Notes on the River Avon
The River Avon has long been navigable with a series of locks and weirs being built around 1635, and it being reported soon after that navigation to within four miles of Warwick was possible. Navigation of the upper reaches above Evesham was abandoned in 1877, and although the lower portion never formally closed it suffered complete neglect.
Restoration of the Lower Avon, as it became known, began in 1950 and was finished in 1962. The re-opening of the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother two years later prompted the considerably more difficult restoration of the Upper Avon. Under the leadership of David Hutchings MBE the 17 miles of navigation with nine new locks were completed in 1974 using mostly volunteers and, famously, prison labour.
[The photo shows Alveston Weir at the current head of navigation – by Tony Green]