Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Exploring Off The Beaten Track

Yes Folks we are still around! Just had a weekend away with friends, coupled with 2 hospital appointments! Back now snug and warm on our narrowboat Epiphany. Glad to be home.

On our travels in the gas guzzler we always seem to find that all roads lead to canals! This trip was no exception. We made one big mistake though - we forgot to put wellies or walking shoes in the car, thinking wrongly that we would not be walking or exploring. When will we learn!

So after visiting RUH at Bath we set off for Banbury, or more correctly Great Bourton, just up the road from Cropredy on the Oxford canal. However we had most of the day to get there so "went off the beaten track". As my Father used to say we "went bush".

We ended up following the road to here. Any guesses as to what we found?

The house above was primarily built to house the men working on a special project in 1786 and had large communal rooms for sleeping and eating. It was gutted by fire and rebuilt in 1952.

The Tunnel referred to is Sapperton Tunnel on the Thames and Severn canal. Did you guess or know?

It is a very well known part of the Cotswold Canals restoration by the CC Trust. This and the Stroudwater Navigation will join up the Cotswold Ring linking the River Thames to Saul Junction. The tunnel is one of the longest in the country and the history of the canal is very interesting.

The section of the canal at Coates is called Kings Reach. The canal is lined with concrete and despite the weed the water is very clear.

At this eastern end of the tunnel the portal was built in 1789 in a classical design.

The western end at Daneway is of Gothic design. We went looking for this and found the pub at that end. We did not visit the portal as it involved a walk along a very muddy path and we were not sure we could find it!

We were really glad we found the tunnel, and after taking all the photos continued on our way! During the weekend we had some other interesting encounters - more of which tomorrow!

If you would like to see more photos click here

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