Restoration of Morton Basin
in Abandoned Arm of the Oxford Canal
of Hillmorton Conservation Area

To speed boat traffic on the North Oxford Canal, in 1837 the route was shortened by 11 miles. Often this was achieved by the simple means of cutting a sharp corner and blocking off one end of the redundant part, leaving an arm which could then be used as a wharf for mooring maintenance boats or load-carrying working boats awaiting their next contract. This left the main canal towing path clear of moored boats which would have been an obstruction for the horses, which at the time, were the only motive power. The redundant Arm below the bottom lock at Hillmorton became a Basin for the boats of the Oxford Canal Company at their main depot.

1830's Oxford Canal Company map of proposed changes

1830's OCC map details of Hillmorton

1843 Tithe Map

1880 OS map                        
                       1913 OS map

The 1843 Tithe map shows the arm as the "Old Cut" by the 1880 OS map it is clearly a Basin but by 1913 it is disused. Over time the Basin as become over grown and full of decades of leaf mould compost.

 It is the intention of the Old Mortonians to restore the Basin and provide moorings for historic boats and a heritage attraction in line with the founding principles of the Old Mortonians.

You can download the full proposal here


Initial investigation

Securing the site

Low level 

Five go Canal Restoring 2nd February 2016:-

Colin tackles the fallen tree which blocked the towing path and took out the fence.

A very clear canal bed with the canal on the horizon just asking to come in

And turn around 180 degrees.