This 28 mile stretch of canal took us from the market town of Devizes, Wiltshire, to Hungerford, West Berkshire, with an overnight stop in the picturesque thatched village of Wootton Rivers.
There was so much to see on this walk apart from the normal pleasures of the canal; we saw some excellent pubs, abundant wildlife, the impressive Bruce Tunnel and even a windmill. If you missed our account of the first to stretches of this you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
With the starting point being the same as Part 2, the adventure began at Devizes Wharf, this time taking the path in the opposite direction, to the East.
As we made our way out of the town along the canal we were surrounded by the bright springtime hues of the English countryside; lush green foliage dotted with shiny buttercups, cow-parsley and purple speedwell. White hawthorn branches adorned the banks and various butterflies brought flashes of new colours. Also through this beautiful backdrop drifted the painted reds, yellows and blues of moored narrowboats.
We passed by several canal-side houses as we left the small town, their gardens sloping down to the bank, some left wild and unspoilt, some beautifully landscaped, and some with jetties and private boats. It was hard to walk past without coveting the luxury of being able to set off on a river cruise from the end of your garden.
Before long we found ourselves at Devizes Marina Village, where one may hire, purchase, repair or moor their boat, with the added benefit of being able to pop next door for a pint in The Hourglass should they so wish, although sadly it did not seem accessible from our side of the canal.
After a short while, between Little Horton and Bishops Cannings, we came across another pub, The Bridge Inn. Although it was too early to stop, I can imagine sitting in their garden overlooking the canal on a warm sunny day would be a most enjoyable experience.
Shortly after passing the pub the path became a lot more open and we were able to spot one of Wiltshire’s famous white horses cut into the hillside chalk. This is actually quite a recent feature, having been created in 1999 to mark the Millennium. It replaces an older horse on the adjacent hill which, due to neglect, erosion and overgrowth, is no longer visible. There was also lots of wildlife about; the baby waterbirds of the canal had recently hatched. There were yellow and brown ducklings, moorhens and goslings.
At the pretty village of All Cannings we detoured off the towpath across a field to enjoy a pint in the sunshine at The Kings Arms.
The adventure continues on the next page…