If you were driving through to Devises near Rowde, you could easily pass the Caen Hill locks if you didn’t know they were there.
I thought Bingley’s five rise on the Leeds/Liverpool canal was remarkable but the 29 locks which make up this flight are amazing.
The series were built between 1794 and 1810 to lift the Kennet and Avon canal a height of 237 feet.
Though it’s original use was superceded by the railways in the early 1900s and eventually fell into total disrepair, restoration work thrity years ago has not only restored, but improved the system of locks. Today the Caen Hill locks are a popular and busy canal for recreational boaters.
Gazing up the 16 locks which form a straight line, one has to consider what an amazing feat of engineering it was 200 years ago.
Note: I will be writing more on the Leeds/Liverpool canal as time goes on especially the Leeds to Saltaire section. For more on this area visit: http://www.penninewaterways.co.uk/
Photo: M Muir - June 2006