Market Lavington narrowboats

We have previously looked at 1820 – Aspirations for a Canal or Railway to Market Lavington, but the village didn’t get either of those transport links. However, nearly 170 years later, there were narrow boats in Market Lavington. A firm called Wiltshire Engineering- Castlefast was based on White Street and built canal boats.

We have already shown one of these on its road journey through the village towards the Kennet and Avon Canal in Devizes, about six miles away. (See A Narrow Boat on White Street.)

In our scrap books of newspaper cuttings, we have a couple of items about boats built in Market Lavington. This Wiltshire Gazette article shows the very first boat making its way through Devizes Market Place in January 1987.

Our second cutting is from the following year and the Devizes and District News shows a narrow boat being lifted from its lorry trailer into the canal in Devizes.

This was a 55 foot long narrow boat. The Kennet and Avon Canal is a wide canal, with all its 70 foot long locks able to take two narrow boats side by side. If this new boat was heading east, it would have had a long section of 15 lockless canal miles (the Long Pound) before reaching the first lock at Wootton Rivers. However, if its maiden journey was westwards towards Bath, it would almost immediately have encountered the top of the Caen Hill flight locks and would have needed to work down 29 locks in the space of a mile and a quarter.

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