Look up any reference on Hillmorton Locks and they are quoted as being the busiest along all of the UK canal waterways. Found on the outskirts of Rugby, they are a hidden gem as accessing them is not straightforward. From the south, the locks are approached via a narrow entrance tunnel under the West Coast Railway line. Once through this, then there is parking available at the local parish church St John the Baptist. There are three sets of locks and the lower lock has a workshop and a few bridges. Nestling on the banks of the canal was a small inviting coffee shop which is getting ready to open.
The locks themselves are unusual in that there are two side by side. This was to ease congestion due to its position on the canal network as being the main highway south to London. The second of the locks is after a gentle curve in the canal and this is different as the lock beams have letters carved into them.
Locklines consists of a poem of which four lines are on the lock gates at Hillmorton. At first I wondered why they had been placed in the gates but then it made sense reading the article on them. They are interesting lines
CAPTIVE FOR A WHILE
CLIMBS CAREFULLY DOWN
THIS DOOR MAKES DEPTH
There were three poets involved and one designer and the weblink provides more details on how it all pieces together.
It is then a straight walk up to the third and final lock. This provides nice views back down the locks and the criss cross pattern of the gates makes for some nice pictures of the canal. The canal then moves onto run past a new housing estate that is built on the old radio masts that used to be a feature of Hillmorton. I remember both as a boy and young man taking the train down to London and passing the Rugby antenna masts that were tall structures in the Landscape. Little did I realise that many years into the future that I would be passing them again but under different circumstances. Walking back down the locks provided different views including glimpses of the Church of St John the Baptist which were especially pleasing to photograph with the locks in the foreground.
I am glad that I lingered around the middle lock as my attention was caught by a signpost that had the directions Vaccine and New Normal. There was even a strange red ball structure on the top that I realised was meant to represent a corona virus. Further investigations revealed that there was a third sign with Way Out. Clambered over the gate I looked around to see where it led. Nothing to see until I turned around. The back of the sign was inscribed with different lines about the Covid19 pandemic and these included
Rule of 3
…..plus many others.
The whole list maybe seen in the photograph and I have highlighted the post for clearer viewing. It is great fun and it is still continuing I expect.
Finally I had a quick look at the Church which was quietly sandwiched between the railway line and the canal. Spring is starting and the blossom was just opening. I will revisit when the leaves are fully on the trees and the lovely café is open for a cup of coffee or tea. Enjoy the pictures!
– Locklines tells the story how the poem was put into the lock gates
– The Canal and River Trust have lots of information about the area
My previous blogs on the Canals in the West Midlands
– Walking along the North Stratford Canal
– Lockdown 3 walking along the Grand Union Canal