You can walk (or cycle) this section of the Kennet and Avon canal in either direction. There’s a train station at Bradford-on-Avon and plenty of buses to Devizes. I’ve detailed the route from Bath to Bradford-on-Avon in this article.
In April 2021, I took the bus from Bath to Devizes (#272) and walked all the way back (around 37km). Definitely possible on a summer day when there is more light, with a lunch stop at Bradford-on-Avon (around 20km).
Devizes is a small town with plenty of places to get coffee and food. There are well-kept public toilets (20p in cash) sign-posted from the main square and on the way to the canalside where the Devizes Wharf has more amenities.
Cross over the small bridge and start walking on the opposite bank. The pathway crosses over several times on the route. Within a few minutes, you will reach the Caen Hill Locks, 29 locks over 2 miles/ 3.2 km.
The collective noun for locks is a flight, and you can see why as you walk downhill. The arms of the lock gates are angled like birds’ wings with their white tips stretched back as if they are about to take flight. You might also see fishermen on the banks with an extensive amount of gear.
In late April, the swans were still nesting, but the ducklings had arrived and I saw lots on the water. You’ll also see Canada geese, ducks, moorhens, and usually a heron or two. The sound of rushing water at the locks and birdsong accompanies you on the way from robins, finches, and the coo of the wood pigeon amongst others.
This part of the canal has little shade, and even in April, it was hot. Definitely wear a hat! The path is flat after the locks and well-maintained gravel/stony. Walking shoes or even trainers are fine. No need for heavy walking boots.
You also need to carry enough water and a flask of coffee if you like to stay caffeinated.
There are a few places you can leave the path to find a shop and a few pubs, but it’s mainly the path by the canalside and green fields around you with sheep and cows.
I walked on a weekday and there were few people walking although watch out for cyclists as this is a national cycle route as well. You’ll see lots of moored canal boats and the people who live on them as you go by.
About 8km from Devizes near Melksham, you’ll find The Barge Inn and The Brewery Inn, both close to the water if you need a break.
There are no toilets but plenty of places to step off the path into the bushes/field for a wee (or ladies, get a Shewee!)
The section between Trowbridge and Bradford on Avon has some beautiful views.
As you approach Bradford-on-Avon, there are houses on both sides of the canal and where the road crosses the canal at the wharf, you will find three pubs and a coffee shop. No shortage of refreshments!
Cross the road, pass The Lock Inn and The Canal Tavern, walk canalside for a few minutes. Just after the 14th-century tithe barn, you’ll see a signpost for the train station which is only a few minutes from here.
If you’d like to continue on, check out this article on the canalside walk between Bradford-on-Avon and Bath, which is about 17km.
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