Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Top 100 Sites
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.
In his book England's Improvement by Land and Sea he proposed making the River Cherwell navigable from Banbury to Oxford for £10,000 so that corn from the area could be carried to London.
He and Samuel Simcock survey the line for the canal extension from Banbury to Oxford.
He was commissioned by the company to survey the Cherwell from Banbury to Oxford (as well as the Swift from Cocford to Lutterworth) to see if it could be made navigable. He thought it could.
A provision in the canal Bill gave him, Samuel Simcock and four others connected with the canal, exclusive carrying rights and two-thirds of the profts in return for building the canal from Banbury to Oxford for £29,000. This was rejected by Parliament.
Isis Lock was opened.
Fenny Compton Tunnel was opened out. The name remains and its site can be recognised by the straight stretch of narrow canal in a cutting crossed by several bridges.
L. T. C. Rolt, on board Cressy, made his historic trip from Banbury, later recorded in his seminal classic canal book Narrow Boat.
IWA National Rally at Banbury held 30th July to 1st August.