Navigation : {Foss Dyke}


The Foss Dyke, or Fossdyke, connects the River Trent at Torksey to Lincoln, the county town of Lincolnshire, and may be the oldest canal in England that is still in use. It is usually thought to have been built around 120 AD by the Romans, but there is no consensus among authors. It was refurbished in 1121, during the reign of King Henry I, and responsibility for its maintenance was transferred to the city of Lincoln by King James I. Improvements made in 1671 included a navigable sluice or lock at Torksey, and warehousing and wharves were built at Brayford Pool in the centre of Lincoln. Connection to the River Witham at Brayford was hampered by the small bore and depth of High Bridge, a medieval structure just below the pool. The channel through it was made deeper in 1795, but John Rennie's plans to demolish it in 1803 were not adopted. The canal was leased to several generations of the Ellison family, who profited from the tolls but failed to maintain it. Although cargos of coal and wool moved to the railway, the carriage of grain continued, and the last commercial operation was in 1972. The Brayford Mere Trust have turned Brayford Pool from a rubbish-filled eyesore into an attractive marina, and the Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership are opening a footpath and cycleway from Lincoln to Torksey; the section to Saxilby was officially opened on 26 July 2011.