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Waterways of Bedfordshire

Navigable Rivers and Canals within Bedfordshire

The Globe Inn at Old Linslade on the Grand Union Canal

Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway

Waterway's place in Bedfordshire :

A proposed new waterway between Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Waterway Description:

A planned 15 mile waterway linking the Great Ouse at Bedford with the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes. This scheme is designed to open up the waterways of East Anglia and to form a new cruising ring while at the same time enhancing the local environment and economy.

History:

In 1995 Brian Young had the idea of proposing this link and obtaining funding for it from the Millennium Commission. From this application the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust was founded and although the millenniem application was not sucessesful the advantages of the scheme were recognised. In 2001 a feasibility study was completed and the project is underway backed by the Waterways Trust, British Waterways, the B&MK Waterway Trust and many other local and national organisations. For the history of earlier schemes see Bedford - Grand Junction Canal schemes.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Bedford - Grand Junction Canal project

Waterway's place in Bedfordshire :

A proposed link between the Grand Junction Canal and the River Great Ouse.

Waterway Description:

Various plans for a 15 mile canal to link the Great Ouse with the Grand Junction Canal. See also the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway.

History:

The route was surveyed by John Rennie in 1812 to provide a canl between Bedford and fenny Stratford. In 1817 a route to the Newport Pagnell Canal was considered and in 1823 one between the Ivel Navigation and the Grand Junction. Another scheme was advanced in 1892.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Grand Junction Canal

Waterway's place in Bedfordshire :

The canal runs through Nothamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and London.

Waterway Description:

The original canal from Braunston to Brentford, plus branches, that now forms part of the G.U. main line.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1793, 1794, 1795, 1798, 1801, 1803, 1805, 1812, 1818 and 1819, opened in 1805, became part of the Grand Union on 1 January 1929.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Grand Union Aylesbury Branch

Waterway's place in Bedfordshire :

From the start of the branch at Marsworth Junction, where it connects with the Grand Union Main Line, the canal travels only a very short distance in Bedfordshire before it crosses into Buckinghamshire just after Marsworth Staircase Locks No 1 & 2.

Waterway Description:

Runs 6 miles from Marsworth Junction to Aylesbury.

History:

Built under the Grand Junction Canal Act of 1794 but completed in 1815.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Grand Union Main Line

Waterway's place in Bedfordshire :

The canal crosses briefly from Buckinghamshire into Bedfordshire at Old Linslade Bridge No 110. It returns to Buckinghamshire just north of Grove Lock No 28.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Salford Junction to the River Thames at Brentford.

History:

Formed from the Grand Junction Canal (Acts of 1793, 1794, 1795, 1798, 1801, 1803, 1805, 1812, 1818 and 1819); Warwick & Napton Canal (1794, 1796 & 1809); Warwick & Birmingham Canal (1793 & 1796); Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal .

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Great Ouse

Waterway's place in Bedfordshire :

The river is in Bedfordshire from Bedford Bridge to the A428 road bridge at Eaton Socon, where the river crosses into Cambridshire.

Waterway Description:

The navigation runs 74 miles from Bedford to the Wash.

History:

Promoted under Acts of 1670, 1751, 1795, 1796, 1805, 1810, 1816, 1818, 1819, 1827 and 1830. The locks from Brownshill to Eaton Scocon were rebuilt in the 1930s when this part of the river was restored by the newly formed Great Ouse Catchment Board. Prior to the 1950s the river below Denver was kept clear by the flow from the Great Ouse but since then the relief channel has been built to divert these waters and the bed of the river has risen by about a metre. In 1951 The Great Ouse Restoration Society formed and in 1963 legislation enabled the River Authority to licence boats and charge fees, at last providing money for navigation to a body mainly concerned with drainage. n 1978 The final lock at Castle Mills was completed and navigation to Bedford was restored.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Ivel

Waterway's place in Bedfordshire :

The whole navigation was in Bedfordshire.

Waterway Description:

An improved river navigation at one time extending 13 miles to Shefford, the last 3 miles being by a canal extension of the navigation.

History:

Navigation improvements authorised by an Act of 1757, completed to Biggleswade (7 miles) in 1758, extended to Shefford in 1823, closed 1876.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

External Web Sites Related to Bedfordshire Waterways

 

Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Home Introduction Waterways List Waterways Map Links Books DVD Articles Photo Gallery
Features Contact me Glossary Boats Events List History Local Waterways Help Photo List