Caen Hill Locks, Kennet and Avon Canal

Caen Hill Locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal, Devizes, Wiltshire, UK
Caen Hill Locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal, Devizes, Wiltshire, UK

Caen Hill Locks are a flight of 29 locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal near Devizes, Wiltshire. Caen Hill Locks was engineer John Rennie’s solution to climbing the very steep hill.

The locks are used to climb 237 feet in 2 miles, which is a gradient of 1 in 44. They come in three groups; Foxhangers Wharf Lock to Foxhangers Bridge Lock are the lower seven locks. The next sixteen form a steep flight, straight up the hillside, they are designated a scheduled monument. The final six locks take the canal into Devizes. The locks take 5-6 hours to traverse in a boat.

Because of the large volume of water needed to operate the locks, a pump was installed at Foxhangers in1996 that is capable of returning 32milliion litres of water to the top every eleven minutes.

Caen Hill Café sits at the top of the hill and The Black Horse is just back from the canal if you continue on to the next road, towards Devizes.

We stayed at Devizes Camping and Caravanning Club Site which if you walk to the locks along the towpath from there, only took us about ¾ of an hour, and that’s with Nik stopping to take photos every two minutes. The Locks are such an amazing feet of engineering and has so much wild life living among them, that it makes for a lovely day out with the reward of an ice-cream or cuppa when you get to the top.