Click on thumbnail to view full size picture from Knap Hill
PEWSEY WHARF TO KNAP HILL
General :- This 10.5 mile route is split between the easy walking of the Kennet & Avon canal and the downland escarpment between Knap Hill and Gopher wood. Each part is totally different and it's fascinating to view one from the other.
Although the canal (built in 1794-1810) was a main artery from Bristol to London it always had a troubled life, mainly due to lack of water. The giant flight of locks at Devizes consumed vast quantities of water each time a narrow boat went through and it had to be found from somewhere. The Victorians built a huge steam engine at Crofton to provide a head of water and other pumps were dotted along the way to supplement it, but there was never enough and the canal fell into disuse. It's revival is even more remarkable, the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust was formed in the 60's to renovate the waterway. With little cash and mainly volunteer labour this huge undertaking seemed impossible, but they did it. The old troubles of water dogged them until 1996 when they installed a back pumping system that now keeps the canal open throughout the year. A lottery funded project to remedy structural problems is nearing completion and for the first time in its life the canal can look forward to an assured future. Log on to www.katrust.org to learn more, but beware, you might get hooked on it, many have and thoroughly enjoyed it too!
The Pewsey white horse and Adam's Grave, an iron age long barrow burial mound, can be seen as you approach Walkers Hill. The section from Knap Hill to Gopher Wood is part of the Tan Hill Way. This path is probably 3,000 years old and you can still see remains of the Neolithic camp on the right soon after leaving the car park. There are clusters of burial mounds throughout this section. Wiltshire is littered with these mounds and most are unexcavated, who can guess what lies beneath? (GPS length 9.51 miles).
How to get there:- Pewsey Wharf car park is situated on the A345 Marlborough to Pewsey road just north of the village @ SU 1577 6107.