Canal Facts - The Grand Union Canal
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Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 1:59pm

Whilton Marina is located on the Grand Union Canal

Found just below lock 13 of the Buckby flight, near Daventry in Northamptonshire.  The Grand Union Canal stretches 137 miles in total from Birmingham to London, with arms connecting Leicester and Nottingham.  There are over 250 locks on the whole of the Grand Union line.  The Grand Union Canal is composed of at least eight seperate canals, To name a few; The Grand Union Main Line, the Leicester section, Aylesbury Arm, Slough Arm, Paddington Arm, Regents canal.

In its day the Grand Union Canal was the major artery of the Canal System as it linked London and Birmingham with further arms connecting Leicester, Aylesbury and Nottingham.  Most of the Grand Union canal was originally 14ft wide, but more widening was done during the 1930's in an attempt to make it more easily accesible for wider cargo, and so that two narrowboats could pass through a lock at the same time.  Although various sections remained narrow including the Northampton arm.

The original part of the Grand Union system was the Grand Junction Canal which was constructed at the beginning of the 18th C to provide a short cut between Braunston on the Oxford Canal and Brentford, West London on the Thames with the River Lee.  Before this all traffic from the Midlands that was London bound had to use the narrow Fazely, Coventry and Oxford canals.  The new Grand Junction Canal cut at least 60 miles off the journey and with it's many branches to important towns and its wide locks it soon became very busy and profitable.

Along the length of the Grand Union Canal there is a great variety of scenery and features including the Blisworth Tunnel which is 3057 yds long and is the third longest canal tunnel open to navigation in Britain, and The Hatton Flight of Locks, 21 broad locks which are near Warwick and decend 150ft in about two miles.