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The Fossdyke Canal

Probably the oldest canal in the UK

28th October 2016

A friend of mine explained that Foss is the Middle English word for river, Dyke is the Viking word for river and Canal is a modern word we all understand. The Fossdyke Canal is so old it has been named 3 times!

The Fossdyke connects the Tidal River Trent at Torksey and the Brayford Pool in the historic City of Lincoln. Lincoln was founded by the Romans, originally Lindum Colonia, and is one of the oldest cities in the country. There is apparently no record of the Fossdyke in Roman history but the canal was evidently there before the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Doomsday Book describes both Torksey and Hardwick as Ports in the time of Edward the Confessor in 1050. Henry I is recorded as having "cut a large canal between Torksey and Lincoln" but there is some debate around whether this was a new canal or making an existing one usable again.

Whoever built the canal it was certainly beneficial for the economy of Lincoln. The railways did their best to stifle its use for commerce and these days it is mainly used by leisure craft and fishermen.

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Cycling along the Fossdyke Canal
The Fossdyke Canal

Fossdyke Canal at Torksey Lock
Torksey Lock

The Fossdyke West of the Pyewipe Inn
A very straight part of the Fossdyke Canal west of the Pyewipe Inn

Fossdyke in Saxilby
The moorings along the Fossdyke Canal in Saxilby

Previous posts


Cycling around Lincoln and Lincolnshire
Opening a B&B near Lincoln

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