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Grand Union Canal - Aylesbury to Wendover

Chilterns Walk

Region - Chilterns

County/Area - Buckinghamshire - North Buckinghamshire

Author - Peter Smyly

Length - 11.7 miles / 19 km    Ascent - 330 feet / 100 metres

Time - 6 hours 10 minutes    Grade - moderate

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Ordnance Survey Explorer 181Sheet Map1:25kBUY
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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Grand Union Canal - Aylesbury to Wendover
Click image to visit gallery of 7 images.

Let the train take the strain with this walk which links sections of two different arms of the Grand Union Canal in Buckinghamshire. This linear route starts at one railway station on the Chiltern Railways (Aylesbury) and finishes at another (Wendover). Much of the route follows canal towing paths but that is not to say that it is simply more and more of the same as the scenery varies. This is especially noticeable on the Wendover Arm which includes a dried-up section, a navigable section and a shallow section as the canal winds its way through the countryside towards Wendover.

From the station at Aylesbury, walk ahead and turn right down Station Way East. When this road curves round to the left at a T junction, turn right and cross Walton Street. There is an impressive-looking building ahead on the other side of the road, part of the Aylesbury Vale University Campus and the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal runs alongside it. Having located the canal, the route follows part of it for the next few miles. For the first mile or so it passes through an urban landscape before it starts to feel more rural as the houses of Aylesbury are left behind and the hum of traffic becomes more distant. The route passes under a number of arched bridges and by a few canal locks which serve as landmarks. When you reach Bates' Boatyard at a bridge and another canal lock, signs for the Aylesbury Ring indicate a route leading away from the canal and indeed this is one route option which takes a more direct route to the Wendover Arm via Buckland. But for this walk, continue by the canal as far as Puttenham Top Lock (grid reference SP892141). As the name suggests, this is one of two locks in quick succession, this being the higher of the two. The next couple of miles entail walking across or round fields between the two different sections of canal.

The route leaves the Aylesbury Arm of the canal and heads south east across fields, indistinct in places, but the general direction is clear as it borders field edges. Arriving at a road, cross with care and continue straight across the next field. The path may not be clear, but the occasional muddy boot print may reveal that somebody else walked this way previously. At the far side of the field, the track continues through woodland by the Wilstone Reservoir. This is an attractive spot to make a slight digression to the left for a clear view of the lake. Further along the path on the main south-easterly route, another optional digression, to the left, is to a bird hide and another lake view.

The next objective is the Wendover Arm of the canal and the towpath alongside it that forms the concluding part of the walk. Follow the path ahead due south east to cross two fields. At the next field junction, you can make out the location of the canal ahead from the lie of the land beyond the next field at the foot of a sloping hill ahead; however, a direct approach is not an option. Instead, you need to follow field edges in a sequence of left/right/left/right, the second right turning being a rare occasion on this walk when you need to walk uphill, albeit gently. At the top of the rise, the dried-up canal bed appears ahead, but on turning right towards a bridge, a water-filled stretch soon appears. From a route-finding point of view, the rest should be straightforward as you continue to follow the course of the disused canal for the remaining few miles via Bucklandwharf and Halton as far as Wendover. The canal reaches the streets of Wendover at Wharf Road. Turn right along this road and left along Aylesbury Road. A right turn here into High Street leads to Wendover railway station.

Other walks nearby

Walk 2052 Wendover Woodseasy/mod7.0 miles
Walk 2420 The Ridgeway south of Wendovereasy/mod7.3 miles
Walk 1717 Chiltern Hills circular from Wendovermoderate10.0 miles
Walk 3358 Chequers and Coombe Hill from Wendover easy/mod7.5 miles
Walk 3345 Coombe Hill from Wendovereasy4.0 miles
Walk 2478 Great Kimble Circularmoderate11.2 miles
Walk 2167 Thame Valley & the Winchendonseasy/mod9.0 miles
Walk 2490 Quainton & North Marston Circulareasy/mod6.8 miles
Walk 1138 The Ridgeway at Chequers easy/mod7.3 miles
Walk 3098 Tring & Wendover Woodseasy/mod7.5 miles

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