January’s Calendar Challenge is Caen Hill Locks Devizes, Wiltshire.
The 29 locks have a rise of 237 feet in 2 miles or a 1 in 44 gradient. The locks come in three groups: the lower seven locks, Foxhangers Wharf Lock to Foxhangers Bridge Lock, are spread over ¾ of a mile ; the next sixteen locks form a steep flight in a straight line up the hillside and are designated as a scheduled monument.
Because of the steepness of the terrain, the Pounds between these locks are very short. As a result, fifteen of them have unusually large sideways-extended pounds, to store the water needed to operate them. A final six locks take the canal into Devizes.
The locks take 5–6 hours to traverse in a boat.
This flight of locks was engineer John Rennie’s solution to climbing the steep hill, and was the last part of the 87-mile route of the canal to be completed. Whilst the locks were under construction, a tramroad provided a link between the canal at Foxhangers to Devizes, the remains of which can be seen in the towpath arches in the road bridges over the canal.
Caen Hill Locks is well sign posted, the car park is £1.00 for 4hrs and you pay at the Cafe, which has exceedingly good sausage rolls and yummy milkshakes. It is a really peaceful place to walk, run or fish and watch the world go by.
February’s Destination is Teignmouth, Devon.