Latest News & Events

Work Parties 2017 – Next One on 10th December 2017

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

The next work party will take place at Ilott Wharf on Sunday 10th December 2017. The aim is to clear scrub etc. from either side of the Gilwiskaw Brook whilst ensuring that encroachment on, or disturbance to the brook itself, is avoided. Meet at 10:00 at Snarestone Wharf, where we will pick up tools before driving to the old Eurovia site at Ilott Wharf. Please ensure you bring your own refreshment, and wear suitable clothing and hard footwear.

There are some ongoing projects, which require volunteers:

Benches –We 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.

Scrub clearance at Illott Wharf – we are clearing the old wharf site in preparation for an archeological survey prior to the next phase of restoration. Work parties are continuing throughout 2017. Regular helpers will be notified by e-mail. If you wish to get involved please contact us ……

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

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.














Membership boost

At the end of September 2017 the Association’s membership exceeded 500.  It currently stands at over 510 members, and the significant boost in membership surely indicates the public interest and support for our activities and restoration plans.  Thank you to all who have recently joined us. The more members we have, the stronger is our voice in getting things done for the canal.

Further details about membership can be found by clicking on the Membership button

Restoration of the Wooden Benches

Over the coming months all the benches between Snarestone Wharf and The Lime Kilns Pub are being restored and repainted by a small team of volunteers. Nearly all of the benches have inscriptions. These benches were initially constructed and installed by the ACA in the districts governed by North West Leicestershire District Council, and Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council.  There are no ACA-installed benches south of the A5 at the Lime Kilns pub, as this part of the canal comes under the authority of Rugby District Council, who wish to make their own arrangements.

Restoring and repainting may take some time as the task is of course dependent on the weather. There is also the logistics to consider –  transporting the materials to locations which are often some way from the road. To this end the team of volunteers have been paired up, with each pair attending to a particular section of the canal.

If you should see one of our volunteers at work on the benches please give them a wave. I’m sure they will appreciate the gesture. Below is a selection of ‘before and after’ photos showing work that has already been carried out up to mid-October 2017.

Shackerstone Festival from Above

Roger Popejoy was flying at The Shackerstone Family Festival with the Delta Hawks flying club, he took a number of photographs of the canal.

Shackerstone Festival 2017 from the air.

The Late Ian Reid – ashes laying ceremony 7th October 2017


Ian Reid who was a stalwart member of Ashby Canal Association sadly died in July 2017.   Ian was a past chairman of the Association, and also held many other management committee posts during his many decades of membership.  His contribution to the success and development of the Association was immense.

Ian’s ashes arrived by boat before being scattered in the Ashby Canal at Snarestone Wharf in an informal ceremony attended by his family, friends and acquaintances.

Shackerstone Festival 2nd and 3rd September 2017

This was another successful event. Good weather on Saturday brought out the crowds.  Not so lucky with the weather on Sunday, but most people managed to stay dry!  There was, as always, a good programme of entertainment for all the family, stalls, bar, funfair, refreshments, classic cars, and lots of historic boats to admire.  The Ashby Canal Association stand did brisk business, and recruited several new members, as well as selling loads of bric-a-brac and giftware, and raising funds for our restoration project.  A very big thank you to everyone who helped out at the event. The Shackerstone Festival website ( link on our home page)  has more.


Visitors to Moira from Northern Ireland – August 24th 2017

On 24th August 2017 a small delegation from the Lagan Navigation Trust, which is spearheading the restoration of the Lagan Navigation which passes through Moira, Co Down, visited the village of Moira, Leicestershire, to see the restored Ashby Canal.  This visit was arranged by Moira Furnace Museum Trust and was a result of the positive publicity in the waterways press after the successful Moira Canal Festival earlier this year.

A presentation and talk was given to an invited audience by Brenda Turnbull, Chief Officer of the Lagan Navigation Trust.  Brenda was supported by waterway enthusiasts Lady Daphne Trimble, and her husband Lord Trimble (former first minister of Northern Ireland, and Nobel  Prize winner).  After refreshments, the party and guests were given a short cruise on the Ashby Canal trip boat “Joseph Wilkes”.

The visiting party were hosted by representatives from Moira Furnace MuseumTrust, Ashby Canal Trust, and Ashby Canal Association. The group posed for a photo before boarding the trip boat

The two Moiras share a connection – the Earl of Moira was born in Co Down, and it was his investments in the Ashby Woulds area that led to the building of Moira Furnace and the creation of the Leicestershire village which was named after the Northern Irish one.



Pre-Christmas Social Evening and Talk – Monday 11th December 2017: The Great Central Railway

At Donisthorpe Woodlands Centre (DMs), Church st., Donisthorpe, DE12 7PY

A chance to get together before Christmas and enjoy an excellent speaker.

Bill Devitt  will present an illustrated talk about the GREAT CENTRAL RAILWAY 

This railway, a latecomer to the railway scene when it was built, could have been our high-speed link to the continent. A channel tunnel was even part of the plan.   All this was long before HS1 was built and HS2 planned!

Bill will talk not only about the GCR’s history, but also look at the success of the preservation movement to retain and develop part of the line in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, as a heritage line.   Bill, who is one of our local ACA members, has been involved with some of the film and TV production companies who have used the line in recent years, so there should be plenty to interest everyone.    This will be a fascinating talk, by a very good speaker, and we hope as many as possible will come along..


As usual, a bar will be available, there is plenty of parking, and there is no admission charge, though donations are, of course, welcome, to help defray the cost of room hire.



IWA National Trailboat Festival and Moira Canal Festival report – May 2017

IWA held its 2017 trailboat festival on the northern section of the Ashby Canal between 27th and 29th May 2017, to coincide with the annual Moira Canal Festival. It was a well-attended event, and the Moira section was cruised along its entire length by the twenty-eight visiting trailboats which came from all over the country. The Moira section of canal was also well used by paddle-boarders, canoeists, and, of course, the “Joseph Wilkes” trip boat. The event drew large crowds, who had lots to entertain them on and off the water.