Banbury to Napton

Cropredy

Your first port of call is Cropredy. There is a useful shop by the wharf bridge and you can get rid of litter at the wharf. This sleepy village has many interesting features: a good playground a little walk from the canal – just far enough to make it an exciting surprise for younger members of your crew who need a rest from the boat; two good child-friendly pubs – the Brasenose Arms and the Red Lion (apparently a few ghosts have taken up residence here) – both a short walk from your floating home; and there is a grand sandstone church with a fine clock.

Although quiet, the village comes to life spectacularly in August with the annual Folk Festival (now one of Europe’s largest). It was also the scene of an important battle in the English Civil War on 29th June 1644. Cromwell’s forces under Waller attacked Cropredy Bridge in an attempt to open up a route into Oxford. The Royalists managed to capture Waller’s artillery and protect Oxford. Perhaps it’s not such a sleepy place after all!

On leaving the village of Cropredy you will travel through the lock, one of the prettiest along your journey. Travelling on, the canal is hidden behind a large hedge but you do get occasional views of the valley. After three locks you come to Clattercote Wharf. Please do not turn your boat around here, you may get more than you bargained for.

Claydon Locks

The next locks are the Claydon Flight (the Bygones Museum here is well worth a visit for young and old alike). As with all locks it is very important to try to conserve water. Please always make sure that there is no one approaching from the opposite direction before you fill or empty a lock in order to use it, and always make sure all paddles are closed when you leave. Locks are a great way to meet people!

After Claydon Locks the canal twists and turns. Once again it becomes very obvious why it is called a contour canal. The hills begin to surround you, as the canal prepares takes you through the cutting which was the course of an old tunnel. This is narrow and thickly wooded. At the end the canal sweeps around a large bend towards Fenny Compton Wharf and The Wharf Inn, a good pub where children and dogs are welcome.

Napton

From here the course of the canal is erratic and meandering travelling under many brick-arched bridges. The canal travels West, then doubles back on itself flowing East towards Stoneton Manor. Here a steep ridge sets it back on course towards Napton.

The route towards Marston Doles and Napton takes you through rolling Warwickshire countryside. On arriving at Marston Doles the landscape opens up and the windmill at Napton comes into view. From here it is downhill into Napton so you can see for miles. 

At the Old Engine House Arm you can turn your boat around in preparation for your return journey back to Oxford. If you like a walk there is The Folly Pub at the bottom of the flight of locks.

Any questions?

Call us on 01865 554343 (+44 18 65 55 43 43 from outside the UK). We’re happy to help!