A chilly winters day and another trip out for us in glorious Wiltshire. We are always on the lookout for new places to explore especially if they are canal related as we seem to have become a little obsessed with the Kennet and Avon canal at the moment. So when I read about somewhere we hadn’t been it was all systems go!
Actually, I have to be completely honest with you and admit that it was the name ‘Brassknocker‘ that piqued my teenage interest and got me giggling pathetically! How could I resist?
Although I really had hoped for a dodgier reason, the basin is sensibly named after the adjacent Brassknocker Hill that sits between this part of the canal and the town of Bath. Disappointing.
Time for a bit of ‘Jo’s History’ now – Back in the early 1800s the owners of the Somerset coalfields decided they needed a transport link for their coal to London and built the Somersetshire Coal Canal between Paulton and Bath where they joined the Kennet and Avon. For 100 years it was used for coal but fell into disrepair when the railways arrived closing in 1902. It wasn’t until the 1990s that it was cleared and opened to the public.
Somersetshire Coal Canal
Still not too sure about the name ‘Somersetshire‘! That isn’t right at all is it? The county is called Somerset without the ‘shire’ so it doesn’t feel right at all. Named for historic reasons though I guess so we set off from the canal yard for a walk up to Brassknocker Basin, Dundas Aquaduct, and then out along the Kent and Avon canal for a bit.
Built in 1805 the aquaduct takes the Kent and Avon canal over the River Avon and the Wessex main railway line. Closed in 1954 it was restored and reopened 30 years later and is a fabulous Scheduled Ancient Monument. Water running over a bridge always blows my mind to be honest, will never get over my amazement at it. Unbelievable engineering from more than 200 years ago.
Not going to go on too much about canals as you all know we have become a little obsessed. Let’s just say that we love a canal walk because it’s always flat on a decent towpath and there is so much to see as you walk past locks, boats, and under bridges. Oh and the people seem so very friendly, absolutely everyone wishes you ‘good morning‘ and is up for a brief chat if you fancy one. They seem like proper old fashioned communities.