Foxton Locks and Foxton Inclined Plane in England.

Visiting the two sets of Staircase Locks at Foxton Locks and Inclined Plane plus other features from the area in England - with pictures.

Foxton Toplock and  Lock Keeper's Cottage in England.

How to get too Foxton Locks.

Foxton Locks are located around 3 miles to the northwest of Market Harborough in the English County of Leicestershire - just a little way off the B6047 Kettering to Market Harborough road. There is a Long Stay car park on one side of the road or you can go into the Short Term (for up to 4 hours) British Waterways car park in their Country Park. If using a satnav to find the way there the postcode is LE16 7RR.
Located as part of the Leicester Section of the Grand Union Canal, Foxton boasts the largest set (two lots of 5 in fact) of staircase locks on the canal system in England and has to be a must see place to visit if you enjoy canals and related buildings etc.. The Foxton Locks area has been really smartened up - the paths are all in good condition, as mentioned there is lots of parking available. There are several canal side pubs at the bottom of the lock flight or you can get a cup of coffee if you wish by the lock-keepers cottage by Foxton Toplock (photo on the right). Foxton Locks old engine house now contains a small canal museum where amongst other things you can see a working model of the old Foxton boat lift.
Below you will find quite a few photographs taken around Foxton Staircase Locks including the lock flight itself plus various canal bridges - also several pictures of where the inclined plane was located. Foxton inclined plane has so far not been restored but hopefully one day narrowboats may yet again have the facility available. At the moment the only way boats are able to continue along the Leicester (Canal) Section is to use the lock flight - these are narrow locks only able to accommodate one boat at a time and there is only a small basin between the two staircase flights.
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Gumley Roadbridge at Foxton Locks, England.
Bridge 60 - Gumley Roadbridge
Foxton Locks and Gumley Roadbridge no.60
Gumley Road Bridge
Foxton Locks Feeder Arm to the top of The Inclined Plane.
Foxton Locks Upper Arm
Foxton Toplock no.8 at Foxton Locks.
Foxton Top Lock 8
Foxton Staircase Locks - Canal Lock 9
Foxton Lock 9
Leicester Section
A typical footbridge at Lock9 on Foxton Lock Flight.
Footbridge going over
Foxton Lock 9
The Lockgates at Foxton Lock no.10
Staircase Lock Gates
at Foxton Lock 10
Canal Lock 11 at Foxton Locks
Foxton Lock 11
leading to Lock 12
The Staircase Lock 13 at Foxton Locks
Foxton Lock 13
Foxton staircase locks
Narrow lock 14 plus a small reservoir at Foxton Locks
Foxton Lock 14
and a storage pond
A trolley used when the inclined plane was built at Foxton Locks.
Trolley used during the inclined plane constuction
Concrete base for the runners at Foxton Locks
Site of the inclined plane showing the concrete base
Foxton Inclined Plane at Foxton Locks
Site of Inclined Plane
Foxton Locks
A section of the inclined plane at Foxton Locks
Concrete base for the
inclined plane
Canal Lock 16 and Bridge 61 at Foxton Locks
Foxton Lock 16
with Bridge 61
General view of Foxton Lock Flight in England.
View looking up several
of Foxton's Staircase Locks

The short Market Harborough Canal Arm leaves the Leicester Section of the Grand Union Canal from the bottom of Foxton Lock Flight and heads off for around 5 miles to arrive at the really nice town of Market Harborough - this makes a very pleasant walk along the Arm's towpath.

Part of the two sets of staircase locks at Foxton Lock Flight.
Lock 16 with Lock 15
behind it
Foxton Bottom Lock and Bridge 61 at Foxton Locks.
Bridge 61 from
Foxton Bottom Lock
Canal bridge 61 at Foxton Locks in England.
Bridge 61 at Foxton
Foxton Bottom Lock 17 - Foxton Locks.
Foxton Lock Flight
Bottom Lock 17

About Foxton Staircase Locks and Foxton Inclined Plane.

The two sets of staircase locks were designed by Benjamin Bevin to take the canal down (or up) a total of 75 feet and comprise of two lots of 5 locks - these were built between 1810 and 1814. Staircase locks are different to normal canal locks as the intermediate locks share the same gates - the locks at Foxton are just 7 feet wide so cater for only one boat at a time - it can be a lengthy process traversing the flight. The canals were of course originally designed as highways for transporting goods around the country and because of the delays in getting through Foxton Locks in 1894 the Grand Junction Canal Company asked an engineer called Gordon Cale Thomas to find a solution to the bottlenecks.
The Leicester Canal Section + Market Harborough Canal junction, Foxton, England.
Market Harborough Arm - Leicester Section junction
Rainbow Bridge 62 at Foxton Locks.
Foxton Locks
Rainbow Bridge 62
Upper side-arm bridge at Foxton Locks
Bridge into the Upper Side
Arm - lower channel
to the inclined plane
One of the pulley wheels at Foxton Locks.
A pulley wheel
used to drag the tanks
on the inclined plane
Bridge near the site of the inclined plane at Foxton Locks.
Canal Bridge by
Foxton Lock's
inclined plane
view from the base of the inclined plane at Foxton Locks
Bottom view of where the inclined plane was situated - top to bottom it's 75 feet
Foxton Locks showing Feeder Arm Bridge
The feeder arm bridge at Foxton Locks
Swing bridge at Foxton Locks in England.
Foxton Locks -
Swingbridge
The result was the building of an inclined plane counter-balanced boat lift - two massive tanks which could each hold two narrow boats or one up to 10 foot wide barge. Once parked inside the tanks the guillotine gates would be closed trapping a tank full of water. Then a huge winding drum powered by a 25hp steam engine reeled in the upward moving tank using a heavy steel cable whilst simultaneously letting out the cable which was attached to a descending tank.
The Staircase Canal Locks at Foxton
View looking up the
Staircase Locks at Foxton
Foxton's Inclined Plane, Foxton Locks.
View down the inclined plane
at Foxton
The old Engine House at Foxton Locks.
The old engine house at Foxton Locks
View looking up part of Foxton Lock Flight
Foxton Locks
looking up the flight
The boat lift opened in 1900 but although the through-put of boats was much improved at Foxton Locks all that really happened was that the problem was pushed elsewhere along the canal - namely to the set of narrow staircase locks at The Leicester Canal Section Watford Staircase Locks. These locks at Watford Gap were also meant to have be widened but it never happened and eventually the Foxton Boat Lift was closed in 1911 and everyone had to use the staircase locks again.
Please take a look at our Grand Union Canal in England Home Page - covering the entire length of the Grand Union Canal and also it's Canal Arms and Sections.

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