BRAUNSTON AND RETURN FROM MARKET HARBOROUGH
You can do this route from :
Market Harborough – A market town mid way between Leicester and Northampton. Visit Welland Park, the town’s museum and the old grammar school, a 17th school built on stilts. Visit nearby Rockingham Castle built by William the Conqueror. If you need to entertain the children then visit Wicksteed Park one of the biggest and best playgrounds in Europe.
The town has may nice pubs, and shops. there is a antique and collectors market every Sunday in the market hall.
Eat at the Italian Restaurant based at Union Wharf Marina. Open 12-14.15 & 18.00 til late.
The Old Union Canal Society gives guided walks along the canal during summer months and follow the historic town trail.
You are welcome to stayed moored up in the Marina and use the car or public transport to visit the many local attractions.
The Grand Union canal boasts an extraordinary variety of wildlife, from feeding herons, and hunting owls, to water voles. A number of diverse species thrive in this tranquil and often unique environment.
The base at Union Wharf Marina is at the end of the Market Harborough Arm, & you need to cruise for about 2 hours (5 ½ miles) to get back on the the main Grand Union Canal.
Cruise leisurely through rural and peaceful countryside to the famous Foxton Staircase Locks, about 2 hours away.
Foxton is the site of a steam powered Inclined Plane, which replaced ten locks and lifted narrow boats 75 feet. It was opened in 1900 but suffered from mechanical and structural problems. The locks were reopened in 1908 and now work beautifully. Whilst here visit the Foxton Museum and gift shop. The well stocked canalside shop offers you groceries, hardware as well as the traditional “roses and Castles” canalware, made and hand-painted on site.
Stop for a cream tea in the canal side cafe or a well deserved pint in the Foxton Locks Inn. Spend a couple of hours watching the colourful narrow boats passing through the staircase locks. British Waterways organise events based on Foxton Locks
2 hours cruising time to here
On the 2nd morning walk along the tow path until you find the friendly British waterways lock-keepers by the Locks. They will take a note of your boat name & tell you roughly how long the wait will be to go through the locks, but there is plenty to do whilst you wait.
Cruise from Foxton towards the Watford Locks to the South.
The Canal weaves its way through an remote but attractive stretch. There are no villages on the canal here, Husbands Bosworth being hidden by the tunnel.
Look out over the vale of Welland and to the nearby Laughton Hills. Slow down, cruise on and watch mile after mile beautiful and unspoilt contryside unfold
Enjoy an easy cruise as the canal meanders through unspoilt surroundings passing through theHusband Bosworth Tunnel. The Tunnel is 1166 yards long and was opened in 1813. Stop and moor for a while, stroll into Husband Bosworth for a pub, newsagents and general store. The Bell Inn here serves Real Ale & food daily.
North Kilworth is off to your right, with a couple of pubs- The White Lion & the Swan Inn.
Kilworth Wharf Marina – overnight mooring maps & gifts
The Battle of Naesby 1645 was fought 2 miles east of Welford. Here Fairfax's New Model Army routed the Royalists under King Charles I, ensuring the end of the Civil War.
Gently continue your journey passing the Hemplow Hills to your left, and open fields of grazing sheep.
2 Miles east of Bridge 31 is Stanford Hall, a William & Mary brick mansion built in the late 17th Century. On display also here is a replica on an experimental flying machine built in 1898. Teas, shop & craft centre. Open pm Easter -Sept.
The next stretch of the canal wanders southwards in a series of loops through wonderful rural scenery with not much signs of habitation.
Yelvertoft is a delightful village to stop for a while and there are moorings between bridges 19 and 20. The local is is the Knightly Arms which serves real ales & home cooked food. You can stock up on supplies here as there is a stores, off licence & butcher.
It is 7 hours cruising to here.
