Latest News & Events

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-September 2017.

Ashby Canal 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 family are planning a short ceremony at which Ian’s ashes will be scattered on Saturday October 7th 2017 at Snarestone Wharf, at 11am.  All members and friends are welcome to attend.

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.



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.