Oxford Canal

Oxford Canal

Oxford Canal

We have two great rivers in Oxford: the Cherwell and the better known, Thames, which makes its way to London, and is locally known as The Isis. But we mustn’t forget our Oxford Canal which is another waterway deeply loved, and a valuable part of not only Oxford, but our British landscape. Canals provide not only the carved waterways, but wonderful bridges, aqueducts (not in Oxford), the canal boats themselves, and the people who live and work alongside the canals.

Oxford Canal

Oxford Canal

We have a network of canals weaving through the countryside which is lush and green because of the rain which feeds it. They were key to industrial might, and the earlier development of Britain. Oxford is part of this network and a five to ten minute walk from my B&B will get you to the outskirts of Wolvercote where you can join the Oxford Canal, to walk all the way into the city.

At a fairly modest ambling-pace you can take an hour and a

Oxford Canal

Wolvercote entrance to Oxford Canal Walk

half to peacefully get into the very centre of Oxford. Along the way you can take in the Green at Wolvercote, the length of the Oxford Canal itself, the canal boats with their glimpses of what it was like to live on in the past, and the people who work and live along the canal, today.

As you walk you will see, and be able to speak, with people actually on the boats. Some have taken time to make gardens at their moorings and some even on their boats. Some have created crochet doilies

Oxford Canal

Residents of Oxford Canal

to cover their portholes. Don’t be afraid or shy about talking to them, they are normal people. Indeed, you may even have heard of one of them, Jo Cox, Member of Parliament for Batley & Spen in the North, who, tragically was brutally killed during the historic EU Referendum Campaign we had in June. She loved the canals enough to live on one with her family.

Along your way you will see the backs of the very large, and expensive, Oxford houses whose gardens go down to the canal, where their own dinghy boats are moored-up, ready for a peaceful row up the canal, or maybe for older children imitating the classic adventure of ‘Swallows and Amazon’s’ by Arthur Ransome. You might even see some of them sitting and reading the papers on a Sunday afternoon, while a bar-b-que is being prepared instead of Sunday Roast. That is, when our weather is conducive. But, of course you know what we say here in the UK – there is no bad weather, only bad clothing! By the way make sure you have good walking shoes, not only for the walk along Oxford Canal, but also in town after you’ve refreshed at the Oxford Retreat, which you will find right at the end of your Oxford Canal walk.

But before you get to town you will walk past the back of St Edwards, the very famous Oxford Public School, locally known by the boys as ‘Teddies’.

Oxford Canal

Residents of Oxford Canal Sunbathing

You will find their draw-bridge belonging to Teddies. There are plenty of our feathery friends along the way, sunning themselves when they can, or taking care of their young in late spring time.

Further along you will find the back of an exclusive residential, apartment area. It used to be the site of Lucy’s Engineering Firm, called the Eagle Ironworks. It was part of what the canals were there for, and helped Lucy’s to develop from 1812 to 2007. But even now it has developed into other businesses, one of which is to build beautiful exclusive residences in Oxford. Not much further and you will suddenly find yourself in the City. After the quietude of the canal walk be prepared for the hustle and bustle. But it is a lovely time you will spend, and a real experience of Oxford.

Enjoy Oxford Canal while spending a few days at Diana’s B&B.

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Oxford Canal

Signs along Oxford Canal

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