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Seasonal area

January 2014

Current Seasonal Area is here

The Kennet and Avon Canal featured extensively in trips out in 2013, which means that it will be making rather more than its due number of appearances in Seasonal Area pictures during 2014. Those opposed to the idea that canals can be attractive may wish to come back in 2015.

Before now this page has featured the K&A at Devizes (June 2013) and Reading (December 2013). About halfway between the two is the small market town of Hungerford. Hungerford is one of those places that the Industrial Revolution managed to pass by, despite the Revolution sending it a turnpike road, an inter-city canal and a railway that grew from being Hungerford's branch line to holding the proud status of the mainline to the West of England.

The turnpike is now the A4, which has been sufficiently bypassed by the M4 for it to remain a single-carriageway. The Kennet and Avon had become disused and overgrown by the Second World War, so there was nobody around to complain when the continuous blue line from London to Bristol that divides this island in two became a core part of the nation's defences against Nazi Germany. (The small problems that it was only 20 feet wide, had silted up and goes through a tunnel at its summit near Crofton were all overlooked by both the War Office and the late Corporal Hitler.) The railway, despite occasional closure proposals during the Dark Years, remains the mainline to the West of England.

Here we see the railway (complete with Penzance-bound express train) sailing over the fully-restored canal (complete with two people in a canoe that got two locks further upstream before encountering a canal-blocking lump of ice) a little to the west of Hungerford. It was a nippy sort of day, but the snow made it all worthwhile. East of Crofton, there is a certain amount of pot luck with this kind of rail over canal photo, since it is hardly guaranteed that a boat will be passing underneath when one of the five trains per hour through Hungerford goes overhead. West of Crofton, where the canal is busier, all the rail/canal crossings are done by the canal passing over the railway - which makes getting an angle where both boat (on hefty bridge) and train (under hefty bridge) are visible extremely tricky.

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Last modified 24/12/2013

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