The Melksham, Calne and Chippenham Branch

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Pewsham Locks

Pewsham Locks, near the market town of Chippenham, was a major industrial site on the Wilts & Berks Canal. Adjacent to the North Wiltshire Rivers Route (Chippenham to Lacock,) the site is now a popular leisure trail used by cyclists and walkers.

Pewsham Locks was situated on the main line of the Wilts & Berks Canal, south of the junction with the Chippenham Arm (the ‘Ippy Cut), raising the canal almost 29 feet. Many boats, laden with coal from the Somerset Coal fields and other goods, would have passed through the three locks on their way to Chippenham, Calne and beyond.




There was a boat building and repair business on the site, using timber that would probably have arrived by boat and been sawn up in the saw-pit which is still evident today. There is also evidence of a carpenter’s workshop and a lime,kiln. A rare, possibly unique dry dock, from the horse drawn era, has remained largely intact. The lock cottage was also known as the Canal Agents House, and there is a list of the occupiers of this house from the census returns 1841 to 1901.


Download the self-guided Pewsham Locks Trail
with information on each structure


Download the self-guided Pewsham Locks Trail
Answer Sheet

Download the Census information for Pewsham
Lock Cottage 1841-1901
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