Just when you thought that the summer season of canal festivals was over, ladies and gentlemen we bring you: The Aylesbury Canal Festival!

The Aylesbury Arm is one of the Grand Union’s best kept secrets. For a couple of years I had a residential mooring at the beginning of the Aylesbury arm in Marsworth, and the surrounding countryside is stunning.

This weekend (19th and 20th September) the Aylesbury Canal Society is having a double celebration of their move to a new home at Circus Field Basin and the 200th anniversary of the Aylesbury Arm. They are planning a weekend of activities and events for boaters, with an Open Day for the general public on the Saturday. (If you are a boater it’s advisable to book your mooring in advance.)

The Open Day for the public on Saturday is from 10:30am until- 4:00pm and includes: Open boats for viewing, a trip boat, slipway demonstration, barbecue, tea and cakes, various stalls, demonstrations from the fire brigade, children’s games, a bouncy castle and the Phoenix Morris Dancers who will be performing throughout the day. The canal society’s website invites you to bring your own music and enjoy beer and a barbecue!

If you’re already a boat owner there is a party in the evening for boaters with food, a bar and live music. On Sunday they will be holding an auction of boat related items with the proceeds going to Florence Nightingale Hospice.

If you've never been there this is a wonderful excuse to walk, cycle or cruise up the Aylesbury arm, enjoying views of the Chiltern hills,narrow locks and rural tranquillity, which is mostly uninterrupted by buildings or traffic. The villages of Wilstone and Puttenham are set back from the canal allowing the visitor a peaceful and continuous journey enjoying the views of meadows,trees and hedgerows either side of the waterway.

The Aylesbury Arm was opened in 1814 and connected Aylesbury with the Grand Union Canal at Startop's End near Marsworth. Originally intended to carry on to the Thames at Abingdon, the new canal was to be known as the 'Western Junction'. However, the route west of Aylesbury was never completed due to strong opposition from local landowners. Water resources were limited so the Aylesbury Arm was built with narrow locks to save water.

There’s more information about the history of the arm and the festival on the Aylesbury Canal Society website.

Now we’d like to hear from you. Have you visited the Aylesbury arm? Do you have a local arm you like to explore? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter .


PS. Watch out for The Therapy Boat at Aylesbury Canal Festival and ask Louise about NLP for hayfever relief.

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