As we left Lacock on a recent adventure, Daddy P mentioned a flight of locks that we’d all seen on an engineering programme recently was probably near by. After a quick consultation with Google it appeared that we were only twenty minutes away, so we decided to have a little detour on our way home and spend a short time Exploring Caen Hill Lock Flight.
If you’re close to Devizes in Wiltshire at any time, it’s worth spending some time exploring Caen Hill Lock Flight, which is one of the longest continuous flight of locks in the country. There are a total of twenty-nine locks covering a two-mile stretch of the Kennet and Avon canal with a rise of over seventy-two metres.
There is a large pay and display car park towards the top of the flight, you pay £1 for four hours at the Caen Hill Cafe.
We were exploring Caen Hill Lock Flight late one afternoon and by then it really was a bitterly cold January day. So our visit was very brief by our standards. If I’d been prepared and we’d had more time I’d have printed out the Caen Hill locks trail activity sheets for my son to complete. But that’s something to try out on a future visit I think.
Completed in 1810 the lock flight really is a marvel of engineering. What was achieved in those days never ceases to amaze me.
My son loves anything to do with engineering and we are lucky enough to live fairly close to the Oxford canal, so he’s been used to looking at locks for a long time now. But he’s not seen a flight of locks like this before.
Each lock has a pond to help with the water flow and I can imagine in a few months time it the ponds would teeming with insect life. Pond dipping is a popular pastime here too apparently.
Unfortunately there weren’t any boats travelling through the flight on our visit, so my willing assistant didn’t get the opportunity to help with the locks for real this time.
It was an interesting walk, just seeing how the engineers had tackled the incline of the hill.
We stopped and imagined how the flight would look with boats travelling through the flight on a busy day.
There’s a paved tow path than runs down both sides of the flight, and it’s possible to cross a bridge at the bottom and walk back up the other side and also walk around the Jubilee Wood. With picnic benches dotted around, it would be an ideal place to spend time later on in the year.
With bridges at certain points too, it’s easy to get a different view.
The only wildlife we could spot up close were a few swans. They always look so majestic gliding along.
Our time exploring Caen Hill Lock Flight was brief, the light was fading, the temperature was plummeting and we had a long drive home, but we’re glad we made the detour and it’s given us an idea for a day trip later in the year.
Have you visited? Do you know of any other lock flights we should explore?