Latest News & Events

IWA Walk from Sutton Cheney on Sunday 14th April 2019


The Warwickshire branch of the IWA undertook a short walk along a stretch of the Ashby Canal on Sunday 14th April 2019. Assembling at Sutton Cheney wharf they walked up to Bosworth Battlefield Centre before descending to Shenton, from where they embarked on a round trip to  Shackerstone on board a DMU of the heritage railway. Once back at Shenton it was a short distance along the towpath back to the wharf, where they enjoyed lunch at the cafe.

The Warwickshire branch were very appreciative of the canal, and many of them continue to cruise the full length of the canal from their various bases.

Bygone Measham

A trio of rare photographs, which were recently posted on the Facebook page, have been presented to the ACA. They show views of Measham and its close relationship to the canal, whilst it was still in water.

Volunteer Lengthsmen Wanted!

The ACA is looking for volunteers who are willing to act as ‘lengthsmen’ along the whole 22 miles of the canal, in order to keep the towpath free of litter and generally care for its managed appearance. You can choose which section you wish to adopt and  maintain, and the ACA can help you out with any tools you may require.  Above all, please let us know if you find any tasks that may require a larger team effort. There are no set times for this volunteer work; how and when and where you maintain your ‘patch’ is entirely up to you.

If you are interested in becoming a lengthsman, please contact any member of the committee.



Report on Social Evening on Thursday 21st March 2019 – “Ilott Wharf and the Findings of the Archaeological Survey of 2018”

Held on a Thursday for the first time, the social evening at Donisthorpe Woodlands Centre was well attended. ACA President Orest Mulka presented an illustrated talk on the history of Ilott Wharf, from its working days up  until the archaeological survey in July 2018. After the canal was closed off in 1966 Ilott Wharf gradually fell into disrepair, and its land was used successively by a model aeroplane club who landscaped the ground, and then later by a company specialising in tank rides who despoiled the ground, before it began to be tended by volunteers from the ACA.

Professor Mulka’s talk was supplemented with a short documentary film, which includes interviews with relatives of inhabitants of the houses that used to occupy the site. This film, entitled “Investigating Ilott Wharf’s Hidden Heritage” is currently viewable under the following link:

After the interval Geoff Pursglove gave a short talk on the history of the Pump House at Snarestone; how digging for coal led to a chance discovery of a well on the site and hence construction of the listed building and its impressive beam engine. Thanks to the generosity of ACA member Rod Smith, the beams were saved from the scrapyard. They have been lovingly restored by a group of volunteers and are now on display at Snarestone Wharf.

During the interval Rod displayed an interesting array of historic ironwork that had been salvaged from various sections of the canal after their closure. Included in the display was an authentic 18th century issue of the Act of Parliament authorising construction of the Ashby Canal.

“The Measham Boat Lady” by Tom Henshaw


A short story by the late Tom Henshaw is now available to buy  at the shop in Snarestone Wharf, or by post.

The book is a 28 page paperback and all profits made will go towards the restoration of the Ashby Canal.

The paperback costs £3.50 + £1.00 p&p. It can be bought in person at the shop, or by card over the phone by contacting Michael Wooding on 07805 602618.

Front Cover




Report on the Annual General Meeting on Monday 14th January 2019

The Ashby Canal Association held its AGM at Donisthorpe Miners’ Welfare Centre. It was attended by around 40 people.  Chairman Peter Oakden announced the progress made in negotiations with Leicestershire County Council to have ownership of the Transport and Works Act Order (2005) transferred across to the ACA. This will enable work to begin on the restoration almost immediately. The treasurer, Bob Taylor. announced an increase in funds since 2017 to bring the total in 30th September 2018 to a very healthy £236,173.45.

Long-serving committee member and life member, Audrey Boston, stood down from her role as a committee member and director, as did Ian Palmer. We are indebted to both for their services. The directors retiring by rotation – Cyril Blackford, Cindy Aston and Clive Walker – were all re-elected into their posts.

The short meeting was followed by a talk by a speaker from The National Forest on “Coalpits to Treetops”, which illustrated how the “Back to Green” Lottery Funded Initiative transformed the area around the top end of the Ashby Canal from an area once dominated by coal and clay workings into green countryside.

Report on Social Evening on Monday 17th December 2018 – “Coal and Canals”

Brian Langtry and his five-piece Zouch Band entertained around 80 people at Stoke Golding Hall on 17th December 2018. Various catchy songs, many of which had been written collaboratively by the band,  were interspersed with a slide show of mainly black and white photographs, which documented the rich history of coal mining in the East Midlands. The audience was invited to sing along to the chorus, and had been issued with the words beforehand. At the end of the show there was an opportunity to chat with the band ‘backstage’ or to buy CDs of their music.

The Zouch band will be continuing to tour with their Coal and Canals show in Spring 2019. See the waterways press for further dates.

To cover costs tickets were priced at £3.00 each and many visitors paid on the door. A raffle was held during the interval and raised further funds.

The Zouch Band with Brian Langtry in the middle.






Work Parties to be resumed later in autumn 2019


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.

There are some ongoing projects, which also 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.

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 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.














Andrew Bridgen MP becomes the new Patron of the Ashby Canal Association

Andrew Bridgen is the MP for North West Leicestershire, and the route of the Ashby Canal from bridge 62 through to Measham and beyond falls within his parliamentary constituency. He is an enthusiastic supporter of the restoration, and continues to assist with the negotiations with HS2 concerning its proposed route through Measham.

Andrew is frequently interviewed by both the national and the local media for his views on a wide variety of matters, and we hope that he will help to boost the profile of the Ashby Canal in the public eye.