A BOATER says moorings on the Oxford Canal are some of the worst and most dangerous he has seen in the UK.

Richard MacKenzie, known as Rich, travels the waterways across the country making and selling upcycled jewellery with his family. 

When he arrived in Oxford earlier this month, he said he was disappointed to see bank walls collapsing and potholes opening up - and he said other boaters are avoiding the city for this reason.

The 41-year-old, who was born in Oxford and raised in Bicester, told the Oxford Mail: "Boaters don't want to come here which is a real shame. It is a real let-down. I am so incredibly proud of the Oxford Canal but whenever we speak to boaters they say, 'oh, we never go down to Oxford, we turn off and go down the Thames. The boaters are really lovely but the moorings are atrocious'.

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thisisoxfordshire: Pothole along Oxford CanalPothole along Oxford Canal

“And that’s why we are missing out on boaters coming in. Oxford is one of the stop-off points, but they don’t come here because it’s not safe.”

When mooring his boat at Hythe Bride Arm a few weeks ago, Rich noticed a portion of the bank wall – which he says is 30cm deep and half a metre wide - was about to collapse. “It’s ready to go,” he said.

“The issue with the side of the canal is it is a stone wall, and that wall has fallen in. When you come to the bank, your foot falls into the soil and you can’t get the boat into the side as obstacles are stopping you," he added. 

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thisisoxfordshire: Pothole along Oxford CanalPothole along Oxford Canal

The Oxford Canal is 78 miles long and links Oxford with Bedworth via Banbury and Rugby.

The boater says he told the Canal and River Trust about the situation before, but went public on Tuesday tweeting the Trust directly in the hope it will fix the issues once and for all.

He added: "It would be so nice to get it sorted so that we can say to boaters that the moors have been fixed - not that they’re rubbish.”

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thisisoxfordshire: Rich and his familyRich and his family

The Canal and River Trust said ‘some great work’ has been done along the canal in partnership with Oxford City Council and will be ‘investing many thousands of pounds’ on work to improve the canal banks ‘at various locations’ in the year ahead.

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It continued: “However, as a charity, we’re constantly seeking help and funds to improve this amazing green and blue space for boaters and residents to enjoy.”

The Trust also said the Wolvercote Lift Bridge replacement has been delayed until the new year, 'but it is still very much on the list of major works for this winter'. 

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