The Grand Union Canal - walking the towpath from Muscot Mill to Blisworth Tunnel.

Trees and Bridges and more Bridges all within quiet countryside are the main features of this section of The Grand Union Canal.


The following continues from our Braunston Locks, Norton Junction and Buckby Locks - Grand Union Canal item.
With all the flights of locks encountered further north, this section of the Grand Union Canal is a complete change - not a canal lock in sight!. The route alongside the canal and towpath is quite "countrified" - i.e. grassed or quite muddy after rain and is mostly quite narrow. There are quite a few very nice old brick bridges on the way and this stretch of the canal is often lined with beautiful trees - offering excellent walking especially in the Autumn when the leaves change.
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Bridge 16 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Canal Bridge no.16

Grand Union Canal Bridge 16.
Canal Bridge 16

Muscott Mill Bridge 18 going over The Grand Union Canal.
Muscott Mill Bridge 18

Grand Union Canal - Muscott Mill Bridge 18
Muscott Mill Bridge

Diamond Bridge 19 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Diamond Bridge19

Grand Union Canal crossed by Diamond Bridge 19
Diamond Bridge

Grand Union Canal - location of missing bridge 20
ex Canal Bridge 20?

Brockhall Road Bridge no 21 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Brockhall Road Bridge21

Grand Union Canal and Brockhall Road Bridge 21
Brockhall Road Bridge

A5 Road Bridge 22 - Grand Union Canal, England.
a5 Bridge no.22

A5 Roadbridge 22 - Grand Union Canal, England.
a5 Canal Bridge

Dodford Bridge 23 going over The Grand Union Canal in England.
Dodford Bridge 23

Pipebridge and Dodford Bridge 23 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Pipebridge Dodford

Grand Union Canal - Weedon Bridge 24
Weedon Bridge no.24

Weedon Bridge 24 going over The Grand Union Canal, England.
Weedon Bridge

The British Army at Weedon Bec and their use of the Grand Union Canal for transporting Ordnance.

Weedon was at one time the location of an important Military Ordnance Depot - constructed between 1805 and 1806 it was used as a central small arms depot for the British Army. The depot had it's own small branch leaving from The Grand Union Canal and later a railway siding was added. The Grand Union Canal was therefore an essential part of moving gunpowder, horses, troops and ordnance around the country. The depot contained large storage buildings which contained a variety of military ordnance and equipment ranging from pistols and rifles through to field artillery - in 1806 it was reported there was sufficient small arms to arm 200,000 men and the depot stored 140 pieces of cannon. Towards the end of the canal branch there were eventually five gunpowder magaines as well as a large clothing store. Weedon also had a military barracks and many stables to house both a troop of cavalry and a troop of horse artillery plus there was a large battalion of troops located nearbye.

The Grand Union Canal and Aqueduct-Bridge at Weedon Bec
Aqueduct Bridge Weedon

Aqueduct Bridge at Weedon
Aqueduct Bridge

Really nice railway bridge close to the Grand Union Canal at Weedon
railway bridge

Aqueduct Bridge at Weedon - Grand Union Canal, England.
Weedon Aqueduct Bridge

Grand Union Canal Aqueduct-Bridge at Weedon
Aqueduct Bridge

Weedon Beck Bridge no.25 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Weedon Beck Bridge25

Weedon Beck Bridge 25 goes over The Grand Union Canal, England.
Weedon Beck Bridge

Stowehill Bridge no.26 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Stowehill Bridge no.26

Grand Union Canal being crossed by Stowehill Bridge 26
Stowehill Bridge

Grand Union Canal Sluices near Bridge 27
sluice nr Bridge 27

Flore Lane Bridge 27 - Grand Union Canal in England.
Flore Lane Bridge 27

Flore Lane Bridge crossing The Grand Union Canal.
Flore Lane Bridge

Standingham Bridge 28 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Bridge
28

Grand Union Canal Bridges - Standingham Bridge
Standing-
ham Bridge

High House Bridge 29 over The Grand Union Canal.
High House Bridge29

High House Bridge - Grand Union Canal in England.
High House Bridge

Probable site of a lift bridge either no 30 or 31 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Site of bridge 30 or 31

Heyford Wharf Bridge 32 going over The Grand Union Canal.
Bridge 32

Heyford Wharf Bridge 32 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Heyford Wharf Bridge 32

Heyford Wharf and The Grand Union Canal in England.
Heyford Wharf

Bridge 33 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Bridge 33

Bridge 33 over The Grand Union Canal, England.
Bridge33

Bridge 34 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Bridge
34

Bridge 34 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Bridge34

Grand Union Canal - Heyford Fields Marina
Marina Heyford Fields

Elliots Bridge 35 - Grand Union Canal.
Elliots Bridge 35

Elliots Bridge 35 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Elliots Bridge

Bugbrooke Wharf Bridge 36 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Bugbrooke Wharf Bridge 36

Bugbrooke Wharf Bridge 36
Bridge
36

Bugbrooke Wharf - Grand Union Canal, England.
Bugbrooke Wharf

Bridge 38 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Bridge 38

Bridge 38 crosses The Grand Union Canal.
Bridge 38

Bridge 40 going over The Grand Union Canal in England.
Bridge 40

Grand Union Canal Bridge 40.
Canal Bridge 40

Bridge 41 over The Grand Union Canal, England.
Canal Bridge 41

Bridge 41 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Bridge no.41

Grand Union Canal Bridge 42
Bridge 42

Bridge 42 going over The Grand Union Canal in England.
Bridge no.42

Banbury Lane Bridge 43 crossing The Grand Union Canal, England.
Banbury Lane Bridge 43

