SECTION 17

SEVEN LOCKS

BOWDS BRIDGE TO TROW LANE CROSSING

CLASS="status">STATUS
The southern part of this length, up to the head of Lock 5, is one of our oldest worksites and the owners do not mind visitors walking the towpath.
Beyond that point, although we have had permission to do limited work in the past, the Canal is strictly private and cannot be visited.

Length:
O.S. Reference: 020806 to 027811
Water Level height A.O.D.: (Various - Dauntsey Upper level to Dunnington Bottom Level)
Features:
  • Runoff/spillwier
  • Seven Locks No. 2 020806
  • Seven Locks No. 3 021807
  • Seven Locks No. 4 021808
  • Seven Locks No. 5 022809
  • Seven Locks No. 6 (Wall across head) 023810
  • Seven Locks No. 7 024811
  • Track crossing 024811
  • Trow Lane Bridge 027811
Map
What Jack Dalby said in 1985.
""....Seven Locks (018807 to 025811). These are very overgrown and although the majority of bricks have been removed in the past, the sites of all chambers, intermediate pounds etc. can be found. The road at the former Bowd's Bridge crossed the tail of the first lock up from the bottom. Above the top lock a former canal stable remains at the canal edge and the lock keeper's house survives. Trow Lane Bridge at 024811 provides a view of the 1 in 100 Wootton Bassett Incline which lifts the railway up the same rise as Seven Locks raised the canal.""

Above Bowds Lane, the towpath is closed by a farm gate, installed 1991 and still going strong.
The greater part of the chamber of Lock 2 is visible, the lower part of it being infilled and crossed by Bowd's Lane on the site of a former liftbridge which must have crossed the chamber. A photograph of the bridge, after abandonment and without any lifting mechanism evident, exists.
The pound above Lock 2 is roughly semicircular. There is evidence of an old stone-built spillway in the embankment parallel to the head of the lock, where the embankment had been subsequently dug away to drain the pound. This was repaired with a concrete dam (Brooker's Dam) incorporating a 5" gate valve in 1989.

Lock 3 had been robbed down to waterline level, and was heavily overgrown and full of spoil - mainly from the embankments.
The chamber walls had been lowered to water level, and many of the bricks at the head have also been removed.
The chamber was cleared in 1988/9, during the "Seven Locks Quantum Leap".
Restoration started seriously in 2001; the picture shows bricklaying in progress in early March 2002.
Currently the lock chamber is complete but work remains to complete the wing walls.

Bricklaying on Lock 3: 38.7kB

The next pound, about 100yds. long, is silted and overgrown to a depth of about 2ft.

Head of Lock 4: 29.8kB

Lock 4 is still at its full height, but was severely damaged during the war by demolition practice.
About half the length of the chamber was cleared in about 1989, and removal of the face bricks on the offside was started.
Stacks of bricks, overgrown with vegetation, can be seen on the offside of the lock.
Restoration of the top of the lock was started; the picture shows the stop plank grooves in position, partly bricked round.

The next pound is silted and somewhat overgrown. Up to the tail of Lock 5, vegetation has been cleared, initially by a NACRO team in 1988, with most of the stumps being pulled in 1989.

Lock 5 is again full height, and damaged by demolition practice.
This picture was taken in March 2002.

Lock 5: 31.1kB
Lock 6: 35.2kB
Lock 6 has again been damaged, and has a wall, pierced by a pipe, built across the head.
Photo taken in March 2002.

Lock 7 is virtually complete. One bottom gate is standing, but silted up to above the bottom paddle. The bull-nosed copings are still in place on the chamber and lower wing walls. The head of the lock has been infilled and is crossed by a farm track, with a pipe running through it.
Photo taken in March 2002.

Lock 7: 36.2kB
Stables 29.8kB

The Canal then enters a private garden, which also contains an original Canal stable building. Along this section water from Tockenham Reservoir apparently enters the Canal, though this was not the original entry point (see Section 18).

As the Canal approaches Trow Lane it appears to be in a cutting, which should ensure adequate clearance when the bridge is replaced.
There is a considerable flow of water flowing from this section through the culvert under Trow Lane - the opposite directionto the "official" direction of flow in the Canal. Since water also flows in the opposite direction down Seven Locks, there is evidently a significant inflow of water somewhere between the top of Seven Locks and Trow Lane. Presumably from Tockenham Reservoir.

WATER SUPPLIES

Enough water comes down the flight to keep the pound above Lock 2 reasonably full. Lockage would be available in winter. The main supply however would be from Tokenham Reservoir, which enters the length above.

RIGHTS OF WAY

There is no public right of way on any of this section; however the owners of the southern part do not object to visitors walking along the towpath as far as the head of Lock 5, where there is a fence and a gate across. Beyond this point the area is private.

HOSTELRIES

From Bowds Lane Bridge you can walk into Lyneham, but its a fair step.

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Updated 7.8.2004