This article does not cite any sources . (October 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Watford Locks (grid reference) is a group of seven locks on the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal, in Northamptonshire, England, famous for the Watford Gap service area.
The Ordnance Survey National Grid reference system is a system of geographic grid references used in Great Britain, distinct from latitude and longitude. It is often called British National Grid (BNG).
The Grand Union Canal in England is part of the British canal system. Its main line starts in London and ends in Birmingham, stretching for 137 miles (220 km) with 166 locks. It has arms to places including Leicester, Slough, Aylesbury, Wendover and Northampton.
Northamptonshire, archaically known as the County of Northampton, is a county in the East Midlands of England. In 2015 it had a population of 723,000. The county is administered by Northamptonshire County Council and by seven non-metropolitan district councils. It is known as "The Rose of the Shires".
The locks are formed (looking from the south), of two single locks, a staircase of four, and a final single lock. Together they lift the canal 16 m (52 ft 6 in) to the "Leicester Summit", which it maintains all the way to Foxton Locks.
Foxton Locks are ten canal locks consisting of two "staircases" each of five locks, located on the Leicester line of the Grand Union Canal about 5 km west of the Leicestershire town of Market Harborough. They are named after the nearby village of Foxton.
The locks were built to carry narrowboats, and the system was opened in 1814. In the early 20th century there were plans to build an inclined plane similar to that at Foxton as part of a scheme to allow the passage of barges, but the plan was abandoned when the inclined plane at Foxton proved uneconomic.
A narrowboat or narrow boat is a boat of a distinctive design, made to fit the narrow canals of the United Kingdom.
An inclined plane is a system used on some canals for raising boats between different water levels. Boats may be conveyed afloat, in caissons, or may be carried in cradles or slings. It is a type of cable railway.
A barge is a flat-bottomed ship, built mainly for river and canal transport of heavy goods. Some barges are not self-propelled and must be towed or pushed by towboats, canal barges or towed by draft animals on an adjacent towpath. Barges contended with the railway in the early Industrial Revolution, but were outcompeted in the carriage of high-value items due to the higher speed, falling costs and route flexibility of railways.
When the Grand Union Canal was formed in 1929, there were further proposals to widen the flight as part of the modernisation going on elsewhere on the Grand Union's network, but these plans did not develop further.
The locks are hemmed in by the Roman Watling Street (now the A5 road), the M1 motorway, and the West Coast Main Line railway, which all fit through the narrow Watford Gap, between two hill systems.
Watling Street is a route in England that began as an ancient trackway first used by the Britons, mainly between the areas of modern Canterbury and St Albans using a natural ford near Westminster. The Romans later paved the route, which then connected the Kentish ports of Dubris (Dover), Rutupiae (Richborough), Lemanis (Lympne), and Regulbium (Reculver) to their bridge over the Thames at Londinium (London). The route continued northwest past Verulamium (St Albans) on its way to Viroconium (Wroxeter). The Romans considered the continuation on to Blatobulgium (Birrens) beyond Hadrian's Wall to be part of the same route, leading some scholars to call this Watling Street as well, although others restrict it to the southern leg.
The A5 London Holyhead Trunk Road is a major road in England and Wales. It runs for about 275 miles (443 km) from London to the Irish Sea at the ferry port of Holyhead which handles more than 2 million passengers each year. In many parts the route follows that of the Roman Iter II route which later took the Anglo-Saxon name Watling Street.
The M1 motorway connects London to Leeds, where it joins the A1(M) near Aberford, to connect to Newcastle. It was the first inter-urban motorway to be completed in the UK; the first motorway in the country was the Preston By-pass, which later became part of the M6.
The locks are usually supervised during the cruising season from Easter to October, with the locks padlocked outside permitted hours. This is done to prevent problems arising from misuse and to ensure that queues are kept to the minimum. Boaters operate the locks themselves under the lock keeper's supervision. On arrival at the top or bottom boaters should report to the lock keeper to register their arrival before attempting to operate the flight. At busy times there can often be a delay of two hours or more but transit of the flight takes approximately 45 minutes; it is made quicker by the fact that the locks are narrow beam and the gates are light.
Access from the A5 Watling Street is difficult and not suitable for wheelchairs or prams.
Going northbound, parking can be found on a hard standing outside a large caravan sales-shop situated on public land, between two turnings that are signposted as going to Watford. Upon arriving, the locks can be found by walking across a frontage following signposts for the Jurassic Way footpath. The locks can be reached by crossing over a stile.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Watford Locks .|
A lock is a device used for raising and lowering boats, ships and other watercraft between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways. The distinguishing feature of a lock is a fixed chamber in which the water level can be varied; whereas in a caisson lock, a boat lift, or on a canal inclined plane, it is the chamber itself that rises and falls.
