Kennet and Avon Canal comprises three waterways - the Avon Navigation from Bristol
to Bath (1727), the canal section from Bath to Newbury (1810), and the Kennet
Navigation from Newbury to Reading (1723).
These three separate waterways
were joined together to form a continuous route to the Thames.
company employed labourers who were known as navigators or navvies to build the
Narrow boats and Kennet barges were the primary craft used
on the Kennet and Avon Canal.
However when the Great Western Railway started
operating from London to Bristol in 1841, the competition started affecting canal
Although the canal company fought back by reducing tolls
and introducing its own fleet of barges, they could not compete in this new market
Canal traders increasingly turned to the railway, seeing it as a
more economical means of transporting their goods.
Today the canal is popular
with narrowboat travellers.
One of its most impressive sections is Caen
Hill Locks, the last part of the 87 mile route to be built.
of 16 locks was engineer John Rennie's solution to navigating the 237 feet rise
of the surrounding land.