Two Rivers and a Castle
17 people attending
3 places left
This is a fairly level circular walk that sets off from picturesque Cotswold town of Bradford-on-Avon, notable for its 13th century Norman bridge flanked by large former cotton mills, nestled alongside the River Avon, and the Kennet and Avon Canal. While the walk route won't take us past the bridge, it is well worth a short trip into the town centre before or after the walk.
From our start point we will set off south on the canal path before heading south west by Wild Brook and through open meadows and through Rufus wood towards Farleigh Hungerford Castle where we can take our lunch. These medieval castle ruins where built in two stages. The inner court 1377 to 1383 by Sir Thomas Hungerford, steward to John of Gaunt. The second phase was completed around 1445 by Sir Thomas's son Walter Hungerford, who served with King Henry the 5th at the Battle of Agincourt. Should anybody wish to, then there will be time to take a quick look inside the castle grounds during the lunch break, however English Heritage do charge an entrance fee to gain access to the ruins.
After lunch we follow the River Frome north passing close to Iford Manor house whose origins may be as early as late 15th century. The classical manor house façade was added around 1730, and the hanging woodlands above the garden were planted later in the 18th century.
From here we continue to the confluence of the Rivers Frome and Avon at Freshford before we arrive at the grade II listed Avoncliff Aqueduct which carries the Kennet and Avon Canal over the River Avon and the Bath to Westbury railway line, and was built by John Rennie and chief engineer John Thomas, between 1797 and 1801.
For the final stage of the walk, we follow the River Avon and the Kennet and Avon canal back passing the spectacular 51 metre 14th Century monastic tythe barn of Barton Grange, which we can take a quick look inside, before arriving back in Bradford-on-Avon.
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What to bring
Water: bring at least two litres
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Day rucksack: typically 20-30 litres, they are comfortable to wear and allow you to use your arms freely
Boots: waterproof and breathable and designed for hiking.
Gaiters: recommended for wet weather or boggy conditions
Socks: proper walking socks will keep your feet dry and help prevent blisters
Layered clothing: lets you quickly adapt to changes in the weather and body temperature. Go for a base layer (vest or t-shirt) and a mid layer (a micro fleece or shirt) and in cooler weather add an outer layer (a windproof jacket or thick fleece)
Trousers: Proper walking trousers. Breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry and on warm days shorts are OK
Waterproof jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry
Gloves: Windproof, or better still, waterproof gloves are the best choice, bring a spare pair if expecting rain
Hat or cap: stay warm in winter and shaded in summer
Sunglasses: for any sunny day, even in winter
Sun cream: can be useful even on cloudy and winter days
Food & drink
Please bring snacks for energy, plenty of water for hydration and a packed lunch.