You are now at Baldwin’s Knob Lock – what a great name! Using an old Sussex term, Baldwin’s Knob is actually the small hillock just to the north of the canal here and the lock was named after it. We may never know for certain who Baldwin was but he was probably a local farmer.
Cast your mind back to when this was a working canal. We would have seen coal barges being towed by horses along the towpath, barges carrying timber and others carrying Petworth marble to clad new buildings up in London.
At the beginning of the 19th century the British Government were very fearful of moving materials, especially bullion to finance the Navy, from London to Portsmouth by sea. The ever-present threat from enemy ships motivated the Government to use an inland waterway. Once a month we would see the bullion barge - what a sight that would have made and the four armed “redcoats” would have been very visible!
The first lock restored on this canal and brought into regular use
As part of the canal restoration, Baldwin’s Knob Lock was restored in 1992 and was the first lock on the Loxwood Link to be brought back into working order. A backpump for water released by boat usage was installed in summer 1997.
The following photograph was taken in 1979 before any restoration work was completed and you can see the challenge the volunteers faced.
Barnsill Bridge is a little distance below the lock and has a small open area of grass with a very short slipway; this was where the Zachariah Keppel (one of the Trust’s tripboats) was first placed in the water in 1994.
Who was Gordon Foulger?
Gordon Foulger and his son Peter Foulger farmed the land on both sides of the canal and paid for the rebuilding of Barnsill Bridge. Both the bridge and the lock are memorials to Mr. Gordon Foulger. There is a dedication panel inserted into the western parapet of the bridge, giving some details of its construction. Peter Foulger still owns and farms the land.
How far to the next Information Post?
If you are walking away from Loxwood, the next Information Post can be found at Drungewick Slipway, 1/2 mile further along the canal. If you are hearing to Loxwood, the next Information post can be found at Brewhurst Lock. A full list of information post locations can be found here.
Want to explore more of the canal and complete a circular walk?
Try out this circular walk taking in Drungewick Aqueduct and returning in a figure of eight via pretty fields and woodland.