Wilmcote Lock Flight
A unique flight of canal locks that owe their form to 19th-century cost-saving measures.
This fascinating and beautiful flight of 11 locks on the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal is unique in the United Kingdom because of its narrowness and use of single leaf gates at both ends of the locks. British canal locks usually have at least one pair of the two-leaf miter-type gates.
This arrangement was a necessary cost-saving measure so that the southern section of the canal could be completed. It resulted in one of the most attractive flights of locks in the country. The locks are part of the final descent of the canal to the River Avon at Stratford and were built around 1815.
Other inventive cost-saving measures used in this section included special cast iron split bridges and barrel roofed employees’ cottages. The southern section of the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal was intended to provide a through route from the River Avon to the English Midlands’ canal network.
The river is flood-prone and this section of the canal was never successful as a commercial waterway. It remained derelict until 1930, when it was restored for use by recreational traffic in 1964. The National Trust restored the derelict section, but it is now in the control of the Canal and River Trust.
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