Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday 23 May - Devizes and Caen Hill Locks

We took an early bus to Devizes today, passing through several small villages, many with thatched roof cottages.  Our double decker bus came equipped with roo bars and it quickly became apparent why.  Once out into the country the tall hedgerows formed an arch over the road.  Every so often there has a crack or a bang as we hit a branch.  The bars collected a few leaves which gradually fell by the wayside.  At one point we approached a low, narrow arched bridge and there was only clearance for us in the centre of the road. There was a slight delay while waiting for an oil truck to finish topping up a house set on a narrow stretch of road.

The impressive entry into Devizes was through a sunken roadway which climbed through very tall trees covered in ivy and other parasitic growths.  At Devizes we walked out along the Bath Road to reach the Caen Hill locks.  The Kennet and Avon Canal has some 29 locks just west of Devizes of which 16 are set out one after the other to drop down Caen Hill.  The canal was opened by John Rennie in 1810 and one of the features is the large lagoons at each lock in order to control and conserve the amount of water used.

The Kennet and Avon Canal was closed in 1948 and was only restored in the 1990s.  The Caen Hill Locks are spectacular but it is very difficult to get pictures which give a proper impression of the work.

Maybe we hit Devizes at the wrong time but it seemed unattractive and we returned earlier than anticipated.

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