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The Fossdyke at Torksey Lock, Lincolnshire | by Lincolnian (Brian) - BUSY, in and out
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The Fossdyke at Torksey Lock, Lincolnshire

The Fossdyke may be the oldest canal in England that is still in use. It was long thought to have been constructed by the Romans around 120 AD although other records talk of it's construction in around 1121 AD but this may well have been a major deepening and reconstruction after many years of neglect after the Roman occupation of Britain finished especially as it was reputedly used by the Danes when they invaded England. Running just over 11 miles from it's Junction on the River Trent to Lincoln's Brayford Pool it then connects with the River Witham Navigation. Various periods of use and then neglect followed until in 1744 when after yet further restoration the canal was back in business moving agricultural produce to the Midlands and beyond. The Great Northern Railway bought the lease in 1846, and offered tolls on the railway which were significantly cheaper than those on the canal, with the result that the traffic declined quickly although grain traffic continued to use the waterway until 1972. It is now mostly used for leisure purposes. It has one lock at Torksey, which has five sets of gates, three sets facing Lincoln and two sets facing the River Trent, which is tidal at this point, and so its level can be higher than the level of the canal. Two of the inner gates can be seen in this shot.

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Taken on March 4, 2010