The 87 mile-long Kennet and Avon Canal passes spectacular scenery between the River Thames and the Bristol Avon
The Kennet and Avon Canal crosses some of England’s best loved scenery including the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Cotswolds.
It is England’s most southerly cross-country broad-beam canal and links London and the Bristol Channel. The canal fell into disrepair in the 1960’s and was re-opened by the Queen in 1990.
The canal is an important recreational resource for boaters, cyclist, walkers and anglers.
The Kennet and Avon Canal and the River Kennet share the same channel at some points, which causes serious water quality problems in the river, as the canal water is not as clean as the chalk stream river water.
The Kennet and Avon Canal is maintained by the Canal and Rivers Trust and there is an active volunteer group run by the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust.
The Kennet and Avon Canal is mostly a man-made construction, although it shares a channel with the River Kennet for some sections. Under the water framework directive the canal is classified as a ‘heavily modified water body’ and divided into two waterbodies GB70610181 from the summit to Copse Lock and GB70610180 from Copse Lock to Reading (River Kennet and canal sections). Both are classified as having ‘good ecological potential’.
There are several active projects to improve canal water quality.