5 scenic towpath walks to try out this summer
PUBLISHED: 13:16 12 June 2015 | UPDATED: 11:52 13 July 2015
We’ve started a new feature in Canal Boat magazine this month called Great Canal Walks – the first walk is a beautiful four-mile stretch along the Kennet & Avon canal from the Dundas Aqueduct to Bradford on Avon (or the other way around if you prefer) with full OS mapping, you can read all about it in the July issue of Canal Boat on sale now.
Here are some other walks you might enjoy this week, or at any time over the summer – don’t forget to send us your pictures, we’d love to see them!
The Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal, Brecon Wharf to Brynich Lock
Located among the stunning scenery of the Brecon Beacons in Wales, this easy walk takes you past the River Usk and there is a perfect picnic area to have a bite to eat on your way around. We recommend starting at Brecon Wharf where there is a car park and ramp leading to the towpath before making the six-mile round trip to Brynich Lock and back. The towpath, although slightly uneven at first, soon becomes a hard surfaced trail – making this walk suitable for the whole family.
Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Skipton to Saltaire
If you are in search of chocolate-box villages and the stunning, rolling countryside of North Yorkshire, then this 16-mile towpath walk is a must-do. The canal is lock-free from Skipton until Bingley, where you will be greeted with the Bingley staircase, the steepest flight of locks in the UK. There are plenty of canal-side villages to explore and some fantastic cafes to enjoy a cream tea along the way. The World Heritage Site of Saltaire also has plenty of things to do and see, and from here you can catch a train back to Skipton.
Caledonian Canal, Fort William to Loch Lochy
This route allows walkers to witness some of the most fondly known landmarks in Scotland – from the panoramic views of Ben Nevis to the wonders of Neptune’s Staircase, the longest flight of locks in Britain. For the less experienced walkers, this towpath trek makes for a great introduction to the hobby. We recommend starting your journey at Fort William in order to get the prevailing wind behind you. If you enjoy this 14.7-mile walk, you might enjoy a walking holiday along the ‘Great Glen Way’ – a 73-mile walk along the Caledonian Canal which can take up to a week.
Llangollen Canal, Chirk to Llangollen
There are many exciting things to see along this short route – from the stunning canal architecture of the Chirk Aqueduct, to the scenic tourist town of Llangollen. But perhaps the most exciting of all is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the highest in Britain. A slim towpath takes you across and although it may not be for the faint-hearted, the views from the top are spectacular. We recommend starting your journey from the medieval town of Chirk and to finish your trip in Llangollen where there are many independent stores to shop in, and pubs and cafés to visit.
Kennet & Avon Canal, Bath to Bradford on Avon
In the July issue of Canal Boat we take you from the Dundas Aqueduct to Bradford on Avon, which is a four-mile walk, but if you’re looking for something a bit longer, why not do the whole, relatively easy, nine-mile towpath trip which starts at Pulteney Bridge in the heart of Bath and ends up at Bradford. Along the stunning route you will walk over two aqueducts (the Avoncliff Aqueduct and the Dundas Aqueduct), and pass the Claverton Pumping Station – a rare survival of the late Georgian regency period which you can visit. You can of course walk back, but there are buses/trains from Bradford on Avon back to Bath if you want to take it easy.
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