From the centre of Barby, walk down the main street heading southwards. Before you leave the village, you pass the school on your right.
Immediately after the village you’ll see a water tower. At the crossroads head right down Longdown Lane, following the sign to Willoughby.
Take care here. The road is fast and there’s no pavement.
However, you soon leave the road. Just past the cricket pitch you’ll clearly see a signed footpath to the left which heads south, downloads towards a new and older coppice of trees.
The path is now well marked with signs as it moves slowly downhill through woodlands and fields.
After passing through a few fields, the view opens up. You soon see the spire of All Saints Church in Braunston. This, along with the signposts, helps guide you. You pass a succession of fields and stiles as the spire and the village slowly draw nearer.
As you approach the village, you pass through a paddock and then enter the village fringes. Follow the road called Countryside. Taking a right and a quick left, you think you might be in cul de sac. Then you see a footpath that allows you to cut through to Church Road which you cross. Head through the car park of The Plough pub and you find yourself on the rather quaint High Street. Turn left here. After only fifty yards or so, head down the pretty Nibbets Lane on your right.
At the end of the lane the footpath presents you with a choice. To the right the marina is signposted. Take the left fork though, heading towards the locks.
Keep heading broadly in the same direction as the path links up with Cross Lane. Turn right onto Archer Avenue before following the footpath signs which will take you across park land and onto Dark Lane.
The lane gradually descends and The Admiral Nelson Pub soon comes into focus. The pub is located on the Grand Union Canal next to Lock No 3, known as The Top Lock. It’s a great place to stop, rest and take in some refreshments.
If you want to press on, there are other eating and drinking options further down the canal.
From The Admiral Nelson, cross the canal (and turn right) to take the left hand towpath heading westwards.
You soon pass Lock 2 and then Lock 1.
Braunston Marina is now on your left. As soon as you cross a footbridge you see the Gongoozler’s Rest Café, a narrowboat cafe serving drinks, sandwiches and refreshments.
Walk on and you pass the The Boathouse pub on the other side of the canal (for access you will need to cross over the canal via the road bridge just before you see the pub).
A few minutes later your reach the Braunston Turn which is the junction where he Grand Union Canal meets the Oxford Canal.
You need to follow the sign to Coventry, heading straight on and then veering to the right.
You are now on the Oxford Canal and your walk follows its towpath for several miles.
As the canal bends you again see the spire of Braunston’s All Saints Church before you leave the village.
The amount of moored boats along the towpath soon thin out. Your only companions now are mallard ducks, swans and perhaps some canada geese.
After a couple of miles you pass under a road bridge at Willougby Wharf, which nowadays only comprises of a small collection of houses next to the canal.
Keep walking along the towpath which soon straightens out.
We were lucky to see a kingfisher at this point, flying down the canal and directly past us.
When you reach Dunchurch Pools, a new boat marina, on your left walk over the newly built pedestrian bridge.
You then see an old brick bridge. It looks odd as it simply leads into the field on the other side of the canal.
However, this is where you leave the canal. You cross over the bridge and walk straight across the field.
You’ll now walk uphill on the edge of another field. It’s not particularly steep but after the gentle and flat towpath, your legs feel the gradient.
As the path levels off, you reach a crossroads. Carry on straight onto Eklington Lane.
This will lead you directly back to the centre of Barby where the walk began.
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