About the River Kennet
The River Kennet is one of England's most important chalk streams. Some 45 miles long, it is the largest tributary of the Thames and in summer months contributes up to half its flow. It runs through the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The stretch from Marlborough to Woolhampton is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and it passes by some of Britain's most important prehistoric sites, including the Word Heritage Site of stone circles and avenue at Avebury and Silbury Hill.
Historically, man has developed the river and made use of its power. Numerous mills were constructed, and the river specifically built up above its natural height to provide enough head of water to drive them. Three mills remain in Ramsbury alone. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the quality of the river water was excellent for the brewing industries of Ramsbury and Marlborough and plentiful for the tanning industries in both places. Today, it is recognised for its fisheries and amenity interests.
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