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Planning & design
All you need to know about planning and design on our canals and rivers
Find a winter mooring
Find a cosy section of canal to hunker down in this winter
10 reasons to take up canoeing
It's a great way to get fit and explore our waterways at the same time
Share the Space
Take a look at our common sense guide to sharing the towpath
Find a place to fish
From reservoirs to club-managed canals and river stretches - find your nearest place to fish
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Download your free guides
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Take a look at our upcoming events here.
Find your favourite waterway
With over 95 canals, rivers, reservoirs, docks and navigations, find out more about your favourite waterway
Something for everyone
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Desmond Family Canoe Trail
If you're aged 16-25 and would like to get involved with this exciting project, please get in touch
Could you be a volunteer lock keeper?
Find out what's involved with this popular volunteering opportunity
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
Claverton Pumping Station on the Kennet & Avon Canal near Bath, which opened as part of the crucial waterway route between London and Bristol, celebrates its 200th anniversary today.
The pumping station was designed by one of the innovators of the Industrial Revolution, engineer John Rennie (1761-1821), to supply water to the Kennet & Avon Canal which formed part of a navigable route from the west country to the capital. Research shows that it was on 13 March 1813 that the pump first began work.
We own the Grade II listed building, which is managed in conjunction with volunteers from the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust. It is a rare surviving example of late Georgian technology and while some changes were made during the early years of operation, much of the original pumping machinery can still be seen today. Work is currently being carried out to refurbish the water wheel in the station, so that once again it can perform its original function of pumping water into the canal.
The principal method of supplying water for canals relied on drawing it from streams or rivers, but where a natural supply was unavailable an alternative method was needed. To solve this problem on the Kennet & Avon, Rennie built two pumping stations to supply water from sources at lower levels. At Crofton, near Hungerford, he used a coal fired steam engine to pump water from Wilton reservoir, at Claverton he used a large water wheel on the site of a former grist mill to pump water from the mill pond supplied from the River Avon.
David Viner, heritage adviser at the Canal & River Trust, said: “The value of this freight route cannot be overstated, the Kennet & Avon Canal was the motorway of its day carrying a wide variety of goods between the west country and London.
"One of the most important cargoes was coal supplied to Bath, Bristol and Wiltshire from the Somerset coalfields. Claverton was central to keeping the canal in water. We are delighted it remains relevant today, both as a heritage site of immense interest and when the refurbishment work is complete, as a fully-functioning 200-year old engineering masterpiece.”
Peter Dunn, from the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust, said: “On this day - the 13 March 1813 - it is recorded that the pumping machinery at Claverton Pumping Station was fully functional for the first time and being operated by Mr John Brown. It had cost the Kennet & Avon Canal Company a sum of £6,279 to install. The fact that it has survived for 200 years, more or less in its original state is a fine testament to the original engineer John Rennie who designed and installed the Station.”
Although not generally open to the public in 2013 the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust are able to give guided tours for pre-booked individuals and groups. People will have the opportunity to view the site and the on-going restoration work. Volunteers are also needed to help with the restoration of the pumping station. For more information visit www.claverton.org/
Canal & River Trust brand
19 March 2018
Bookings now open for 2018 Canal Pairs Championship
Breach of the Middlewich Branch, Shropshire Union Canal
16 March 2018
Heritage transport plaque awarded to Froghall Basin on Caldon Canal
15 March 2018
Artists launch ambitious cultural programme in Worcester
12 March 2018
Fradley event gives fascinating insight into our feathered friends
We're calling for boaters to take part in our 'boat owners views survey'
9 March 2018
Take a 'lock' behind the ‘Seends’ of the Kennet & Avon Canal