Latest News & Events

Local Schoolchildren Create Models of the Gilwiskaw Aqueduct

Schoolchildren from Snarestone C of E Primary School recently held a competition to create a model of the proposed Gilwiskaw Aqueduct.  The winning entries were proudly displayed to the Association on 12th May 2017. We thank the headteacher and the parents for permitting us to publicize this event.

Information Boards at Gopsall Wharf, Oakthorpe Colliery Picnic Site, and Hinckley

Hard-wearing information displays have now been inserted into the two noticeboards, which were erected at Gopsall Wharf and Oakthorpe Colliery Picnic Site by two previous work parties.

Both displays give the visitor their location on the map, and put the canal into its historical setting. Together with its adjacent milepost (27/3), the noticeboard at Oakthorpe denotes a loop in the canal which remained in water until closure of the colliery in the early 1990s.

Further south along the canal, at the Limekilns water point and moorings near Hinckley, the missing information board has been replaced. This now lists some of the attractions to be found along the canal heading north, with mileages, and is aimed at boaters, walkers and cyclists.

A QR code on the all the new signs enables smartphone users to access this website and the downloadable canal guide.

The printed insert for the noticeboard at Gopsall Wharf.

Inserting the display at Gopsall Wharf on 4th April 2017.

The printed insert for the noticeboard at Oakthorpe Colliery Picnic Site.

Inserting the display at Oakthorpe Colliery Picnic Site on 5th April 2017.

Information Board and Milepost 27/3 at Oakthorpe Colliery Picnic Site. The line of the canal ran immediately behind the noticeboard and milepost in a loop.

The new sign being installed at The Limekilns, Bridge 15 in April 2017.  Joy Harrison of HBBC doing a good job clearing litter from the towpath, while the sign was being erected.





The laying of Tom Henshaw’s Ashes 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.

Members of his family assembled south of Snarestone Tunnel at midday where they boarded the working boats Nuneaton and Brighton. A piper, playing Scottish laments, led the boats through the tunnel and on towards Snarestone Wharf, where the family disembarked. They mingled with a large party of well-wishers, reminisced and enjoyed a barbecue. Andrew Denny, the editor of Waterways World, was also present.

Sarah Henshaw, his daughter, accompanied by Tom’s great grandchildren, scattered his ashes beneath the tree, where her mother also lay.

Afterwards there was a short presentation of two cheques from Tom Henshaw’s estate – £2000 to the Narrowboat Trust and £5000 to the Ashby Canal Association.

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.


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 an information leaflet/canal guide 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.)  Or you can refer to the new sign on the towpath nearby for mileages and a list of attractions. Smartphone users can scan the QR code on the sign to access this website and the downloadable version of the canal guide.

Alternatively, you may wish to download and print the latest version of our guide from this website – just click on the yellow button on the right.


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 inquire at the little kiosk, if open.   We have some new volunteers for the 2017 season, but they 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 should be open on most days during the summer season thanks to new volunteers Michael and Christina Wooding, plus our regular gang of keen helpers.

new  caretaker Michael Wooding is greeted by ACA chairman Peter Oakden.  Michael and Christina arrived in May to look after our shop and information kiosk at Snarestone.

Postcards, gifts, navigation plaques, souvenir mugs, tea-towels, etc., are on sale, and locally made ice cream from nearby Gopsall Farm.  We also have a stock of beautiful specially photographed canal-scene greetings cards.  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. (please note opening hours depend on the availability of volunteers).

Moorings beyond the swing-bridge 61A are limited to 48 hours, thereafter £10 per day. Boaters are welcome to enjoy this pleasant stretch.  However, please note that these waters are governed by Leicestershire County Council regulations, which require boats to have a CRT licence, comply with boat safety regulations, and be insured.   Concessions for moorers 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 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.  The offside of the newly restored length is rich in wild flowers in the summer, and lots of different bird species have been spotted.