Top Harborough district tourist attraction wins coveted award

Foxton Locks – which stretches back over 200 years – has been awarded prestigious Green Flag status

Friday, 15th October 2021, 4:42 pm
One of our famous tourist attractions, Foxton Locks, is celebrating carrying off a top new national open spaces accolade.

One of our famous tourist attractions, Foxton Locks, is celebrating carrying off a top new national open spaces accolade.

The outstanding Grand Union Canal attraction – which stretches back over 200 years – has been awarded prestigious Green Flag status.

It’s the first time that the UK’s longest, steepest staircase of locks, based near Market Harborough, has won the coveted award.

Foxton Locks now joins over 2,000 of the best open spaces across the country and joins locations as diverse as the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, Woodhouse Park in Peterlee, Co Durham, and London’s Chiswick Old Cemetery.

The team which runs the magnificent feat of engineering for the Canal & River Trust have worked flat out to make sure that people across the East Midlands have been able to visit and enjoy the locks during the 18-month Covid pandemic.

“The Trust’s staff and volunteers work all year round to ensure Foxton Locks remains a special place for people and wildlife, maintaining the grounds, improving hedgerows and welcoming the thousands of visitors that visit each year.

“In making the award the judges commended the site’s ‘distinct character and strong sense of place which is valued by many’ and praised staff who ‘are clearly very dedicated to the site, its history and the investment into its volunteers’.

“The Green Flag Award scheme is celebrating its Silver Jubilee this year,” said a Trust spokesman.

“It’s managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

“The awards recognise and reward well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for their management across the United Kingdom and around the world.”

Thrilled Phil Mulligan, regional director for the Canal & River Trust, said: “We’re so happy and proud that Foxton Locks has been recognised alongside some of the nation’s best open spaces.

“It’s such a special, historic site and has provided an invaluable local escape for people over the past 18 months.

“We know that spending time on and by the water is good for health and wellbeing and we hope this award will encourage more people to head to Foxton to recharge their batteries.”

He added: “The award is also a great testament to all the hard work that is put in by the Trust’s expert teams as well as our amazingly-dedicated volunteers.

“The past year has seen our volunteering activity impacted by the pandemic.

“That’s been a real blow as we rely on local people taking action to help keep our 200-year-old waterways looking their best.

“Thankfully the team at Foxton have more than made up for lost time and this award is confirmation that their efforts have helped to make the site a really special place for people to visit.”

Green Flag Award Scheme Manager Paul Todd said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making Foxton Locks worthy of a Green Flag award.

“To meet the requirements demanded by the scheme is testament to the hard work of the staff and volunteers who do so much to ensure that Foxton Locks has high standards of horticulture, safety and environmental management and is a place that supports people to live healthy lives.”

The beating heart of Foxton Locks features a steep staircase of 10 locks climbing the Grand Union Canal 75 feet.

Up to 5,000 boats pass through the locks every year – and about 300,000 visitors flock to admire and make the most of this unique canal landmark.

Famed all over the world for its 19th century engineering genius, Foxton Locks was built between 1814 and 1900.

You can find out more about the work of the Canal & River Trust by visiting www.canalrivertrust.org.uk