In order to go up or down Foxton Locks, you need to “book in” with the lock keepers.

The lock keepers are staff and volunteers from the Canal and River Trust, who work all year round to ensure the smooth running of the locks. The locks themselves are collectively known as a staircase and they are fed with water both from the canal and via a series of ponds to one side. Their operation is slightly more complex than a single lock and so the lock keepers are on hand to support boaters as they move up or down.

Booking in at Foxton Locks

When you first arrive in the canal basin you will need to moor up at any available point. From here at least one of you can then go up the tow path in search of one of the lock keepers, who will be dressed in blue with a red lifejacket. If no one is to be found, then try knocking at the top lock cottage.

Give your boat name to the lock keeper and they will tell you whereabouts you are in the queue. If you are lucky, you will be able to go straight on in the first lock. At very busy times, there can be a wait of anything up to 2 hours, so use the opportunity to pop into the museum or take some refreshments at one of the cafes or restaurants. It’s also a great place to chat to other boaters while you wait.

When it’s your turn, the lock keeper will wave you through the first lock.

From this point, one of you will be in charge of driving the boat up through the locks and the other will use the windlass to raise and lower the paddles. More on this in our Beginner Guide to operating Foxton Locks.

Foxton Locks opening times

The locks themselves are only navigable between certain hours, when the Lock Keepers are on hand.

Standard opening times

May – October  08.00-17.00 with the last boat in by 16.15.

October  – May 09.00-15.30 with the last boat in by 14.45.

You can check the up-to-date opening times here.

You can check the up-to-date opening times 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.