This morning Keith and I went in search of the old Oxford Canal. In yesterday's posting I mentioned that the old Oxford Canal ran along side the church of St. Botolphs, so that was our starting point. Keith had been online looking at old maps so we had a pretty good idea where to look, but when we got there, we had no problem spotting the old tunnel entrance along side the church, so we walked down into the field.
You can see the entrance to the tunnel on the left hand side of the photograph, between the church and the large Oak tree.
The western end of the tunnel is in very good condition externally.
This is the view through one of the two bat holes which Keith took. The tunnel itself at this end looks in good condition.
We then decided to see how far we could trace the can, so trekking across the field we followed the line of the old canal, which disappeared into a wooded area alongside the field, but through the wooded area, we spotted this wall, which could have been a wharf or canal side building. If those bricks could talk, what stories they could tell. We also found a couple of bridges, one which was no longer there, but the other one was in good condition and had a road running over it.
Having gone as far as we could we walked back to the church yard to trace the canal in the eastern direction. The eastern portal of the old tunnel is completely lost. As referred to on the website for the church, you can clearly see the dip in the churchyard entrance from the road to the church where the canal tunnel collapsed in the exceptionally dry summer of 1976. The route of the canal from the church to the the existing canal is also unclear, as from the dip in the churchyard it is lost, presumably underneath the road. However the line can be traced opposite “The Boat” and “The Barley Mow” pubs. In front of “The Barlow Mow” is a large building next to the “Coach House” which looks like a converted wharf warehouse, and the canal would have passed the other side of this to join the existing canal in the vicinity of the water point.
We then walked through the new Newbold Tunnel with its snazzy lighting to see if we could trace the old canal from it’s other end.
This is the wrought iron bridge as viewed from the line of the old canal. Unfortunately we could not walk very far long this stretch, because it is fenced off.
We both really enjoyed our little adventure, which got us off of the boat for a couple of hours and out into the fresh air. Keith reckons we will have to buy a decent scale map or maps, and then see if we can access old maps in a local library, either in Coventry or Rugby, and if we can, then mark on the new map the lines of all the old loops that have been lost on this canal. This should make it easier to do some more exploring when the time is right. I so enjoy getting out and about, there is so much out there that has been undiscovered for many years.
Back on the boat I split a chicken in two, put one half in the freezer and the other half is now cooking in the back cabin stove for dinner tonight. We have Film4 on at the moment watching "Flight of the Phoenix" from 2004. It has gone very dark outside even though it is only just after 2pm, so it looks like we could be in for some more rain. I have no plans to go anywhere else today, so going to stay in and watch films and play on my Farm Town. Chat soon xx