Heritage trail explores Bath's secret history
A heritage trail launched this year is encouraging visitors to explore Bath’s secret industrial history along the Kennet & Avon Canal.
The trail aims to highlight the often forgotten story of Bath’s industrial revolution, guiding visitors along the canal to discover the commercial routes that allowed the city to thrive.
The trail begins with the opening of the Kennet & Avon Canal in 1810 – when large, horse-drawn boats transported goods between the busy ports of London and Bristol – and continues to the rise of the Great Western Railway Company in the 1840s. Taking in some of the most spectacular waterway structures in the country along the way – including the Dundas Aqueduct – it gives visitors a glimpse into the hidden networks that brought goods into the city.
David Viner, heritage advisor at the Trust, said: “Bath has a fantastic history, from the Roman baths through to the Georgian architecture it’s best known for. It’s easy to forget that alongside the grandeur of The Circus, Bath was also a bustling commercial hub, to which the Kennet & Avon Canal was absolutely central. Exploring the city’s heritage is a must for any visitor, and with this trail they’ll have the chance to find out how the other half lived as well.
“Walking down the canal you get a real sense of history – from the working locks to the rope marks worn into the bridges by generations of horse-drawn boats. On this trail you’ve got the added bonus of going through some wonderful countryside in between aqueducts and pumping stations that were the cutting edge of technology in their day.”
The heritage trail booklet is free, and available at various stops along the canal.