Welford Lock is a delightful navigational feature on this little-known arm of the Grand Union Canal.

If you have journeyed from Market Harborough, this will the first lock encountered after Foxton; but unlike the famous navigational staircase, at Welford Lock, you are on your own.

How to use Welford Lock

Moor up using the white-topped bollards on the right hand side to allow your crew to disembark. You can hold your narrowboat temporarily on the centre line.

Check that the lock is empty and no boats are approaching from the other direction.

If the water level inside the lock pound is higher that the level of your boat then you will need to empty it. Do this by using the windlass to slowly wind the paddles up. The spindles are positioned on the lock gates themselves.

If the water level between the lock gates (the “chamber”) is already at the same level as your boat then you can open the two gates straight away and steer the boat in. Close the gates.

If you have wound up the paddles, you will now need to wind them down again. To do this, you will need to lift the catch on each spindle with one hand, whilst winding the windlass with the other hand. Hold the windlass firmly, taking care not to let it spin out of control.

Now moving up to the top side of Welford Lock, wind the spindle beside the top gate to lift the paddle and let the water into the pound. You’ll find this spindle set into a white post in the ground.

You will be able to push the gate open when the water is at the same level either side of the gate. Drive the boat through.

Close the gate behind you and, lifting the safety catch with one hand, wind down the paddle again.

Pull over to the left hand bank to enable your crew to get aboard.

Unless you can see another boat approaching, always leave Welford Lock with all the paddles down and all the gates closed.


Welford Lock closures

Welford Lock is usually open all year round, unless the Canal and River Trust is working on maintenance in the area. You can check for live stoppages on their website here.


Welford Wharf facilities

You can read more about the facilities on offer at Welford on the CRT website here.


Welford Wharf itineraries from Market Harborough

Many hirers from our base at Union Wharf choose to explore this lovely tranquil part of the canal. We explain a bit more about this route on our itineraries  and you can find out more about the Welford Arm’s rich history here.

Narrowboat Beginner Guides

We are delighted that more and more narrowboat novices are enjoying the canals around Market Harborough. We are putting together a series of Beginner Guides to help you prepare for your holiday and find a few solutions to common problems en route.

It is also a good idea to familiarise yourself with the Canal and River Trust’s Boaters’ Handbook before you arrive.

We offer all kinds of narrowboats, from Day Boats to Boutique Narrowboats and boats suitable for families. All our hires involve full training and we welcome complete beginners.