Your day afloat could take you either north or south from Lower Heyford Wharf, the choice is yours!

North: the Heyfords, Somerton and Aynho.

Discover pretty Cotswold villages, superb water meadows and experience one of the deepest locks in the area! You’ll circumnavigate Lower Heyford before reaching the first lift bridge (most are left open for you to pass unhindered but this one you’ll need to operate).

Shortly after you’ll see yet magnificent tithe barn and manorial farm at Upper Heyford, the old airbase has been shut for many years now, so your progress is peaceful as you work through the first of 3 locks, Allens Lock, close to sleepy Upper Heyford rising up the hill from the lock. Rolling pastures accompany your route to Heyford Common Lock and Somerton Deep Lock, a superb area at which to tie up and laze the day away. Turn at Somerton Wharf before the lock, or above the lock if you wish for a relaxing day or picnic in the countryside. If a pub is your calling then carry on the next 2 miles to Aynho and the Great Western Arms which sits between the canal and the old railway station. Note that you may not get much time in the pub if the canal is busy! Turn here for your return journey…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South: Kirtlington & the Rock of Gibraltar.

Gently glide through rolling countryside as you follow the pretty Cherwell Valley; the canal winding its way through copses and pastures. The first lock, Dashwood Lock, is characterised by a Cotswold stone bridge. Only a mile further and you will reach the sylvan Northbrook Lock, close to a tiny farming hamlet and historic drovers bridge over the adjacent River Cherwell; for those with Sharp eyes keep a look out for Kingfishers as they are a common sight along this stretch. Another mile brings you to the old Kirtlington Quarry (now a country park) – fascinating and well worth visiting for its open space, history and fossils. Many of our hirers never go further than here because this makes an ideal day with plenty of time for a picnic or barbecue at lunchtime… or a stroll to Kirtlington and the Oxford Arms, well known for its good food.

The next Lock, Pigeon’s Lock, leads to the Rock of Gibraltar pub. You will need to turn before the boatyard and then stroll down the last 500yds to the pub. Note that you may not get much time at the pub – generally only time for a drink.