looking south near Sutton Gault

The Ouse Washes

Salters Lode Lock/Sluice
Salters Lode

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Salters Lode is a hamlet situated on the west bank of the tidal River Great Ouse at a point where the non-tidal rivers Well Creek and the Counter Drain/Old Bedford River (CD/OBR) join it via navigation locks. 

Well Creek is a canalised 8 mile waterway running from Marmont Priory near Upwell to Salters Lode, linking the old course of the River Nene to the Great River Ouse. The waterway was once an important commercial navigation but that ceased in the 1950s and the waterway soon declined into a weed ridden, rubbish strewn stagnant ditch prompting Mr [Frank?] Hartley, Chairman of the drainage authority (MLC?), to tell his board “The Well Creek is an eyesore and has become a burden to the MLDB. Its relationship to sea level means it does not drain one acre of our land therefore I would suggest we fill it in”(source: William Smith, Upwell).
Thanks to the efforts of the Well Creek Trust, the waterway was brought back to life and navigation restored in 1975, and it is now used by many pleasure craft.

The photo below shows the end of the Creek. the mooring point, Salters Lode Lock (leading into the River Great Ouse), the road bridge over it, and the lock-keepers cottage just to the right.
 by Eddy Edwards
Photo: EE, Aug 2007
This is all part of the Middle Level system, administered by the Middle Level Commissioners (MLC) and not actually part of the Ouse Washes. But there is a connection, as you will see later ......

According to the Well Creek Trust
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Page history
page created 23 Mar 2011
first posted  
last updated 06 May 2012
site visits

Google satellite view.
River Great Ouse on right.
Well Creek bottom left to topright.
Old Bedford River below, looking black

Salters Lode Lock

inner gate of OB lock in 2007 by Eddy Edwards
Photo: EE, Aug 2007
According to Samuel Wells, Register of the Bedford Level Corporation, a sluice was originally built here in 1630, and re-built in 1828, both times by BLC.(Samuel Wells, 1830 Vol 1 page 724).  Summers say a new sluice was built here in 1826(The Great Level, p.177). (The differences in dates may indicate start and finish of construction.)

The Well Creek Trust handbook says that a simple sluice was built here in 1556, and the Well Stream [then] ceased to be tidal. The handbook also says that the sluice was "modernised and electrified" in the 1950s.

When it became a navigable lock, I do not yet know, nor when the Middle Level Commissioners took control from BLC.

The lock had new gates fitted in November 2008.
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Text and photos except where noted © Eddy Edwards, 2010-11

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Index and links

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Related pages on this website
Old Bedford Sluice, Salters Lode
Well Creek Weir/Sluice
Welches Dam
Earith Sluice - start of the washes
Related external websites/pagesty
Well Creek Trust
Middle Level Commissioners
Website: The Ouse Washes go to Features, Structures & Site Index page Last update: Sunday, 06 May 2012