The Kennet and Avon Canal - Bruce Tunnel through to Devizes.

Bruce Tunnel is the Kennet and Avon Canal's one and only Tunnel.

The Eastern Portal of Bruce Tunnel is situated just a little way from Crofton Toplock - it was opened in 1809 and is 502 yards in length. Named after the 1st Earl of Ailesbury (modern name is Aylesbury) Thomas Brudenell-Bruce, it was constructed as the Earl refused to permit a deep cut to be made for the canal through his land. The Kennet and Avon Canal's other connection with Aylesbury (Buckinghamshire) is the existance of the Aylesbury Canal Arm which leaves the Grand Union Canal at Marsworth Junction - the Aylesbury Arm was once planned to continue as far as Abingdon and ultimately provide a through route from Bristol to London.
A feature of the tunnel was it's width (barges were far wider than today's narrowboats) and that as there is no towpath inside the tunnel a chain ran the length of the tunnel which boatmen used to haul themselves through. The Kennet and Avon towpath goes under the present railway lines and then up steps to soon reach a narrow road - cross straight over and pass several houses before descending back to the towpath by the tunnel's west portal.
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Bruce Tunnel Eastern portal, Kennet and Avon Canal.
E portal Bruce Tunnel
Towpath tunnel at Bruce tunnel, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Bruce Tunnel
Bruce Tunnel's Western portal, Kennet and Avon Canal.
W portal Bruce Tunnel
Burbage Wharf Bridge 104, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Burbage Wharf and Bridge104
Wootton Top Cadley Lock 54, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Wootton Top Bridge+Cadley Lock
Brimslade Lock 53, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Brimslade Lock
Brimslade Bridge 106, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Brimslade Bridge
Heathey Close Lock 52, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Heathey Close Lock
Wooton Rivers Bottom Lock 51 is the last lock for a while on the Kennet and Avons journey eastwards - it just happily wanders around the countryside following the contours. The next barrier (unless someone has left a swingbridge in the way) for boat owners occurs when the canal reaches Devizes - from there things change with a vengeance as the canal heads off towards Bradford on Avon.
Heathey Close Bridge 107, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Heathey Close Bridge
Wootton Rivers Bottomlock 51, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Wootton Rivers BottomLock
Wootton Rivers Bridge 108, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Wootton Rivers Bridge
Wootton Rivers Farm Bridge 109, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Wootton Rivers Farm Bridge
Curret Crown Bridge 110, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Curret Crown Bridge
New Mill Bridge 111, Kennet and Avon Canal.
New Mill Bridge
MilkHouse Water Bridge 112, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Milkhouse Water Bridge
Pains Bridge 113, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Pains Bridge
Pewsey Bridge 114, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Pewsey Bridge 114
Bristow Bridge 115, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Bristow Bridge 115
Bristow Bridge crpsses the Kennet and Avon Canal.
Bristow Bridge
Stowell Park Bridge (116), Kennet and Avon Canal.
Stowell Park Bridge
Stowell Park Bridge, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Stowell Park Bridge
Wilcot Bridge 117, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Wilcot Bridge 117
Bowdens Bridge 119, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Bowdens Bridge 119
Bowden's Bridge going across the Kennet and Avon Canal.
Bowden's Bridge
The towpath on our photos of this stretch of the Kennet and Avon Canal may look easy to walk or cycle along but there are quite a few places where there are quite heavy ruts - the pictures were taken in July 2010 and this part of England had been extremely dry for weeks. These ruts and also several areas where there are near collapses into the canal itself indicates that if there has been even moderate recent rainfall the towpath would become certainly difficult to travel along due to heavy mud in places.

Stowell Park Suspension Bridge across The Kennet and Avon Canal

(picture above) is quite unusual - it was constructed around 1845 and is a small suspension bridge made of iron and the only one surviving of it's kind. Built in 1808 Lady's Bridge (shown below) is very ornate compared with the other canal bridges in the area - it was built by John Rennie and designed in this fashion at the insistence of the then landowners as a condition to agreeing to the acquisition of their land.
The stretch of towpath particularly between England's Bridge and All Cannings Bridge suffers badly from dog crap and in hot weather there are lots of flies about. There is a smallish parking area beside All Cannings Bridge and obviously dog owners park there and unfortunately then let their hounds do there thing along the towpath beside the canal.
There are several

Wiltshire white horses decorating the hillsides

in the area - for instance one can be seen from Alton Barnes and from Devizes Marina.
Lady's Bridge 120, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Ladys Bridge
Woodborough Fields Bridge 122, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Wood borough Fields
Alton Valley Bridge 123, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Alton Valley Bridge
Alton Valley Bridge, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Alton Valley Bridge123
The White Horse on a hill near Alton Barnes seen from the Kennet and Avon Canal.
White Horse nr Alton Barnes
Honey Street Bridge 124, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Honey Street Bridge 124
Stanton Bridge 125, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Stanton Bridge 125
England's Bridge 126, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Englands Bridge 126
All Cannings Bridge 127, Kennet and Avon Canal.
All Cannings Bridge 127
Kennet and Avon Canal - All Cannings Bridge
All Cannings Bridge
Kennet and Avon Canal - Woodway Bridge 128
Woodway Bridge 128
Woodway Bridge 128, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Woodway Bridge 128
Allington swingbridge 129, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Allington swingbridge 129
Kennet and Avon Canal - Allington Bridge 130
Allington Bridge 130
Kennet and Avon Canal - Horton Fields swingbridge 131
Horton Fields swingbridge
Horton Chain Bridge, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Horton Chain Bridge 132
Bishops Canning swingbridge, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Bishops Canning swing bridge
Kennet and Avon Canal - Horton Bridge 134
Horton Bridge 134
Kennet and Avon Canal - Ladywood Bridge 135
Bridge 135
Kennet and Avon Canal - Devizes Marina with a White Horse in the background
Devizes Marina and white horse
Coate bridge 136, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Coate Bridge 136
Brickham Bridge 137, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Brickham Bridge 137
Kennet and Avon Canal - London roadbridge 138
London Road Bridge 138
Kennet and Avon Canal - Park Bridge 139
Park Bridge 139
Cemetery Roadbridge, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Cemetery Road Bridge 140
Cemetery Road Bridge 140, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Cemetery Road Bridge
Kennet Lock 50, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Kennet Lock 50
Devizes Town Bridge 141, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Devizes Town Bridge 141
Maton Lock 49, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Maton Lock 49
Trust Lock 48, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Trust Lock 48
Manifold Lock 47, Kennet and Avon Canal.
Manifold Lock 47
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Almost straight away from leaving the centre of Devizes narrowboat and barge owners can get themselves warmed up as there are several locks before looking forward to the main event at the highly impressive Caen Hill Flight of locks a little further along the route. From Kennet Lock 50 there are 29 locks to negotiate over a 2.25 mile stretch of the canal ending at Caen Lock 22 - a descent of 230 feet. This total descent does of course include the canal's trip down the magnificent Caen Hill Flight of Locks where there are 16 locks immediately following each other - with the sequence taking the Kennet and Avon canal on a descent of just under 131 feet.
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