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Limpley Stoke, Dundas and Monkton Combe

Limpley Stoke - Mill
Limpley Stoke - Mill


About 9 miles from our Melksham base, across the hill from Bath, you'll find a fascinating area rich in industrial archeology. At the bottom of Brassknocker Hill near the Viaduct Inn, the valley of the Midford Brook leaves the valley of the river Avon.

Map locator - Limpley_Stoke

The river Avon has long since been the site of many mills - this one is at Limpley Stoke, picture taken off the old road bridge where the Bradford to Bath road crosses.

The Avon Valley from the train
The Avon Valley from the train


Cricket pitch, evening, near Limpley Stoke
Cricket pitch, evening, near Limpley Stoke


The valley of the river Avon is shared by the Kennet and Avon Canal - once an artery that took heavy goods between London and Bristol before the coming of the railway. Now it's a quiet holiday backwater.

Canal at Limpley Stoke
Canal at Limpley Stoke


Clinging to the hillside above the river, the canal suffered over the years from collapses and leakage, and this part was know as "the dry section" from closure of the canal in the 1950s until it was re-opened 40 years later. To this day, you'll see the straps that used to secure "stop gates" at the bridges, allowing for sections to be isolated in an emergency.

Stop gate straps
Stop gate straps


A mile of two down from Limpley Stoke, the canal crosses the river on the Dundas Aquaduct - we've more pictures on our Cycling page - and reaches the junction with the former Somerset Coal Canal which ran up Monkton Combe towards the Somerset Coal Field.

Monkton Combe was shared with the Camerton branch of the Great Western Railway, and a little further up it was joined by the Somerset and Dorset Railway too which came through the hill from Bath in a single track tunnel.

The two railway lines crossed just close to the village of Midford, where they each crossed the valley on viaducts and one viaduct passed diagonally under the other. It must have been a spectacular site in its heyday.

Midford - the two viaducts
Midford - the two viaducts
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