Supporters of Buckingham Canal Society cut the first ceremonial sod towards the restoration of Buckingham Canal on Friday.
Patrons John Bercow MP and Lord Boswell of Aynho joined society members and other community leaders as the first spade entered the ground at Bourton Meadow.
The ceremony marked the start of the project to rewater the Buckingham Canal, which has not held water for over 100 years.
The work has been made possible thanks to a grant award of £69,985 from WREN, which was enabled by £7,698 of seed funding from an Aylesbury Vale Community Chest grant.
There has been a lot of support for the venture from local residents.
Originally, the waterway to Buckingham ran for just under 11 miles, from the Grand Union Canal at Cosgrove Lock along the Stony Stratford and Buckingham Arms.
The current project site at Bourton Meadow consists of a section of canal just over 350 metres long which, when rewatered, will form a lake.
Before the heavy work can start, some existing vegetation has to be removed and a natural river ford enhanced, to create access to the site for the contractors and their machinery.
The contactors will then line the canal with a special material called Bentoline SS100 clay liner, before it can be filled with water.
Finally, part of the Ouse Valley Way that was the original towpath will be resurfaced and nearby hedges replanted and improved.
It is expected that the contractors will be on site in July and that the relining work will take four to six weeks.
Society spokesman Terry Cavender said: “We’ve done a pre-application enqury to the Environment Agency and they say provisionally we can have the water from the river to fill it up, subject to no drought.”
The society thanked the landowner, Nick Hawes, and his family for their ongoing support of the project, which was initially supported by his father.