Canal Boat Club - Welcome aboard

If you like quiet pubs, in rural settings you will be spoilt for choice, but if you want organised entertainment you should look elsewhere.

A few good books are a must and a pack of cards can be worth its weight in gold on a wet day. If you have children, perhaps some jigsaws or board games might be a good idea, but don't bring the Scalextric!

Don't forget also, that each boat is fitted with a television and DVD player, so a selection of DVD's might prove invaluable if the weather is inclement.

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The Canal Boat Club

Hilperton Cruising Routes

Hilperton Cruising Map

      Bath & Return

      Bristol & Return

      Bradford on Avon / Bottom Caen & Return

      Devizes & Return

      Hungerford & Return

      Newbury & Return

      Reading & Return

ROUTE 1 : BATH & RETURN (3/4 nights, 12 hours, 14 locks)Bristol and return cruising map

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. www.bath.co.uk

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 (www.claverton.org) and American Museum (01225 460503 / www.americanmuseum.org) may be incongruent with each other but certainly offer to satisfy differing interests!

Bath City and the spectacular Pulteney Weir and Bridge.

ROUTE 2 : BRISTOL & RETURN (7 nights, 25 hours, 28 locks)Bristol and return cruising map

25 hours cruising would elsewhere be considered little more than a short break, but here the route includes Bradford on Avon, Bath, Bristol and, unusually, many more towns and villages that the canal passes through the centre of. Having followed the route of the River Avon by canal, after Bath the navigation uses the River itself, reverting to canal to divert into Bristol city centre.

Some stunning weirs accompany each river lock down to Bristol.

Museums and waterside features reflect the city's former importance as a sea port.

Visitor moorings are available right in the centre of the city in the floating harbour (mooring charge applies) www.visitbristol.co.uk.

Frequent reminders of the route's industrial history such as the brass mill at Kelston are found within rolling valley countryside.

ROUTE 3 : BRADFORD ON AVON / BOTTOM CAEN & RETURN (3 nights, 9 hours, 14 locks)

For an easy weekend to combine cruising and exploring, spend a day in Bradford on Avon and another cruising to the base of the Devizes flight. Perhaps use this as a 'taster' weekend to take a look at the impressive rise to Devizes, incorporating the notable Caen Hill Locks.

ROUTE 4 : DEVIZES & RETURN ( 4 nights, 18 hours, 72 locks)Newbury and return cruising map

The Devizes flight consists of 29 wide beam locks, rising by 237 feet over just two miles. The flight opens at 8am each day and navigation must start no later that 2pm to ensure that ascent or descent is completed by dark.

Devizes visitor centre (01380 729408) has information about the town's medieval history www.yourguide.org.uk/devizes

Reward yourself after the strenuous rise studying the local history of Wadworth & Co www.wadworth.co.uk who still make local deliveries with a shire horse team!

The Canal Visitor Centre at The Wharf, Devizes 01380 721279 / www.katrust.org

ROUTE 5 : HUNGERFORD & RETURN (1 week, 42 hours, 120 locks)Newbury and return cruising map

Beyond Pewsey and through further lush Wiltshire countryside, the highest point of the Kennet & Avon is marked by the 502 yard Bruce Tunnel.

The canal then follows close alongside the Great Western main railway line through the Bedwyns - Great & Little - and down to Hungerford.

Pass by Savernake Forest, an ancient woodland mentioned in the Doomsday book.

ROUTE 6 : NEWBURY & RETURN (10/11 nights, 52 hours, 140 locks)Newbury and return cruising map

Beyond Hungerford the canal shares the valley with both the railway and the River Kennet, beginning to use the river course as the navigation.

The Kennet & Avon Canal is so central to Newbury that the main shopping street passes directly over it.

Tourist Information 01635 30267

Take a day out at the races and visit Newbury Race Course 01635 40015 www.newbury-racecourse.co.uk

ROUTE 7 : READING & RETURN (2 weeks, 76 hours, 186 locks)Reading and return cruising map

Continuing its picturesque course virtually the entire way to Reading, the number and varity of towns and villages that are visited will give full entertainment for a fortnight return cruise.

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