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Edstone Aqueduct, Stratford on Avon

Britain's longest aqueduct

Red Wheel Site:
Transport Mode(s):

Salters Lane, Wootton Wawen, Henley-in-Arden 

B95 6DS
Visitor Centre:

About Edstone Aqueduct, Stratford on Avon

The Stratford upon Avon Canal was built between 1793 and 1816. It runs for 41 km.(25½ mi) in total, and consists of two sections. The southern section starts at the River Avon in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, and stretches north as far as Kingswood Junction near Lapworth, Warwickshire, where it is connected to the Grand Union Canal by a short spur. The northern section continues, to join the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Kings Norton Junction in the suburbs of Birmingham. Along the route of the canal, there are 55 locks, most concentrated upon a length between Hockley Heath and Stratford.

The southern section of the canal passes over three cast iron aqueducts, unusual in that the towpaths are at the level of the canal bottom. Travelling north, from Stratford-upon-Avon, the first is the Edstone Aqueduct near Bearley which at 250 yards, is the longest in England. It is an iron trough supported on brick piers. Beneath this aqueduct is also the trackbed of the Alcester Railway, (absorbed into the Great Western Railway which ran between Bearley and Alcester, where it joined the Midland Railway's branch line between Redditch and Evesham.

The Edstone Aqueduct was at one time owned by the Great Western Railway, who fitted a pipe in the base of the trough and used it to refill the tanks of passing steam trains.

The second aqueduct is the Wootton Wawen Aqueduct, just outside Wootton Wawen, where the canal crosses the A3400 main road.

The third aqueduct is the more modest Yarningdale Aqueduct which carries the canal over a small stream near Preston Bagot, Warwickshire. This cast iron aqueduct was built in 1834 to replace the original wooden structure which was washed away when the stream flooded that year.

There is only one tunnel on the canal - at Brandwood near Kings Norton Junction at the northern end. Another interesting feature of the canal is the unique barrel-roofed lock keeper's cottages to be found along its length. In March 1953 a canoeist purchased a solitary licence and made a passage along the length of the canal over a series of chilly weekends, a purchase which saved the canal from abandonment.

By road: Off A3400 via Salters Lane

By rail: Approx 9 kms from Bearley Station

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