A 4 mile circular walk starting at the spectacular Dundas Aqueduct, in Monkton Combe near Bath. This walk will take you along the canal, over the adequate, before veering off to walk across fields and through Warleigh Wood along a quiet lane, before looping back along the banks of the River Avon.
Want a longer walk? This area is a popular spot for wild swimming. If you do want to go swimming with your pup, you can walk to Warleigh Weir from Dundas Aqueduct, following the canal on the Limestone Link footpath to the weir for some lush views and wild swimming. Warleigh Weir is private land and only has permissive paths so please take all you rubbish with you and follow the countryside code.
1. Park at Brassknocker Basin Car Park (BA2 7JD), there are about 40 spaces, but make sure you get there early at the weekend as it is a popular tourist spot. The car park is pay and display and takes cards.
2. From the car park, walk towards the path near the pay and display machine, which takes you up to the canal and The Angelfish cafe. The cafe is a great place to stop for lunch, cake or ice cream. They even sell doggy ice cream! There are also facilities at the cafe for customers.
3. Walk along the canal, away from the cafe, until you get to a path that will lead you to Dundas Aqueduct. The structure is amazing and we had a wander around the area before continuing. You need to be on the other side of the aqueduct though, so turn left from the path you came in through, and follow the path across 2 bridges. Once you are on the far side of the aqueduct, after passing by some trees you will see a path off to your left, do not go down the steps, but continue to the next path that veers off into the woodland and has a stile.
4. Go over the stile and into the field, this field has cows in, so please make sure dogs are on a lead. Follow the worn path over to the next field, cross over the stile and walk uphill to the next stile which has a very rocky path leading to it. Hop over the stile and prepare yourself for a steep uphill walk, through woodland, and then a little hamlet.
5. Shortly after, when the small lane you’re walking on meets another one, turn left, and follow this lane through the woodland until you see a wooden road sign pointing to Warleigh, follow the sign and veer left. This road was incredibly quiet when we visited, so we let Bella off the lead, but please be careful and use your own judgment.
6. You will continue walking on this lane for quite a while (just under a mile). Eventually, you will start walking downhill until you see some houses on your left. Turn left and walk towards the entrance of the farm which has a public footpath sign pointing the way. Walk through a small courtyard of farm buildings and follow the public footpath signs across the fields.
7. From here, it is an easy route to just follow the footpath on the banks of the River Avon. It was a little bit overgrown when we visited (August), and the stiles here were not dog friendly therefore we had to lift Bella over them.
8. The last field before the aqueduct does have cows in, luckily there were none in the field when we visited but they had clearly been there recently. This field has the only access point from what we could see where dogs can go into the river, however, if your dog likes to swim, please be careful as the river is deep. We saw a family wild swimming here too.
‘Completed in 1810 by John Rennie, the spectacular Dundas Aqueduct carries the Kennet & Avon Canal over the River Avon and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. That means it’s as important as Stonehenge! In fact, it was the first canal structure to be designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument in 1951.
And now it’s won a prestigious Red Wheel plaque from the Transport Trust.
Named after Charles Dundas, the first chairman of the Kennet and Avon Canal Company, the aqueduct forms the junction between the Kennet and Avon Canal and the largely derelict Somerset Coal Canal. The short stretch of the Somerset Coal Canal still in water forms Brassknocker Basin, used for boat moorings, cycle hire and a cafe. A short walk further there is the Dundas Wharf where the small tollhouse, warehouse and crane still stand.’
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