Time to move on from Fenny Compton… First things first, get through the Fenny Compton tunnel that’s known as the tunnel with a view!.. Mainly because it was opened up but the channel is still very narrow, and as expected.. there is a boat coming the other way so time to squeeze into one of the passing places! 😀
Work on the Oxford Canal, designed to link Coventry Canal to the River Thames at Oxford, began with the passing of an Act of Parliament in 1769. Its engineer was James Brindley. Construction began in Coventry and worked south, reaching Napton by August 1774. However, Brindley died in 1772 and his place was taken by Simcock. The next stretch, to Banbury, included the construction of a tunnel at Fenny Compton. The tunnel opened in 1776.
Fenny Compton Tunnel was 2.75m wide, 3.66m high and ran for a little over a kilometer. It wasn’t very deep underground and had a number of wider sections to allow canal boats to pass each other. These were 4.87m wide. It also had rings mounted in the walls to help boatmen haul their craft through.
The Oxford Company bought the land over the tunnel in 1838 with the idea of opening it up. The first stage of this work started in 1838 and by 1840, they had removed several parts of the tunnel roof — a section at each end and a short section in the centre, creating two separate tunnels, one 307m long and the other 413m long.
In 1865, the decision was made to opened out the rest of the tunnel. The southern end was open by 1868 and the northern by 1870. During the opening out works several bridges were constructed, including the cast iron roving bridge (shown in the photo) that carries the towpath across the canal, a bridge carrying the A423 Southam to Banbury road (recently rebuilt in reinforced concrete) and a rectangular wrought iron trough (now demolished) carrying a stream that fed Wormleighton Reservoir.
And great.. yet more queues for locks, I had enough of this yesterday, was really hoping that Claydon Flight would not hold more delays.. but no..
And.. do we have a bored CRT engineer, or a volunteer lock keeper that likes to keep track of how many have passed through..
Down into Cropredy and pull in at the Marina for some fuel and gas.. hopefully there is a spot for us, as this rain is threatening to get a lot heavier..
Cropredy was a bust.. totally full, so its out of Cropredy and pull in at the first spot we can get to – A trip to the Brasnose Arms will have to wait. And thankfully, were moored – just before this lot arrives..