Thursday, October 14, 2010

Last run of the season for K&A Canal Pumping Station 
An autumnal treat at Claverton

Claverton Pumping Station set between the River Avon and the Kennet & Avon Canal is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year — visit on the last running day of the year on Sunday 24 October (open from 10am-5pm) and you will have the added beauty of the Autumn colours in the Bath Valley.

Claverton Pumping Station: Picture by Bob Naylor

This is a rare opportunity to see our industrial heritage at work — and the lawns and views over the river valley and farmland make this a perfect setting for a family day out.

The magnificent waterwheel, which first operated in 1813, uses water from the River Avon to power a beam engine that is capable of raising up to 100,000 gallons an hour from the river to the K&A Canal 47 feet above.

Although some changes were made during the early years of operation, much of the pumping machinery that can be seen today is original and was in use until the pumping station was closed in 1952.

Claverton Pumping Station: Pictures by Bob Naylor
The Claverton Pump no longer supplies water to the canal; automatically-controlled electric pumps, which keep the water in the canal within predetermined levels, now perform this task.

In the late 60s and early 70s volunteers restored the waterwheel, beam engines and pumps to full working order and the Pumping Station was re-opened in 1978. The Claverton Group of the K&A Canal Trust continues to maintain and operate the Pumping Station, running the wheel on several open days each year.

The Burbage Crane - restoration: Picture by Bob Naylor
Burbage Crane Restoration
Also at Claverton you will be able to see the restoration work on the Burbage crane which is nearing completion. This timber 'fixed jib slewing crane' was originally built in 1831 and next Spring it will be disassembled to be returned to its home at Burbage wharf on the summit level of the K&A Canal in Savernake Forest.

Hot and cold drinks and home-made cakes will be available – and Claverton also
has a small shop selling books and gifts.

Claverton is five miles south of Bath off the A36 (Warminster Road), 400 yds down Ferry Lane and across the uncontrolled level crossing (take care).

Or you can visit Brassknocker Basin on the Somersetshire Coal Canal at Limpley Stoke where there is a visitor centre, The Angelfish Café/Restaurant and bike, canoe and electric boat hire. After looking at the splendour of the Dundas Aqueduct - enjoy a 30 minute stroll along the canal towpath to Claverton.

Claverton Pumping Station website:

Also: Near to Claverton Pumping Station is the American Museum at Claverton Manor,  which is also worth a visit (open 12 noon - 5pm)

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