ADVICE FOR BOATERS – Moorings and Provisions and facilities
When the canal was built, for horse drawn boats, there were just a few mooring points at recognised wharfs and most of the canal had shallow sides. Dredging and piling in certain places over recent decades places has improved the mooring situation for modern day boaters, but it can still be problematic. It will probably take a day and a half or two days to cruise the length of the canal. Take it steady, keep to the channel, and you should have no problems. Lots of full length deep-draughted ex-working boats visit the canal each year and don’t experience any problems. You will also find that as the waterway is largely rural, there are not many shops near the canal. Here are some suggestions for moorings and buying provisions. Heading north. (Note: mileposts on the canal show miles up to 30 – this being the original length of the canal. The mileage to the limit of navigation at Br 62 is approx. 22.5 miles.)
MARSTON JUNCTION TO HINCKLEY
Casual Mooring on the towpath is usually possible round the area of bridge 3. There can be noise from the West Coast Main Line railway bridge (3A) but it is not too bad. No shops on this stretch. Good CRT visitor moorings at bridge 5. Access to the road from here, where there is a handy pub serving food. Good casual rural moorings on the towpath a short distance after Bridge 6 (the stretch known colloquially as Hospital Bend). Bridge 15 has visitor moorings, a Water Point, and gives access to the Lime Kilns Pub, which is canalside, and serves food. The A5 road crosses here which can by noisy at times, but generally not too bad.
Hinckley visitor moorings are just beyond bridge 16, or you can perhaps moor on the piled towpath beyond the bend near bridge 17. [Bridge 16 moorings are opposite a residential development, as is the towpath up to bridge 17, so to avoid disturbance to residents please do not run generators or engines for long periods or at night.] From Bridge 16 you can walk up Nutts Lane to the main road (Coventry Rd), Turn right along Coventry Rd, past the Wharf Inn, and in about 100 yards is Strathmore Rd with a well-stocked Londis Convenience Store open from early morning to late at night. Next door to this is a post office, and across the junction is a fish and chip shop and café. If you wish to go into Hinckley town centre you can catch the No 158 or 48 bus from a stop opposite the junction with Nutts Lane. The service (Mon to Sat) is fairly frequent, usually every twenty minutes. In Hinckley town centre you will find everything you want.
Mooring is also usually available at Trinity Marina just after bridge 17. Here is a Canalside Pub/Restaurant but moorings may be chargeable. The Marina’s chandlery shop could be useful as it stocks a few grocery supplies. Fuel and boating facilities are available at the Marina.
STOKE GOLDING AREA
Further up the canal, two farm shops are based near the canal. One is at bridge 23, SpinneyBank, (which also sells Calor Gas) and one near bridge 25, Tomlinson’s, down the lane at Stoke Golding, beyond the old railway bridge. Mooring is possible on the towpath near bridge 23 and there are mooring rings on the towpath near Bridge 25. Ashby Boat Co’s hire base at Br. 25 sells diesel, guide books and some chandlery items. Stoke Golding village can be accessed by mooring near Bridge 25 – it is an up-hill walk which will bring you to a village store (which closes at lunchtimes). The George and Dragon pub, and the Three Horseshoes pub are also nearby. There are comprehensive boat maintenance facilities at Ashby Canal Centre (Willow Park Marina) whose (narrow) entrance is on the left shortly after bridge after bridge 26. The towpath just beyond the marina entrance bridge may be suitable for casual mooring, but can be a bit shallow. You can also access Stoke Golding by walking up the road from the visitor moorings (known locally as Bath Piece) which are near the bend on the offside after bridge 27. These are excellent moorings, with picnic tables near where the lane adjoins the canal.
SUTTON CHENEY AREA
Mooring is generally possible on the towpath a few hundred yards before bridge 34. At bridge 34 is Sutton Cheney Wharf and winding hole. Popular Tea Room/Cafe here. Water Point, Sanitary Station, and refuse disposal, A landing stage on the offside just beyond the wharf gives access to all facilities, and to a path which leads to a pleasant walk through Ambion Wood to the Bosworth Battlefield Visitor Centre. Towpath mooring (which can be a bit shallow) just before the old railway bridge 34A gives access to a track on the line of the railway leading to Shenton Station for the Battlefield Line Heritage Railway), and also to another path leading to the Battlefield Centre. Note: The former visitor moorings on the offside of Shenton embankment were closed some years ago.
MARKET BOSWORTH AREA
The next place (northbound) for provisions is Market Bosworth. Buses: From the visitor moorings near bridge 42, walk to the nearby bus terminus on the road where you can either catch a Leicester bound No 153 bus (Mon to Sat) into Bosworth market square, or if you are fit, walk up the hill (about a mile). The bus leaves the terminus near the road junction by the Marina every hour at approximately five minutes to the hour. There is a Co-op in Market Bosworth, several other shops, and a fish and chip shop. Buses back, No 153, from the Market Square are every hour at just after quarter to the hour. There is a water point by the visitor moorings and a winding hole. Bosworth Marina provides moorings and services for boaters.
