Heritage Locations

Avoncliff Aqueduct

Handsome structure by Sir John Rennie carrying the Kennet & Avon Canal over the river Avon.


Period of construction:
1750 - 1799

Transport Trust plaque:

Transport Mode:

Avoncliff Halt, Avoncliff, Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts BA15 2HD

BA15 2HD

Nearest Town:

Heritage Centre:

Work began on the Kennet and Avon Canal in 1790 (when Rennie was 29 years old) and it was completed in 1810; Rennie, who was both engineer and architect, received £350 for his efforts. The canal links the River Avon at Bath with the River Kennet at Reading and provides a navigable link between London and Bristol.

Work commenced on the Avoncliff site in March 1796 and was completed in 1798. The aqueduct carries the canal over the River Avon and dominates the hamlet. Unfortunately, its central arch sagged immediately after construction and John Rennie is said to have regretted using stone. The aqueduct consists of three arches and is 110 yards long.

The aqueduct has a central elliptical arch of 60ft span with two side arches each semicircular and 34ft across, all with V-jointed arch stones. The spandrel and wing walls are built in alternate courses of ashlar masonry, and rock-faced blocks. The cutwaters are continued up as graceful splay-sided buttresses, and across the top is drawn a Corinthian entablature,


Allsop, Niall The Kennet & Avon Canal, Millstream Books, ISBN 0-948975-15-6 (1987)

Atterbury, Paul. English Rivers and Canals. ISBN. 0 297 78318 1 (1984)

Bartholomew. Nicholson Inland Waterways Map of Great Britain. ISBN 978-00072 11173. (2006)

Boughey, Joseph. Hadfield’s British Canals: the Inland Waterways of Britain and Ireland. ISBN 978 18401 50247. (1998)

Boughey, J. and Hadfield, C. British Canals: A Standard History . ISBN 978-07524 46677. (2008)

Burton, A. The Waterways of Britain. ISBN 0 00 218047 2 (1983)

Gladwin, D.D. A Pictorial History of Canals. ISBN 0 7134 0554 6 (1977)

Pratt, D. Waterways Past and Present: A Unique Record of Britain’s Waterways Heritage. ISBN 978-07136 76341. (2006)

Pratt, F. Canal Architecture in Britain. ISBN 978- 09032 18139. (1976)

Roberts, B. Britain’s Waterways: A Unique Insight. ISBN 978- 08635 11158. (2006)

Rolt, L.T.C. Inland Waterways of England. (1950) Ware, M.E. Britain’s Lost Commercial Waterways. ISBN 978-18430 61816. (2005)

Opening Times:
Permanently viewable

How To Find:

By road: Off A363.

By train: Avoncliff Station is situated adjacent to the aqueduct.


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