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Water great place!

Visit Market Harborough in Leicestershire and you will find beautiful canals, boats and a lot of locks! Step back in time at the Boiler House and see how boats used to travel in the lift, a special chair lift called the Inclined Plane. Foxton Locks are ten canal locks with two staircases, each containing five locks.  Located on the Leicester line of the Grand Union Canal and named after the nearby village of Foxton.

Water great place

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Staircase locks are requires when a canal needs to travel up a hill and Foxton Locks are the largest example of this on the English canal system. It used to take 45 minutes to rise 75 feet and used up thousands of gallons of water. The Locks are Grade II listed structures and alongside them, the Inclined Plane, built in 1900, can be seen. The Plane was not hugely successful and was only used for 10 years. It was hoped to be a solution to the operational issues caused by the lock flight.

In 2008, the locks were included in the European Route of Industrial Heritage and are well worth a visit.  For more information see http://www.marketharborough.com/. There is also the opportunity to take a boat trip and experience the staircase lock firsthand. Boat trips run during the summer for a 30 minute canal cruise. There is also an onsite museum in the restored engine house of the Inclined Plane.

If you thinking of taking children, be aware that a lock can be a dangerous place. The locks are deep with fast moving water, uneven pathways and lock gear mechanisms. Keeping a close eye and being aware that the locks were built before health and safety laws, should ensure a thoroughly enjoyable day.

There is plenty of local wildlife to see along the lovely canal towpaths. Ducks, herons and water vole can all be spotted in the side-ponds used as reservoirs for the locks. The locks and surrounding area are open all year round and the footpaths are ideal for walking or cycling, with a variety of different routes available. Foxton Locks are certainly unique and have a fascinating history.


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