Grand Union - Wendover Arm and Buckingham Canal
The Wendover Arm Trust was formed in 1989 to restore the unnavigable section of the canal.
The first half-mile from the former stop lock at Little Tring to a new basin/winding hole was opened for navigation in 2005, producing a total navigable length of about 1½ miles. Restoration of the next 1½ miles from Little Tring to Drayton Beauchamp is ongoing with two footbridges completed and 962m rewatered. Another 246m has been excavated and lined, and rewatering is planned for 2021 back to Bridge 4. This leaves a further 852m to be completed to join with Phase 1, which is fully navigable.
The historic pumping station site at Whitehouses is being restored by the trust and required works were virtually complete in December 2020. This is a site of archaeological interest and an operation feature for taking surplus water into Wilstone Reservoir. Work has now started on restoring a heritage swing-bridge. The swing-bridge wall is one of the few remaining relics of an ancient highway that fell into disuse when the reservoirs were built. Stop plank channels have been inserted in readiness for the introduction of the planks to retain the latest section when rewatered.
The trust has planted 550 saplings on the non-towpath side, kindly donated by the Woodland Trust, of which 450 were planted in December 2020 with the help of numerous volunteers, the majority of the trees being behind the completed winding hole. There are five different varieties. The trust has registered with the Plant Britain crusade organised by BBC Countryfile and hopes to continue further planting in due course.
Buckingham Canal Society completed the restoration of Bridge 1 at Cosgrove in late 2020 and the crossing was opened to farm traffic.
Progress continues towards rewatering, with stop planks installed and the 65-year-old piling removed to once again allow water under the bridge. This enables the canal restoration to continue towards the A5. Once some minor leaks are resolved with clay, the whole Cosgrove section will be re-linked to the Grand Union.
The fully restored section at Bourton Meadow in Buckingham is now a popular local attraction and is thriving environmentally with multiple endangered species appearing in the vicinity.
Buckingham Canal Nature Reserve at Hyde Lane, which BCS leases from the local wildlife trust, is being slowly rewatered as and when water levels and sun (for the solar pump) permit. Design work is in progress with the neighbouring landowners and CRT, as well as the district council, to pursue opportunities for construction of a new 3-mile link for the Buckingham Arm between Cosgrove, Old Stratford and Passenham, to replace that lost to housebuilding.