British Canal

Who dug the British Canal and when?


We do not know for certain who dug the canal, but maps between 1779 and 1814 depict only a salt marsh across the narrow neck of land between Wadsworth Cove and Hatch Cove. One map indicates that the marsh was fortified. Another survey map shows a bridge over the marsh, but no canal.


The first map to include a canal was an April 1815 map that was drawn after the British forces had evacuated Castine at the end of the War of 1812. Some historians argue that the British dug the canal in 1814 to prevent desertions and build up their defenses. Others believe that the British merely reinforced an existing canal, one they had dug during their occupation of Castine in the American Revolution. The 1779 sign at this site is one of many memorial signs created by the historical committee of Castine’s Village Improvement Society in the early 20th century.


Visitors can now hike and go birding at the Hatch Cove Preserve of the Blue Hill Heritage Trust, near the canal.


For more information, please visit the Blue Hill Heritage Trust website: http://bluehillheritagetrust.org/