Current status – Restoration in progress!!!

In November 2017, we have been awarded a LEADER grant of £72,000 for a £90,000 restoration project of Bridge One at Cosgrove

In November 2018, the steel beams to support the bridge went in place. Work is ongoing to complete the bridge and open it for farm traffic use. This will allow bank improvement and towpath work along with removal of the dam opening the canal section to boating traffic. When will we finish? Extra volunteers will accelerate the completion of the work so why not join us?

Having rewatered some 200m of canal, we are also dry dredging further along the canal bed to remove silt and organic material (leaf compost) ready for re-watering once the rivers are high enough to facilitate this.



BCS past activity – A key part of the work here is the restoration of Bridge 1 which has to be preceded by excavation to find exactly how much of it remains. This work commenced in earnest in October 2016 following creation of a temporary farm crossing to enable us to close the bridge to farm traffic.

In summer 2012, we held a public exhibition for our restoration plans at Cosgrove Village Hall. As a result of the highly supportive feedback, we were given outline permission by CRT to re-water this part of the canal and are now planning a detailed programme for this work subject to water availability. Formal adoption by BCS of this length of canal and of Cosgrove Lock on the main line was agreed in November 2012.

In summer 2013 we built the first bund by hand as a true tribute to the Victorian navvies! This was partly due to the verbal agreement for access falling through.

DSC_3758 DSC_3861

In the background, our current focus is on developing the route for the new channel which will descend from the old arm at Cosgrove under the A5 to rejoin the original canal west of Deanshanger.

We have previously built earth bunds (dams) to divide the canal into sections. We then re-watered each section to check it for safety and leaks. This demonstrated the canal could be re-watered within the necessary leakage limits defined by Canal & River Trust.

We have been working for several years at this site in partnership with CRT (previously British Waterways) keeping the vegetation clear. The site is regularly strimmed and interpretation boards were sited at both the Cosgrove and A5 ends in 2008.

As an example, frequently run corporate team building days. One such day was when staff from Santander funded and installed two gates on the towpath replacing fences to make the area more accessible to walkers and cyclists. In addition, the gates have been built to enable us to get equipment along the canal and towpath in preparation for re-watering (see below).

Next steps – Detailed plans and budgets are now in place for the re-watering of the canal.

Following a change of adjacent landowner, we now have our excavator “Blue” on site.

BCS BLue IWA cropped

Meanwhile, regular work parties return to the site to strim and control the vegetation growth in this stretch of original canal which is in an excellent state of repair and needs minimal work to enable it to be re-watered. When this project is complete it will extend the canal network and demonstrate what the Society and its volunteers can achieve.

If you would like to get involved please click here.

Here is a location plan for the site.

Work Party Locations – Depending on where the work parties are taking place we use three main parking areas at Cosgrove.

Directions are as follows:

A5 end: Take the A508 north from the A5 roundabout and the first turning right to Cosgrove. Where the road turns sharp left you will see a small lay-by on your right where you can park. Continue down the track past large metal gates following the warehouse fence round to the left. Just before the path reaches an open field you will see the canal footpath to your left and one of our interpretation boards.

Bridge No 2: Park at the Quarries Scout Camp, Stratford Road, Cosgrove, MK19 7BD. Continue a few yards along the Stratford Road and on your right is a footpath accessed through a farm gate. Go through this gate and follow the path down to the line of trees and you have found the canal.

Bridge No1: Drive straight through Cosgrove village (ignoring the No Through Road signs). Cross over the canal bridge following Bridge Road into Main Street. Follow the signs for Cosgrove Leisure Park, turn right forking immediately right into Lock Lane. Car Park address Lock Lane, Cosgrove, Milton Keynes, MK19 7JR

Location – Running from the Grand Union Canal just above the lock at Cosgrove, this length of canal runs towards the A5. It is owned by Canal & River Trust (CRT) and is designated as a remainder canal. The towpath that runs along this section is partly a public right of way and partly a permissive path. The towpath is readily accessible from both the Cosgrove and A5 ends and has two other footpaths join with it at various places along its length.

History – This section was part of the original Old Stratford Cut. Please click here for more details on the history of the canal.