Foxton Lock Flight - Grand Union Canal Leicester Line


From Date: 17/05/2021 00:00

To Date: On-going

Type: Opening Times

Is the towpath closed? No


Closest waterway: Leicester Line (Grand Union Canal)

Starts at: Lock 8

Ends at: Lock 17


We approach the water management of the canal system using a concept of hydrological units. We define a “hydrological unit” as a canal or group of canals that are supplied from the same water sources. The Oxford & Grand Union Hydrological Unit (Ox&GU) is a complex hydrological unit that is made up of several connecting canals, with three groups of reservoirs. It is connected via a system of pumps that can recirculate and transfer water around the system.

To protect our water resources supply the canal for years to come we must periodically  undertake maintenance works at our reservoirs. To safely undertake these works on occasion it is important to reduce the water levels.

Maintenance works are required to Sulby reservoir this summer that will require water levels in both Sulby and neighbouring Welford to be significantly lowered. These works are planned to commence mid-June and will take much of the boating season to complete.

Welford and Sulby reservoirs are extremely responsive to rainfall and there is no bypass channel to divert water around the reservoirs. Therefore, it would have been extremely difficult to plan these works during winter months as it would have been difficult to prevent the reservoirs refilling prior to the works being completed.

We are now in the process of drawing Welford and Sulby down for their planned works.

 Despite the current generally positive hydrological status our water resource modelling has suggested that action is required to minimise disruption to navigation through the summer main boating season.

Additional maintenance and clearance works will be taking place in canal feeder channels to pass water more efficiently.

We are investigating improvements to pumping stations to make the best use of water released from other reservoirs in the hydrological unit.

We will also be locking up specific locations overnight with the aim of saving water, and allowing backpumps to recirculate and transfer water from one part of the hydrological unit to another.

At this stage the measures will only affect the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal.

These measures will be implemented to coincide with expected increases in boat movement, and therefore water demand increases, on the 17th May.

  • At Foxton Locks 8 to 17 passage will be possible from 10am to 4pm (last boat entry to the flight at 3.15pm).

We will regularly review mitigation measures and continue to monitor the network closely to determine the best course of action.