Watford Gap is a low-lying area between two hills, close to the village of Watford, Northamptonshire, England. Engineers from Roman times onwards have found it to be an ideal route for connecting the Midlands with South East England. The A5 road, the West Coast Main Line railway, the M1 motorway and a branch of the Grand Union Canal traverse in parallel a space about 400 metres (1,300 ft) wide. It has been written and spoken of as marking the divide between Northern England and Southern England.
The Foxton Inclined Plane is a canal inclined plane that is located on the Leicester line of the Grand Union Canal about 5 km (3.1 mi) west of the Leicestershire town of Market Harborough and are named after the nearby village of Foxton. The plane was built in 1900 as a solution to various operational restrictions imposed by the Foxton Lock flight. However, it was not a commercial success and only remained in full-time operation for ten years. The plane was dismantled in 1926. A project to re-create the plane commenced in the 2000s because the narrowbeam locks remain a bottleneck for leisure boat traffic.
Bingley Five-Rise Locks is a staircase lock on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Bingley. As the name implies, a boat passing through the lock is lifted or lowered in five stages.
The canals of the United Kingdom are a major part of the network of inland waterways in the United Kingdom. They have a colourful history, from use for irrigation and transport, through becoming the focus of the Industrial Revolution, to today's role of recreational boating. Despite a period of abandonment, today the canal system in the United Kingdom is again in increasing use, with abandoned and derelict canals being reopened, and the construction of some new routes. Most canals in England and Wales are maintained by the Canal & River Trust, previously British Waterways, but a minority of canals are privately owned.
The Grand Junction Canal is a canal in England from Braunston in Northamptonshire to the River Thames at Brentford, with a number of branches. The mainline was built between 1793 and 1805, to improve the route from the Midlands to London, by-passing the upper reaches of the River Thames near Oxford, thus shortening the journey.
Whilton Locks is the name of a flight of seven locks on the Grand Union Canal near Daventry, in the county of Northamptonshire, England. They are also referred to as Buckby Lock Flight.
A gongoozler is a person who enjoys watching activity on the canals of the United Kingdom. The term is also used more generally to describe those who harbour an interest in canals and canal life, but do not actively participate.
Bingley Three Rise Locks is a staircase of three locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Bingley, West Yorkshire, England. It opened in 1774 and was a major feat of engineering at the time along with the larger Five Rise opened at the same time and several hundred metres further up. The lock comprises a staircase flight—the lower gate of one lock forming the upper gate of the next lock.
The Grand Union Canal was a canal in England from Foxton, Leicestershire on the Leicestershire and Northamptonshire Union Canal to Norton Junction, close to Long Buckby Wharf on the Grand Junction Canal. It now forms the first 23 miles (37 km) of the Leicester Section, a branch of the much bigger modern Grand Union Canal.
Foxton is a village and civil parish in the Harborough district, in the county of Leicestershire, England, to the north-west of Market Harborough. The village is on the Grand Union Canal and is a short walk to the site of the Foxton Locks and Foxton Inclined Plane. Swingbridge Street still has a working swing bridge that allows people and vehicles to pass over the canal, which can be opened to allow canal boats to pass. Foxton’s population is a mix of professionals and locals. There are two public houses in the village, a village hall, and a primary school. Foxton is serviced by Market Harborough train station which is approximately 3 miles away. London and Birmingham can each be reached by train in approximately 50 minutes.
The Saint-Louis-Arzviller inclined plane is part of the Marne-Rhine Canal, located in the commune of Saint-Louis, between the towns of Saint-Louis and Arzviller in the département of the Moselle. It enables the canal to cross the Vosges Mountains.
Fonserannes Locks are a flight of staircase locks on the Canal du Midi near Béziers.
Tardebigge Locks or the Tardebigge Flight is the longest flight of locks in the UK, comprising 30 narrow locks on a two-and-a-quarter-mile (3.6 km) stretch of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal at Tardebigge, Worcestershire. It raises the waterway 220 feet (67 m), and lies between the Tardebigge tunnel to the North and the Stoke Prior flight of six narrow locks to the South. The Tardebigge Engine House is also on this stretch.
The Foxton Inclined Plane Trust is a waterway society and a registered charity on the Grand Union Canal at Foxton, Leicestershire, England, UK. It was founded in 1980 to promote the restoration of the Victorian boat lift or inclined plane, a unique and famous piece of canal history.