Latest News & Events

Ashby Canal Trail Award

We are pleased to announce that the Ashby Canal Trust, after a detailed submission by project advisor, Geoff Pursglove, has been awarded an IWA Waterways in Progress grant of £10,000 to establish a footpath on the line of the proposed Ashby Canal restoration between Snarestone and Measham – see also Waterways Issue 267/Spring 2020 and

This footpath will be a precursor to the main restoration project and will help raise the profile of the ACA /ACT efforts to further raise the necessary funding for the full restoration, especially with the residents of the area. 

The footpath will be a joint venture between the ACT and ACA and will involve a great deal of volunteer time from our work party team. The major groundwork clearance and preparation, and installation of the necessary pedestrian gates will be carried out by contractors. The work will be commenced in earnest during the autumn of 2020, but some preparation work is likely to take place before then.

The existing Ashby Canal towpath will form the first 1/3 mile of the route. Crossing Gilwiskaw Brook, where the route will enter a Special Area of Conservation, the length will follow the original line of the canal to Ilott Wharf and then pursue the Transport & Works Act Order route to Measham, passing the old preserved Measham Midland Railway station, now Measham museum.

IWA awards ACA for 50 years of membership

Only a small number of supporters have been members of the IWA for fifty years or more. The ACA is a corporate member and this is reflected by a logo on our letterhead.

As a thank you for our support, and in recognition of our loyalty, the ACA has received a commemorative gold-coloured plaque in celebration of this anniversary.

Both the IWA and the ACA have changed in many ways since their inception, but at heart both parties continue to ensure the protection and restoration of our waterways for our future generations to enjoy.

The ACA looks forward to continuing to support the IWA over the coming years.

ACA form a “Working Partnership” with Canal & River Trust

The ACA formed a Working Partnership with Canal & River Trust on 28th January 2020.

ACA secretary, Cyril Blackford, formalised the agreement by shaking hands with Richard Bell, Waterway and Volunteer Operations Manager, based at Swarkestone, Derbyshire.

ACA will provide the manpower, in terms of volunteers, whilst C&RT will provide the plant and machinery, leadership and expertise in helping to maintain the Ashby Canal for both boaters and towpath users.

Initially there will be two work parties in the near future  (t.b.a.). Both work parties will be run by C&RT, but with ACA providing the volunteer labour; one work party will be at Snarestone and one on the towpath opposite Trinity Marina. Richard Bell (left) Cyril Blackford (right)


Report on the AGM and social evening on Monday 13th January 2020

In spite of Storm Brendan bringing high winds and torrential rain, 41 members managed to attend the ACA’s annual AGM at Donisthorpe Woodlands Centre starting at 7:30 pm. Chairman Peter Oakden reviewed the year’s events and gave an update on the pending transfer of the Transport & Works Act Order from Leicestershire County Council to the Ashby Canal Association. Treasurer Bob Taylor presented an overview of the healthy state of the accounts, and Secretary Cyril Blackford presided over the re-selection of three committee members.

The formal meeting finished at 8:30 pm. It was followed by the premiere of a short film in which founding member, Brian Osborne, reminisced with the late Tom Henshaw about coal carrying on the Ashby Canal, the early days of the ACA, and the royal opening of the restored Stratford Canal in 1964. The film was made in 2016 by Tom’s daughter, Lesley, who was also in the audience.

Unfortunately technical gremlins that evening led to the audience having to initially watch a film with no sound, and soon after listen to an audio with no visuals. In the end we listened, rather than watched, an interesting and witty conversation between two long-standing friends.

Amongst other anecdotes, Tom and Brian recalled the construction of a concrete platform at Gopsall Wharf, which enabled lorries to offload coal into barges, without the danger of the lorry reversing into the canal. “Who built the concrete platform?” asked Brian. “It was the local boy scouts!” replied Tom. A member of the audience then mentioned that he had been one of those boys scouts involved in its construction. There was further interaction from the audience as another attendee recounted some technical problems with offloading the coal at Gopsall Wharf.

The entertaining evening finished at 9:45. Once the film has been uploaded to the internet, this website will include a link to the video, so that other members can enjoy their memories.


Report on the social evening on 5th December 2019

The ACA returned to The Miller’s Hotel at Sibson for an illustrated talk by Tim Coghlan (of Braunston Marina fame) on the shipwright Aubrey John Berriman, who spent much of his working life in Braunston, and who died in March 2019 at the grand old age of 94.

Aubrey was born in the coastal town of Bideford, Devon, which had a long tradition of wooden ship building. In 1940, at the age of 14, Aubrey learnt the craft of boatbuilding, working at Blackmores. However, by the 1950s, trade had dried up, and layoffs began.

When Samuel Barlow Coal Carrying Company Ltd. of Braunston Marina put an advertisement in the Western Morning News for a shipwright, Aubrey applied and was offered the job. He and his young family moved to Braunston.

Aubrey was instrumental in building Raymond. It was launched in 1958 and proved to be the last wooden narrowboat built for the canals. When Barlows ceased trading in 1962, the yard was acquired by Blue Line Cruisers. Aubrey was made their foreman and he diversified into building leisure craft. He retired at the age of 63 and continued to live in Braunston until his death.

He is commemorated in a plaque on the so-called Braunston Wall of Fame at the marina.

Report on Quiz Night on 15th November 2019

Over 70 people attended the annual quiz night at Stoke Golding Club, which for the first time was held on a Friday night.

