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Possible canal routes

The first new canal in the country for over 100 years could soon be flowing through Lidlington.

Due to open in 2010, building to start in 2007, it should benefit the local region with the creation of 500 permanent jobs in shops, marinas, and boat yards along the route.

The new canal should finally link the East Anglian river system with the rest of the canal network. A double-width canal, suitable for boats up to 14 feet in width, footpaths and bridal ways are planned for much of the route.

A Bedford to Grand Union canal was first suggested in 1810 by Samuel Whitbread, MP for Bedford, in 1810, and was proposed again in 1892.

One of the biggest challenges is how to tackle Brogborough Hill. Instead of tunnelling straight through or using traditional locks, a design fit for the 21st century is planned. It is now unlikely to be based upon the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland, as that was built using last centuries technology!

Route through Lidlington

In summer 2001 the Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway Trust helped fund an initial feasibility study to find the best route options.

In February 2003 the chosen route was annouced, flowing from Central Milton Keynes, through Lidlington, and joining the Ouse near Kempson, Bedford.

The proposed flow through the village is indicated here. Please note this is only a rough approximation!

For more information on The Bedford Link please visit the official Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway Trust web site at www.b-mkwaterway.org.uk or click here to see a 221kb pdf of the route.