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Monday, August 20, 2007


The Oxford canal stretches beyween Hawkesbury Jct. and Oxford and covers a distance of 74 miles. It was used to bring coal from the Warwickshire coalfields to Oxford and here it gained access to the R. Thames and of course into London.

The northern section, Braunston to Hawkesbury, twisted and turned following the contours of the land so much that in the 1820`s 13 miles was cut from the 36 miles of this section. This was achieved by building Aqueducts, deep cuttings and embankments. A lot of the old route can still be traced if you go looking.

The Tunnel at Newbold is the result of this streamlining and the picture below shows two pubs

Barley Mow & Boat Inn. The canal ran right past these pubs and in fact the car is on what was the towpath. I have taken the pic from the towpath as is now and to my right the canal makes its way through the new tunnel and then along a deep cutting dead straight. The bushes on the right belong to a house built after the canal was re-routed but next to it remains the original canal w`house that had stables so the horses could rest while the boatmen drank in the pub.

In the far distance across a road is a church and if you walk into the grounds of the church you can see the route across the lawn where subsidence has left a clear sign and as you walk to the

right of the church itself the public footpath you are alredy walking goes off through a gate and as you walk into the field you are in the old canal bed. Look back and you can see the old tunnel.

Walk away from the tunnel and you can follow the dried up bed of the canal filled in by farmers
in places but walk around the fields a bit and you are suddenly rewarded by the finding of

things like this old footbridge hidden away amongst the trees and bushes that have grown in the old canal bed. I have actually climbed down into the canal bed to take the pic. Then just 50yds

further is this old bridge where the canal passed under a farm access road/track. After this it was difficult to trace the canals route but after walking across a field again it appeared buried beneath a hedgerow.
When i pass Braunston again i am going to do the same as the canal did in fact go through the marina and across the road into the fields.
If all this seems a bit boring to some you must remember that the waterways have become my life and its history is there to find, also with retirement comes time to do whatever takes your fancy and the exercise is good for you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

with retirement comes time to do whatever takes your fancy and the exercise is good for you.

To remove that beer belly !!!!!!!!

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs