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  3. Caen Hill Locks
Places to visit

Caen Hill Locks

History of the Locks

Built in 1810, the Caen Hill Locks were the solution to climb this steep hill and complete the navigation of the Kennent and Avon, which sought to connect Reading and Bristol over 87 miles. In order to supply the building site with enough bricks, a brickyard was installed at the South end of the hill which was in use until the middle of the 20th century. After being disused in 1948 it was officially reopened again by Queen Elizabeth in 1990 and has been one of the most famous canal attractions in the U.K. ever since.

Why you should visit

The pure sight of the Caen Hill Locks is impressive. Climbing 237 feet in 2 miles in a boat is something no-one will ever forget. The main flight of 16 is a scheduled monument and is one of the most visited canal sights. It takes around 5 - 6 hours surrounded by beautiful Wiltshire countryside to reach the very top of the Caen Hill Locks.

Boat on Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Good to know

  • There are 29 locks in total, the main flight, however, consists of 16 single locks.
  • Only the 16 locks are a scheduled monument.
  • The pounds in between are very short, due to the lack of space but are stretching to the side to accommodate the amount of water to ensure enough supply for the locks.
  • The “Admiral” is a welcome boat on which visitors can learn everything there is to know about the Caen Hill Locks.

Things to do away from the towpath

  • Enjoy a walk around the newly planted Diamond Jubilee Wood, adjacent to the canal.
  • Take a break at the Caen Hill Cafe at the very top of the lock flight.
  • Take a walk on the Devizes to Roundway Hill trail and experience open countryside, the charming village of Roundway, the hustle and bustle of Devizes and, of course, the stunning Caen Hill Locks.

Photos of the Caen Hill Locks

Photo looking up the lock flight View of lock with a side pound Looking up the locks

Our hire bases that serve the caen hill locks

You can visit the Caen Hill Locks on a short-break, or tackle the flight on a week-long hire from our Partners in Bradford On Avon.