New gates for Hillmorton Locks

Hillmorton Locks' 25-year-old gates were replaced with new hand-crafted solid oak gates
Hillmorton Locks' 25-year-old gates were replaced with new hand-crafted solid oak gates
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Hillmorton Locks’ 25-year-old gates have been replaced as part of a £40,000 restoration project by The Canal & River Trust.

The four-week project was completed on Monday when the downstream gates at lock 6 were craned into the air and fixed into position at the bottom of the lock.

Each of the new gates is expected to last 25 years.

Mark Barkas, construction supervisor at the Canal & River Trust, said: “The Oxford Canal is steeped in more than 200 years of history and played a really important role in the Industrial Revolution.

“Today it is considered to be one of the most scenic canals in Britain, and the locks at Hillmorton are amongst the busiest.

“Our project to replace the worn-out lock gates is crucial to keeping the canal open and in good working order.

“They will be a crucial part of the canal for the next quarter of a century.

“However, the canal is more than just a historical monument, it’s now wildly recognised for being fantastic for wildlife and a great place for people to take time out and escape the pressure of modern life.

“Making and fitting the new gates is an extremely skilled and traditional trade and one that remains essential to the waterways.”

He added: “Lock gates are constructed with tremendous strength as they have to control huge water pressures, take the hard usage they get from the thousands of boats which use them each year and survive for a long time underwater and at the mercy of the elements.

“In order to be waterproof they also need to be built very precisely, fitting tightly to the 200-year old masonry of the lock walls and to each other.”

Each gate weights just under one and a half tonnes and was bought to the site by boat.