South End - Blisworth Tunnel - Grand Union Canal, Nr Stoke Bruerne, Northamptonshire, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Dragontree
N 52° 08.747 W 000° 55.289
30U E 642219 N 5779290
Quick Description: Blisworth Tunnel is a readily accessible canal tunnel which is popular with many visitors. The South End can be reached from walking from Stoke Bruerne where there is a Canal Museum and several locks.
Location: East Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 7/15/2012 11:12:04 AM
Waymark Code: WMEWTV
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member flipflopnick
Views: 5

Long Description:
We were lucky to see narrow boats passing through the tunnel today and here at the South End the Blacksmiths was open where they were hard at work and open to visitors.

The Blisworth Tunnel is one of the longest in the United Kingdom and by holding the specially positioned handle you can lean out over the canal to look through it.

Wikipedia describes the tunnel in detail:visit link

'Blisworth Tunnel is a canal tunnel on the Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire, England between the villages of Stoke Bruerne at the southern end and Blisworth at the northern end.

The northern end is about 18 miles (29.0 km) from the northern end of the Grand Junction Canal at Braunston, Northamptonshire and the southern end about 20 miles (32.2 km).

At 3,076 yards (2,812m) long it is the third-longest navigable canal tunnel on the UK canal network after Standedge Tunnel and Dudley Tunnel (and the ninth-longest canal tunnel in the world). At its deepest point it is ca.143 feet (ca.43m) below ground level.

Work began in 1793, but errors by contractors left a wiggle in the tunnel, and after three years work it collapsed due to quicksand, claiming the lives of 14 men. It was then decided to begin again with a new tunnel.

By the time the rest of the Grand Junction Canal had opened between London and Braunston, Northamptonshire in 1800, apart from the crossing of the River Great Ouse, the section of canal from Blisworth to the lower end of Stoke Bruerne locks was the only section unfinished. This was despite the tunnel having been under construction for seven years: the gap was filled by a temporary horse-drawn tramway over the top of the hill, with goods being transported from boat to wagon and back again. The tramway, built in 1801, was Northamptonshire's first railway. In March 1805, the tunnel was finally opened and the rails were used to connect the main line of the canal to the River Nene until the branch canal to Northampton was constructed.

There was some major rebuilding of the tunnel in the 1980s, with sections lined with pre-cast concrete rings. It was also used to test out the materials that were later used on the Channel Tunnel. One of the unused rings is on display just outside the south portal.'

There are several signs near the tunnel entrance which read as follows:

'Passage of canoes
and unpowered craft

Following completion of extensive repair work
this tunnel was re-opened to navigation by
Chairman, British Waterways Board
On the 22nd August 1984.'

There is a Bi-centenary marker also on the tunnel entrance celebrating this occasion from 1805 to 2005.

The concrete ring on display lies on the grass bank next to the tunnel entrance. It has a sign stating 'Segment of the Rebuilt Middle Section of Tunnel' and also has signs dictating where the 'Water Line' would have been.

This is a very popular location with scenic views of the canal. We were lucky to see a moorhen and three chicks all lined up on a protruding branch as well as the colourful narrow boats and friendly people.

Is the Tunnel in Use?: In Use

Which End is this Entrance?: South

Date Constructed: 3/1/1805

Length of Tunnel: 2812m

Construction Material: Brick and Concrete Rings

Associated Website: [Web Link]

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veritas vita visited South End - Blisworth Tunnel - Grand Union Canal, Nr Stoke Bruerne, Northamptonshire, UK 8/20/2012 veritas vita visited it