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Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I have cruised down the Wendover Arm in the past but this time decided to have a look at the restoration work going on past the present limit of navigation.
The Wendover Arm was built in 1797 and closed in 1904 due to leakage that got so bad the mainline canal was suffering water loss.
Entry to the arm is at the top lock of the Marsworth flight at Bulbourne but at present only about 1 1/2 miles is navigable and it`s very narrow and shallow in places but with the prop gently turning no problems will be encountered.
Just a couple of bridges and a few houses canalside before passing Tring Wharf and the Heygates flour site then comes the winding hole that looks too small to turn a full size working boat as claimed in the Nicholson guide but they do say nominally for 50` boats. Before the restoration started on this section boats would have to turn here and reverse back to the stop lock just pass the pumping station.
With the restoration it is now possible to carry on past the stop lock where an artificial bank was in place to prevent water loss and cruise into the newly created winding (turning point) hole at Little Tring just through the newly built bridge. The bridge is a concrete construction but has been faced in brick to create typical canal type structure. It was opened in 2001 to replace the original bridge demolished in 1973 due to safety concerns.
So a couple of nights stay at the end of the arm will give me time to walk a bit and check out how the restoration is going.

The winding hole that looks to small to turn a full size working boat as stated in the Nicholson guide.

The stop lockThe new bridge at Little Tring

The new winding hole and end of navigation for now. Where the boats are moored is the route the arm will take to skirt the hill on the left

Some concrete walls in the making and in the distance on the left can be seen some of the lining material being laid to combat water loss.

The same section as above viewed from the opposite direction and now the first bit of canal water.

The pictures above and below showing the huge amount of work that has taken place clearing the canal bed of trees and vegetation and one of the footbridges installed so a public foot path can cross the canal.

In the picture above the canal has been diverted to the left because of the Aston Clinton by-pass that crosses the canal around the bend. The original route was to the right through the trees.
Above the new section of canal on the right joins the original route that is now blocked off on the left. The newly constructed by-pass bridge can just be seen in the distance. The new road is downhill right to left and I assume this was the reason for a new crossing point of the canal to gain headroom. The cutting each side of the bridge was created by the road contractor as part of the build plan.
This is the point the canal passed under the old A41 that was the main road before the by-pass and I only walked a short way past the bridge as my legs were aching.
Click HERE to have a look at the Wendover Arm restoration site.

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NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs