Fenny Compton Wharf to Banbury towpath walk in England.

The Walk below describes following the Oxford Canal towpath as it meanders between Fenny Compton and Banbury via Cropedy and Claydon in Oxfordshire.

The canal is particularly interesting on this section with lovely countryside plus lots of Oxford Canal locks and bridges including left-bridges to explore - and also including old disused railway bridges.
There is also an old warehouse at Cropedy and an unmarked (either on the map or even signposted from the canal) very old brick-kiln where the bricks were made for the now extinct Fenny Compton Tunnel. Due to lack of any public transport between the two locations unless you wish to walk some 20 miles i.e. there and back or you have two cars the only way is get a taxi to get to the start of the walk. There is a taxi rank at the station and the fare to Fenny Compton Wharf might easily cost in excess of 20 pounds which is pretty expensive. Obviously going there and back is a different matter if the intention is to cycle the towpath since 20 odd miles is not too far at all when cycling.
The Oxford Canal is heavily tree-lined on this part of the towpath.Fenny Compton Wharf beside The Oxford Canal.This is a really uncomplicated walk since all you do is follow the canal from Fenny Compton Wharf back to Banbury - to do this we parked at Banbury Railway station (it was free parking on Sundays at the time of writing this topic but you are apparently meant to be a rail user...). The relevant map for this walk is the O.S. Explorer 206 Edge Hill and Fenny Compton Oxford although you hardly need it unless intending to divert off from the towpath to any degree.
Walk down onto the tow path by the Wharf Inn and turn right heading south towards Cropedy and Banbury. The pub itself is covered in flowers and looks really pretty and almost immediately the tow path and canal are bordered by trees, wild flowers and foliage - it really is pleasant walking. The canal narrows considerably after a short distance as it goes - for once - quite straight through a cutting - this was originally the Fenny Compton Tunnel.
Just after going under Bridge 138 (which carries the A423 road) you will see a narrow path going half back and up the canal bank - just a little way up you come to an old brick kiln. This was where the bricks were made for the old tunnel - the building is still intact though somewhat covered in vegetation including some huge stinging nettles however you can go inside it.
A narrow metal turnover bridge (137a) on The Oxford Canal. Old Brick Kiln used to make bricks for the defunct Fenny Compton Tunnel. Beautiful trees and shrubs lining The Oxford Canal in England. Remains of what was once a beautiful railway bridge on The Oxford Canal.
Back on the canal the towpath climbs for a while before dropping back down to the become a proper towpath again as it nears Wormleighton Reservoir - the canal also goes back to what it knows best - wandering around with bends everywhere. The railway is quite close by along the old tunnel route with frequent trains just about visible as they rush by but perhaps of more interest are several semi-dismantled railway bridges where once another line existed.
Boundary Lift Bridge in open position on The Oxford Canal. The Lock Gates at Cropedy Top Lock on the Oxford Canal. Cropedy Lock 25 looking very picturesque. St Mary the Virgin's Church at Cropedy in Oxfordshire.
Around Claydon there are a series of locks within a short distance so this part of the Oxford Canal is quite busy especially on summer weekends however after this things become much quieter again until you reach Cropedy. At Cropedy there are several old warehouses and buildings beside the canal which are very interesting to wander around - plenty of old brickwork and the shaped brick windows.
Beautiful old brick warehouses by The Oxford Canal at Cropedy. The Oxford Canal approaches Caves Bridge in Oxfordshire. Little Bourton Lock and Lock-House - Oxford Canal. Marsh Bridge crossing The Oxford Canal in England.
Cropedy's St. Mary the Virgin Church is quite near to the canal and well worth looking around and there is also a pub / restaurant opposite the church. After Cropedy the canal again becomes serene as it travels under quite a few old bridges and also goes past another really picturesque spot which is at Little Bourton Lock. Things stay very countriefied and peaceful until you get closer to Banbury and the noisy M40. The end of this walk is just after Oxford Canal Bridge 166 from where it's just a short walk back up to Banbury railway station.
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