This is the trajectory of our travels since we left Birmingham. We left Birmingham going down the Birmingham and Worcester canal and then turned onto the Stratford canal, then turning onto the Grand Union Canal at Kingswood Junction.
Yesterday we turned onto the Oxford Canal from the Grand Union Canal at Napton Junction.
There has been a windmill at Napton on the Hill since 1543 – it is one of the great landmarks in Warwickshire. Next to the privately owned mill building is the former miller’s stone cottage, which still houses parts of the original bread oven. Early maps of the area reveal that there were once two windmills on the hill. They drew a regular and pure supply of water from underground springs and wells. The present windmill is in good condition but not open to the public. The remaining mill was built about 1835. Around 1900 it ceased to be worked with sails and was converted to steam, which powered it until about 1909. It was designated a Grade II listed building on 7th January 1952.
We continued to climb for the first two miles and then arrived on the summit of the Oxford Canal.
The Oxford Canal is among the earliest of cuts in the canal age. It was initially designed by James Brindley, succeeded by Samuel Simcock and Robert Whitworth after Brindley’s untimely death in 1772 at the age of 56.
The OxfordCanal is a 78-mile (126 km) narrowboat canal in linking the City of Oxford with the Coventry Canal at Hawkesbury(just north of Coventryand south of Bedworth) via Banbury and Rugby. Completed in 1790, it connects to the River Thames at Oxford, and links with the Grand Union Canal, which it is combined with for 5 miles (8 km) between to the villages of Braunston and Napton-on-the-Hill where we set off from this morning.
Another weird and wonderful canal oddity.
We were just a little surprised to see these water buffalo in the paddock and were wondering if they were a suitable animal for this kind of land. They appeared to be making one unholy mess of the land.
As we cruised, the sky got more forbidding and it reminded both of us of a Constable style painting – threatening and morose. Enough hyperboli.
We meandered along the Oxford for about seven miles and pulled up in the middle of the countryside where there were no other boats to be seen but alas, there were sounds of a pile driver that was part of the HS2 development. It was hard to get a good photo of the work to date but not a great deal of progress since we last saw it in 2019 in this area. Guess that COVID has delayed it.