This canal comprises a canalised section of the River Kennet from the Thames in Reading to Newbury; a canalised section of the River Avon from Bath to Bristol; and a man-made section linking Newbury to Bath. In total, it stretches 139.2 km (86.6 mi) in length, with 107 locks across its distance.
It is connected with the derelict Somersetshire Coal Canal at Monkton Combe and to the Wilts and Berks canal, which is under restoration, at Semington. Once the latter is fully restored, Kennet and Avon Canal will form part of the Wessex Ring.
On the canal, there are public boat trips and there are opportunities for private boating, canoeing, walking and cycling. Some sections of the towpath have been improved for disabled users.Year-round fishing rights are leased to local angling clubs.
The canal is also important for wildlife conservation and there are several Sites of Special Scientific Interest and non-statutory nature reserves along its route.