Kennet and Avon Canal Cycle Route
The Kennet and Avon Canal runs from the Thames at Reading to Bath. It's great for easy cycling with nearly all of the canal open to cyclists. Several sections have a nice wide, surfaced towpath making it ideal for families or anyone looking for a nice traffic free ride. On the way you'll enjoy lovely views of the Somerset, Berkshire, and Wiltshire countryside, passing through a series of pretty villages and the beautiful Vale of Pewsey. There's also several nice canalside pubs where you can stop for refreshments and rest your legs.
Much of the route follows National Cycle Network Route 4 so it is well signed throughout.
Starting on the Thames in Reading, you head south and then west to Aldermaston Wharf, Woolhampton, Thatcham, Newbury, Hungerford and Devizes where you will pass the impressive Caen Hill Locks. The final section takes you through Bradford-on-Avon before a lovely run into Bath which includes views of the River Avon.
To continue your cycling you can pick up the Bristol and Bath Railway Path in Bath. It's another easy, traffic free ride linking the two famous cities on a disused railway line.
Kennet and Avon Canal Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Kennet and Avon Canal Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Kennet and Avon Canal OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Kennet and Avon Canal Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
In Newbury you will find the delightful Tea Shop By The Canal which is perfect for afternoon tea. Set in an interesting old Grade II listed building the tea shop blends the comfort and warmth of Italian culture with the fine and splendid rituals of English Cream Teas. There's also outdoor seating so you can sit out right next to the canal on warm summer days. You can find it at The Stone Building, The Wharf, Newbury with a postcode of RG145AS.
The Hourglass is in a lovely location right next to the canal in Devizes. From the terrace garden there are lovely views over the water to the surrounding countryside. It's a great place to relax and watch the boats go by on warm summer days. They have an excellent menu and can be found at Horton Avenue with a postcode of SN10 2RH.
At Honeystreet west of Pewsey you'll find the idyllic Barge Inn. This historic pub is located right next to the canal and includes an outdoor seating area wih glorious views across the canal to the Marlborough Downs and the Alton Barnes White Horse. It's the ideal place to relax in and watch the world go by on warm summer days. The pub also has an interesting history having originally been built in 1810 to service the newly built Kennet and Avon canal, it was the equivalent of a modern day motorway service station. It then burnt down in the 1850s only to be rebuilt in record time so it now stands as it did then. The pub can be found just to the west of Pewsey in Honeystreet, near Alton Barnes. Postcode for you sat navs is SN9 5PS.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
The canal passes close to the circular Two Tunnels Greenway. This shared cycling and walking route runs along an easy path around the city of Bath. It makes an excellent detour from the route if you have time.