Return trip to Fenny Compton: 40 Miles, 18 Locks
North & South Oxford Canal
Beginning with a mooch along to Braunston, a historically significant junction village with the church that’s known as the “Cathedral of the Canals”.
Also on route, take in views of Napton Windmill, a grade II listed building, is a particularly eye-catching sight as the canal travels around the base of Napton-on-the-Hill.
See Buffalo grazing beside the canal and buy buffalo cheese from the local shop
Enjoy remote overnight moorings in spectacular countryside
Great mix of cruising and locks
As a contour canal rather than “a cut”, the Oxford Canal follows the curvature of the land. Heading towards Fenny Compton, the canal travels six meandering miles to cover two as the crow flies. It’s a particularly slow section with lots of tight bends and overhanging foliage. This makes it one of the most beautiful sections of canals that we know. And it is interesting to see tangible footprints of history in how slowly we travel through this countryside and how the Oxford Canal was easily out-competed by the newer, wider, faster Grand Union canal as the main route between Birmingham and London. The Grand Union is a comparative motorway next to the winding Oxford canal. Canal guide author Nicholson describes it as “extravagantly indirect”.
Beyond lies Cropredy, Banbury and, of course, Oxford and The Thames.