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Crofton Pump House

Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire

Location Guide

The oldest operational Watt style bean engine, restored and can be seen working.

Originally built in 1807-8, it lifts water from a pond fed by a number of streams up to a level to supply the canal. Later a reservoir known now as Wilton Water was also created here, fed from rainwater falling on nearby hills. Built to house two engines, it originally had one, the second being added in 1812.

With a replacement engine and some modifications they ran by steam until the 1950's when the state of the chimney caused it to be reduced in height by 36ft, and the reduction on height reduced the draught and the system was no longer workable. An electric pump then took over. Restoration later taking place and one engine being replaced with another brought in. One engine was working again in 1970 and the other 18 months later in 1971, the chimney problem being temporarily overcome by running an electric fan in the chimney. By 1997 the chimney had been restored to its original full height of 82ft.

The pumping station is in daily use today, but usually driven by electric pumps, however on a number of days each year the boilers are stoked up and the original beam engine comes to life. There are two beam engines each able to lift around a ton of water on each stroke and running at around 11 strokes per minute.    

Another pumping station on the Kennet and Avon canal is at Claverton,   (wikipedia ), this was a water wheel driven beam engine. The waterwheel, was 24ft wide and 17ft in diameter. It has now been restored.


Location: Crofton Pump House, Crofton, Nr Marlborough, Wiltshire

Grid Reference: SU261622 Ceremonial County: Wiltshire

Map Link: Multimap

Multimap large scale OS

Aerial photo: Multimap

Getting there: Crofton Pumping Station is 6 miles (10km) South East of Marlborough, and 6 miles (10km) South West of Hungerford.

From Marlborough, either take the A346 to Burbage, then follow the brown 'Beam Engines' signs, or proceed on the A4 towards Hungerford, then turn right, at the brown 'Beam Engines' sign before Froxfield, proceed into Great Bedwyn, and continue to follow the brown signs to the Pumping Station.

From Hungerford, proceed towards Salisbury on the A338, turn right at Shalbourne following the signs to Great Bedwyn, then follow the brown 'Beam Engines' signs to the Pumping Station.

From the Salisbury Direction, follow the signs to Hungerford on the A338, then turn left at East Grafton, following the brown 'Beam Engines' signs to the Pumping Station.

You can also reach it from the canal towpath.

Access: This site is not really suitable for wheelchairs and when the engine is running it can be noisy and have a lot of moving parts, so may not appeal to everyone. However if you have an interest in engineering this is a site that you will find very interesting.
Website: Own      Kennet and Avon Trust - Crofton page

Other Useful Websites: Wikipedia - Crofton_Pumping_Station    Geograph

Wikipedia - Kennet_and_Avon_Canal    Wikipedia - Wilton_Water

Email: er23fc45@CroftonBeamEngines.org  (If this does not work check their website)
Address: Crofton Pumping Station, Crofton, Marlborough, Wiltshire, 
Postcode: SN8 3DW Telephone: 01672 870300

Opening Times: Access is available in 2009 between April and September 27th, on all days except Wednesdays. Open 10:30am-5pm last entry at 4:30pm.

Engines in steam: 2009 - April 11-13(Easter); May 2-4, May 23-25, June 27-28, August 1-2, 29-31, September 26-27. The two Engines run alternately with about a 50 minute run and 10 minute break until the next. A schedule is on their website with a pop-up link from this page

Steam Gala 27th and 28th September.

Charges: When in steam - Adults 7.00, Seniors 6.00, Child 2.50, Families (2+2) 16.00. Other times (not in steam) Adults 4.50, Seniors 4.00, Child 2.50, Families (2+ 2) 11.00.
Under 5's in each case are free.

Kennet and Avon Canal Trust Members FREE.

Nearby Locations: Wilton Windmill   Devizes Locks  
Other Location Pages:
Other Relevant Pages:  Canals              Canals for photographers  

Major Canals and Waterways               Major Canal Features  

Canal Tunnels                                        Lock Flights and Staircases  

Canals in England                                  Non Navigable and Lost Canals  

Further information - canals  

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By: Keith Park Section: Canal and Waterway Section Key:
Page Ref: Crofton_Pump_house Topic: Canals & Waterways  Last Updated: 05/2009

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