SECTION 13

FOXHAM

FOXHAM BRIDGE TO CITY BRIDGE

STATUS
The greater part of this site, from Foxham Upper Lock to the end of the non-infilled section, is one of our oldest worksites and can be visited.
We have no permission to work below the Upper Lock, nor on the field at the northern end.

Length: 2.32km/1.44 miles.
O.S. reference: 982773 to 985796
Height of water level A.O.D.:
 
Features:
  • Foxham Bottom Lock 981775
  • Foxham Upper Lock 982774 with tailbridge
  • Elm Farm Bascule Bridge 981775
  • Drawbridge (Elm Farm Lift Bridge) 979778
  • Foxham South Spillway
  • #Farm track crossing on dam
  • Accommodation bridge (Park Farm Bridge)
  • Milestone 13 (The Dalby Stone)
  • Drawbridge (Park Farm Lift Bridge) 978784
  • Elephant Bridge (Lift Bridge) 980787
  • Foxham North (Elephant) Spillweir 980787
  • Wood Common Lock 981789 - cottage?
  • Milestone 13
  • City Farm Culvert 985795
  • City Bridge 985796
Map
What Jack Dalby said in 1985.
"The two Foxham locks are a short distance north of the road, at 982774 and 981775, the track alongside being a public footpath. From the top lock the canal is intact for just over 1 Km to 980786. Beyond and for another 1 Km all traces disappear. Included in this length is Wood Common Lock buried in 1969 at 981789. At 985796, the site of City Bridge,....."
 
Looking north from Foxham Arch Bridge
From Foxham Arch Bridge, the path of the Canal can be seen, partially infilled, passing behind the cottage up to Foxham Lower Lock.
A new picture, but the view has hardly changed since the previous ont taken in 2003.
 
 
Foxham Lower Lock The lock itself was cleared in 1992, but then ownership of the property changed and it has been largely filled in again.
The canal continues alongside the track as a partially filled channel, finally disappearing in the garden of Wharf House. The green area north of here was the Canal basin, and served a small timber wharf.

In recent years the bed of the Canal has been re-infilled (you can see the top of the bridge training wall on the right in the picture). An access track to one of the houses has even been built across the Canal bed.

Foxham Upper Lock and its tailbridge have been restored; the tailbridge was replaced with a concrete slab some years ago, and the lower parapet has been cunningly rebuilt (1999/2000) to resemble the original as closely as possible.
Tailbridge

Foxham Upper Lock in 2011, looking from the tailbridge.
Half full of water with fence panels for safety.

Elm Farm Bascule Bridge
The Canal has been cleared up to Elm Farm Bascule Bridge, currently being built with money donated by Viridor under the Landfill Tax Reclamation Scheme.
The Canal continues, clear but currently very overgrown, to Elm Farm Liftbridge, an exact replica of the original wooden liftbridge on this site, rebuilt 1990-1993.
A little further up is a small spillway/runoff point, built at about the same time as the liftbridge, which replaces an original wooden structure with clay outlet pipe on the same site.
You can see from the picture how overgrown the Canal has become.
Runoff

Towards the north end of the Elm Farm stretch.
The Canal along this and the next (Park Farm) length is well-maintained snd is holding water remarkably well.

The Canal continues up to Park Farm Accommodation Bridge, passing a farm crossing with lowered embankments on the way. (this is the single feature which prevents re-watering of the whole section). The bridge was replaced by a girder bridge, giving navigable height, by the owner in the mid 1990s.

Next is Park Farm Lift bridge, replaced by the owner with a fixed deck, which should give clearance for canoes when the section is re-watered.
This was one of the first structures to be completed on the Canal.
 
Photo courtesy of John Palmer, 1988
Park Farm Lift Bridge
The Canal has been cleared and partially dredged for a short distance above this, then there is a short uncleared stretch leading up to Elephant Lift Bridge - a lifting footbridge, restored 1993-4. It has not yet been fitted with lifting beams.

