Monday, 5 June 2017

Walking the waterways (10) : Oxford Canal

The Oxford Canal stretches from Oxford (as you could probably guess) up to near Bedworth in Warwickshire where it joins the Coventry Canal at Hawkesbury Junction. It passes through places like Banbury and Rugby on the way so was (and still is of course) an important waterway. It took 20 years to complete the canal, construction beginning in 1769. The first stretch reached from Bedworth to Napton then further extensions were made (money permitting) to Banbury and finally through to the centre of Oxford in 1790.

The canal was intended to link the Midlands to London with traffic switching to the Thames at Oxford. It did very well initially but declined after the opening of the rival Grand Junction Canal which had a more direct route. However the Northern section remained busy well into the 20th century and carried commercial traffic into the 1960s. Nowadays the Oxford Canal is one of the most popular waterways with pleasure boaters.
The Oxford city end of the canal



Hawkesbury Junction