Dundas Aquaduct and Brassknocker Basin

Dundas Aquaduct and Brassknocker Basin

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?

Brassknocker Basin

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.

Dundas Aquaduct and Brassknocker Basin

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.

“Entrance to the Somersetshire Coal Canal from Brassknocker Basin”
“Kent and Avon canal leaving Brassknocker going towards Bath”

“The Somersetshire Coal Canal”

Dundas Aquaduct

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.

“Dundas Aquaduct”

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.

Dundas Aquaduct and Brassknocker Basin
“Brassknocker Hill”



  1. Beautiful!
    I also love walking along canals.
    For one, you don’t need to focus on orientation.
    Second, I find it interesting and impressive how well they were planned and constructed centuries ago and how they connected different parts of the country – or different parts of the continent on mainland Europe – over quite long distances.

    This October, I was house/cat sitting in the Spreewald region south of Berlin, which is also criss-crossed by canals. Because the leaves had already turned red and golden and yellow, it was beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The path looks very narrow at the canal entrance but maybe that’s not your main access? It looks lovely with all those rusty colours. Have you 2 got a Christmas plan in place, or shouldn’t I ask? It can’t be as difficult as last year, can it? All the best for the festive season!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You cant beat a canal walk, we love em. Booked to stay down in Wiltshire in our cosy cottage through to New Year so should be sorted. Hoping to see our boys over Christmas at their places too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘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?’

    I’m so glad you wrote this, because my first thought when I read the title was a bit of a giggle and the thought that it sounds straight out of a slightly naughty 80’s sitcom. Followed by the thought that I should probably grow up a bit!

    Another great glimpse into what Wiltshire has to offer, so often an overlooked part of the UK.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Somersetshire Brassknocker would have to be the lead character from Carry On up Your Canal! Do love an aqueduct. Always look so impressive and the feat of building them is even more amazing when you think the Romans were doing it 2000 years ago! The Segovia Aqueduct has to be the best one!

    Glad you guys are well and loving those canals. Any closer to finding Ringwood Towers?

    Liked by 1 person

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