Britain's oldest canal in Lincolnshire is up for sale

Brayford Pool Image copyright Richard Croft / Geograph
Image caption The Fossdyke Navigation runs 11 miles from Lincoln city centre

Britain's oldest canal is up for sale at auction with a guide price of £200,000.

The Fossdyke Navigation in Lincoln is believed to have been built by the Romans in AD120.

It links the city centre with the River Trent and runs 11 miles (18 km) from Brayford Pool to Torksey.

The waterway is on a 721-year lease to the Canal and River Trust which pays £9,500 a year in rent and carries out all the maintenance and repairs.

Image copyright Maurice Pullin / Geograph
Image caption The canal joins the River Trent at Torksey

Property developer Mike Testler, who has owned the canal for 15 years, said he would be sad to see it go.

Mr Testler said he was disposing of the canal to reinvest some of the money in "animal welfare". He said the sale had generated a great deal of interest.

"There must be many people who want to say, 'Do you know I own the oldest canal in Britain?'," he said.

"You'd be amazed how many people are interested in that type of situation and we've had a very, very, very strong level of bidding for this one."

The auction takes place on 11 July.

History of the Fossdyke Navigation

Evidence for the Romans building the waterway includes a statue of the god Mars which was recovered from the water near Torksey in 1774 and is now on display in the British Museum.

After the Romans left the canal fell into disrepair.

It was improved in 1121 in the reign of Henry I and was used to transport stones for the construction of Lincoln Cathedral.

It continued to carry commercial traffic until the 1970s.

A footpath and cycleway running between Lincoln and Saxilby was opened in 2011.

Source: Canal and River Trust / British Museum

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