Banburyshire Rambles Photo-Journal

Paul Mobbs’ photographic record of his walks around ‘Banburyshire’ and ‘The Irondowns’, and occasionally, as part of his work around Britain, the areas beyond.

‘Last Chance (HS)To See’ – Scene 8:

‘Longhole Bridge and the Grand Union Canal’

A peaceful intersection for countryside recreation is about to get a noisy neighbour

5th May 2018

Longhole Bridge, on the Grand Union Canal's Warwick & Napton branch, is where the foot and cycle path from Warwick to Long Itchington meets the 'unclassified county road' of Ridgeway Lane. For those walking and cycling in the area it's a significant link which allows longer-distance travel in peaceful, uncluttered countryside.

This location, along with the points north and south of the bridge, are about to undergo a significant change as a result of the construction of HS2.

The viaduct and embankment crossing this valley is longer and higher than that on the adjacent River Leam valley. Longhole Bridge stands roughly three to four metres high above the nearby ground level; Longhole Viaduct will tower above it at roughly two to three times this height – seven to ten metres above ground level.

For those travelling along both the Grand Union Canal and Ridgeway Lane, the disturbance created by HS2 will be visible for some distance up and down the valley – and the noise footprint will extend further as a result of the elevation of the trains as they cross the valley on an incline.

When traversing the local footpath network over longer distances, Longhole Bridge is a key connection between the Grand Union Canal's foot and cycle path and Ridgeway Lane. HS2 will fundamentally change the tranquil, under-developed nature of this location.