Restoration Focus in short supply) made it very difficult to keep it watertight. Far from being a useful source The story of the Wendover Arm is the of water, parts of the Arm leaked so badly story of a branch canal that was conthat it was depleting the main line of water. ceived mainly as a water supply, ended The Company tried various methods includup costing more water than it was ing lining the canal in bitumen, but eventusupplying, was closed and replaced by ally gave up and closed the Arm to navigaa pipe, but one day will reopen as a tion (apart from the first mile and three canal. quarters from Bulbourne to Tringford). They The Grand Junction Canal (now part of dammed off and drained a length of almost the Grand Union) crossed the Chiltern hills two miles (from Tringford to Aston Clinton) via long series of locks to the north and and laid a water pipe in the canal bed, feedsouth, climbing up to a short summit level ing water down to a pumping station at near Tring. This summit needed supplying Tringford, to maintain the supply past this with water, which wasn’t particularly plentiful dry section. in the area. So a six-mile arm was built from This pipe, and the surviving lengths of a junction on the summit at Bulbourne to the Arm, still form an important part of the Wendover, to serve the town but also to tap Grand Union’s water supply. That’s a very in to water supplies at Wendover and feed important consideration, because when the them to the main line. Over the years a Wendover Arm Trust was formed with the whole series of reservoirs, connecting pumps aim of reopening the Arm to navigation, it and channels were created to keep the sumhad to not only find a way of making it hold mit level and locks fed. water, but maintain the water supply for the Unfortunately the porous chalk soils whole time that restoration is under way. that the arm passed through (and which For the first section (‘Phase 1’: see over were also one of the reasons why water was for an explanation of the Wendover Arm’s phases and stages) this wasn’t an issue as the pipeline bypassed this length. So WAT rebuilt the channel using waterproof Bentonite lining and concrete, rebuilt the missing Little Tring Bridge, created a winding hole (turning place) to encourage boats up to the full 70ft to use the surviving navigable length from Bulbourne, and celebrated with an opening ...and the same scene just a month earlier in March 2015 in 2005.
What’s the Wendover story?
Navvies 271. Read Waterway Recovery Group's magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways.