From little acorns mighty Oaks do grow!

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On a cold Saturday afternoon in March the Banbury Canal Partnership supported the Arbour Project by planting English Oak trees along more than 100 meters of the off-side of the South Oxford Canal.
  It is hoped that in future these “grown from acorns” trees can be adopted by school students and add to the biodiversity along the canal.
  Anyone interested in helping or introducing this project along their stretch of canal can contact Greg Klaes on

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A look back at the past year

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Painting at Cropredy Lock
Painting at Cropredy Lock

This year we have seen some 360 hours of volunteering by our Partnership – this is a considerable achievement and many thanks to all of you who have come along on a Tuesday.  We now have a break until April 2015, although we will have one day in Feb to lay some more Spread & Tread along the footpath below Banbury lock.  There are a couple of very ‘muddy’ patches and now that we have cleared all the overgrown vegetation along this stretch it would be nice to finish the job off properly.

The date for that and  the new date for the AGM will be announced in the New Year.

The Volunteers have really worked hard this year and we have made many noticeable improvements along the canal, so much so that the Partnership has been asked by C&RT to adopt a stretch of the canal on an official basis.  Essentially this means we are ‘trusted’ group who can now manage their own days and C&RT will supply the necessary paints, tools, etc.  Good news and thanks to all those Volunteers who have come along on a Tuesday.  The stretch we have officially adopted will be from the turning point above Banbury to the turning point below Banbury (Grimsbury Wharf to Calthorpe Winding Hole) .  Essentially this will involve litter picking, vegetation cutting, path work and painting.  Not too onerous a job!

I think the most memorable Tuesday this year was when McDonald’s in Banbury offered their services and 12 young people came along – they shifted the 3 tons of spread and tread in no time at all and the latest news is that they have agreed to help again there in February!

Great work and we hope to see you all again when we are working in Banbury.

Here’s a compilation of some of the activities we have been involved in thanks to Robin Williams.

Hedge cutting

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Banbury towpath before

I know that many of you are concerned about the hedge cutting and the restricted width of the towpath.  I have written to Dan Barnett, C&RT, but have yet to receive a program or plan of action for the S.Oxford with regards to the hedge cutting.

I find this particularly frustrating and would like C&RT to provide something more definite in the way of how much of the extra growth is to be cut back and what will be done about the hedge height.  Currently I have received nothing but verbal assurances that the program will commence or has commenced.

If anyone is out walking and they come across ‘Fountains’, who are the contractor employed by C&RT actually reducing width and height of the hedges, to take some photos of what the contractors are actually doing i.e. how much have they really cut back?

Regards, Colin

Volunteering News

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Painting at Cropredy Lock
Painting at Cropredy Lock

We have uploaded some new photos to our gallery of our last day working on the towpath and of when we painted Cropredy Lock.  You will see that we made an enormous difference to the overgrown tow path leading out of Banbury just before Tramway.  Thanks to Banbury Town Council providing a Parks Ranger with ‘strimmer’.  This Tuesday  (21st Oct, meeting at 09.30 at William Powell car park in Banbury) we shall cut back some more of the overgrowth and lay the last of the spread and tread! It was refreshing to receive some ‘thank you’s’ following this work and not complaints re hedges!! So, well done and thank you to all those BCP volunteers who came along that day, it was hard work but very rewarding.


If you can spare some time to assist we would be really grateful.  There are a small band of core volunteers but one or two more would be most welcome.  It is great outdoor work so rather than come home mentally tired from the office – how about feeling physically tired?  It is good fun and you do meet other members of the BCP.

I have it on good authority that the Hedge Survey has now been completed by C&RT and that the hedge cutting will begin, hopefully, next month.  I know that along with ‘over stayers’,  overgrown hedges have generated the most complaints.  I have relayed these on to C&RT and we now wait for some action!  The number of complaints from walkers and cyclists being ‘swiped’ by overgrowth has been substantial over the past few months.  C&RT have carried out a lot of off side cutting and hopefully we shall now see some action very soon on the hedges.

So, volunteers are needed, please do come along and help- even if it is for a morning or an afternoon.  Many hands as they say!!  We would love to see you.

On the 28th October when we shall be tackling the C&RT compound at Cropredy.  There is a bit of vegetation clearance and a lot of painting.  It all looks rather sad in what is a lovely village setting.  Hopefully we may see some ‘Canoe Club’ members coming along on that Tuesday?

So- get your working clothes on – gloves at the ready and we look forward to seeing you this coming Tuesday.

Kind regards


Colin Garnham-Edge



Banbury Canal Partnership


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Dock Ariving
Dock Arriving

Cropredy Marina’s new floating dry dock was swung into place without a hitch thanks to the excellent planning and efforts of the Marina staff and Barry Tuckey and his team. The dock weighing 14tons and measuring 75 feet is now safely installed in the small basin at Cropredy and ready to receive its first customers.

A dry dock is a narrow basin that can be flooded to allow a boat to be floated in, and then drained to allow that boat to come to rest on a dry platform ready for maintainace and repair. The dock at Cropredy will be able to accommodate narrowboats up to 72 feet in length and will be operated by an experienced independent contractor, who will be announced shortly. More images of the spectacular arrival of the floating dry dock at Cropredy Marina and being lifted into place can be found at

Tim Langer, said: “Its delivery was quite a sight to see, and all credit is due to Barry Tuckey and his team for getting it through the gate, up the drive, and craned into the basin without the slightest scratch. Based on our experience at Crick Marina, we expect bookings to be heavy. If you’d like to book a time slot for your boat to be docked, please call the Marina as soon as possible.”

