Monday, 23 October 2017

Walking the waterways (13) : Grand Union Canal

The Grand Union Canal is the longest canal in England, stretching 137 miles from London to Birmingham. However the Grand Union is a relatively recent creation, only existing from 1929 from the amalgamation of other canals such as the Grand Junction and the Warwick & Napton Canal in an effort to reduce costs in order to compete with the railways.

The Grand Union Canal at its maximum extent included the Regent's Canal and so extended from Limehouse on the Thames up to the Midlands. There were two branches to Birmingham and to Leicester, the latter is nowadays known as the Old Grand Union Canal or the Leicester Section.

These days the Grand Union Canal (as commonly marked on maps or signs) starts at Paddington at the end of the Paddington Arm and extends up through London, Hertfordshire (the likes of Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamstead), Buckinghamshire (Aylesbury), Warwickshire (Leamington Spa and Hatton) and into Birmingham. The furthest extent is at Salford Junction underneath Spaghetti Junction. Both ends of the canal are in the centres of England's two biggest cities but the canal passes through some of the most beautiful countryside England can offer.
Aston Clinton Field Bridge 13 near Aylesbury


Leam Bridge 44 in Leamington Spa

Paddington Arm

The start of the canal at Salford Junction

Winkwell Slew Railway Bridge 147B near Hemel Hempstead