The Aylesbury Canal Arm - England.

Information and Photos about the towpath, walks, bridges, feaures and locks on the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal in England.

The Aylesbury Canal Arm at Black Jacks Lock looking beautiful in early Autumn.The Aylesbury Arm starts off from The Grand Union Canal at Marsworth Junction (at the canal bridge along Watery Lane [HP23 4LY] i.e. close to the B489) and runs for 10 kilometres across the countryside to arrive in the centre of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire.
Completed in 1815 the intention was to use the Aylesbury Canal Arm as part of a through connection between The Grand Union Canal and the River Thames at Abingdon - and thus ultimately create a possible route for narrowboats and barges through to Bristol via The beautiful Kennet and Avon Canal and the Wilts and Berks Canal. Aylesbury Arm Canal BridgeThese plans were argued over for around 17 years before the Aylesbury Arm was started - with one of the biggest issues being the scarcity of water supply. The Aylesbury Arm as a "through connection" would have required a supply of water from another source which would have to be from The River Thames (Aylesbury lies in a hollow) - in the end this through connection never did happen. The photo above right shows just how beautiful our English canals can be particularly in the Spring and Autumn - it was taken from the canal's towpath whilst approaching Black Jacks Lock (i.e. walking towards the Marsworth end of the canal).
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Lock Gates seen on the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal The Aylesbury Canal Arm drops a total of 95 feet on it's way to Aylesbury with most of it's 16 narrow 7 feet locks situated towards the Marsworth end of the canal. The Arm was used commercially for transport of a variety of goods including grain, timber, coal and building materials until the 1960s.

Unusually the Aylesbury Canal Arm has a pair of narrow Staircase Locks.

The first locks are located right at the start of the Canal as you leave Marsworth Basin - these two canal locks are staircase locks which is where the middle gate joins the top and bottom locks. This type of canal lock is unique on the Grand Union Canal's Southern Waterway.
Ducks swimming along the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal in England
Canal wild life
Marsworth Junction - the Aylesbury Arm leaves the Grand Union Canal
Marsworth Junction
Marsworth No. 1 Lock
Marsworth No. 1 Lock (staircase lock)
Marsworth No2 Lock
Marsworth No.2 Lock
Marsworth Lock no.2 and Bridge no.1 - Aylesbury Canal Arm junction
Marsworth Lock 2
and Bridge 1
Bridge No.1
Bridge No.1 - Aylesbury Arm.
Marsworth No.3 Lock, The Aylesbury Canal Arm.
Marsworth No.3 Lock
The Aylesbury Arm, Black Jacks Lock No.4
Black Jacks Lock No.4
Lock No.5, The Aylesbury Canal Arm.
The Aylesbury Arm, Lock No.5
Aylesbury Arm Lock No.6
Aylesbury Arm Lock6
The Aylesbury Arm, Pipe Bridge next to Canal Bridge no2
Pipe Bridge nr Bridge 2
The Aylesbury Arm, Dixons Gap Bridge No.2
Dixons Gap Bridge No.2
Lock No.7, The Aylesbury Canal Arm.
Lock No.7
Reflections from Aylesbury Canal lockgates (7) in England.
Lockgates at Lock7
The Aylesbury Arm, Jefferies Lock No.8
Jefferies Lock No.8
Aylesbury Arm heading towards Wilstone Bridge - England.Near
Wilstone Bridge No.3
Really muddy during wet weather on the The Aylesbury Arm towpath at Wilstone Bridge.Although the Waterways Authorities are keen to promote themselves as encouraging various leisure activities on their canals the fact is that the Aylesbury Arm's towpath is in something of a poor condition in various places. When last walked (September 2014) the towpath has several short stretches which suffer from partial bank collapse and several deep mud filled holes. After heavy rain in at least two locations this can cause the canal to leak across the towpath into adjacent field ditches. So if you add to this leakage problem some wet weather and a subsequently very soggy towpath it's evident that walking becomes quite difficult to say the least and for cyclists pretty hazardous.
Footbridge No.4, The Aylesbury Canal Arm.
Footbridge No.4
Gudgeon Lock No.9, The Aylesbury Canal Arm in England.
Lock No.9
Gudgeon Lock (9) along the Aylesbury Canal Arm - England.
Gudgeon Lock
Aylesbury Arm - Bridge No.5
 - Bridge No.5
The Aylesbury Arm, Canal Bridge no.6
Canal Bridge no.6
The Aylesbury Arm, Puttenham TopLock No.10
Puttenham Top Lock No.10
Puttenham TopLock Lock Gates, The Aylesbury Canal Arm.
Puttenham Top Lock
Lock Gates
The Aylesbury Arm, Puttenham BottomLock No.11
Puttenham Bottom Lock No.11
The Aylesbury Arm, Bridge No.7
Bridge No.7
Barges beside a boatyard - Aylesbury Canal - England.
Aylesbury Arm Barges
Lockgates at Puttenham Bottom Lock on The Aylesbury Canal Arm, England.
Puttenham Bottomlock
Bridge No.8, The Aylesbury Canal Arm.
Aylesbury Arm - Bridge No.8
The Aylesbury Arm, Buckland Lock No.12
Buckland Lock No.12
Buckland Lock Gates near Aylesbury, The Aylesbury Canal Arm.
Buckland Lock Gates
near Aylesbury
Red House Lock No.13, The Aylesbury Canal Arm.
Red House Lock No.13
Red House Lock seen from the bridge - Aylesbury Canal Arm, England.
Red House Lock
Water flowing over the lockgates at Red House Lock, Aylesbury Canal.
Gates at
Red House Lock
The Aylesbury Arm, Canal Bridge no.9
Canal Bridge no.9
Bridge No.10, The Aylesbury Canal Arm.
Bridge No.10
Aylesbury Arm - Canal Bridge 11
Canal Bridge 11
The Aylesbury Arm, Bridge no 12
Bridge no 12
Part of the Aylesbury Canal Arm Towpath - England.
The Towpath
The Aylesbury Arm, Bridge No.13
Bridge No.13
Aylesbury Arm, Bridge No.14
Bridge No.14
Broughton Lock No.14, The Aylesbury Canal Arm.
Broughton Lock No.14
Bridge No.15, The Aylesbury Canal Arm.
Bridge No.15
Two excellent Pipe Bridges on the Aylesbury Arm
2 Pipe Bridges
The Aylesbury Arm, Bridge No.16
Bridge No.16

