repair and restoration works were undertaken.

1990: HM the Queen declared the 87-mile canal reopened to navigation.

Located south of Durley , the path of the Kennet and Avon Canal is forced to go under the railway and road and come out near Burbage Warf. Bruce Tunnel is 502 yards long and has the largest bore of any canal tunnel in England. Construction began in 1805 and was completed in July 1809. The two entrances to the tunnel are identical and are built of the same red brick capped with Bath stone. At both ends there are large plaques above the tunnel cut from Bristol pennant stone. The plaque on the west end is blank but the right end has an inscription written in Roman lettering which reads;

The Kennet and Avon Canal Company

Inscribe this TUNNEL with the Name of BRUCE

In testimony of the Gratitude for the uniform and effectual Support of The Right Honourable THOMAS BRUCE EARL of AILESBURY and CHARLESS LORD BRUCE his Son through the Progress of this great National Work by which a direct communication by Water was opened between the cities of LONDON and BRISTOL ANNO DOMINI 1810.

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