- Hits: 1891
The Kennet is a river in the south east of England, and a tributary of the River Thames.
The lower reaches of the river are navigable to river craft and are known as the Kennet Navigation, which, together with the Avon Navigation, the Kennet & Avon Canal and the Thames, links the cities of Bristol and London. The River Kennet is joint onto the River Thames and the Holy brook.
One of the Kennet's source is Swallowhead Spring near Silbury Hill in the county of Wiltshire, the other being a collection of tributaries to the North of Avebury near the villages of Uffcott and Broad Hinton which flow south past Avebury and join up with the waters from Swallowhead Springs. From there the river flows through Marlborough, Hungerford and Newbury before flowing into the Thames at Reading in Berkshire.
The upper reaches of the River Kennet are served by two tributaries. The River Og which flows into the Kennet at Marlborough and the River Dun which enters at Hungerford. The Kennet's principal tributaries are the River Lambourn, the River Enborne and the Foudry Brook.
For six miles to the west of, and through, Reading, the Kennet supports a secondary channel, known as the Holy Brook, which formerly powered the water mills of Reading Abbey.
The River Kennet is navigable from the junction with the Thames at Kennet Mouth near Reading, upstream to Newbury where it joins the Kennet & Avon Canal. The first mile of the river, from Kennet Mouth to the High Bridge in Reading, has been navigable since at least the thirteenth century, providing wharfage for both the townspeople and Reading Abbey. Originally this short stretch of navigable river was under the control of the Abbey; today it, including Blake's Lock, is administered by the Environment Agency as if it were part of the River Thames.
From High Bridge through to Newbury, the river was made navigable between 1718 and 1723 under the supervision of the engineer John Hore of Newbury, and this stretch of the river is now administered by British Waterways and known as the Kennet Navigation.
Throughout the navigation, stretches of natural riverbed alternate with 11 miles of artificially created lock cuts, and a series of locks including; County, Fobney, Southcote, Burghfield, Garston, Sheffield, Sulhamstead and Tyle Mill overcome a rise of 130 feet.