Past Meetup

Joint Evening Walk - Oxford - Thames, Canal & City - 4.7 miles

This Meetup is past

23 people went


Evening Walks

This is a joint walk run together with the WOW group and is open to members of both groups.


Walk Background

The Oxford Canal was constructed in several stages over a period of more than twenty years.
In 1769 an Act of Parliament authorising the Oxford Canal was passed, having been promoted in Parliament by Sir Roger Newdigate MP, who chaired the canal company. The intention was to link the industrial English Midlands to London via the River Thames. Construction began shortly after near Coventry.
Surveying of the route and initial construction were originally supervised by the celebrated engineer James Brindley, assisted by Samuel Simcock who was also Brindley's brother-in-law. Brindley died in 1772 but Simcock took over and completed the canal. By 1774 the canal had reached Napton, but the company was already running out of money.
In 1775, a second Act was passed allowing the company to raise more funds. Construction soon started again and by 1778 the canal had reached Banbury. Financial problems meant that work on the final stretch to Oxford did not begin until 1786.
The stretch of the canal from Banbury to Oxford was built as cheaply as possible. Many economy measures were used. Wherever possible, wooden lift or swing bridges were built instead of expensive brick ones. Deep locks were used wherever possible, with single gates at both ends instead of double gates.
A stretch of the River Cherwell at Shipton-on-Cherwell was incorporated into the canal. This reduced construction costs, but the behaviour of the river makes the canal more difficult to use. This was a false economy and its adverse effects continue to be felt to this day.
The Oxford Canal reached the outskirts of Oxford in 1789, when a coal wharf was opened at Heyfield Hutt, now the site of Hayfield Road. The final section into central Oxford was ceremonially opened on 1 January 1790.
At Oxford, the canal has two connections to the River Thames. The first is three miles north of the city where Dukes Cut leads to King's Lock; the second is a few hundred yards from the city centre below Isis Lock (known to boatmen as 'Louse Lock') through Sheepwash Channel. This leads to an unusual river crossroads at the Thames called "Four Rivers" above Osney Lock.
After 330 yards (300 m) below Isis Lock the Oxford Canal ends abruptly at Hythe Bridge Street near to the current Hythe Bridge over the Castle Mill Stream, a backwater of the River Thames that runs parallel to the Oxford Canal for its southernmost part. The canal used to continue through a bridge under Hythe Bridge Street to a turning basin and goods wharf south of Hythe Bridge Street. It then continued via a bridge under Worcester Street to end in a coal wharf beside New Road. In 1951 the basin and wharves were filled in and Nuffield College now stands on part of the site.
This walk visits paths and tracks, tow path and road (can be busy).
Start Point
We meet in the lane near to or car park for The Perch Inn on Binsey Lane (off Botley Road - as shown in the place link above), nearest postcode is OX2 0NG, which gets you fairly close.
We start the walk at 7PM sharp. (Please try to ensure you're at the start point at least 5 mins beforehand).
Level of difficulty: Easy
Dog friendliness: under control on Port Meadow and on lead if cattle about
Estimated walk end time: 8.45 - 9PM
Drinks After Walk
Afterwards, we will visiting a nearby pub for a drink, if enough people want to, but it's not obligatory.
These evening walks are free although we would welcome a small(ish) donation, which goes towards ongoing overhead costs associated with the Meetup service and ancillary costs, or/and you could buy the walk leader a drink too.
Contact Number
My mobile number is 07941560803 for notification of delay or cancellation, or help with directions if lost.
New Members
For new members, please make sure you are prepared with well fitting boots and suitable clothing for weather conditions and are ready for the length of walk involved. Please acquaint yourselves with the Walkers Guide ( thread in the forum as well as the NO SHOW POLICY (