With my dad’s partner away visiting her children and grandchildren last weekend, it meant my dad had room in his car to take me and the kids out for a few hours on Sunday.He took us to somewhere we’ve never been before, Hilperton canal near Trowbridge, Wiltshire.The canal is part of the Kennet and Avon trust, which runs from Bristol to Reading.As a kid we had a couple of narrowboat holidays, they were my favourite holidays growing up.Our first narrowboat holiday was to Stratford-Upon-Avon, negotiating many locks along the river and with another family and our two dogs in tow, we had the best fun ever.Our second narrowboat holiday was into the Brecon Beacons in Wales with my dad’s brother.The scenery along the canal was absolutely breath taking, waking up each morning to rising mists over the water and the mountains in the background.
If you have been following my blog recently, you’ll notice that we love walking along rivers, enjoying the plants and wildlife that we find.Canals are a bit different, they do have all that I have mentioned but they have the added interest of people, as canals unlike rivers are man-made, they are busier and more vibrant, not noisy but still bring life to the most dormant scenery.
We saw a few boats that were obviously people’s homes and a few that were being used as we have, for holidays and even saw one that hired out to stag and hen parties.Steering the boats does take some getting used to, at aged 9 I was steering happily, left to go right and right to go left.It did make my dad have to think a lot once we were back on dry land and he was behind the steering wheel driving again.
I’ve got the bug now to discover more canals in Wiltshire.They are steep in so much history, spanning back to Roman times.During the industrial revolution canals were the backbone for transportation and heralded a vast network across Britain.Sadly, with the the invention of railways, many were abandoned and in some parts of the country of totally destroyed.
Our local canal network Wilts and Berkshire canal trust has recieved lottery funding to rebuild majority of the waterways, which have been abandoned for over 100 years in some places.Unfortunately, as Swindon has been an ever expanding town, there are parts that will never be recovered.
I am now doing research to visit a few more canals this year.I know In Chippenham they have been doing a huge restoration project, the kids visited an open day last year to see how they’ve been doing whilst I was at BritMums LIVE!.It would be nice to go back myself to see how further along they are.
Do you have any interesting canals where you live? Have you ever been on a canal boat holiday?
Linking up to Fiona over at Coombe Mill