Oxford Canal Walk

The Oxford Canal Walk connects the cathedral cities of Oxford and Coventry, meandering for 83 miles through peaceful, open countryside. Following the continuous canal towpath, it passes 43 locks, countless bridges and one tunnel and crosses just one road.

In North Oxfordshire, the walk passes close to several picturesque villages, including Adderbury, Aynho and Deddington, as well as Somerton, Steeple Aston and Upper Heyford further south.

Initially designed by James Brindley, the Oxford Canal opened in sections between 1774 and 1790 and was originally used to transport coal from Coventry to the River Thames. It was hugely profitable until the opening of the Grand Junction Canal effectively bypassed its southern half.

Nowadays, the canal is home to a steady stream of narrowboats and an abundance of wildlife, not least the endangered water vole. Special measures have been put in place in Oxford to protect a colony which lives alongside the waterway.

A railway line runs next to the canal for its entire duration through North Oxfordshire and the towpath is easily accessible from Oxford, Tackley, Heyford, Kings Sutton and Banbury train stations.

Oxfordshire County Council publishes a useful guide to the Oxford Canal Walk, while the Canal and River Trust, a charity which looks after the canal and some 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales, has further information on its website.