News article created on 2 March 2022

Hundreds enjoyed a rare chance to go behind the scenes at Seend Locks

We've offered a different perspective on a familiar local beauty spot recently. More than 350 people took a look below the water line at the brand new lock gates and repair works at Seend Locks on the Kennet & Avon Canal.

Worker at the bottom of canal lock Seend Locks open day 2022

As well as experiencing the drained lock, and seeing what is usually hidden under thousands of litres of water, there was a chance to chat with the team about the challenges and rewards of protecting and preserving the 200-year-old canal.

One of our best loved waterways

We're keen to share its enthusiasm and expertise with visitors as Caroline Kendall, our community engagement manager for Wales & South West, explains: “The Kennet & Avon Canal is one of our best loved waterways and, as guardians of this precious asset that is much loved by locals and visitors alike, it’s vital that we keep it in the best possible condition.

“The Canal & River Trust is investing £125,000 in new lock gates and carrying out repairs at Seend to ensure the busy locks are ready for the main summer boating-season.

“We welcomed 351 people to our open day who took a closer look at the new gates and also met the team involved in the work. And 50 children enjoyed making bird boxes helped by our volunteers and fellow Trust staff.

“We know that being by water is great for health and wellbeing and we hope that enjoying a different perspective on a familiar stretch of canal inspired visitors to come back again and explore more of the Kennet & Avon.”

Two men and two women observing old lock gate

About the works

Every lock gate on our 2,000-mile waterway network is unique and the ones for Seend are hand made by specialist craftsmen and women at our workshop at Bradley in the West Midlands. The gates, which each weigh over a tonne, are made-to-measure from green, sustainably grown oak with steel brackets to strengthen joints and make sure they last at least 25 years.

The flight of five locks, built near Seend Cleeve village, was constructed by renowned canal engineer John Rennie in the late 1700s. Originally a hive of activity with trade boats loaded with wool and ore, or stones from local quarries, the canal at Seend is now a haven for visitors and wildlife both on land and water.

This winter we're undertaking a £59 million major overhaul across the 2,000 miles of waterways in our care, as part of a five-month maintenance programme to canals and rivers across England and Wales. Essential maintenance will include the replacement and refurbishment of worn-out lock gates and repairs to aqueducts, reservoirs, bridges and tunnels.