6 of the 8 locks were built in an unusual way with the sides of the lock chambers consisting of 4 elliptical bays, this was apparently to make them stronger. Some of these locks still survive, the remains of one can be seen at Alvingham. The two other locks had conventional straight walls.
The canal obtained its Act of Parliament in 1763 (although the canal had been planned as far back as 1756) and construction started in 1767. The canal opened in 1770. The canal cost £28,000 to build and was able to carry seagoing boats.
For much of its life the canal was leased by the Chaplin family who were able to run it at something of a profit with estimated tolls getting as high as £5,000 a year in the late 1820s.
The coming of the railways lead to a decline in the use of the canal and the First World War killed what traffic was left. The final blow was the devastation caused by the Louth Flood of 1920 to the Riverhead area, the terminus of the canal. The canal closed in 1924.
The Louth Navigation Trust have since restored the tow path which may be walked and parts of the canal are in shallow water. They are engaged in a scheme to restore the full length of the canal by 2020. The Louth Navigation, unlike many other disused canals, is in water throughout its length and has not been in-filled or built over as it is important for drainage of the surrounding land. Several formerly movable bridges have since been replaced with fixed bridges. The eight locks are in varying states of repair; two have been completely obliterated, Alvingham lock (pictured) is the best surviving example.
|Selection of photographs from the collection on Wikimedia Commons|
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Media related to Louth Navigation at Wikimedia Commons