OAKHAM CANAL ROUTE
The canal, marked in red, heads north from its former terminus in Oakham to join the Melton Mowbray Navigation. Its route can be divided into several distinct sections, each with its own characteristics.
Section 1: former Oakham Canal wharf
The original Oakham Canal wharf now lies entirely within the grounds of Oakham School. The former canal warehouse is now the Queen Elizabeth theatre. The original wharf entrance still forms the main entrance to the school. Please note that there is no public access to the canal here.
Section 2: former canal line to the rear of properties to Springfield Way/Schofield Road
A narrow strip of land, once the route of the canal, runs south from Oakfield to the rear of gardens between Springfield Way and Schofield Road. This tapers at the southern end, where the course of the canal has been removed by modern housing at Barmstedt Drive. The route of the canal is clearly distinguished by the large trees that once lined the banks.
Section 3: Springfield estate
The southernmost in-water section of the canal lies to the south of the A606 Burley Park Way, forming part of the Springfield housing estate. The canal can be accessed at the southern end from Griffiths Close or Oakfield, in the centre from Ashfield, and at the northern end from the A606 Burley Park Way. A permissive footpath to the eastern bank of the canal provides an accessible route along the entire section.
The canal here is shallow and significantly silted from the trees and other vegetation, but nonetheless provides a significant wildlife habitat, particularly for water fowl. The area is enjoyed by walkers, and those who bring their children to feed the ducks and other birds. Here we aim to work with Rutland County Council, who own the canal at this point, to improve the footpath and develop a long term maintenance strategy to improve the wildlife habitats and water quality.
Section 4: north of A606 Burley Park Way
The former canal line continues immediately to the north of the A606 Burley Park Way. At the southern end, the canal is largely derelict. Further north the canal is infilled with a large hedgerow to the former western bank.
Here, with the permission of the landowner, we hope to formalise and improve the footpaths, and secure access to the canal bed and adjacent woodland. Informal routes would be encouraged though an improved and maintained woodland and, where possible and practical, footpaths would allow increased accessibility.
There are opportunities for the creation of an accessible wetland habitat with the potential for pond dipping. At the northern end, the footpath would emerge from the woodland with the existing open field to the west and the hedgerow to the east.
Section 5: south of Burley Road
To the south of Burley Road, the canal is preserved much in its original condition, with a wide body of water and a public right of way along the original towpath close to the water’s edge. This section has been leased to the Oakham Angling Society for many years. The Society have recently made significant improvements to the footpath surface and have undertaken several environmental projects.
Section 6: Burley Road to Ashwell Road
North of Burley Road, the canal continues much as described above although the canal and adjacent footpath have suffered from a lack of maintenance.
Working with the Angling Society, we envisage the creation of an additional angling facility with facilities for the disabled. The works require significant improvements to the footpath and access, and we are working with Rutland County Council to look at ways that this can be best achieved. Car parking could be provided at the adjacent Oakham Enterprise Park.
We are also working with the landowner and tenant farmer to secure formal permissive access to the footpath routes to the western banks of the canal. We hope to be able to improve footpath surfaces and accessibility.
You can support our work
If you like the changes you are seeing at Oakham Canal, please consider making a safe, secure donation via Paypal to help us continue our work. We've got big plans, but we need the resources to help make them happen!