Wednesday, 7 November 2012


As we get well and truly into the shorter days and as anyone looking after pre-school children will know, get out and about a little less (especially in those sudden downpours) it is always great if you can abandon everything for a couple of hours to 'blow away the cobwebs'

Well this is exactly what we did last weekend. Our original plan was to walk from Foxton Locks to Market Harborough and back, but when we realised that it would take us about 3 hours one way, involved walking across fields and there was no way we could fit it all in in daylight we had to slightly amend our plans.

The lovely sculpture as you approach the top lock

So we just drove to Foxton and followed the canal path for about an hour and a half before we retraced our steps. Mind you we nearly didn't get there at all as there was a diversion on the Northampton road due to flooding, but the alternate route we took was actually more under water than the main road! So you can see that it was just as well we abandoned the original plan as the fields were and probably still are absolutely waterlogged.

 What an amazing feat of engineering, such a simple system but what hard work it must have been!!

The locks are a staircase system of ten locks in two runs of five. This means that each lock opens directly into the next one. This was one way of allowing boats to navigate steep terrain.
Another way was by a lift system consisting of two water filled tanks which literally hoisted the boats on a cantilever system up and down hills and you can still see the site of the Foxton incline plane. This was built in 1900 to try to replace the ageing locks and speed the flow of water traffic. However a combination of extended hours where the locks were opened to allow night travel and the railways meant that the lifts were never used to their full capacity and in 1910 were closed after only 10 years of use. A shame when you think that the descent in the locks took 45 minutes where the lift took only 12! There is still talk of the waterways authority and the volunteers trying to get the lift restored, but whether this will happen who knows.
The site is well worth a visit though, especially in better weather, with a museum, cafes canal side pubs and lovely walks.

We continued our walk just along the tow path and even though it was raining for most of the time  the autumn colours still glowed and the whole area had a kind of magic.

And on the return journey what a welcome site as it must have been to weary boatman in the past....

This was certainly one of the prettiest walks we have had for a while and we will be back in the spring or summer, though I expect it will be a bit more crowded then....

Hope you all have a good week

Jenny xx


  1. Brought back memories of a visit when staying with friends in Kettering many years ago. Also of Caen Hill Locks near Devizes which we visited with other friends - see my post here: it was a lovely sunny day and the peace and quiet along the tow path was lovely with nothing other than the gentle puttering of the barges. Your walk too looks very refreshing.

  2. What a wonderfully pretty walk you had, loving the autumnal colours of the countryside.
    Lisa x

  3. What a lovely post, It looks much more interesting these days, we often went as children, and once in our youth I persuaded my other half to go. I do love canals, and travelling on barges, we usually go to the one in town though... Thank you also for your lovely comments on my posts,
    Sue Xxx

  4. Don't know if you received my last comment it seemed to be gobbled up, so I will try again...
    What a lovely post, we often visited Foxton Locks as children, and I once persuaded my other half to go when we were much younger! It looks more interesting now! I do love canals and going on barges, we usually visit the canal in town these days.
    Also thank you for your lovely comments on my recent posts, I am very pleased I went short again.....

  5. What a lovely walk.They are just restoring the canal near us and I'm looking forward to seeing it up and running.

  6. What a gorgeous walk - I may earmark this for a summer visit xxxx

  7. Locks are always really interesting for some reason - it is all that engineering, isn't it? But the canalside is also so calm and peaceful - yours looks like a lovely walk. xCathy


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