Caen Hill Locks, The Locks, Rowde, Devizes, Wiltshire SN101EB and The Wharf, Wharf Street, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 1EB.
The Kennet & Avon Canal was opened in 1810 to link Bristol and London to avoid ships having to carry their precious cargoes by sea around the South Coast. The museum at Devizes is owned by the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust and is housed in an old bonded warehouse. It tells the story of this fascinating waterway from its early beginnings to the massive restoration programme carried out by volunteers in the 1980s.
Our team of Explorers volunteers lead free learning activities at Devizes Wharf or Caen Hill Locks, including an interactive Build a Canal workshop – a great way to learn about local history and geography. Get out and about on the canal towpath, taking a guided towpath trail focused on habitats and wildlife. Or you can book up for outdoor experiences at our canalside Forest School in Jubilee Woodland. During the summer months, classes can take part in pond dipping and bug hunting.
A boat trip and museum visit can be arranged as part of your visit to the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust at Devizes Wharf. There is a charge for boat trips. The boat will give your group an amazing first-hand experience of travel by water, including travel through a lock. A guided visit to the museum will help you to make the most of the exhibits, helping children search out relevant canal stories. Please note, groups visiting the museum and/or taking a boat trip will need to go to The Wharf, Wharf Street, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 1EB.
This workshop looks at how and why the canal was built over 200 years ago, some of the problems faced by the canal engineers and the main cargoes that were carried by boat. Younger children also have the opportunity to dress up as boat people, handle artifacts and discuss how they help to tell the story of the canal.
Our waterways offer rich and varied habitats. This workshop helps children discover the rich variety of mini-beasts and wildlife that rely on water to live and grow. Activities include bug hunting in the long grass next to the canal, exploring the hedgerows and pond dipping in the side ponds at Caen Hill.
Our Explorers team will encourage children to investigate the museum and discover some of the weird and wonderful exhibits. A guided walk along the towpath is a fantastic opportunity to find out about the wharves, warehouses and canalside buildings – what is a World War 2 pillbox doing at the canalside? The lock enables children to investigate first-hand how a lock works. Our STEM activity about locks is great for small group work and investigates water pressure.
Use the following resources to support learning on your trip and back in the classroom:
Free facilities for teachers include pre-visits, entry for teachers (and carers), risk assessments and downloadable trails.
Practicalities include a small gift shop, café. Coaches need to park in the council’s pay & display car park.
A trip onboard the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust's boat lasts about 45 minutes. The boat takes a maximum of one class at a time, so if you are bringing two classes you need to book two trips.
£1 per child museum entry. £80 per class for each boat trip.