The Wendover Canal Arm in England.
Towpath walks, features, locks and bridges plus photos and information about the really beautiful Wendover Arm of The Grand Union Canal.
A little bit about the history of the Wendover Canal Arm in England. The Wendover Arm runs from the small Buckinghamshire town of Wendover to Bulbourne Junction and was originally designed as a feeder arm to provide scarce water for the main line canal system which was around 400 feet above the Thames at this point.
Commenced in 1793 the plans were soon altered as it was realised that the feeder arm could be made to be navigable at little extra cost. However not long after completion it then became apparent that the Wendover Arm was leaking water and despite several fixes over the years the water loss soon became greater than the amount it was actually providing to the Grand Union Canal and so the Wendover Arm was eventually sealed off at the stop lock
at Little Tring. Instead the water being provided by the various springs around Wendover was culverted and the canal arm remains dry between Little Tring Farm and a little before Drayton Beauchamp Bridge.
Therefore only a short part of the Wendover Arm is navigable for narrowboats - namely from Bulbourne Junction Bridge to several 100 yards past Little Tring Bridge no.3 where there is a good sized turning point. Incidentally there is a nice looking old mill next to Gamnel Bridge which has excellent brickwork and the mill is still in full commercial use.
From Drayton Beauchamp Bridge on into Wendover the Arm is quite shallow, heavily silted and full of undergrowth with gorgeous trees bordering it's sides for much of the way however it is still wet and therefore a haven for wildlife.
The towpath is in excellent condition for walkers and for cycling and there are a considerable amount of paths linking onto the towpath which makes for some really good circular hiking trips. However as far as walkers and cyclists are concerned beware about the towparth at the start of the Wendover Arm i.e. the Wendover end. For the first several hundred yards the towpath has really detiorated - it slopes towards the water and is almost on a level with the canal itself. There are also several really narrow bits where the towpath has worn away. It's all just about ok to walk along but care should be taken especially if the towpath has become icy or very wet.
Wendover Arm in Summertime
Towpath on the Wendover Arm
winter on the Wendover Arm
Narrow channel on the Wendover Arm
late Autumn on the Wendover Arm
lots of wildlife live on the Wendover Arm
Reservoirs and the leaky Wendover Canal Arm. Between 1806 and 1817 Marsworth, Tringford and Startop reservoirs were added to help provide
a water supply for the main line and the water was pumped through via the Tringford Pumping Station which is still there - it's located close to Little Tring Bridge
(see below photo). There are two other reservoirs helping to provide much needed water to the Grand Union which were added onto the supply
system a few years later. These reservoirs are Startop's End and the 70 acre Weston Turville Reservoir - the latter has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Also a little way below is a picture of Drayton Beauchamp Church - this beautiful church can just be seen from the towpath of the Wendover Arm - but only in the winter before the heavy foliage blanks the view out.
Bulbourne Junction Bridge
Start of the
Wendover Arm - Gamnel Bridge
Mill Buildings on the Wendover Canal
Tringford Pumping Station
Stop Lock remains
all that remains of the Stop Lock
Little Tring Bridge no.3
Restoring the Wendover Arm
Canal Restoration on the Wendover Arm
Pat Saunders footbridge no.4
Remains of a
Chiltern footbridge 4a
Drayton Beauchamp Bridge 5
Drayton Beauchamp Church
One end of the old canal route
Saxon Way Bridge
Saxon Way Bridge
Old Canal Arm route
Buckland Wharf footbridge
footbridge at Buckland Wharf
Wendover Arm - Wellonhead Bridge
The Wendover Arm has received only one short diversion which occurred when the canal was diverted a short distance to allow the new road (A41) to cross the canal using Saxon Way Bridge. Just above a photo shows The Narrows - these concrete wharfs are just below the water line now - they go for some distance and probably allowed 3 to 4 narrowboats to be unloaded. The entire Wendover Arm is full of wildlife however as you pass by the reed beds and particularly from Harelane Bridge and getting nearer to Wendover
itself there are quite a number of ducks, coots, moorhen and swans living on and around The Arm - much of this wildlife and in particular the ducks do expect to be given food and might well blockade the towpath until their "bread toll" is payed.
Bright blue Rothschilds Bridge
Perch Bridge and Pipebridge
Wendover Arm footbridge
End of the Wendover Arm
There is a nice example of a canal pipe bridge by Perch Bridge (see above). Even these pipe bridges have much more thought and design in them than the crappy concrete - no thought on design just pour the concrete everywhere - mess that are often built today and sometimes sadly cross our lovely old canals and canal arms.
The Wendover Arm perhaps unsurprisingly ends up in the small
Buckinghamshire town of Wendover itself - where Heron Stream feeds into it.
Our topics which are particularly related to the Wendover Arm are:
The Grand Union Canal at Bulbourne - Bulbourne Junction
The nearbye Aylesbury Canal Arm which leaves from Marsworth Junction
Various walks in the English countryside which can be enjoyed around the area
- this is on our other website.