Walking, cycling and using the Paddington Arm from the start in West London as far as Kensal Green - photos of Paddington Canal Arm Bridges and other canal features.
The 13.5 mile long Paddington Canal Arm of the Grand Union Canal starts it's journey just a short distance from Paddington Railway Station in West London. Finding the canal is quite simple - from the station's main entrance turn left and very shortly turn left down London Road and walk alongside the station's main building. After a few 100 metres turn
right into South Wharf Road and almost immediately go left via a road barrier to walk straight on down to the Paddington Arm towpath. Turn right along the towpath to get to Paddington Basin which again is only a few 100 metres along - or go left along the towpath to reach the Regents Canal Junction and Little Venice and then eventually on to the Paddington Arm's end
at Bull's Bridge some 13 miles away.
Following the Paddington Arm and then Regent's Canal enables a connection with two river navigations - The River Lee and some way along this links with the River Stort - both are really good for both walking and cycling along as their towpaths are mostly in excellent condition.
Walking and cycling the Paddington Arm's towpath.
This is an extremely popular activity and quite straightforward - just after Paddington Basin the towpath is always on the left hand side of the canal, is generally quite wide and is well surfaced. Only as you get nearer to the far end of the canal arm approaching Bull's Bridge does the towpath surface revert to a grassy path and the towpath narrows considerably.
There are quite a few seats provided for use as a "sit and watch the world go by" or for a lunch break located for several miles along the route.
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The photo just above shows the probable location of an old gauging stop lock where commercial barges were weighed for size and cargo and paid tolls accordingly. Some of the Paddington Canal Arm's bridges have really interesting names - for instance Ha'fpenny Bridge (was this because once there was a halfpenny toll levied here for
either crossing it or possibly it was where another gauging stop was located?). Then there is Ballot Box Bridge and Scrubs Lane but sadly most of the original old brick bridges have long gone and have been replaced by ugly and out of character concrete messes. Still at least Manor Farm Bridge has so far survived the local authority's destructive attention.