There are eight locks on the 26 miles of the Lower Avon between Tewkesbury and Evesham, and nine of the 22 miles of the Upper Avon between Evesham and Stratford.

Locks on the Avon are manually operated by boaters, and the paddle gear on the locks accept the small 1in taper, or the 'Northwich' type lock key or windlass. The exception is Avon lock at Tewkesbury, which is manned by a lock keeper.

Lock keeper's hours are:

Spring   0800 - 1800
Summer  0800 - 1900
Autumn  0800 - 1800
lunch break:   1300 - 1400

In the winter period, from Nov to Easter, the lock is set to manual if the lock keeper is absent.

Operating Locks

If you have not operated locks before, don't worry. Take you time, and if you are unsure ask another boater - they will be happy to help. Passing through locks in company eases the load, and allows you to chat to other people on the river.

When locking up to a higher level, secure lines at bow and stern but be prepared to take in the slack as the boat rises, inside the lock with both bow and stern lines, close the gates and check their paddles are lowered, or closed. Go to the top gates and operate the rack gearing to raise the paddles. Open them a little way at first and pause; the turbulence from too much water entering the chamber can force boats off the lock side, or make them surge up and down and hit the gates. Once the water level has risen a little, and crews have shortened in their lines, open the paddles up fully. Leave the gates OPEN when you leave, and all paddles CLOSED. When closing the paddles, please wind them down slowly; pushing down the rack with your hand causes shock loading and can damage the gear and equipment.

When locking to a lower level, the procedure is the same, except for the following. Boat crews MUST NOT make fast their lines, but should pay them out by hand as the water level in the lock drops. Vessel's should KEEP CLEAR of the cill below the top gates to avoid being caught up on their sterngear. Operators of the paddles on the bottom gates should be vigilant, and close them immediately if a vessel gets into difficulties.