Thursday, 22 November 2012

The 29 Steps: Locks at Devizes

The stunning flight of locks at Caen Hill, just outside Devizes, consists of 29 locks which between them take the Kennet & Avon canal down 72m (or up, depending on your perspective).

For the main run of sixteen continuous locks, there is no mooring available between one lock and the next. If you're unfamiliar with canal boats, what this means in practice is that if you start, you'd better be prepared to finish the same day. The locks are only operational for a few hours each day (basically only the mornings, in winter), and it typically takes five or six hours to navigate the whole flight by narrowboat, so you really do have to be well prepared if you're going to tackle it.

Fortunately, it's much quicker to walk, and the views along the way are truly stunning.

Devizes Locks

Devizes Locks

Devizes Locks

Of course, once we reached the bottom, we turned around and walked straight back up again. We had brought my mother-in-law along for the trip, and she decided to walk to the nearby village of Rowde and get a coffee while we fetched the car. Unfortunately the map by the canal wasn't really to scale, and it took her almost as long to reach the village as it took us to get back up the hill.

Devizes Locks

Devizes Locks


Jules said...

I camped just below here about, and we cycled into Devizes along the towpath, it is gorgeous. I hope you MIL got her coffee!

Elizabeth Braun said...

Help! Move over Bingley Five Rise, huh??=)

Rachel said...

It sounds like the sort of thing to tackle towards the end of a canalboat holiday, when the locks make more sense!

Toronto Locksmiths said...

At the bottom, turn round and retrace your steps back uphill, possibly pausing at the tea room across the bridge by Queen Elizabeth II Lock. Recross the A361 and walk back to the subway, leaving the tow path to cross the road bridge and join the northern bank of the canal. Follow the tow path to the next bridge, cross it and turn right to pass the Kennet and Avon Canal Museum at Devizes Wharf.

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