SIDEPONDS

Canal Boat - - Feature -

To save wa­ter and stave off canal clo­sure in drought con­di­tions, some canal com­pa­nies built sideponds along­side locks. A sep­a­rate cham­ber con­nected to the lock by a culvert and pad­dle, they en­abled a pro­por­tion of the wa­ter to be ‘re-used’. When emp­ty­ing a lock, you would first open the side pad­dle and empty wa­ter into the side­pond, then when it makes a level, close the side pad­dle and empty the rest us­ing the bot­tom pad­dles as nor­mal. When you re­fill the lock, first fill it from the side­pond and then when it makes a level, close the side pad­dle and fill the rest from the top pad­dles. Very few are still op­er­a­ble, but of­ten the re­mains of sideponds or their pad­dles can be seen – our pic­ture shows dou­ble sideponds (which saved even more wa­ter) at Mar­sworth on the Grand Union. Where locks were paired (like at Hill­mor­ton) there might be an in­ter­con­nect­ing pad­dle en­abling one lock to act as side­pond to the other – some­times these, too, can still be seen.

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