|Statistics and Files|
|Start: Foxton Locks Car Park||Distance: 3.9 miles (6.3 km)||Climbing: 61 metres|
|Grid Ref: SP 69279 89204||Time: 2 hours||Rating: Easy|
|GPX Route File||Google Earth File||About Foxton Locks|
|Start: Foxton Locks Car Park||Distance: 3.9 miles (6.3 km)|
|Climbing: 61 metres||Grid Ref: SP 69279 89204|
|Time: 2 hours||Rating: Easy|
|GPX Route File||Google Earth File|
The Walk: The great attraction of this walk is the combination of the quiet undulating countryside of south Leicestershire and the general activity of canal boats navigating the water and moving up and down through the locks. Cut off from road traffic there is complete freedom to walk on the towpaths and enjoy the special attractions that canals have to offer. Wildlife abouts around the canals, which provide a peaceful haven for birds such as Mallards and Moorhens. Even the occasional Kingfisher may be spotted flying along the line of the canal and small animals such as the elusive Water Vole could also be seen.
Originally the canals were built to provide an essential network for carrying freight. Quickly made redundant by the coming of the railways they are now used by pleasure craft and narrow boats. Locks are an essential feature of canals, constructed to overcome the differences between water levels. Single locks are used when the change in level is slight, but a flight of locks is needed at Foxton where the gradient is steep. This walk includes the Foxton flight of ten narrow locks and the remains of the Foxton Inclined Plain which was built to take boats up and down the steep hillside.
The flight forms one of the most remarkable features of Britain's canals. It was built between 1806 and 1814 as part of the Grand Union Canal link across the Northamptonshire uplands to the Grand Junction Canal at Long Buckby. The flight was seen as a considerable engineering feat in raising or lowering vessels 75 feet (23 metres). However, passage through the locks was so slow - it took vessels over 70 minutes - that the locks became a bottleneck. As a result the inclined plane was designed to bypass the locks and save time.
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