The Aylesbury Canal Arm - England.
Photos and Guide about the towpath, walks, bridges, feaures and locks on the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal in England.
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 through to the Kennet and Avon Canal
and Wilts and Berks Canal. These plans were argued over for around 17 years before the 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 Aylesbury Arm drops a total of 95 feet on it's way to Aylesbury with most of it's 16 narrow 7 feet locks situated at the Marsworth end
of the canal. The Arm was used commercially for transport of grain, timber, coal and building materials until the 1960s.
Unusually the Aylsebury 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 lock is unique on the Grand Union Canal's Southern Waterway.
Marsworth No. 1 Lock (staircase lock)
Marsworth No.2 Lock
Marsworth Lock no.2
and Bridge no.1
Bridge No.1 - Aylesbury Arm.
Marsworth No.3 Lock
Black Jacks Lock No.4
The Aylesbury Arm, Lock No.5
Aylesbury Arm Lock6
Pipe Bridge near Bridge no2
Dixons Gap Bridge No.2
Jefferies Lock No.8
Wilstone Bridge No.3
Aylesbury Arm - Bridge No.5
Canal Bridge no.6
Puttenham TopLock No.10
Puttenham BottomLock No.11
Aylesbury Arm - Bridge No.8
Buckland Lock No.12
Buckland Lock Gates
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 a pretty bad condition in various places. We last walked the towpath in December 2012 and there were really poor areas with bank collapse and deep mud
filled holes. In at least two locations the bank had collapsed sufficiently to 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.
Red House Lock No.13
Canal Bridge no.9
Aylesbury Arm - Canal Bridge 11
Bridge no 12
Broughton Lock No.14
2 excellent Pipe Bridges on the Aylesbury Arm
ugly concrete Aylesbury roadbridge
Osier Bed Lock No.15
Bear Brook diving under the Aylesbury Arm
Hills Partridge Lock
Pipe Bridge next
to Bridge 17
The Aylesbury Arm is a very popular venue for fishermen - unlike our 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 and one at the Arm's end in Aylesbury (this
latter turnpoint is quite congested due to quite a few moored canal narrow boats). There is also another short canal arm leaving the Grand Union Canal at Marsworth Locks nearbye by which is the Wendover Arm -
this is a truly beautiful mostly tree-lined canal packed with wildlife and so far only navigable for narrowboats for a short distance.