Modular Lock Gates

an innovative solution to a specific problem on our canals

Finished Top Gate wiith boat buffer

The Dommett Modular Lock Gate is an innovative solution to a number of problematic situations on our historic canals. The Modular Lock Gate has been designed to complement traditional gates which are generally replaced every 20 years in a 200 year-old structure. The Modular Gate provides a sustainable functional solution for canal restoration projects which can take many years to complete. Traditional timber gates are a well-proven, time-honoured, and attractive feature of our canal system, and will continue to remain so. However, they are not always the optimum solution to some common problems :-


Advantages of the modular gate

Gate assembly


Richard Dommett MBE

The development of the gate design is a partnership between the Monmouthshire Brecon & Abergavenny Canals Trust and the Kennet and Avon Canals' Trust. The modular gate is the brainchild of Richard Dommett, MBE, who has 41 years' experience in managing and maintaining canal infrastructure. He has considerable experience in traditional timber lock gate manufacture, fitting and on-going maintenance, so is eminently equipped to design out some of the inherent weaknesses in a traditional design. Members of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust have been actively involved with Richard in developing a practical solution.

Working with Richard on the engineering integrity of the design is Swansea University Engineering Department, who examined the design in detail to prove its structural integrity.

The gate design was developed to meet the needs principally of the restoration of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, where the process of restoration has taken, and will take, many years to complete. The MBACT partnership did not wish to replicate the problems seen on other slow-moving projects where new timber gates installed in early phases needed replacing by the time the canal was ready for opening.

Gates prior to painting

Gates have been manufactured, assembled and installed without the use of heavy lifting equipment in a series of locks at the Ty Coch flight in Cwmbran on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. This will act as our test-bed for the design.

The Ty Coch flight of eight locks is currently being restored by volunteers and trainees with strong support from Torfaen County Borough Council and with the aid of a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This 'Waterworks Project" is also supported by Derbyshire Environmental Trust, who are the administrators for the Landfill Community Fund Grant from Lafarge-Tarmac Ltd for the development of the Modular Lock Gate.

Visitors are welcome to come along and view the gate, but we would ask you to make a prior appointment with Richard Dommett who can be contacted at:



Modular Gates for Your Canal

Top gate fitting

If you are engaged in a canal restoration or maintenance scheme it might be of interested to you to know that through our 'Not-for Profit' Company 'MBACT Regeneration Ltd', the Trust can offer a range of Pick & Mix services.

If you would like to discuss these options please contact Richard Dommett MBE at:

07974 005483