Napton to Priors Hardwick Defences

Myself and two friends decided to investigate the canal between Napton and Priors Hardwick which formed part of the Oxford Canal Stop Stop Line.

De-bussing at Napton we headed for the towpath at Bridge 113 and headed South to Bridge 114 at Chapel Green and here on the west side of the canal we found two octagonal Anti-Tank Blocks side by side and both in good condition one still had a surviving wooden segment.

NGR S0 001729.

The pillbox although bricked up was in reasonable condition (NGR S0 001732)

The weather conditions were overcast from the start and with a keen wind in our faces we now moved on.

Before we reached Bridge 126 on the east bank we found the 3rd Stent Pillbox near to Bridge 122 which appears to be slowly slipping into the canal but apart from this it seems to be in good condition.

S0001730 and so passing Bridge 126 we found the last Pillbox this time on the west bank so access was easy though it was well hidden in the undergrowth and covered in ivy. NGR S0 001722.

So ended our search and we happily headed off to the local pub at Priors Hardwick for a well earned drink but had the misfortune of somehow taking the wrong turning (my dad took the wrong turning in the desert in 1941 and became a P.O.W. so I appear to be upholding a family tradition!) but we quickly righted ourselves and arrived safe and sound.

Alan Orton

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Defence Structures and sites of all types both above and below ground can be very dangerous. Serious injury or even death can arise from unauthorised entry into such sites and structures. Join a responsible club, group or society who can arrange official visits. The Pillbox Study Group accepts no responsibility for any damages or injuries caused by ignoring this advice. The PSG does not encourage members to undertake the ad hoc clearance of vegetation from pillboxes, as it can expose them to physical damage and inappropriate use, it may also contravene a variety of statutory regulations including, listed buildings and SSSI designations. Vegetation clearance should only ever be undertaken as part of a formal arrangement, having sought and obtained permission from the land owner and other necessary authorities. Damaging a listed or scheduled monument can be considered as a Heritage Crime.

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