The state of the Oxford Canal

Published: Thursday, 08 November 2018

FOR the past 14 years my husband and I have part shared a narrowboat moored at Wigram's at Napton Junction, writes Julie Mason.

But the ever declining state of the Oxford Canal over this period prompts me to 'put pen to paper' and complain, such is the decline of the upkeep of the canal over these years, from when we first used it.

9 overhangingImpassable for two boats

I nearly wrote to agree with David Hymers when he complained about the vegetation, but thought surely it would be attended to, but it has not and in places is very much impassible for two boats without one being well and truly in the bushes and risking its paintwork.  In fact scratches on paintwork is common on boats around here.

The vegetation is now on both sides, something that never happened in the past, for not only are there the overhanging trees on the offside but saplings, and in some cases, trees, being allowed to grow at the edge of the towpath, that often is not now mowed to the edge as it was.

ox broken gate 2Drastic lack of dredging

Anyone attempting to moor 'in the sticks' will know that there is a drastic lack of dredging, and time and time again the boat is slowed right down showing this is now common to the canal, with many others I have met explaining their difficulties with deep draughted boats.

As to the locks, their condition leaves a great deal to be desired, with even narrow lock gates so badly maintained that they are difficult to manoeuvre with paddles out of use and as to leaking gates, they are now the norm.

Spending on other things

All who read your publication will know of the stoppages, which is proof indeed of the current condition of the waterway, that was never like this in the past. It all points of course to lack of funds spent on the waterway by an organisation that seems far too concerned at spending on other things that have nothing to do with its core responsibility of maintaining its waterways.