Read the story of how the Canal & River Trust came to be
Work for us
We have vacancies across all of our waterways and in the offices, museums and attractions that support them. We're one of the UK's biggest charities and we take pride in everything we do
If you're thinking of getting in touch then please take a moment to look through these pages as we probably have the answer on our website
Planning & design
All you need to know about planning and design on our canals and rivers
Find a winter mooring
Find a cosy section of canal to hunker down in this winter
10 reasons to take up canoeing
It's a great way to get fit and explore our waterways at the same time
Share the Space
Take a look at our common sense guide to sharing the towpath
Find a place to fish
From reservoirs to club-managed canals and river stretches - find your nearest place to fish
Get your free guide
Download your free guide today and start exploring the waterway nature near you
Download your free guides
You've nine free days out guides to choose from - where will you go first?
Find a walk near you
Are you ready to ramble? Find a waterside stroll or a satisfying hike along our beautiful canals and rivers
Take a look at our upcoming events here.
Find your favourite waterway
With over 95 canals, rivers, reservoirs, docks and navigations, find out more about your favourite waterway
Something for everyone
Help us make a difference and have fun along the way. Find your perfect volunteer role today
Join our team
Could you join your local Towpath Taskforce team and help us to keep our canals looking lovely?
Desmond Family Canoe Trail
If you're aged 16-25 and would like to get involved with this exciting project, please get in touch
Could you be a volunteer lock keeper?
Find out what's involved with this popular volunteering opportunity
Why we think canals are better with Friends
Become a Friend of the Canal & River Trust today and you’ll open yourself up to new experiences and endless opportunities.
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
The Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal takes a quiet, meandering course through rolling hills and unspoilt countryside.
15th Jan 2018 8:00am to 2nd Mar 2018 4:00pm
Following customer feedback, the dates for closures in the Foxton area have been re-arranged to allow windows for navigation north and south. Repairs will include:
Lock 8: replace bottom gate.
5th Mar 2018 8:00am to 16th Mar 2018 4:00pm
To refit the top and bottom gates. Following customer feedback, the dates for closures on the Leicester Line have been re-arranged to allow improved windows for navigation.
10th Jan 2014 3:30pm onwards
Navigation is closed to Wide Beam Traffic Between the Winding Hole South of Bridge 72 and The Winding Hole South of Bridge 65. Following the failure of the cutting slope on the offside of the canal at...
Union Wharf Narrowboats Ltd are situated on the arm of the Grand Union Canal - 2 hours away from the Famous Foxton Locks.
We are Roving Traders travelling the inland waterways on our narrow-boat Islonian trading as Flavoursfloat.
We sell a wide selection of interesting antique and collectible items with an emphasis on nautical, wooden and canal bygones. We always have a selection of Meashamware teapots available!
Two fabulous locations for your narrowboat holiday or canal barge break. Great prices, great escapes. Wonderful cruising opportunities.
Foxton Locks is a well-known waterways landmark in a green and rural location. The ten locks are often busy with narrowboats, while the side-ponds, which provide water to the flight, are havens for nature. They have thriving reed beds, where you can often spot herons, and occasionally rare water voles.
The Foxton Inclined Plane is a unique bit of waterways history – a boat lift that once raised and lowered working boats on a steep slope in water-filled tanks.
The Leicester Line has arms to Market Harborough and Welford. At Union Wharf in Market Harborough, red-brick industrial warehouses have been transformed into arts and crafts workshops, creating a hive of cultural activity.
Find stoppages, restrictions and other navigational advice for this waterway.
Enjoy a grand family day out at Foxton Locks, an area brimming with history, wildlife and scenic waterside walks.
Download our free guide
What is now called the ‘Leicester Line’ comprised two canals which were bought by the Grand Junction Canal in 1894: the Leicestershire & Northamptonshire Union Canal and the ‘old’ Grand Union Canal.
The River Soar had been made navigable up to Loughborough by 1780, and the route was extended to Leicester in 1794. The Leicestershire & Northamptonshire Union Canal was promoted to continue the waterway to Market Harborough and Northampton, where it would meet the River Nene and the planned branch from the Grand Junction Canal at Gayton.
By 1797, when construction had only reached Gumley Debdale, the money had been used up. More was raised in 1805, and the canal got to Market Harborough four years later.
Meanwhile, the Grand Junction Canal from London to Braunston had opened. Alternative routes for joining the two canals were discussed and it was decided that a separate company to be called the ‘Grand Union Canal’ should be formed to make the link. (It is now often referred to as the ‘old’ Grand Union, to distinguish it from the canal of the same name created in 1929 when the Grand Junction merged with several other canals.) This opened from Norton Junction to Foxton in 1814, providing a direct route from the East Midlands coalfield and industrial towns to London.
Never prosperous, railway competition from the 1840s meant declining revenues, which led to reductions in maintenance. When in the early 1890s the Grand Junction was looking to revive the East Midlands trade, the two companies were very willing to be bought out, so in 1894 the Grand Junction paid £6,500 for the L&NU and £10,500 for the ‘old’ Grand Union — the better price for the latter probably reflecting the value of its reservoirs rather than its canal.
The Grand Junction rectified the arrears of maintenance, dredged their new purchases, and built the inclined plane at Foxton, bypassing the ten locks and speeding the passage of the boats. A further inclined plane was planned to bypass Watford Locks but was never built.
It was all too late: traffic grew slightly, but not by enough to make working Foxton incline economic, and in 1910 it was closed and traffic reverted to using the locks.
Find out more about the South East waterways
For all the latest news and events, visit our South East page