Friday, 1 November 2013

Dee Locks Branch

25th October 2013

One thing I was determined to explore on our recent visit to Chester was the branch which connects the canal to the River Dee. I conducted this exploration by foot (!)

I didn't get a decent photo of the top lock, Lock 1, this time. It's immediately to the right of the dry dock.

It's easy enough to follow the branch down to the river. This is Lock 2, under a road bridge, looking back upstream.

Then you have to cross over the bottom gates to the other side.

Having done so, you get a good view of a surprising modern wooden building. In the shape of a ship, it appears to be a super-duper Scout hut (there was a Scout symbol on it). Can you see the rudder?

Lock 3 is just downstream of a lift footbridge. At least, the top gates are numbered "3". But the bottom gates are numbered "4".

There appears to be a two-rise staircase - Locks 3 and 4 - before the river is reached. That's the Dee where a tree seems to be growing out of the water.

Here are what appear to be the bottom gates of Lock 4 with the tidal River Dee beyond. The gates look unloved and are missing balance beams.

They are also chained open.

For gates made only seven years ago they haven't coped too well. Perhaps the regular soakings with salt water speeds up their deterioration.

This is looking up the Dee Locks Branch from as close to the Dee I could get without getting wet.

Another surprise, to me anyway, is the presence of a final weir. I suppose this won't impede navigation too much as progress up the Dee past the old Chester Bridge is possible only around high tide.

Can someone explain the mysterious bottom gates - why they appear to be disused?


Ray Butler said...

The bottom lock invert or cill has failed hence the gates being chained open / lock inoperable.

The upper pounds are totally silted up - Before the Rolt centenary rally Saturn (drawing about 15 inches) came to a grinding halt three quarters of the way out of the lock.

The IWA are holding a major rally in Chester next June to campaign for restoration of the branch and the improvement of the weir upstream of the junction on the Dee to allow navigation of the river through and above Chester on most tides.

Halfie said...

Thanks Ray, I'll keep a lookout for information on the rally nearer the time.