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The Grand Union Canal - Paddington Arm connects with the River Thames at Brentford via Bulls Bridge Junction
Researched and written by Jeannette Briggs
The Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal is a great surprise from so many aspects. The Regents Canal is well known especially its section from Camden Lock along through Regent's Park past the London Zoo and through Maida Hill Tunnel.
The Paddington Arm is - effectively - a continuation of the Regent's Canal. The locks at Little Venice were used for gauging the canal boats for tolls.
Above: Paddington Arm - junction with Regent's Canal photo by J Briggs
You can journey by canal boat past Paddington, under the elevated section of the A40 Westway and past numerous blocks of flats with the most outstanding being the enormous Trellick Tower designed by the Hungarian architect Goldfinger. This was built in the 1960ies, and is either an architectural masterpiece or a complete eyesore, depending on your personal taste. It has actually been listed as a Grade II building. The "modern brutalism" style of the tower can be counter balanced aesthetically by the numerous blocks of smart canalside apartments that have been built in more recent years - these are (in the main) both decorative and in keeping and scale with surrounding buildings make the most of their position alongside the water.
Further along this stretch you see the terrace of fine Victorian houses in the Harrow Road. Just west of Kensal Green Bridge is a good supermarket, with canal boat mooring bollards and facilities. If you need to stock up on the next part of your canal boat holiday.
Above Photo: Kensal Green Cemetery by J Briggs
Leaving the cemetery, to the south of the canal, you can see Wormwood Scrubs prison, whose towers can be glimpsed just above the sidings. It is not - however - unremitting doom and gloom and industrial wasteland here! Trees like willows and wild flowers flourish alongside the canal banks, making this a rural artery and a wildlife sanctuary in this somewhat semi-industrial section of the Paddington Arm. It is however a fascinating aspect of your canal boat holiday
If you are lucky you can see herons here, plus terrapins, swans, grebes, moorhens and coots in the shallow waters of the banks of the canal.
Beyond the Greenford Road the canal sweeps south towards Bulls Bridge Junction and passes industrial sites and suburban housing with only a few amenities for canal boaters. (The Civil Engineer pub at Southall and Willowtree Marina West Quay Yeading).
Above: Bulls Bridge Junction - photo by J Briggs
At Bulls Bridge Junction you have to turn either west towards the main Grand Union Canal towards the Midlands - or turn right and travel eastwards to the Hanwell Flight of locks and down to the River Thames at Brentford. (Permission required to do this part of the journey)
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