Walking along one of England's oldest canals on it's rural 77 mile journey from Hawkesbury to the City of Oxford.
If you are on holiday in England and would like to have some days out looking at some of our wildlife, old buildings and warehouses, beautiful canal locks and bridges plus lovely English countryside you could do far worse than visit one of our English canals -
and the Oxford Canal would be a great choice for this. Initially built by James Brindley, The Oxford Canal is a "contour canal" meaning that it literally follows the contours of the countryside it passes through - making it tremendously bendy along much of it's route.
There are many "Brindley" Bridges along it's route, lots of lift-bridges and several swing-bridges which are
thankfully still intact and in working order plus quite a few canal locks to say the least.
The Oxford Canal has just one Tunnel which is located at Newbold - Newbold Tunnel does have a towpath inside it.
Canal Lock Flights on the Oxford Canal of note are at Hillmorton Locks (which have twinlocks) and at Napton Lock Fight. Just about the entire route of the Oxford Canal passes through really beautiful English countryside and makes for really enjoyable walking along it's towpath.
The picture on the right is of Dashwood Bridge with it's adjacent narrow lock.
Generally About Canal Locks (and locks on river navigations). The first European canal locks were designed in The Netherlands where there was a requirement to move boats between the drainage dykes and rivers however these were more about controlling the water levels. Leonardo da Vinci ultimately designed a system which could be used to move boats up and down gradients - this featured mitred lock
gates which were angled upstream against the current and thus created a water tight seal due to the water pressure. This remains the basic design for lockgates still today. The first canal to use this system in England was the Exeter Canal which was built between 1564 and 1567. The majority of the narrow locks on The Oxford Canal are manually operated - some of the more remote locks and their lock-gates are
also quite hard work work to operate.
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