Grand Union Canal - Banbury Lane Bridge 43
Banbury Lane Bridge

Banbury Lane Bridge 43a - Grand Union Canal, England.
Banbury Lane Bridge

Grand Union Canal, Banbury Lane Bridge 43a
Banbury Lane Bridge 43a

Bridge 44 - Grand Union Canal, England.
East's Bridge

Bridge 44 crossing over The Grand Union Canal in England.
East's Bridge 44

Wrights Lane Bridge 45 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Wright's Lane
Bridge 45

Grand Union Canal - Wrights Lane Bridge 45
Wrights Lane Bridge

Bridge 46 - Grand Union Canal, England.
Bridge 46

Grand Union Canal Bridge 46
Bridge 46

Turnover Bridge no.47, Grand Union Canal, England.
Turnover Bridge 47

Grand Union Canal Turnover Bridge 47
Turnover Bridge

The Grand Union Canal - Gayton Junction.

At Gayton (canal) Junction The Northampton Canal Arm branches off from the Grand Union Canal by Junction Bridge 48 - horses pulling the barges to and from the Northampton Arm would have used Turnover Bridge 47. There are a nice series of 17 canal locks along the 5 mile long Arm including the 13 Rothersthorpe Lock Flight - this is a really good and interesting area for walking and cycling. Please see our Northampton Canal Arm topic for photos and more information.

The towpath as it crosses Turnover Bridge, Grand Union Canal, England.
Turnover Bridge

Junction Bridge 48, Grand Union Canal, England.
Junction Bridge

Junction Bridge crosses The Grand Union Canal in England.
Junction Bridge 48

The A43t roadbridge over the Grand Union Canal, England.
A43t Bridge

A dismantled railway bridge at Blisworth, Grand Union Canal, England.
ex railway Bridge

Grand Union Canal Bridge 48b
Bridge 48b

Railwaybridge - Bridge 48b, Grand Union Canal, England.
Railway
bridge 48b

Station Road Bridge 49 going over The Grand Union Canal, England.
Bridge 49

Station Road Bridge, Grand Union Canal.
Station Road Bridge

Candle Bridge no.50, Grand Union Canal, England.
Candle Bridge

The Grand Union Canal going under Candle Bridge 50
Candle Bridge 50

Blisworth Mill Bridge 51 crossing The Grand Union Canal, England.
Blisworth Mill Bridge 51

Blisworth Mill Bridge 51 and an old warehouse behind it, Grand Union Canal, England.
Blisworth Mill Bridge

Blisworth Mill Area showing the bridge in the distance, Grand Union Canal, England.
Blisworth Mill area

approaching Blisworth Tunnel from the north, Grand Union Canal, England.
Blisworth Tunnel

Boat traffic using Blisworth Tunnel and also Braunston Tunnel in the olden days.

Originally boats had to be legged through both tunnels then eventually ordinary traffic was pulled through the tunnels by canal company tugs. However gunpowder boats still had to be legged through individually for obvious reasons (see above about the use of the canal for moving gunpowder around from Weedon Beck) . Independant steamers could pass through the tunnels at any time - in the case of Blishworth Tunnel they passed on the left side and through Braunston Tunnel on the right side. The company tugs left at fixed times and tickets were issued for Blisworth Tunnel at Gayton and Stoke Bruerne Toll Offices and for Braunston at Branstona and Buckby Toll Offices.
The northern entrance to Blisworth Tunnel, Grand Union Canal in England. Blisworth Tunnel air vent or shaft, Grand Union Canal, England.

Constructing Tunnels on The Grand Union Canal.

Building long tunnels such as the 3076 yard long Blisworth Tunnel (completed in 1805) was probably the most difficult and certainly the most dangerous part of the construction of the canal systems in the U.K. The tunnels would be started from either side of the hill but also shafts were opened along the route and miners would work outwards from these as well - the idea being of course to all meet up to create the tunnel. At the time the only tools available to the miners were picks, shovels and wheelbarrows.

The towpath which goes over Blisworth Tunnel, Grand Union Canal, England.
Above the tunnel

Blisworth Tunnel - South end, The Grand Union Canal in England.
Blisworth Tunnel S

Blisworth Tunnel - Southern portal, Grand Union Canal.
Blisworth Tunnel S

Tunnel Segment - Blisworth Tunnel, Grand Union Canal, England.
Tunnel segment

Old linesman hut by Blisworth Tunnel, Grand Union Canal in England.
Workmans hut

A workman's hut at Blisworth Tunnel, The Grand Union Canal, England. Parts of Blisworth Tunnel's original route which started construction in 1793 came across quicksand in 1796 (and the intended route had to be abandoned) - building tunnels in those times was very dangerous work. Once the tunnels were completed some airshafts were filled in whilst others were left to provide ventilation as several at

Blisworth Tunnel and at Braunston Tunnel

where they can still be seen in the fields above.
If out towpath walking or cycling on this stretch of the Grand Union Canal when you reach the northern end of

Blisworth Tunnel

there is no towpath going through the actual tunnel so you have to go over the top. About two thirds of this is along a fairly quiet road and the last bit takes you slowly down on a wide path to the Southern side of the Tunnel. Above tthere is a photo of one of the segments which was used to re-line Blisworth Tunnel during the 1980s when the original brick lining was replaced with similar concrete segments.
The next part of the Canal is covered on our Stoke Bruerne, Great Ouse Aqueduct, Wolverton Grand Union Canal topic.
Also see our Following along The Grand Union Canal in England Home Page which contains a listing of all our items about the canal on it's journey from Birmingham to London and The Thames. Also find there links to our topics about the Grand Union Canal's numerous Canal Arms and Sections including the excellent Leicester Canal Section.
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