Latest News & Events

Celebrating the life of Tom Henshaw on Saturday 13th May 2017

The late Tom Henshaw made It known that he wished his ashes to be scattered beneath the tree at Snarestone Wharf where his wife’s ashes were scattered. He was the principal founder of the Narrow Boat Trust, and a president of the ACA. With the full agreement of his family, an event is planned at Snarestone when his ashes will be scattered and his close relatives will present some cheques will be handed to both the ACA and the NBT. The Narrow Boat Trust will bring along their working boats Nuneaton and Brighton and it is anticipated that his ashes may be borne a short way through Snarestone Tunnel to the wharf.

Members of the public are welcome to attend.

Black Swan Sighted at Moira Furnace

A black swan was first sighted at Moira Furnace on Feb 27th and then disappeared until March15th.  It attaches itself to the existing white pair who give the appearance of just tolerating its presence. Any white swan gets chased away very promptly. I took these pictures on March 15th.

Nigel Hancock

Report on Social Evening – first showing of Coventry Canal Film – Monday March 13th 2017

On Monday evening 13th March, at Donisthorpe Woodlands Centre, Donisthorpe ,  Brian Langtry of Ashby based Legless Productions Ltd., presented the first showing of his new film “The Coventry Canal”  at a well attended social evening.  The 50 minute film covered the whole length of this most interesting canal from Coventry to Fradley.   There was also some musical entertainment by Brian together with Graham Kettle, much appreciated by the audience. This was the last of the season’s social meetings. The next one is scheduled for October, and more details will be posted nearer the time.

Brian Langtry and Graham Kettle performing at Donisthorpe Miners’ Welfare Centre 13th March 2017


IWA National Trailboat Festival May 2017

The IWA will be holding its 2017 trailboat festival on the northern section of the Ashby Canal between 27th and 29th May 2017, to coincide with the annual Moira Festival. It promises to be a well-attended event, and the Moira section will be cruised along its entire length. It will also be an opportunity for visitors to see boats using the lock and Bath Yard basin. Further details are available at:


Pumping Station Beams at Snarestone

Beams from the old pumping station adjacent to the canal at Snarestone Wharf have been rescued by ACA member Rod Smith, and erected on a plinth at the wharf. the original iron railings have also been placed in position.  The pumping station is now a private dwelling. The pump was used to supply water to Hinckley – it did not supply the canal.  A small green cabin in the nearby lane houses an electric pump which now does the job for Severn-Trent Water. Interestingly, it is thought hat the steam pumping engine, although built alongside the canal, did not get its coal supplies by water – rather by horse and cart from nearby Measham.

volunteers have helped install the beams and railings, and are now painting them (Spring 2017)  It is intended that they will be finished in Brunswick Green.

Annual General Meeting January 2017 – report

The Annual General Meeting of Ashby Canal Association was held on the evening of Monday 9th January 2017 at Donisthorpe Woodlands Centre (DM’s), Church St, Donisthorpe, DE12 7PY  with over 40 persons attending.  The formal business included unanimous approval of the Trustees’ Report and Accounts for the year ended 30th September 2016,  the re-election of three management committee members, and a comprehensive review of the year by the Chairman. This included an update on the current state of the restoration scheme, with opportunity for questions from the floor.

(The report and accounts can be viewed by clicking on the light green Trustees’ Report button on the home page.)

After the formal business, Geoff Pursglove  presented a varied selection of archive slides from the collection of Tom Henshaw, our late president. This proved to be a most interesting session, as most of the slides had never been seen before, and there was a lot of  input from the audience regarding identification of locations and dates, etc.   They were mostly, but not exclusively, of the Ashby Canal.   Geoff now hopes to scan some of the slides and reproduce them digitally on the archive page of this website in due course.


New Ashby Canal Route Map

A new route map of the existing canal, including its proposed restoration, is available from Waterway Routes at

The maps are easy to road and will appeal to both walkers and boaters alike. Maps can be downloaded in either Acrobat (pdf) Format or Memory-Map (qct)  Format.

An example of the quality of the mapping is given in the photographic excerpt below:


The Ashby Canal From Above

ACA member Paul B. has been photographing some well-known landmarks from his quadcopter since 2014. There are also a number of his videos uploaded to YouTube:



Moira Furnace

Moira Furnace

Moira Furnace

Moira Furnace

Moira Furnace

Moira Furnace

Moira Furnace

Moira Furnace

Moira Lock

Moira Lock

The next restoration stage - Gilwiskaw Aqueduct and Ilott Wharf

Gilwiskaw Aqueduct and Ilott Wharf

Marston Junction.

Marston Junction

Bosworth Marina.

Bosworth Marina

Coal Event at Snarestone April 2014

Coal Event at Snarestone April 2015

NB Aquarius and Ilford April 2014

NB Aquarius and Ilford April 2015

News and advice for Boaters

News and advice for Boaters – 2017

Boaters travelling north on the Ashby Canal from the direction of Marston Junction, please note you can pick up a copy of our canal guide leaflet from the yellow box on a post near the Limekilns Water point, just before bridge 15.  You will need a CRT “Watermate” key to unlock the box.

