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Waterways of Northamptonshire

Navigable Rivers and Canals within Northamptonshire

Soloman's Bridge at Cosgrove on the Grand Union Canal.

Grand Junction Canal

Waterway's place in Northamptonshire :

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 Leicester Section

Waterway's place in Northamptonshire :

The Northamptonshire part of the Grand Union Leicestershire Section runs from Norton Junction where it connects to the Grand Union Main Line northwards for over 15 miles to a short way before the junction with the Welford Branch. Although the village of Welford is in Northamptonshire the Welford Arm runs just north of the county Border and is therefore in Leicestershire.

Waterway Description:

Runs 66 miles from the Grand Union Main Line at Norton Junction to the River Trent, near Trent Lock.

History:

Acts of 1776 (River Soar Navigation) and 1791 (Leicester Canal) and opened in 1794. The old Grand Union Canal, linking the Grand Junction to the Leicester line, was Authorised by an Act was passed in May 1810 and it was opened in 1814.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Grand Union Main Line

Waterway's place in Northamptonshire :

The Grand Union Main Line enters Northamptonshire from Warwickshire as it crosses the River Leam on the "Puddle Bank" at Braunston and continues for over 27 miles south to Wolverton Aqueduct, where it crosses the River Nene and enters Buckinghamshire.

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.

Grand Union Northampton Branch

Waterway's place in Northamptonshire :

The Grand Union Northampton Branch runs wholly within Northamptonshire and is just under 5 miles long. It starts at the Grand Union Main Line at Gayton and connects with the River Nene at Northampton.

Waterway Description:

Runs 4.75 miles from Northampton to the Grand Union Main Line at Gayton Junction.

History:

Built under the Grand Junction Canal Act of 1793 but completed in 1815.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Old Grand Union Canal

Waterway's place in Northamptonshire :

A canal from Northamptonshire to Leicestershire.

Waterway Description:

The Grand Union Canal ran 23 miles from Foxton to Norton Junction where it met the Grand Junction Canal (confusingly now called the Grand Union).

History:

Authorised in 1810 and fully opened in 1814. Bought by the Grand Junction Canal in 1894. In 1929 the Grand Junction Canal Company amalgamated with other canal companies and became the Grand Union Canal, thus making the old Grand Union Canal part of the new Grand Union Canal.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Oxford Canal

Waterway's place in Northamptonshire :

A canal that passes through Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire.

Waterway Description:

This 77 mile canal runs from Hawksbury Junction (near Coventry) to Oxford, where it joins the Thames. It is now considered as two sections, the Northern and Southern, with the connecting 3 miles now part of the Grand Union, London to Birmingham route.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1769, 1775, 1786, 1794, 1799, 1807, 1808 and 1829. Open, except for Isis Lock, in 1790.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Oxford Canal (Northern Section)

Waterway's place in Northamptonshire :

The short stretch of the Northern Oxford Canal that is within Northamptonshire runs from the Kilsby Road Bridge No 74, (also called Tarrys Bridge, on the B4038 road) where the canal leaves Warwickshire, to Braunston Junction, where it meets the Grand Union Main Line. Even this short distance (5½ miles) must be reduced as just south of Rowdyke Bridge No 82 the canal leaves the county to return to Warwickshire for a distance of about a mile.

Waterway Description:

This canal runs 22.75 miles from Hawkesbury Junction, where it joins the Coventry Canal, to Braunston Junction, where it joins the Grand Union Main Line.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Oxford Canal (Southern Section)

Waterway's place in Northamptonshire :

The short stretch of the Southern Oxford Canal that is within Northamptonshire runs from just above Aynho Weir Lock No 33 where the canal leaves Oxfordshire, to a short distance south of Aynho Bridge No 190 where it crosses into Oxfordshire. The whole of this length is less than 1 miles.

Waterway Description:

Runs 49.25 miles from Napton Junction, where it joins the Grand Union Main Line, to Oxford where it joins the Thames.

History:

Fenny Compton Tunnel was opened out in 1870. The name remains and its site can be recognised by the straight stretch of narrow canal in a cutting crossed by several bridges. In 1939 L. T. C. Rolt, on board Cressy, made his historic trip from Banbury, later recorded in his seminal classic canal book Narrow Boat.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Nene

Waterway's place in Northamptonshire :

The navigable river runs from Northampton to Wansford, where it crosses into Cambrigeshire. The major part of the non-tidal river - over 42 miles - are within Northamptonshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs 91 miles from Northampton, where it joins the Northampton Branch of the Grand Union Canal, to the Wash. The lower 26 miles (from Dog-in-a-Doublet Lock) are tidal.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1713 (no work done), 1724, 1754, 1756, 1794, 1827 and 1829. Navigation from Thrapston to Peterborough promoted by the 1724 Act and navigation from Thrapston to Northampton promoted by the Act 1756. Navigation from Northampton to Peterborough was opened in 1761.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

External Web Sites Related to Northamptonshire Waterways

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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