This is a great spot for tourists and local visitors alike. It combines a riverside walk with a truly remarkable feat of British engineering; the placement of 29 locks, literally on top of one another, in two miles. There are few sites like this in the country and it makes for some great picture opportunities and places to admire. Well worth a visit!
For sure you must take some time and step into the little museum that celebrates the glorious Canal Period of the Industrial Revolution. Here you can learn the history, the engineering, the fun and how to vacation on a narrowboat. Modelers, this is heaven for you as all kinds of models are for sale. Maps of all the canals in the Uk. Books and magazines about the canals and narrowboats. Don't miss it.
I hope the church is open when you visit....unfortunately, it wasn't open when I went.
Which is a pity, as it is a very ancient church indeed. Just walking around its exterior made that very clear.
Originally built in 1130, the nave rebuilt and chapels added in the 1400s...there are few English churches which are much older than this.
Inside, there is a Norman sanctuary, chancel, and crossing and a 15th century 'Perpendicular' nave as well as two 16th century chapels. I wish I'd been able to see them; I think I was just unlucky to visit during lunchtime.
Sadly, the church caught fire in 2006 and was closed for a year. Although now open again much restoration work is still needed.
The churchyard and exterior are worth exploring anyway, so even if the church itself is closed it is worth walking down to see it.and it's on the way to/from the Wiltshire Heritage Museum anyway! :-)
Wadworth's beer is sold all over south-west England, but its brewery visitor centre is in Devizes.
And it still delivers its beer around the town by horse-drawn carts...a lovely sight. :-)
Brewery tours run twice-daily through the working week, and on summer Sundays. It's probably a good idea to book online in advance if you are desperate to visit, as tour places are limited (and you never know if a large group has pre-booked, or has arrived just before you).
And yes, you can sample the beers at the on-site bar, which serves thirds of a pint......you'll have to pay though!
It's a fascinating place, stuffed with prehistoric artefacts including some from Avebury and Stonehenge.
I visited years ago, when it was a crowded and somewhat muddled place, with labels in copperplate writing.still absolutely fascinating.
It's been renovated and re-presented, so it's all so much more interesting to the non-specialist now.
You'll see ancient things in this museum which you cannot see elsewhere. That in itself makes it worth visiting.
Devizes has some prime examples of Georgian architecture, especially around the market square. See if you can spot the 'assembly rooms', where all the young ladies and gentlemen would attend regular balls (especially during the regency period...Jane Austen?). It was perhaps the only way to meet eligible partners of an appropriate rank (ordinary folk, of course, did not attend such gatherings..they were for the monied classes only).
There are one or two much older buildings as well, especially if you walk slightly away from the town centre towards the castle and St John the Baptist church.
So have a wander round, and don't forget to look up...even above modern plate-glass shop frontages there may be a surprising amount of history!
Kennet & Avon Canal
Take a stroll around town and you will come by a sign that points toward the Wharf. What it is is the canal. You will find boats morroed by the side with white mute swans wading in the water and dogs playing on the banks in the day.
Just outside Devizes, to the west, I believe, is a flight of 29 locks on the Avon and Kennett Canal. That is 29 locks in two miles that must be navigated to reach the summit at Devizes. Our friends knew of my fascination of the canals and the narrowboats so they surprised me with this sight. We could drive up almost to the head of the flight. As we did so we walked over to the first lock and, indeed, a couple of boats were heading down the locks. As I was excitedly taking pictures I found I was in the way of the the person manning the lock gate. Sheepishly I bounded out of the way as he swung the gate arm over.
This is just an amazing sight, as one thinks back to in history and imagines the capital and need for such an undertaking. I can imagine that it takes the good part of day or more to navigate these locks, as one has to wait for the lock to fill or empty depending on your goal. The locks are just wide enough to accomodate two narrowboats with barely a foot of space in between.
How I would love to navigate this flight. My only concern with navaigating a narrowboat are the "mores" about canal boat handling. Such as, who goes first; who ties up where, right or left?, etc. But someday......Maybe I'll find out.
My friends were so kind as to give me a brass wall hanging depicting the flights. A perfect end to a perfect but rainy day.
I love little bake shops as much as I do butcher shops. Probably even more. Just look at the variety of things you can purchase....pasties, sausage rolls, lardy rolls (wonder what that is), buns, breads, baguettes, etc. A feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.