Abseiling teams work to repair ‘stunning piece of canal history’

The Grade I listed Dundas Aqueduct is situated on the Kennet & Avon Canal near Bath in Somerset.

The historic Grade I listed Dundas Aqueduct on the Kennet and Avon Canal near Bath
The historic Grade I listed Dundas Aqueduct on the Kennet and Avon Canal near Bath

Abseiling teams have been carrying out conservation repairs to the Grade I listed Dundas Aqueduct on the Kennet and Avon Canal.

The stone masonry conservators have been suspended on ropes 40 feet above the Avon Valley near Bath, Somerset, to repair the structure’s Georgian Bath stone mouldings.

Extensive restoration work was previously carried out in the early 2000s but some of the mouldings have been showing signs of cracking caused by freeze-and-thaw damage.

Extensive work was previously carried out but further damage has taken place (Steve Parsons/PA)
The Dundas Aqueduct was the first canal structure to be designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument (Steve Parsons/PA)

Morgan Cowles, heritage and environment manager for waterways charity the Canal & River Trust, said: “For decades this elegant structure carried narrowboats bearing coal, timber, Bath stone and other goods between Reading and Bristol.

“Commenced in 1796, it was built to take the canal across the Avon Valley, thus allowing a nine-mile-long stretch from Bath to Bradford on Avon to be completed without locks.

“In 1954 it developed a leak and was taken out of use. In the 1960s and ’70s it was completely drained, meaning people were able to walk along it.

The Dundas Aqueduct
The Dundas Aqueduct was started in 1796 (Steve Parsons/PA)

“It was reopened, complete with water, in 1984 and since then has taken on a new life, welcoming hundreds of leisure and lived-on boats to gently cruise along its 140-metre length.

“The Canal & River Trust is conserving the aqueduct for future generations and ensuring it survives another 200-plus years to give more people the chance to enjoy life by water on this stunning piece of canal history.”

Dundas Aqueduct was named after Charles Dundas, the first chairman of the Kennet & Avon Canal Company.

In 1951, it became the first canal structure to be designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

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