Monkton Combe - Avoncliff Aqueduct - Monkton Combe

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Monkton Combe - Dundas Aqueduct - Avoncliff Aqueduct - Monkton Combe

A particularly scenic walk where a major canal meets and has to find a way through the Cotswold Hills. The Kennet & Avon Canal achieves this by following the Avon Valley on a lock-free route, crossing the river twice via two impressive aqueducts.

The walk starts from Monkton Combe, the first of three Cotswold villages that the route will pass through, so named because it was originally owned by the monks of Bath Abbey. Nowadays, the village centre is dominated by an independent boarding school.

From Monkton Combe a good track is followed, leading to the Somerset Coal Canal. Coal was mined in this area from the 15th Century until 1973 and the canal was built to transport the coal. Most of the canal is now derelict, except for the very last section to its junction with the Kennet & Avon Canal at Brassknocker Basin, which the walk will follow.

Now following the Kennet & Avon Canal, the walk crosses the Dundas Aqueduct and follows the towpath to the Avoncliff Aqueduct, which lies in the small but beautiful village of the same name. Between the two aqueducts, the canal heads along the top of a ridge overlooking the River Avon at the bottom of the valley.

At Avoncliff, the return to Monkton Combe begins by descending to the river and following it back up the valley to Freshford, where a 16th Century pub called The Inn sits on the banks of the river. The last part of the walk involves leaving the river and climbing the side of the valley through woodland back to Monkton Combe.

There are plenty of places to stop for food and drink on the walk: The Wheelwright's Arms at the start of the walk in Monkton Combe and The Inn at Freshford and there are also cafe-restaurants at both ends of the canal section of the walk.

England - South West England - Somerset - River Walk

Features

Birds, Cafe, Church, Industrial Archaeology, Pub, Public Transport, River, Tea Shop, Woodland
01/01/2017 - Iestyn Roberts

Delightful and relatively easy going. Better views than you might expect from canal walk as the canal is perched up high on the side of the valley. The school buildings/tennis courts at 2 have changed I think - just follow the footpath signs to reach the drive. Otherwise the directions are perfect.

13/09/2013 - Jill Larby

Thank you Sean for posting this brilliant walk. So much to see and with the autumn colours just coming in(early September 2013) so many good photo opportunities. The route is easy to follow & the pathways in good condition although it was quite busy along the canal with lots of cyclist & joggers making use of the flat terrain. Nice pub at the end to reward yourselves on a walk well done.

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