Wednesday 1 November 2023

Aylesbury Arm, Grand Union Canal

The Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Junction Canal (later becoming part of the Grand Union Canal) is a ten kilometre long arm of the canal branching off the main line near Marsworth and ending near to the centre of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. The arm was a fairly late addition to the canal network, work started on it in 1811 and finished in 1814.

The canal was never intended to end at Aylesbury, the original plan had been to continue the canal past Aylesbury to link up to the Thames at Abingdon - a scheme known as the Western Junction Canal. However, landowners west of Aylesbury refused to let the canal continue past the town and through their land.

The canal arm has sixteen locks as it drops nearly thirty metres from Marsworth to Aylesbury. Unlike the Grand Junction Canal in general, the Aylesbury Arm has narrow locks, this was due to difficulties with water supplies.

The Aylesbury Arm was used to transport agricultural produce, building supplies and coal. The arrival of the railways ruined the arm's profitabiity, athough commercial traffic continued into the 1950s. Now the arm is a popular stop for leisure boaters and visitors.

Canal boat near Aylesbury

Marsworth locks

Historical information sign at Marsworth

The canal in Aylesbury