Branches Swindon Restoration
Latton Basin Hertiage Project

Preservation of Latton Basin and Lock

There's been good progress on restoration thanks to the efforts of working parties from WRG and WBCT branches as well as corporate working parties from Intel, RWE Npower and Arval. The corporate teams seem to get a lot out of their days on the project and both Arval and Intel have made regular visits and worked on their own sections of the project.

The canal bed and towpath are now clear between the Mill Leat and the River Churn. The top entrance to the lock has been excavated and we have removed some spectacular tree stumps. This has left us clear to start work repairing one side of the Basin wall and this will continue through the summer.

Latton basin was designed with flood relief in mind, and it's interesting that canal restoration is playing an increasing part in modern flood relief. The basin has a flood relief aqueduct which seems to be in good condition and is still working: the four arches of the aqueduct pass flood water from one side of the embankment to the other. Photographs from the 1920's show levels of flooding that are similar to the disruptive floods we've had recent years. As this project progresses it is revealing more and more about the original construction and there is yet more to discover. The mystery of the bottom gate paddle gear has still not been solved and will probably not be until the lock is totally cleared.

The restoration is uncovering some fascinating industrial archaeology and will remain a lasting source of information and inspiration for future generations. The late Alfred and Ann Howse were the last keepers at the Basin and their family has been very generous in working with the team to pass on a vast amount of detailed information that has helped deepen our understanding of their work. The basin will not be used as part of the restored Wilts Berks Canal, instead, the plans are in place to create a new junction with the Thames & Severn Canal at Eisey.

Work on the Basin continues in co-operation with colleagues in the Cotswold Canal Trust who are doing a wonderful job in improving the area of their canal around the junction and investigating the Junction and Weymoor bridges. The Basin is roughly in the middle of the walk from Cerny Wick to Cricklade and is also part of the circular walk which includes the River Thames.

Visitors are always welcome,

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 July 2011 10:58