In my last post covering the CRT National Council Meeting in York I mentioned a site visit to Naburn Locks.
CRT and Council members gather at the Naburn Locks workshops
Naturally, I took my camera with me to record this far flung outpost of the connected waterways system, a location I would very much like to visit by boat. However, Naburn is Ouse equivalent of the Trent's Cromwell Lock. It forms the top of the tidal Ouse beyond which the waters of the Ouse are controlled.
Bridges over Naburn Locks
We were given a guided tour by the resident lock keeper who has lived and worked on the site for 35 years, supported by volunteers.
Naburn Banqueting House
The first and smaller lock was built in the 1750's and a larger one capable of carrying 400 ton craft was built next to it in 1888. Between this time the Trustees of the Ouse Navigation built the imposing Banqueting House next door. This fine Greek revival building has been hotel, night club and guest house in its time but alas it is prone to flooding and occupies a very remote location. As a result it has been a commercial failure and rumour has it that it has defaulted to the ownership of Nick Mason of pink Floyd who is looking to sell.
The lock island used to host a four story water mill which was demolished about 100 years ago. However, the old navigation buildings still stand and are being creatively redeveloped by volunteers who have transformed them to a visitor centre on a shoestring budget. The complex includes a forge, a workshop and offices.
Naburn Lock Keepers cottages
To date attention has focused on the workshop and forge which contain period machines and an interpretation boards. The offices are stripped out and restoration is ongoing.
Outside a nature and heritage trail is being established funded by the 'Tesco Bags for help' scheme which includes six locally relevant totem poles created by a local chain saw artist. As it stands the site justifies a couple of hours plus, in good weather, a picnic on the open grass area.
Perversely, this lock island is the only land owned by the Trust in the area so they are making what they can of it and it is great to see its potential being realised.
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