Cricklade and Latton
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The canal continues eastwards from Eysey to Cricklade Wharf
which served the nearby 9th Century town which has always been a strategic
crossing point for the Thames. The T&S Canal was not the first navigation
to Cricklade; long before the canal was built, the town was served by the
River Thames and a right of navigation survives to this day to Town Bridge
although in practice only small craft are able to make the journey down
This was not always the case as there were once 4 flash locks between Lechlade
and Cricklade and the boats using the river were able to carry about 10
tons of goods. The opening of the T&S Canal in 1789 and then the North
Wilts Canal in 1819 provided a more reliable transport system and the river
soon went out of use. There have been sporadic calls for the river to be
restored to navigation and in 1984, the IWA organised a boat to carry a
"Token Ton" of goods up the Thames to Cricklade to maintain the tradition
of navigating the river.
With the prospects of the canal restoration coming to fruition, it seems
likely that the river will be left in its current state to fulfil the aspirations
of conservationists whilst the canal caters for those wanting to navigate
to Cricklade and beyond.
Cricklade Wharf is outside the town and is of the same style as that at
Kempsford - but more colourful. The front can be seen from the A419 and the
rear from the old road leading northwards out of Cricklade. There used to
be a diamond shaped basin in front of the building but this was infilled and
lost in the early 1980s. The restored canal will follow a route east of the
dual carriageway leaving this particular building isolated from its original
The original route of the canal used to follow the eastern boundary of the
old main road out of Cricklade to Latton. In this section was Latton Lock
but all traces have disappeared as a result of the road improvement schemes.
The old road was crossed at Latton Bridge which was an early casualty after
the canal was closed here in 1927. Its footings were revealed when construction
work started on the more recent Latton Bypass.
After a battle with the Highways Agency which lasted over 10 years, the
Cotswold Canals Trust succeeded in getting a bridge built to carry the restored
canal under the new road. Funded by the Local Authorities and the Trust, it
is currently buried under the road awaiting the canal's reconstruction -
it is more or less on the site of the original Latton Bridge but at a much
The canal will be returned to its original level by a new lock at Latton
located immediately to the west of the new bridge.
After a short distance the canal bed appears as a shallow depression in
the fields before arriving at Latton Basin and the junction with the North
Wilts Canal. The basin itself was owned by the T&S Canal Company as
part of the deal allowing the North Wilts Canal Company to make a connection.
The T&S canal main line and the basin were linked by a low aqueduct
over the mill leat carrying part of the River Churn to Latton Mill. A turbine
was used to generate electricity here until about 1990; sadly the leat bank
has breached and the mill pond is largely empty in all but wet conditions.
At the far end of the basin, a stop lock with gates pointing in all directions
and partially built on an aqueduct ensured that water was not lost from
one navigation to the other - even so arguments were not unknown.