If you have a little more time, Devizes offers a wide variety of other attractions. Hillworth Park can be found on the southern edge of the town, along with Hillworth House which was built in 1832. A popular place for local people and visitors alike, the park has ornamental flower gardens, a water garden and play areas for both the under fives and older children. A recent addition is the new aviary, designed and built with contributions from the community as part of the Millennium celebrations.
At the eastern entrance to the town are The Green and the Crammer pond. The large open space of the Green is often used by travelling fairs and circuses. The Crammer is said to be where the famous ‘Wiltshire Moonraker’ legend was born, and for many years was a regular watering place for cattle and horses being driven to and from the town. Even circus elephants have bathed in it, although these days it is the haunt of swans, ducks and geese.
The Kennet and Avon Canal runs through the northern part of Devizes. One of the country’s most beautiful waterways, it was built by John Rennie and opened in 1810. It joins Bristol to London via the Avon and Thames and was a vital trade link for local industries. Today it provides a tranquil and valuable source of recreation for residents and visitors alike. You can take a walk along the towpath, which is a public footpath, or, for the less adventurous, there are leisurely boat trips that depart from the Wharf. Times and other information are available at the Kennet and Avon Canal shop on the Wharf or the Visitor Centre.
The Wharf area in Couch Lane contains a theatre and a specialist canal museum. It forms the focal point for canal-based activities. Each year at Easter people arrive at Devizes from across the world to take part in the famous Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race, which starts at the Wharf. It is great fun to watch, but the town is packed to capacity and you are advised to book early with Tourist Information if you need accommodation.
As well as its beautiful surroundings, the canal is world famous for the Caen Hill Locks, a spectacular flight of 29 locks that raises the water level 72 metres over a distance of 4 kilometres. The whole flight was completely restored during the 1980s and re-opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 1990. It is a popular spot and offers facilities for walkers, cyclists, anglers and picnic parties.