PEWSEY AND RETURN FROM ALDERMASTON
You can do this route from :
Starting from the small boating centre of Aldermaston Wharf, cruise west to the picturesque market town of Newbury.
There are some nice pubs at the canalside village of Kintbury before arriving at Hungerford, stop off and visit the numerous antique shops and admire the charming canalscape.
Then it’s on to Great Bedwyn and Crofton Pump Station, home to the world’s oldest working beam engine.
Don’t miss the historic conservation village at Wootton Rivers on your way to the traditional village of Pewsey with its beautiful thatched cottages.
There is also the Butt Inn pub at Aldermaston Wharf, serving real ales and excellent food for all the family.
Turning out of the marina westwards, you will immediately encounter a lift bridge which is electrically operated by canalboaters, and which spans a busy road. Follow the instructions by the bridge. You will then have your first lock, once through here you will see a disused gravel pit, some a haven for wildlife since the 1960's.
The scenery is very rural until you reach Thatcham, when you get to Woolhampton be careful of the current below the lock which can cause problems.
Woolhampton village is 200 yards north of the canal, there is a pub canalside, or a couple in the village, it is an hours cruising from Aldermaston to here, and makes an ideal place to stop for your 1st night.
Passing Woolhampton you pass through 3 locks in this rural landscape until you reach the raipdly expanding village of Thatcham, which is now almost a suburb of Newbury. There is a railway station close to the canal near bridge 42. There are various pubs and restaurants in Thatcham access is from bridge 42, and a Nature Discovery centre north of Widmead Lock with shop and cafe.
It is 3.25 hours from Aldermaston to here.
You soon pass Newbury racecourse on your left. See their website for details of race days. Concerts are also hosted here.
The River cuts right through the town and above Newbury Lock is the delightful quiet West Mills area where rows of terraced houses face the navigation and there are extensive moorings. Beware of the current below Newbury lock. It is 6 hours from Aldermaston marina to here, or 5 hours from Woolhampton and an ideal place for your 2nd nights mooring.
Victoria Bridge 59 is handy for getting to Newbury to the north, or the racecourse to the south.
Newbury developed in the Middle Ages as an important cloth town, and the town has managed to retain much of its period charm. The District Museum is one of the most interesting buildings in Newbury built in 1626 as a cloth weaving workshop. The town centre has many shops, pubs and restaurants to choose from. A short bus or taxi ride away is the Living rainforest, which gives you the opportunity to experience rainforest life under glass.
The canal soon leaves Newbury behind, and once more enters the rural Berkshire landscape. To the south of the canal is Hamstead Park, a very fine park which borders the canal, there is an old watermill by the lock. Soon the canal reaches Kintbury which is just a small village to the south of the canal up on the hill. It is a quiet village with a station, and attractive buildings by the canal, including a watermill and a canalside pub. There are also 2 pubs in the village, and stores.
It is 4.5 cruising hours from Woolhampton to Kintbury.
Once leaving Kintbury the River and canal run side by side through pretty woods, and soon Hungerford is reached. The handsome Hungerford Town Bridge gives easy access to the centre of the town which is set out along a wide main street. There are many pubs and restaurants in the town.
It is 5.75 hours cruising from Newbury to Hungerford.
You can moor up at Hungerford, or continue on to Froxfield and visit the Pelican pub just 2 mins from the canal, and in an area of outstanding natural beauty with a garden by the lake and river.
It is 7 hours cruising from Newbury to Froxfield.
Little Bedwyn and Great Bedwyn are soon approached, the latter has attractive houses of all periods, a stores and pubs along its main street from bridge 95.
From Froxfield you have to negotiate 7 locks to take you past Great bedwyn, as the canal climbs higher. Then another 3 locks as you approach the Crofton Flight of 7 locks with the village of Wilton to the south. The Bruce Tunnel is just 502 yards long, but makes a pleasant change.
Towards Wootton Rivers the canal climbs down through a series of locks , the pub in the village to the north of the canal is an attractive 16th century pub in the main street. The village is very pretty & composed almost entirely of timber framed thatched houses.
The canal continues through the vale of Pewsey. Pewsey Wharf is a mile from the town centre, and has developed as a Canalside settlement on its own, with a pub, warehouses and cottages.
To the North hills descend to the waters edge, to the south the land opens out giving fine views over the Vale of Pewsey. A miniature suspension bridge carries a private footpath from Stowell Park across the canal, as is the only surviving example of its kind. Stowell park House was built in the early 19 century, and can be clearly seen from the canal.
It is 8.5 hours cruising from Froxfield to Pewsey Wharf.
Back to Aldermaston, just over 7 hours per day
NB: This route has been provided as a guide only. Information may become inaccurate or out of date. You should always check with the marina that the route is possible within your time frame, current weather conditions and canal stoppages etc.
Arctic Warbler (Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).
Crowned Eagle (Sleeps a maximum of 7 People).
Green Woodpecker (Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).
Hawk Owl (Sleeps a maximum of 10 People).
Little Bunting (Sleeps a maximum of 5 People).
Meadow Lark (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).
Ross's Gull (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).
Rustic Bunting (Sleeps a maximum of 5 People).
Shore Lark (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).
Syrian Woodpecker (Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).
Trumpeter Swan (Sleeps a maximum of 12 People).
Turtle Dove (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).
Ufton Lock (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).
Veery Thrush (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).
Village Weaver (Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).
Ambonia King (Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).
Gorgeous Grace (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).
Happy Wanderer (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).
Maps and Guides
Pubs available on this canal route:-
|Pub Name||Pub Address||Distance from Aldermaston||More Info|
|The Hinds Head||Wasing Lane, Aldermaston RG7 4LX||1.44 Miles||Full Details|
|The Angel Gastro Pub||Bath Road, Woolhampton RG7 5RT||1.76 Miles||Full Details|
|The Blue Ball||High Street, Kintbury RG17 9TK||5.36 Miles||Full Details|
|The White Hart||2 High Street, Thatcham RG19 3JD||5.36 Miles||Full Details|
|The Dundas Arms||53 Station Road, Kintbury RG17 9UT||13.49 Miles||Full Details|
|The Royal Oak||Wootton Rivers, Marlborough SN8 4NQ||25.30 Miles||Full Details|
|The French Horn||Marlborough Road, Pewsey SN9 5NT||27.94 Miles||Full Details|
NB: Distances are as the crow flies and will vary for actual canal boating travel distance.