The Cefn Flight of Fourteen Locks
The Cefn Flight of Fourteen Locks, completed in 1799, forms part of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canals and is situated on the Crumlin Arm.
Along with the Main Line from Pontnewynydd to Newport, the Fourteen Locks provided a much needed access route from the Heads of the Valleys Ironworks transporting coal, iron and limestone. As such the Fourteen Locks aided the rapid growth of Newport as an industrial capital in the 19th century. However, the development of the railways as a means of freight transportation eventually meant that the canal was not viable. The Crumlin Arm closed as a commercial waterway in 1930.
The Cefn Flight of Fourteen Locks is recognised to be a significant part of the heritage asset within Newport and South Wales. As such the site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is listed by Cadw. The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canals Conservation Area was designated on 21st January 1998 and includes those sections of the canal that lie within the boundaries of Newport City Council.
The Flight rises 50.97 metres over 0.8085km giving a density of one lock per 58 metres and an overall gradient of 1 in 15.9; one of the steepest rises for a major run of locks and, is in itself, equal tenth in the list of remarkable lock flights in terms of sheer number of locks.
The Cefn Flight of Fourteen Locks is therefore of major significance in both Welsh and UK terms.
Newport City Council has worked closely with the Monmouthshire, Brecon & Abergavenny Canals Trust towards the aim of returning the Flight to navigable use. Lock 21 (at the top of the flight) was recently restored and we have been successful in securing over £1million in funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other funding bodies for the ‘Education through Restoration’ project to restore two more pairs of locks on the Flight and increase access to this important historical asset.
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