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Waterways of Wiltshire

Navigable Rivers and Canals within Wiltshire

Devizes flight of 29 locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal.

Bristol - Salisbury canal projects

Waterway's place in Wiltshire :

A proposed canal from Somerset to Wiltshire.

Waterway Description:

Various proposals for canal links that were nver authorised or built.

History:

The schemes seem to have started in the canal mania of December 1792 and the last serious proposals recorded four years later.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Bristol Junction Canal project

Waterway's place in Wiltshire :

A proposed canal through Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Somerset.

Waterway Description:

A proposal by the Wilts & Berks company for a canal from their navigation near Malmsbury to the Gloucestershire coalfields around Pucklechurch and Coalpit Heath then on to Bristol.

History:

Proposed and surveyed in 1810, a Bill was introduced and withdrawn before the second reading in 1811. Never authorised or built.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Kennet and Avon Canal

Waterway's place in Wiltshire :

From just before Froxfield Bottom Lock No 70, where the canal crosses into Wiltshire from Berkshire, to Dundas Aqueduct, where it crosses into Somerset, the canal is in Wiltshire for 40 miles.

Waterway Description:

This recently restored navigation (re-opened by HM The Queen on 8 August 1990) runs 86.5 miles from High Bridge Reading, where it joins the River Thames, to Hanham Lock, where it joins the Bristol Avon.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1794, 1796, 1798, 1801, 1805, 1809 and 1813.fully completed when the Caen Hill Locks were finished on 28 December 1810. Bought by the Great Western Railway in 1852. In May 1950 a stoppage at Burghfield, near Reading, made the canal impassable. This was the last year that the whole canal was navigable before its restoration in 1990. In 1952 Caen Hill Locks at Devizes were impassable.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

North Wilts Canal

Waterway's place in Wiltshire :

An abandoned Wiltshire canal.

Waterway Description:

Was a 9 mile, 12 lock, narrow canal from Swindon to Latton near Cricklade, where it joined the Thames & Severn Canal.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1813, opened in 1819, traffic ceased in 1906 and the canal was abandoned by an Act of 1914.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Thames

Waterway's place in Wiltshire :

From Cricklade High Bridge to a point between Castle Eaton and Kempsford the river is wholly in Wiltshire. It then forms a boundary between Wiltshire and Gloucestershire until St. John's Lock where it enters Oxfordshire.

Waterway Description:

The navigation runs 211 miles from Cricklade Bridge to the Open Sea. The first 135 miles, above Teddington, are non-tidal

History:

The river has been used as a navigation from prehistoric times. Numerous Acts of Parliament have been passed relating to the river from as far back as 1423 and by the height of 'canal mania' in 1793 the river had already been the subject of 23 Acts.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Thames and Severn Canal

Waterway's place in Wiltshire :

From near Cerney Wick Lock No 39, where it crosses into Wiltshire from Gloucestershire, to the end of the canal at Inglesham Lock No 44, where it joins the River Thames, the canal is in Wiltshire.

Waterway Description:

This abandoned canal runs 28.75 miles from Wallbridge, where it joins the Stroudwater Navigation, to Inglesham Lock, where it joins the Thames.

History:

Promoted by an Act of 1780 and opened in 1789. Abandoned by orders of 1927 and 1933. Now subject of a restoration scheme.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Wilts and Berks Canal

Waterway's place in Wiltshire :

From a point between Longcot and Marston, where the canal crosses into Wiltshire from Oxfordshire, to Semington Lock, where it meets the Kennent and Avon Canal, the canal is in Wiltshire.

Waterway Description:

This derelict canal runs 52 miles from Abingdon, where it joins the River Thames, to Semington, where it joins the Kennet and Avon Canal

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1795, 1810, 1813, 1815 and 1821. Opened from Semington to Abingdon in 1810. North Wilts Canal promoted by an Act of 1813 and opened in 1819. Both parts were closed in 1914.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

External Web Sites Related to Wiltshire Waterways

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Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Home Introduction Waterways List Waterways Map Links Books DVD Articles Photo Gallery
Features Contact me Glossary Boats Events List History Local Waterways Help Photo List