About the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal
The Wendover Arm leaves the Tring summit of the Grand Union Canal at the top of Marsworth Locks. The original plan for the Grand Junction Canal did not include any branches and the Wendover Arm was part of a second enabling Act in 1794. During 1799, the opening of the navigable feeder to the springs near Wendover took place. However, the insufficient supply of water soon became clear. As a result, four reservoirs were constructed between 1802 and 1815; Wilstone was followed by Marsworth, Tringford and finally Startops End.
Originally planned just as a water-supply feed, the 6 ¾ mile canal was used to transport coal, timber, straw and manure. Straw was shipped to London for horse bedding, with horse manure from the bus depots of London transported in the opposite direction for the local farms. Unfortunately, sections of the Wendover Arm leaked and much of it was re-puddled within ten years of its construction. Later on, a stop lock was built just after the pumping station at Tringford. During 1904, the canal beyond the lock was closed and used purely to feed water with a pipe laid along the bed. Despite this, the canal to Tringford remained navigable, serving Heygates Mill and Bushell Brothers boatyard.
Wendover Arm Trust was formed in 1989 and aims to restore the full canal arm to navigation. Phase 1 of the works, including works to the existing navigable canal; reinstatement of the road bridge beyond Tringford stop lock and construction of an interim terminus basin at Little Tring Farm were completed in 2005.
Photo: Wendover Arm on the Grand Union Canal – by Tim Lewis.