Being lowered into place
Being lowered into place

Cropredy Marina is an off-line marina, with first class facilities and excellent customer service, situated on the southern Oxford Canal, five miles from Banbury. Its central location for cruising, quiet rural setting and the fact that the attractive village of Cropredy and its facilities are just a short walk away makes it a great choice for customers and explains why it is just about full after only being open for just over a year!

For more information on the marina, to reserve a berth or book a time slot in the floating dry dock please contact the Marina team on 01295 758911, email or visit


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Tuesday 23rd – Sept – meet at William Powell car park in Banbury at 09-30  (Opposite Morrison’s)

This is a request for anyone who can come along this coming Tuesday to help clear vegetation and lay some ‘Spread & Tread’ along the tow path just South of the Lock at Banbury.  You will be aware that the towpath from the rail station going south towards Tramway is in a pretty overgrown state!  Also when it rains there are many areas where it can get quite muddy and wet.

This Tuesday we have 6 ton of Spread & Tread being delivered to the bridge area opposite Morrison’s supermarket and we shall lay as much as possible along the worst affected areas of the path.  Also we need to cut back about 50mtrs of overgrown brambles, etc that are encroaching across the towpath making it particularly difficult for walkers, cyclists, etc.  Only last week one of our Volunteers managed to steer himself straight into the canal trying to avoid such overgrowth!!

We have a steady ‘band’ of 3-4 members who attend most volunteer days but we would love to see some ‘new faces’.  Last Tuesday we had a great day in the sunshine painting the old iron bridge between Banbury and Kings Sutton.  What used to look really tired and awful is now all bright and shiny!  The vegetation has been cut down approaching the bridge which now allows boaters clear visibility and the whole visibility of the approach is much improved.  Thank you to those BCP Volunteers and to C&RT for their assistance.

We also have some good news in that Banbury Town Council will be coppicing the overhanging willows along the park just south of Tramway, as you may know these trees are huge and if they should fall across the canal it would take some time to clear them away!  Currently at one point branches form the trees overhang half of the width of the canal and touch the water.

So- please do consider coming along this Tuesday, it is certainly our largest undertaking in any one day and it would be great to see some new faces.

Great Canal Journeys

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Foraged Fruit

Our patrons, Timothy West and Prunella Scales are doing a second series of Great Canal Journeys for Channel 4 and were in Banbury last weekend (6th Sept) filming at Tooley’s Boatyard.

The previous day they met up with Helen & Andy Tidy of Wildlife Preserves aboard Wand’ring Bark & The Jam Butty for a spot of foraging with them. Helen making jam with Pru  whilst Andy paired off with Tim to pick Sloes and make Sloe Gin. See their blog for a description of the day with lots of great photos.

First Volunteer Day Report

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A very big thank you to those volunteers that came along to our first ‘Volunteer Day’.  9 of us in total and we achieved  a lot!

A good start was made on replacing the piquet fence at King’s Sutton Lock, the flower bed against the lock cottage wall was weeded and ‘de-nettled’.  Hedges were trimmed and we halved the pile of ‘flotsam’ that was piled up by the sluice.  We dodged a few rain showers but after a chilly start we were in t shirts by noon.

Miriam, from C&RT, looked after us all and ensured that we did not fall in the lock!  Thank you.

We are due to meet next Tuesday, 20th May, at The Old Barn at 9.30 and spend our second day completing the fence and painting.  So more the merrier please.  Start off with bacon rolls, tea, coffee to ensure you are ready for the working day!

Once again, many thanks to all the volunteers that came along this Tuesday, it was fun.

Kind regards to all,


Arbour Project Submitted to CRT for Approval

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DSCF2732In mid-January the Arbour Project to rebuild the towpath hedge along a section of the Oxford Canal was submitted to the Canal and River Trust at Milton Keynes.

This project would involve schools in collection of hedging and tree seeds like the Dog Rose and Oak to grow in schools and later be planted along the canal either on the towpath side or the off side.

The project also includes making the carbon sequestration value of the towpath forest available as a fundraiser for CRT. The project also suggests collection of the towpath tree trimmings for sale as a further source of income for CRT and BCP projects.

Follow this link for more details or contact Greg on 07831 631 671

Boater & his dog die on board boat

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samaraLocal Boaters we shocked to learn of the death of Spike & his dog Millie on board their canal boat Samara at Banbury.

His brother Shaun has asked us remind people to check they have a working Carbon Monoxide alarm and adequate ventilation.

Spike & Millie were well known throughout the boating community both locally and by those travelling through our area.

Our sympathies are with his family and friends at this sad time.

The cause of death is still being investigated but Watch Manager John Calloway of Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue issued a statement saying:

“Although the cause of this tragic incident has yet to be determined and is an ongoing investigation by the police, there are a number of appliances common to both boats and caravans (as well as houses) that have the ability to produce toxic fumes.

“It is our advice that all such equipment is professionally installed by a qualified technician and serviced regularly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

“We also recommend that both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are fitted and tested weekly.”

The Banbury Guardian reports

Mr Mason who was 63-years-old, and his Staffordshire Bull Terrier Milly were found dead by neighbours on board their canal boat Samara on the Oxford Canal shortly after 1.30pm. Ambulance crews were called to the scene followed by fire-fighters who checked the boat for toxic gases before retrieving the bodies.

The cause of Mr Mason’s death is still being investigated but information released last week by Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue service suggested he may have died after breathing in toxic fumes, most probably from an on-board solid fuel stove.