Latest News & Events

Coronoavirus and Boating Update from C&RT , dated 23 June 2020

Staying on your boat

As you may have heard, the Government has today announced measures to continue the easing of lockdown. Importantly, this means that from Saturday 4 July all boaters in England will be able to stay overnight on their boats.

While longer journeys are now possible, and our navigations are open in full, please bear in mind that booking for some passages and services will be required. Anything that is likely to affect your boating will be listed on our website.

In Wales, you can go out on your boat if you can do it locally. This generally means not travelling further than five miles to where your boat is moored. There should be no overnight stays on boats, no landing in any place beyond the immediate local area and a return to the point of departure. The restrictions on staying local could be lifted on Monday 6 July, if conditions allow, and we will update further when this is confirmed.

A Message from our Chairman – 3 April 2020

Please note that the message below will be emailed to all our members shortly, providing we have their email address, and they have given us their consent by means of GDPR:

Snarestone Wharf – The Gateway to the Restoration

The Coronavirus Pandemic is very unsettling for us all and the essential lock-down can be difficult and tiresome.  We have chosen to keep you informed by email of how we as an association are dealing with the situation, the problems arising and the consequences.

 We intend to publish the June issue of Spout as usual.  However there will be less event news content so if you can contribute any items for publication it would be much appreciated.  Typically this can be about your boat, technical material, wildlife or about canal adventures.  Items should be emailed to: 

 Moira Canal Festival has been cancelled as have the smaller events where ACA normally have a stand.  The many Waterways Events scheduled for the coming months have similarly been cancelled and canal boating is at a standstill.

Snarestone Wharf is closed.  This includes the shop, the bric-a-brac emporium, the slipway  and the canal length to Bridge 62.  The swing bridge is locked as is the Quarry Lane access gate.

Our social evenings are unaffected since we have nothing further planned until October, and the annual quiz in November.

We have stopped all volunteer work parties which is absolutely necessary.  It is very unfortunate since with the coming of spring and better weather we have many works waiting to be done.

What Can You Do To Help?

The above issues unfortunately result in lack of income which is our life-blood for maintenance and the restoration.

As a valued member some of the ways you can help are:

  1. By ensuring that you have your membership up-to-date, since your subscription is vital.
  2. By asking people you know to become members.  Membership details and forms are in Spout and on the web site: www.
  3. By becoming a volunteer when the current crisis is over.
  4. By making a donation.
  5. You can support the ACA from home by shopping online through #easyfundraising.  Signing up is quick and easy and you’ll raise free donations to ACA every time you shop on line.  Visit 

Meanwhile, In The Background

Following an ACA special meeting of officers (3) early in March no committee meetings will take place until further notice.

However, behind the scenes we continue to work online and on the telephone.

Current business includes the transfer of the Transport and Works Act Order from LCC to ACA, pursuit of various grant possibilities and funding sources and day to day administration of our association.

We will keep you informed of developments in due course.

Peter Oakden


An appeal (31 March 2020) to ACA members to notify us of their email addresses, and to update GDPR forms

In view of the ongoing lockdown of most economic activity, the ACA is looking at the possibility of issuing the next edition of Spout (in June) as an email attachment, rather than as a printed booklet. We are also considering issuing the June Spout as a .pdf attachment on this website.

To this end, there is a small number of members who have not supplied us with their email address, and a larger number of members who have not filled out a GDPR form. Without your consent, or e-contact details,  we will unfortunately be unable to send you any such correspondence.

If you do indeed have an email address, but have not notified us, can you please let us know shortly by contacting one of the following:

or by text to: 07866 201873

Likewise, you can download a GDPR form by clicking on the red membership button to the right of this page, and you should then send it to one of the two email addresses above.

Many thanks for your cooperation in these turbulent times.

Clive Walker/ACA Database



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!