Options for one-way walking along The Aylesbury Canal Arm Towpath in England.

Despite the towpath being a bit "iffy" in a few places a walk along the canal does go through some lovely and often remote countryside however a there-and-back walk is around 13 miles so quite a long way. An option is to get a bus to one end or the other and then wander back. Bus service 164 operates from Aylesbury and from Leighton Buzzard - this runs every couple of hours during the day and the bus stop at Marsworth is right next to the Grand Union Canal. There is a medium size car-park at Marsworth (chargeable at UKstg3 per day (Autumn 2014 price)) - so a possibility is to park there and get the 164 bus into Aylesbury and walk back.
The Aylesbury Arm, ugly concrete Aylesbury roadbridge
ugly concrete bridge
Osier Bed Lock No.15, The Aylesbury Canal Arm.
Osier Bed Lock No.15
Bear Brook diving under the Aylesbury Arm
Bear Brook goes under the Arm
Hills Partridge Lock No.16, The Aylesbury Canal Arm.
Hills Partridge Lock
Circus Field Basin - The Aylesbury Canal - England.
Circus Field Basin
The Aylesbury Arm, Pipe Bridge next to Bridge 17
Pipe Bridge next
to Bridge 17
The Aylesbury Arm, Bridge No.17
Bridge No.17
Bridge No.18, The Aylesbury Canal Arm.
Bridge No.18
The Aylesbury Arm, Iron Footbridge Aylesbury Canal Arm Basin in Aylesbury, Bucks. The end of the canal at Aylesbury is undergoing renovation - there is a huge superstore and it's carpark on one side and more building work is slowly occurring around the rest of it.
The Basin no longer looks as nice as the photo on the left at the moment and there are just a few boats moored there.
The Aylesbury Arm is a very popular venue for fishermen - unlike English rivers which have a close season you can of course fish all the year round on the canal - and at least the towpath is generally wide enough to give everyone room for their pursuits. For narrowboats the canal is quite straight in direction and generally wide enough for passing although it is very silted in some places with reeds protruding well out into the stream. There are turning points at Marsworth, another at Bridge 9, a winding can be done at Circus Field Basin and again at the Arm's end in Aylesbury (this latter turnpoint is quite congested due to quite a few moored canal narrow boats).
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More about the Canal Arm? - take a look at The Aylesbury Canal Society Website - very interesting.