A typical old English village located on the Grand Union Canal, with locks, old cottages, thatched inns, a double-arched bridge and a mooring place for colourful narrowboats. One of the best examples of a classic canal village in this country, where brick and stone cottages and warehouses flank the canal, presenting an idyllic rural scene.
Stoke Bruerne Canal © Travel About Britain
The smithy and ropeworks have long since gone but one of the old wharf-side warehouses has been converted into a canal centre, cafe and Waterways Museum. The museum contains a unique collection, covering 200 years of English canal history. Exhibits include a traditional narrowboat, a reconstructed butty boat cabin, steam and diesel engines and extensive displays of canal memorabilia and photographs.
Stoke Bruerne Top Lock and Boat-Weighing Machine © TAB
The Grand Union Canal was at one time a key transport artery in Britain. It is difficult to believe today that Stoke Bruerne was once a hive of industry, where boatmen stopped for supplies and a glass of ale at 'The Boat Inn', before tackling the two mile Blisworth canal tunnel.
Pleasant walks can be found both ways along the towpath. Travelling south the canal drops through seven locks into the picturesque Ouse valley. A short walk northwards takes you to the entrance to Blisworth Tunnel; which opened on 25 March 1805, after many construction difficulties. At 3076 yards long, the tunnel is longest in Britain still open to navigation. Just wide enough for two boats to pass each other, vessels carrying grain and coal were traditionally legged through - long before the invention of boat engines. Narrowboat trips to the tunnel mouth operate during the summer.
Church of St. Mary the Virgin © TAB
St. Mary the virgin, a 14th-c Perpendicular church with a fine Norman tower, overlooks the village to east. Two canalside public houses in the village, The Boat Inn, and The Navigation, both serve food and drinks.
The local village cricket club competes in the Northamptonshire Cricket League.
Stoke Park Pavilions, the ruins of the first Palladian house built in England, are situated just a few miles south of the village. Sadly the great house, built by Inigo Jones in the 1630s, was burnt to the ground in 1886. Only the pavilions and a colonnade remain. Open to the public on certain days in summer.