Deepest Canal Locks in England and Wales

Which are the deepest canal locks in England and Wales?
For comparison, this page lists those non-tidal canal and river locks that have a rise (or fall) of over 11 feet.

The rise (or fall) is measured as the difference in level between the normal water level above the lock and the normal water level below the lock.

Lock name Number Canal Rise (change in level) Other information
Tuel Lane Lock 3/4 Rochdale 19' 8½" 6.00m manned; new lock replacing two locks
Bath Deep Lock 8/9 Kennet and Avon 19' 5" 5.92m new lock replacing two locks
Middlewood Deep Lock 1/2 Manchester Bolton & Bury 16' 3" approx 5m approx manned; new lock replacing two locks; rise varies with level of River Irwell
Anthony Lock 77 Rochdale 15' 1½"  4.61m deepened due to mining subsidence
Aberfan Locks 6, 7 Glamorganshire 14' 6" 4.42m 2-lock staircase, total rise 29', average 14' 6" each. Deepest canal locks in Britain when in operation. Closed in 1898 due to mining subsidence. Only a section of chamber wall remaining.
Vinegar Lock 10 Ashton 13' 10" 4.22m part of the Clayton flight - now the deepest narrow lock in Britain
Lemonroyd Lock   Aire and Calder 13' 6" 4.11m new lock replacing two locks
Woodnook Lock   Aire and Calder 13' 6" 4.11m new lock replacing Altofts and Fairies Hill Locks
Harry Garner's Lock 6 Ashton 13' 3" 4.05m part of the Beswick flight
Etruria Top Lock 40 Trent and Mersey 13' 2" 4.01m at southern end of T&M summit
Marple Locks 1-16 Peak Forest 13' 1" 3.99m 16 locks, total rise of 209 ft 6in, average around 13' 1" each
Click here to see details of the individual locks at Marple
Nan Fox's Lock 5 Ashton 12' 9½" 3.90m part of the Beswick flight
Clayton Lock 8 Ashton 12' 9" 3.89m part of the Clayton flight
Stourport Broad Locks   Staffordshire and Worcestershire 12' 4" 3.76m linking Stourport Basin with River Severn, two broad locks, total rise 24' 8", average 12' 4" each
Stenson Lock 6 Trent and Mersey 12' 2" 3.71m  
Somerton Deep Lock 34 Southern Oxford 12' 0" 3.66m  
Holme Lock   River Trent 12' 0" 3.66m manned
Blowers Green Lock   Stourbridge 12' 0" 3.66m deepest lock on BCN, replaced two locks
York Street Lock   Staffordshire and Worcestershire 12' 0" 3.66m linking canal with Stourport Basin
Appley Lock 91 Leeds and Liverpool 12' 0" 3.66m parallel to two shallower (now disused) locks
Bingley Five Rise 25-29 Leeds and Liverpool 12' 0" each 3.66m 5 locks in a staircase, total rise 60', therefore 12' 0" rise for each lock
Tinsley Deep Lock 7/8 Sheffield and Tinsley Canal 12' 0" 3.66m deep lock built to replace Locks 7 & 8 in 1959 to allow construction of rail bridge
Stoke Bottom Lock 36 Trent and Mersey 11' 11" 3.63m  
Bratch Bottom Lock   Staffordshire and Worcestershire 11' 10½" 3.61m The three locks at The Bratch have widely different rises (middle lock 2.57m, top lock 3.30m).
Kidderminster Lock   Staffordshire and Worcestershire 11' 10" 3.60m  
Slaters Higher Lock 75 Rochdale 11' 10" 3.60m  
Tardebigge Top Lock 58 Worcester and Birmingham 11' 7" 3.53m replaced an earlier vertical lift - sometimes incorrectly claimed to be 14ft
Fourteen Locks   Crumlin Arm, Monmouthshire Canal 11' 5" 3.48m disused, partly restored, 14 locks in just 800m yards, total rise 160', average 11' 5" each lock
Cholmondeston Lock 1 Middlewich Branch, Shropshire Union 11' 3" 3.43m  
Engine Lock 4 Caldon 11' 3" 3.42m  
Hanbury Top Lock 1 Droitwich Junction Canal 11' 2" 3.40m re-opened in 2011 after restoration
Slaters Lower Lock 76 Rochdale 11' 2" 3.40m  
Hunts Lock 2 River Weaver 11' 2" 3.40m  
Denham Deep Lock 87 Grand Union Canal South 11' 1" 3.38m  
Stanthorne Lock 3 Middlewich Branch, Shropshire Union 11' 1" 3.38m  
Northgate Locks 41-43 Shropshire Union 11' 0" 3.35m Three-rise staircase, total rise 33', average 11' 0" although the middle lock is deeper than the others.
Originally built as a 5-rise staircase down towards the river, the bottom two locks were re-located to what is now the Dee Branch when the line through to Ellesmere Port was constructed.
Minshull Lock 2 Middlewich Branch, Shropshire Union 11' 0" 3.35m  
Coalpit Higher Lock 78 Rochdale 11' 0" 3.35m  
upper chamber of Ardnacrusha lock, Ireland, photo: BJ Goggin
Upper chamber at Ardnacrusha, Republic of Ireland. Photo: BJ Goggin

I have measured some of these locks myself. Some have been measured by other people for me or for other purposes. Some are taken from historical data elsewhere. My particular thanks to Andrew and Paul Balmer of Waterway Routes for sharing their measurements of a number of these locks.

"Deep Lock" (no. 47) on the Chesterfield Canal near Worksop has a rise of 10 feet (3 metres), so is only deep in comparison with other locks on that canal.

On the Manchester Ship Canal, not part of the network available to the casual canal boater, Latchford, Irlam, Barton and Mode Wheel locks each have a rise of 14' 6" (4.41m). Eastham Lock is tidal so has a variable rise.

This page lists deep locks in England and Wales, but it is worth mentioning Ardnacrusha in the Republic of Ireland.

A dam was constructed across the River Shannon at Ardnacrusha, near Limerick, as part of a hydro-electric generation scheme in 1929. The river navigation bypasses the dam in a canal channel that has a double lock (two-rise lock staircase) with a total rise of 102 feet (31m)!

The two chambers have rises of around 68 ft and 34 ft respectively. Passage through the double lock can take between 45 and 60 minutes. (See photo on right.)

The deepest lock in the world is Oskemen Lock, bypassing a hydro-electric dam on the River Ertis in Kazakhstan, with an incredible rise of 138 ft (42m).

Tuel Lane Lock, Rochdale Canal
Tuel Lane Lock,
Rochdale Canal
Anthony Lock, Rochdale Canal
Anthony Lock,
Rochdale Canal
Vinegar Lock, Ashton Canal
Vinegar Lock,
Ashton Canal
Highest Canal Summits in England

Longest Canal Tunnels in England