Bold Beginnings

Bold beginnings: the first new waterway in a century is growing 
East to West, from the Great Ouse to the Grand Union Canal. 
Doorway to the Fens, a silver link between old and new towns,
Flowing from lake to lake, freely and forever. At Stewartby
Old brick pits fill with gleaming waters; soon visitors will watch vessels
Rise sky-high on a mighty boat lift at Brogborough Hill.
Diggers make culverts under highways, cranes build bridges over byways -

Milton Keynes to Marston Vale and all the way to Bedford.
Inhabitants of new homes will find inspiration here:
Life in the waterway park. Hidden behind hedgerows
This green space is just the place to spot birds, cast a spinning rod
Or sit on a bench with friends and watch the world go by.
No need for tarmac and train tracks: commuters can

Kayak or cycle to work, tracing a new blue line over the map -
Every day the journey will be different. Summer and winter,
Year-in, year-out, colourful craft cast reflections on the water.
Narrowboats glide by – gardens on the roof, pets in the galley.
Early morning on the Embankment, rowers train for gold:
Some setting out, and others making a safe arrival.

By Nancy Campbell
Canal Laureate for the Canal & River Trust

Listen to Nancy Campbell reading Bold Beginnings:

The Canal Laureate project is a collaboration between The Poetry Society and the Canal & River Trust, part of the Arts on the Waterways programme supported by Arts Council England and the Arts Council of Wales. For more details, visit and