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Rennie's engineering masterpiece to the west of Devizes, on the Kennet and Avon Canal is Caen Hill Locks. It consists of twenty nine locks, sixteen close together in a straight line ascending Caen Hill to overcome a rise of 237 feet (72 metres) from the Avon valley to the town of Devizes.

Large clay deposits found on Caen Hill when the locks were being built provided raw material for the brick making industry in the locality.

The locks were opened to commercial traffic in 1810. Nineteen years later the canal company, who owned a nearby gasworks, put up gas lighting so the canal would be navigable 24 hours a day.

Left to die in 1951, they became the centre of restoration and the focal point of the reopening by Queen Elizabeth in 1990.

Caen Hill Locks, Devizes

 Looking westwards down the central flight of 16 locks at Caen Hill, Devizes. There are 29 locks altogether in just over 2 miles here, on the Kennet and Avon Canal west of Devizes.

  © Copyright Martin Clark and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The derelict Caen Hill flight in 1977

This is taken looking upwards from the middle of the Caen Hill flight of locks, and shows the lamentable state of these locks before their restoration.

  © Copyright Dr Neil Clifton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Narrow boats leave an upper lock at the top of the Caen Hill flight

© Copyright Sarah Charlesworth and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence