Thursday, 4 December 2014

The end of the Oxford

Another frosty start on Wednesday but it promised to be sunny so we planned to get to the northern end of the Oxford canal.

Soon after we set off we went through Newbold tunnel which is quite unusual in that it has a tow path running through it and can just be made out in this picture.

We passed a few more of the cast iron bridges at the entrances to what we thought were disused arms to towns.  When the Oxford canal was first built it was mainly a contour canal and therefore longer than it would have been if it had been built straighter and with more locks.  In face of competition from the Grand Union the northern end was shortened by 14 miles in the 1800s by the addition of tunnels, cuttings, embankments and locks. We hadn’t realised that the iron bridges were in fact across the original line of the meandering canal.
 Stretton under Fosse was a sweet place, made even quainter with a swing footbridge.

Between Brinklow and Ansty we went under the M6 so we really felt like we were no longer in the south.  We can now adjust ourselves when listening to the weather forecast in the morning.  Hearing the words, “Dry in most places with rain in the south east” probably means we will have a dry day.

About a mile before we moored up for the day we passed a field full of decaying cars, mainly Beetles and camper vans but there were a couple of Porsche 924s and other sports cars I couldn’t recognise.

 As it started to get dark we moored at Hawesbury junction.  This marks the northern end of the Oxford where it joins the Coventry canal.  The Coventry canal starts in Coventry, five miles to the south of the junction and runs 38 miles north to Fradley junction where it joins the Trent & Mersey canal.  The Coventry canal was built in the late 1760s mainly to service the many coal mines along its length.  For most of its life it was the most profitable canal in the country.  Its last year of profit being as late as 1947.


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