Elephant Spillweir

A major spillweir, known as Elephant Spillweir, was constructed in mass concrete by the local team in 1993/4.
It is looking decidedly sad these days (writing in 2011); there has been considerable tree growth, and the bed is dry.
Definitely in need of a little TLC.

Spillweir in 2011

Historical pictures

The public footpath follows the offside of the Canal as far as Wood Common Lock, which can be seen as a rise in the field. The footpath then diverges from the Canal and runs parallel about 50 yds. east up to City Bridge, though it is difficult to follow. A proposal has been put forward to move the northern half of this length back to the Canal line. (I think this has now been implemented)
City Bridge has been lowered and infilled. It is not known whether it has been piped. Headroom may be adequate for a slab bridge or a navigable culvert, though with the small amount of traffic using the road, a lift bridge may be feasible. Possibly even an arch bridge.

RESTORATION

The length between Foxham Upper Lock and the field boundary above Elephant Spillweir is nearing completion.
The remainder of the section, containing two locks (Foxham Lower Lock and Wood Common Lock) and a culvert, plus City Road Bridge, is not currently available for restoration.

WATER SUPPLIES

Several streams run down the hill into the Canal, but they dry in summer.

RIGHTS OF WAY

Access is permitted to the Canal Trust from Foxham Upper Lock to 980787; from there a public footpath follows the line of the Canal to City Bridge.

HOSTELRIES

The Foxham Inn, half a mile east of Foxham Locks. Free House, serving Wadworths and Adnams. Excellent food. Highly recommended.
1996. The hostelry has changed hands - needs re-investigation.

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Updated 26.12 2011

HISTORICAL NOTE

I have left the original description here, as it makes interesting reading.
From Foxham Arch Bridge site, the silted up bed of the Canal can be traced up to Foxham Bottom Lock. The lock, including a few yards below the tail, is infilled and heavily overgrown. The tail of the lock is crossed by a sewer, believed to lie on the invert. (Now known to be about 6' above the invert.)
From here for approximately 100 yds., the bed is visible but has been narrowed and partially infilled, with trees in the bed. A short stretch is infilled and included in the garden of No. 6 Foxham Lock. Above this an access track crosses the line.
The basin is then visible, infilled and grassed and known as "The Green". The tail bridge of Foxham Upper Lock has been replaced with a concrete slab, which may give navigable clearance.
Foxham Upper Lock itself is infilled with rubbish and heavily overgrown, as is the towpath and the channel above it. Some brickwork is visible near the tail of the lock. 50 yds. above the lock the embankments have been lowered and a farm track crosses at about bed level. The bed and towpath are heavily overgrown all the way from here to the northern boundary of Park Farm,about 3/4 mile. When work started on this section, the quarter mile above the lock had had the timber felled and removed, with the brushwood left where it fell, about 2 years previously; thorn and brambles had grown up through this, making it totally impassable. There is another farm crossing cut through the towpath, then the infilled site of a lift bridge, used as a farm crossing. A little way above this is a deep cutting through the towpath to drain the Canal.
This was the site of Foxham South Spillway. This was originally a wooden structure, with a chamber 2ft. wide set at a slight angle to right angles to the towpath, and exited into a 9in. terracotta pipe through the towpath.
20 yds. beyond this, the ownership changes to Park Farm. The first structure is Park Farm Bridge, formerly a brick arch, which was used for demolition practice during WWII. The bridgehole has been infilled and carries a farm crossing.
Further up is the site of a lift bridge, infilled and used as a farm crossing. Considerable brickwork remains.
About half a mile further on is another lift bridge site, also infilled, and carries a public footpath. A little way further is a cut through the towpath to drain the channel; beyond the towpath there is some tumbled brickwork - possibly the site of demolition practice - which may have been the site of a spillway. Such is the state of the brickwork, however, that it is not possible to be certain.
Park Farm ends a few yards further on, and from here the Canal is filled and ploughed over. The offside hedge forms a field boundary; the towpath hedge has been totally removed. A rise in the ground, and a kink in the hedge, mark the site of Wood Common Lock. A public footpath runs along the field boundary to City Bridge, but this has not yet been investigated.
A stream crosses in a culvert just before City Bridge.