Alternatively, you can download and print the latest version of our guide from this website – just click on the yellow button on the right.  We are updating some of our noticeboards to include a QR code which you can scan with your smartphone, to access our website and guide from the towpath.


Boaters wishing to access the newly restored length of canal from the Pumping Station to Bridge 62 are advised that the winding hole beyond the new bridge 62 is limited to boats of 16 metres or less  (approx 52 feet).  Longer boats must be prepared to reverse for a considerable distance.  Otherwise, please turn boats round at the full-size winding hole just before the water point and sanitary station.  Swing Bridge 61A, which marks the end of CRT waters,  is  kept locked and bolted.   Volunteers, when on duty at our Snarestone site, will be happy to give advice.  Please enquire at the little kiosk, if open.   However, our volunteers are just that – they are not paid, and are there in their own time, so we regret we cannot guarantee that there will be someone available.

If you are working the bridge yourself, a CRT “Watermate” key is needed for the padlock, which is on the off-side of the bridge near ground level. Please remember to re-lock, and bolt, the bridge after use.  Remember, boats over 16m (approx 52ft)  will not be able to turn round on this stretch, so check the boat length before proceeding, or be prepared to test your boating skill by reversing for a long distance!

Our little shop and information kiosk is open on most days during the summer season. Postcards, gifts, navigation plaques, souvenir mugs, tea-towels, etc., are on sale.  You can also get a souvenir navigation certificate if you have travelled the length of the canal. Our adjacent bric-a-brac emporium has lots of bargains.  All proceeds help the ACA’s funds and go towards the care and restoration of the Ashby Canal.  Membership forms are also available should you wish to join the Association.   Opening hours depend on the availability of volunteers.  Throughout the winter months the shop will be closed on Sundays, and possibly some weekdays.

Moorings beyond the swing-bridge 61A are limited to 48 hours, thereafter £10 per day. These waters are governed by Leicestershire County Council regulations.   Concessions are available for ACA and AWCC club members – please enquire.  For details of slipway access, etc, please click on the slipway and moorings  button at the top of his page. Note new charges apply from 1st January 2017.

An off -line nature reserve is alongside the canal at Snarestone – providing a protected habitat for submerged and floating plants and aquatic creatures.  23 aquatic species were recorded last year in this small reserve.  



Work Parties 2017 – next one on 26th March 2017

IMGP4270Bench Installation Gopsall

Our series of winter work parties have now begun, They usually take place on the third Sunday of the month, and the usual starting location is Snarestone Wharf, from around 10.15am.

The next working party will return to Ilott Wharf on Sunday 26th March 2017.

Meet at 10 am at the Eurovia site entrance off the Bosworth Road near the proposed aqueduct, where we will park the cars. Please bring your own lunch and wear appropriate clothing and footwear. It is intended to continue with clearance work at Ilott Wharf in preparation for a planned historical excavation of the site in the near future. The priority is to clear and burn brambles, wood and stumps, and to fell some smaller trees on the site. If you have any hand saws you are welcome to bring them.

In addition if the weather is dry, a small group of people – 2-3 maximum – will leave the main work party to assist with inserting two printed displays into the empty noticeboards at Gopsall Wharf and Oakthorpe picnic site. This work will entail driving to the sites, unscrewing the bulky fittings, slotting in the respective insert, and then refastening the fittings.

The printed insert for the noticeboard at Oakthorpe Pit.

The printed insert for the noticeboard at Gopsall Wharf.


In addition there is a series of ongoing projects, which also require volunteers.

  1. We have a few notice boards to replace and update at various locations.

2. We also have a number of benches or seats spaced along the whole length of the Ashby Canal. These are of timber construction and from time to time need maintaining by repainting with wood preservative.  WE NEED HELP WITH THIS JOB . The work can be carried out at any time to suit the individual, and paint brushes, gloves, etc., are provided.  Our aim is to ensure the benches are treated before the spring.

If you can help, or would like to know more, please get in touch with Peter Oakden on  01827 880677, or e mail


Inserting a noticeboard at Gopsall Wharf

Working Wednesdays

We hold informal work parties most Wednesdays at Snarestone Wharf,  from approx 10.15 am to early afternoon.  There are usually plenty of jobs to be done – including grass cutting, weeding, keeping the site tidy, sorting  bric-a-brac,  putting up notices, maintaining our sheds, etc.  Very informal but rewarding.  If you would like to join us – you would be most welcome.

Please call Rod Smith on 01530 833307 for details

Report from work party on Sunday 26th February 2017

Twelve volunteers continued clearance work at Ilott Wharf.

Ilott Wharf work party 26th February 2017.


Report from work party on Sunday 22nd January 2017

Thirteen volunteers cleared scrub and wood from Ilott Wharf in preparation for a historical survey of the site. 

Work Party at Ilott Wharf Sunday 22nd January 2017