Devizes? Wiltshire? Have you ever heard of this town? You don’t necessarily have to know the place. Located in rural Wiltshire, about 150 km from London, however, this is a great engineering achievement of the late 18th century. The 87-mile Kennet and Avon Canal was built in 1794, a waterway for the then highly popular Narrow Boats. However, there was a hill in the way of this connection, which is so important for freight transport: Caen Hill near the municipality of Devizes. The builder John Rennie had to find a way to transport the boats over this “mountain”. He found this in the form of 29 locks, 16 of which are in a rather unique arrangement close together. This made it possible to overcome the 72 meters of altitude in “only” 5 to 6 hours duration per passage. Completed in 1810, the last cargo boat operated here only in 1948. After an extensive refurbishment, the so-called “Flight of Locks” is very popular with the countless private narrow boats and is a satisfying photo opportunity. A small brochure is available for visitors.
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