Fourteen teams took part in the contest to answer 8 rounds of questions and 2 picture rounds. Aided by a new sound system and a new method of collecting scores after two rounds instead of one round as previously, the quizzing took place at a fast pace. The fish and chip suppers arrived promptly at 9 pm as planned, at which point the second picture round was handed out.

There were 10 questions on each topic: film and TV, transport, science, sports, food and drink, general knowledge, geography, and pot luck. Each team was allowed to play their joker once (but not on the picture round), which doubled their score.

The questions were somewhat more achievable than in previous years, which was reflected in the final scores. The winning team was “Splinters” with 89 points, followed closely by 6 teams whose scores ranged from 88 to 84 points.

Thanks to your support, the quiz night raised £397.42 for the restoration.

Put next year’s quiz in your diaries – Saturday 14th November 2020!

Work Parties in 2020 – next one on Sunday 23rd February 2020

Our  work parties usually take place on the third Sunday of the month, and the usual starting location is Snarestone Wharf, Quarry Lane, Snarestone (sat nav postcode DE12 7DD), or Ilott Wharf, Bosworth Road (Google map ref. 52.696407-1.484737) from around 10:00 a.m.

There will be a work party on Sunday 23rd February 2020. Meet 10 am at Snarestone Wharf, Quarry Lane, Snarestone DE12 7DD. Please bring a packed lunch and wear suitable clothing and footwear. We will be cutting and clearing the site of the new nature reserve where the fence was recently constructed.

There are some ongoing projects, which also require volunteers:

BenchesWe have a number of benches, seats or picnic tables spaced along the canal between Snarestone and The Lime Kilns pub. A small number of volunteers have been assigned to various locations along the canal corridor and good progress is being made in repainting these.

If you can help, or would like to know more, please get in touch with Clive Walker on  01827 282298 or David Watts on 01455 846007, or e mail:

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 or David Watts 01455 846007 for details

Report from the work party on Sunday 19th January 2020

A fence was erected between the land where the wooden chalets are being built (the offside bend in the canal just north of Snarestone slipway) and the land bordering the canal, which is owned by the ACA. Wooden posts were inserted into the ground and cross timbers attached to create a secure fence.

Report from the work party on Sunday 21st September 2019

The hedge was trimmed and the middle of the offside nature reserve was strimmed. A large amount of orange balsam was also removed. Work also continued on the canopy over the shop front. 

Report from the work party on Sunday 28th April 2019

Essential maintenance was carried out on a birch tree at Snarestone Wharf that is in danger of becoming uprooted following recent stormy weather.

Report from the work party on Sunday 24th March 2019

At Ilott Wharf a number of volunteers repaired a fence that had been damaged by a fallen willow, whilst others made the most of the good weather and burnt scrub. The day finished with some reed cutting in the nature reserve at Snarestone Wharf.

Report from the work party on Sunday 18th February 2019

Eight volunteers continued to trim the towpath hedge, whilst two other volunteers removed the planks from two damaged benches opposite Hinckley Marina. The benches will eventually be re-fitted with fresh, treated planks..

Report from the work party on Sunday 20th January 2019

Six volunteers helped trim the towpath hedge between Snarestone Wharf and bridge 62.

Report from the work party on Sunday 16th December 2018

Twelve volunteers helped trim the towpath hedge between Snarestone Wharf and bridge 62.

Report from the work party on Sunday 21st October 2018

Fourteen volunteers cleared scrub at the entrance to the car park at Ilott Wharf, thus improving the visibility of the noticeboard from the Bosworth Road.  In addition, grass and brambles were cut around the bases of the saplings that line the wooden fencing. This will improve their chances of further growth.

Report from the work party on Sunday 3rd June 2018

Six volunteers cleared rubbish, cut down saplings and burned scrub in preparation for the visit of the University of Leicester between 5th and 7th June 2018. In order to improve accessibility, and to make the terrain more visible, it has been decided to contract a local farmer to mow the grass before the start of the archaeological dig. This may also help to reduce the prevalence of ruts which make the ground very uneven and difficult to walk or work on.

Report from the work party on Sunday 15th April 2018

Twelve volunteers cleared scrub at Ilott Wharf, and repaired the wire fence that borders the site of the car boot sale. Afterwards the volunteers enjoyed a BBQ at the new purpose-built site at Snarestone Wharf.

Report from the work party on Sunday 18th February 2018

Twenty two volunteers, including several new faces, cleared scrub, broke up large hay bales, painted gates and tidied the hard standing area at Ilott Wharf.

Report from the work party on Sunday 28th January 2018

Sixteen volunteers worked either side of the Gilwiskaw Brook clearing and burning further scrub and brambles. 

Report from the work party on Sunday 12th November 2017

Fifteen volunteers, five of whom turned up for the first time, helped clear scrub and brambles from both sides of the Gilwiskaw Brook, The yellow and red engineering posts, that mark the location of the pending aqueduct are now clearly visible and more easily accessible.






Latest Additions to Snarestone Wharf

If you have been to Snarestone Wharf recently, you may have noticed a few changes and additions:


There is a sturdy noticeboard supported by iron posts, welcoming visitors  to the Ashby Canal Restoration. It is situated alongside the winding hole, for all to see.


At this time of year, many of the shop’s contents are brought outside. Their display has been enhanced by a colourful painting created by Emma’s Crafty Kids at this year’s Moira Festival. 


Hot drinks are now available to purchase from the shop at £1.25 a cup.

The shop front will shortly be adorned by an awning enabling sale items to remain outside in all weathers..