This stretch of canal beyond Br. 44 is a protected SSSI, so mooring is not encouraged and boaters are asked to proceed gently and not disturb wildlife. particularly where there are reeds on the bank. There are however some places to moor. Visitor moorings just after bridge 47 give access to Congerstone Village and the Horse & Jockey pub. This bridge can be a noisy spot as motorists often sound their horn when crossing. There is some decent piled towpath between bridges 49 and 50 where mooring is possible, and you can also access Congerstone Village from here. No shops in Congerstone. Buses run to Atherstone – see timetable below
Shackerstone has good visitor moorings just after the station bend and aqueduct before Br.52 and also just after Br. 52. Moor here to walk down to the Battlefield Line Heritage Railway, or to visit the lovely conservation village with its popular pub, the Rising Sun, which does food.
Buses run every two hours ( Mon to Sat) from Shackerstone and Congerstone to Atherstone (where there is a large Co-op store, plus an Aldi supermarket and lots of other shops). No 7 service provided by Roberts Travel, times: dep Shackerstone Nr. Church Road 09.19; 11.19; 13.19. Journey time to Atherstone approx 20 minutes. (Congerstone departure times from the stop near Barton Road are 2 minutes later, Return service from Atherstone bus station 10.03, 12.03. 14.03
Visitor Moorings for Snarestone village and pub (The Globe, which does food) are just before the tunnel. There are no shops in Snarestone, but a shortish walk up the lane out of the village leads to Alpaca Park Farm, which is a visitor attraction with alpacas, a tea-room/cafe, and which also sells knitting supplies.
Buses (No 7 Roberts service) run every two hours to Measham (and also to Atherstone – see above) from the stop outside the Globe Inn. Departure times for Measham are 10.41;12.41; 14.41 (journey time to Measham approx ten minutes) ( return departures 11.00; 1300; 1451. In Measham you can get all you need from the small Tesco in the middle of the High Street, or the Co-op near the bottom of the street. There are several other shops here as well, including newsagent, post office, car spares shop, fish and chip shops, butcher, good hardware store, and a jeweller (one of whose specialities is a miniature Buckby Can charm, if you want a nice souvenir of your trip on the canal.) Also several cafes.
The No 7 Bus runs south from Snarestone to Atherstone at 9.10, 11.10, 13.10; return departures from Atherstone 10.03; 12.03, 14.03
NOTE ABOUT SNARESTONE TUNNEL: Due to the roof height it is difficult for two narrowboats to pass comfortably without risking damage. There is a CRT safety notice before the tunnel entrance, with a reference to one-way operation, but the lettering is rather small and easy to miss. A waiting area is provided at each end of the tunnel. Take care and always make sure the tunnel is clear before entering.
If you have failed to stock up, there is not much else till you reach Snarestone Wharf. ACA’s little shop here has a very small range of essentials like tea bags, coffee, long-life milk, sugar, charcoal for the BBQ, and bags of coal in winter. We also sell delicious locally made ice cream. Hot drinks/soup are available too. We haven’t got the facilities or space to provide anything else. It is a long-ish walk into Measham, but there is a leaflet available in the little shop with directions, and it is a good way to see how the canal restoration scheme is progressing. Some boaters use a taxi service to get into Measham – enquire at the wharf for details of taxi firms.
The opening times for ACA’s little souvenir shop, information point, and Bric- a- Brac Emporium at Snarestone Wharf are dependent on the availability of volunteers – but we are usually open Tuesday to Saturday from about 10 – 4 pm, and every day in the summer. We may be closed on some days in the winter.
Water point, refuse, Sanitary Station and the last full-length winding hole here.
Also slipway available and parking by arrangement (fee payable – enquire at the shop – concessions for ACA members)
MOORING AT SNARESTONE WHARF
CRT’s Visitor moorings are after bridge 61, before the winding hole. Boaters are encouraged, if they wish, to go though swing-bridge 61A and moor on the restored length of canal beyond, where ACA looks after the canal on behalf of Leics. County Council. There are mooring bollards here, a BBQ area, seats and picnic tables. 48 Hour mooring is free. A charge of £10 per day applies after this period, except for concessions for ACA and AWCC members who may moor for seven days.
The length of canal here is restored and navigable beyond the pumping station, through newly rebuilt bridge 62 and its use is encouraged. However, the winding hole beyond Br.62 can only accommodate boats up to approx. 52 feet, (So be prepared to test your skill and reverse back if you are over this length).
We are informed that some supermarkets will deliver grocery orders placed on-line to the canal, provided an address is given (eg. Canal Bridge xxx, and name of village and a post code,) You can often find the relevant post code by asking locals. Morrisons deliver from a central depot (rather than a store) and we have been told by visiting boaters that they offer a good service.
CANOES AND UNPOWERED CRAFT
The slipway at Snarestone wharf is ideal for launching, by prior arrangement. Canoes should be registered with British Canoeing (formerly the British Canoe Union), otherwise a short term unpowered craft licence and evidence of insurance will be required by Canal & River Trust. (See Canal and River Trust website for details and to buy a licence on-line). Bear in mind that canoeists heading south will have to cope with Snarestone Tunnel. There are also two slipways on the restored unconnected length of Ashby Canal at Moira; this stretch is popular with canoeists, but note that portaging round Moira Lock will be required. Local enquiries at Moira Furnace Museum are recommended.