Celebrate Banbury’s historic waterway at Sunday’s canal day

MHBG-10-10-13 Canal Day''Banbury Canal Day'Pictured - Crowds NNL-150929-192755001
MHBG-10-10-13 Canal Day''Banbury Canal Day'Pictured - Crowds NNL-150929-192755001

Dozens of narrowboats will make a fantastic sight at a celebration of Banbury’s 238-year-old canal on Sunday.

The town’s annual canal day will celebrate the wealth created by the waterway when it opened in 1778 and will feature stalls and attractions.

This year’s theme is bubbles.

The narrowboats will be moored bow to stern from The Mill lock to Sovereign Wharf while Tooley’s – England’s oldest surviving boatyard – will open to visitors with demonstrations of ancient and current boat building and repair techniques.

The boatyard has the oldest working dry dock on the Inland Waterways network, having been in continuous use since 1790.

Spiceball Park will host a funfair and market stalls and there will be horse and cart rides, trampolines, go-karts and falconry.

Taxi boats will operate throughout the day taking visitors up and down the event site and Banbury and District Canoe Club will give children the chance to paddle their own craft.

Entertainment includes a five-hour folk concert in General Foods Social Club’s garden and a craft fair will take place in Chamberlaine Court car park.

Food and drink will be on offer in Compton Road car park and Sovereign Wharf will feature music, dance and drama.

At Banbury Museum there will the opportunities to dress in traditional boating costumes and for children to enter colouring competitions.

A free park and ride from Cherwell District Council’s offices in Bodicote will operate with the first from CDC’s car park at 10.30am. From then until 4pm buses will run on the half-hour from Bodicote with the return trip on the hour from the town centre.

The canal brought wealth and prosperity to Banbury when it opened as coal and other goods from the industrial Midlands became easily available.

Mayor Gordon Ross, who will arrive by boat to open the event, said: “Canal Day is a special event that attracts thousands of people every year. 2016 will be bigger and better than ever and I look forward to welcoming everyone on the day.”