Crofton Beam Engines

Crofton Beam Engines

Crofton Beam Engines, Crofton, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8 3DW.

Crofton Beam Engines was built in 1807 to provide water for the Kennet & Avon Canal. There are two magnificent beam engines powered by steam which pumped up the water. One of the engines is the oldest working beam engine in its original engine house in the world and it still works!

The pumping station is owned and managed by the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust. The engine house sits at the top of a hill with magnificent views across the Kennet & Avon Canal, Wilton Reservoir and the Wiltshire countryside. Throughout the summer, on the last weekend of every month, you can see (and hear) the engines in steam.

Check out Crofton's website to find out more about family visits.


KS1 KS2 Local History

Find out why and how the engine house was built. Learn about the canal and the cargoes that were carried. Act out scenes from the lives of the family who used to work here in the 1930s.

KS1 KS2 Build a Human Beam Engine

The best way to understand how a beam engine works is to pretend to be one! Children work together to recreate the different parts of the engine, complete with water and sound effects!

KS1 KS2 How High is the Chimney?

Crofton’s chimney is so tall it can be seen for miles around. What’s the best way of working out how high it is?

KS1 KS2 Guided Trails

Our volunteers will take your class on a child-friendly tour round the engine house and to the canal lock. A chance to climb to the top of the building to see the giant beams of the two engines, to look down into the deep well and to find out how a lock works.

Learning Resources

Use the following resources to support learning on your trip and back in the classroom:

All About Canals

Life on the English Waterways

Find out more about Crofton Beam Engines.


Free facilities for teachers include pre-visits, entry for teachers (and carers), risk assessments.

Practicalities include indoor classroom, outdoor picnic area, toilets, coach parking.


£1.00 per child as part of a school visit. Adults free. Please see Crofton's website for prices for family visits.