Connecting the North Sea with the Bristol Channel, the Kennet & Avon Canal played a role of  huge importance to the Industrial Revolution as one of Britains major transport routes. The canal route cuts through 94 miles of land between the River Avon in Bristol Docks and the River Thames in Reading with 106 locks along its length and peaks at 140m above sea level between Pewsey & Great Bedwyn.

The canal designers had many challenges to overcome, one of which was how to supply the top pound with enough water. Without sufficient water the canal would become unnavigable. To overcome this it was decided to make use of the Wilton natural springs which entered the canal near Crofton. These springs could be used to re-supply the top pound of the canal – the only issue is that the elevation of the Wilton spring entry point is around 11m lower than the elevation of the top pound. There is an incline on the north side of the canal into which a second smaller canal, a feeder canal was dug at the same elevation as the top pound. The only missing piece was a method of moving the Wilton spring water into the feeder canal. Housed in a red brick pump house, 2 Steam powered pumps were installed, one in 1809, one in 1812. Demand for spring water exceeded the supply so in 1836 Wilton spring was dammed to create the 8 acre lake, Wilton Water. Wilton Water had the capacity to hold enough water to keep up with demand.

Loving industrial archaeology and to assist Crofton Beam Engines at a science fair, 3dMB carried out a 3d survey of the water transportation system that Crofton Beam Engines are the centre piece of. Using our DJI Inspire 2 with Zenmuse x4s camera we captured aerial images of Wilton Water, Crofton pump house, Crofton feeder canal and the Kennet & Avon canal from Crofton Top Lock (55) to Crofton Lock (61) – a distance of just over a mile. The images were georeferenced using ground control points surveyed to 2cm accuracy with our Trimble RTK rover and then processing using 3d Photogrammetry software Metashape Pro to create a fully orbital 3d model, a high resolution orthomosaic and a digital elevation model. The 3d models and orthomoasic can be viewed by all below (may not work on mobile devices).


The Pumphouse only


And the high resolution orthomosaic

Digital Elevation Model

Crofton Beam Engines is run by the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust and during non-COVID lockdown times is open to visitors.