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Grand Union Canal – Braunston to Birmingham

The Grand Union Canal runs from the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal and the Tame Valley Canal at Salford Junction, and from Digbeth Branch of the Birmingham Canal at Warwick Bar to join the Oxford Canal at Napton Junction and Braunston.

Map of the Grand Union Canal from Braunston to Birmingham

Heritage guided walk

Facts & Stats

43.5 miles


The length of the Braunston to Birmingham line that is navigable.

63 locks

From the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal to the Oxford Canal

The Canal is joined by the Stratford upon Avon Canal at Kingswood Junction. 

By amalgamating various canal companies, the Grand Union Canal was formed to link London with the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire coalfields and Birmingham under single ownership. The canal between Warwick and Napton was authorised in 1794 and completed in 1800. The Warwick and Birmingham Canal was opened in 1799. The canal between Braunston and Napton is part of the earlier Oxford Canal.

From Braunston the Grand Union Canal continues south to Brentford where it joins the tidal Thames.

The Hatton flight is one of the highlights of the canal where the waterway rises through 21 locks.  Boaters have nicknamed them ‘the stairway to heaven’ and the flight took two years to build.

The towns of Warwick and Leamington Spa are both found on this stretch of canal.

Waterway notes

Maximum boat sizes

  • Length: 80′ 4″ (24.5 metres) – Hatton Locks
  • Beam: 12′ 0″ (3.65 metres) – Blue Lias Road Bridge (No 23)
  • Height: 7′ 11″ (2.41 metres) – Blue Lias Road Bridge
  • Draught: 6′ 1″ (1.86 metres) – cill of Hatton Locks

Navigation authority


Waterway underfunding

Hundreds of miles of waterways – along with their unique heritage and habitats – are currently starved of funding and rely on constant lobbying by us to safeguard their future.

Sustainable Boating

We want boating on canals and rivers to be more sustainable and – even though the current overall contribution to UK carbon emissions is very small – we want to help reduce emissions on the waterways.

Waterways Heritage at Risk

Britain’s canals and rivers are a unique, living heritage. But that heritage is at risk – from urban development, lack of protection, loss of skills and knowledge and climate change.

You can help Save Waterways Heritage.

Waterway restoration

Restoring the UK’s blue infrastructure – our inherited network of navigable canals and rivers – is good for people and places.