Southampton and Salisbury Canal: Picture Gallery No 6

Salisbury Arm: Lockerley to West Dean

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North of the railway line, the waterway now contains flowing water and lies parallel to and immediately west of the River Dun. This lies just behind the line of trees on the left in the first picture but the canal takes a substantial part of the flow. Although the canal takes all the flow of the river in many places today, there is much evidence that the canal was engineered to be separate from the river throughout its length from Kimbridge to West Grimstead.

Passing east of Lockerley church, the watercourse swings westwards behind The Dennis Wooton Hall to arrive at a bridge under the East Tytherley road just north of its junction with the road to East Dean and adjacent to Lockerley Mill. This bridge is a replacement of the original canal structure.

From Lockerley Mill the canal runs in a generally westerly direction and to the north of the settlement at Lockerley Green and usually contains flowing water. On the west side of Holbury Lane, lies the remains of Lock 4 - the “best” preserved of the Southampton and Salisbury Canal's locks. A large proportion of the lock chamber wall on the south side still stands to nearly its original height. On the north side it has largely disappeared. With thick vegetation, the lock is difficult to photograph, even in winter.

Above Lock 4, the canal runs along the edge of a wood with a public footpath in the adjacent field. For the next three quarters of a mile the course the canal runs away from the public road just to the south of the River Dun. The bed is overgrown, sometimes occupied by a stream but at other times "dry". West of East Dean Level Crossing the railway is on an embankment. Here the railway encroached upon a southward loop of the old canal for some 100 yards. Lock 5 was situated somewhere in this area. From the lie of the land, it looks as though the lock was probably a little to the west of this over-built length of canal.

On the north side of the railway in the grounds of East Dean House, in about 2004 the owner dredged out around 250 yards of the canal. Although probably a few feet narrower than it would originally have been (the 1795 Act specified a width of 27 feet), it does give a good impression of what the canal may have looked like some 200 years ago. At the east end of the restored section is an earthen dam retaining the water level. From the height difference between the ground levels on either side, this could be the site of Lock 5. Please note that this section of canal is on private land and was viewed by special invite.

About two hundred yards after the restored section, the water channel was slightly realigned when the railway was built and once again culverted under it. For the next 700 yards or so, the canal has become a major channel of the River Dun, a change which seems to have happened around the time the railway was constructed. The erstwhile canal passes the settlement of East Dean, running between the railway and the rear of properties along the road from Lockerley to West Dean.

Shortly before reaching Frenchmoor Lane, the railway crosses the line of the canal once more at an oblique angle. On the west side of the lane, the original course of the canal has been infilled and the present watercourse runs about 15 yards to the north. However, the canal used to run in a left hand curve from the lane to cross the line of the railway about 160 yards west of the lane just before the present bridge over the River Dun.

It should be noted that vehicles cannot cross the railway at Frenchmoor Lane - this is now only a pedestrian level crossing.

Upstream of the railway bridge, the River Dun and the canal share the channel originally dug for the canal and do so until the village of West Dean. The tithe maps for East and West Dean dating from 1840 and 1843 (before the railway was built), both show two water channels running side by side along this stretch. The Ordnance Survey 1:2500 maps surveyed in 1870-1 show only parts of the northernmost channel near West Dean. It is now all just a slight depression in the ground about 20 yards from the canal.

About quarter of a mile east of Dean station, the railway obliterated about 125 yards of the old canal and the river/canal was diverted to run along its southern boundary.

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© Peter Oates 2017. Pictures on or accessed through this page may not be reproduced without the express permission of the Web Site manager.

Page created 26 October 2016 and published 7 April 2017.

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