Before you pass through the Crick Tunnel, you can moor up at bridge 12 & visit Edwards of Crick, a restaurant & coffee house offering a wide ranging menu. Stroll into the village of Crick, home of one of Britain’s largest annual boat show held each year in May and have a pint and a meal at one of the local pubs . There is an intriguing second hand shop here open Wed Fri & Sat that is worth a visit (14.00-18.00)
Crick Tunnel is 1528 yards long, & has no tow path so if you wish to walk it you will have to go over the top.
Meet the lock-keepers at the Watford Locks and they will cheerfully help you on your way through their complex set of locks. Watford Locks raise the canal to it summit level of 412 feet. Four of these locks form a staircase, with a 'one up one down' procedure.
The new Inn is Canalside at Buckby Top lock & has moorings.
The small village of Watford is not to be confused with the large town of Watford in Hertfordshire. Moor up at Bridge number 6 for a true taste of the Orient at the Thai Garden, Restaurant in Station Road.
Once through the Watford Locks continue towards the Norton Junction were we meet the Oxford Canal.
(You soon will find that the M1 motorway swings away from you, but if you want 24 hr provisions you can moor up by Bridge 6 which is right beside The Watford Gap motorway services.)
At Norton Junction you can then go down the Grand Union towards London, or we recommend that you head west towards Braunston.
From Norton Junction to Braunston the canal runs westward through hills and wooded country, then into a wooded cutting whichs leads to Braunston Tunnel.
Off to the north on your right you will pass the small village of Welton on a hill. At Bridge 6 ¾ mile from the Canal you can find a 400 yr old pub – The White Horse Inn.
Braunston Tunnel was opened in 1796 & is 2042 yards long.
Long rows of moored craft flank the canal, but there is usually plenty of places to moor, as it is worth strolling into Braunston as there are a fine selection of old buildings here. The British Waterways office in the Stop House, was originally the Toll office between the Oxford and the Grand Union canal.
It is 6 hours cruising to here
You still have 4 full days left, and only 16.5 hours to get back to Market Harborough, so you can cruise for 5-6 hours per day on the way back. Plan your arrival at the Watford & Foxton Locks for when the locks are open.
If you want a change of scenery you can cruise back up to the Welford Junction & cruise for an hour to the village of Welford.
NB: This route has been provided as a guide only. Information may become inaccurate or out of date. You should always check with the marina that the route is possible within your time frame, current weather conditions and canal stoppages etc.
Maps and Guides
Pubs available on this canal route:-
|Pub Name||Pub Address||Distance from Market Harborough||More Info|
|The Sugar Loaf||18 High Street, Market Harborough LE16 7NJ||0.52 Miles||Full Details|
|The Village Inn||101 St Marys Road, Market Harborough LE16 7DT||0.79 Miles||Full Details|
|The Waterfront||Terminus Union Wharf Marina Market Harborough LE16 7UW||Full Details|
|The Waterfront Restaurant||Union Wharf, Leicester Road, Market Harborough LE16 7UW||Full Details|
|The Shoulder Of Mutton||4 The Green, Market Harborough LE16 7EU||1.26 Miles||Full Details|
|The Oat Hill||31 Kettering Road, Market Harborough LE16 8AN||1.00 Miles||Full Details|
|Foxton Locks Inn||Bottom Lock, Gumley Road, Foxton LE16 7RA||2.45 Miles||Full Details|
|The Black Horse||Main Road, Foxton LE16 7RD||2.13 Miles||Full Details|
|The Wheatsheaf||15 Main Road, Crick NN6 7TX||12.85 Miles||Full Details|
|The Blue Ball||6 Cedar Street, Braunston LE15 8QS||13.37 Miles||Full Details|
|The George||Watling Street, Kilsby CV23 8YE||14.07 Miles||Full Details|
|Cross Road Hotel||Weedon NN7 4PX||18.41 Miles||Full Details|
|The Boat House||London Road, Daventry NN11 7HB||18.16 Miles||Full Details|
|The Wharf||Cornhill Lane, Bugbrooke NN7 3QB||19.56 Miles||Full Details|
NB: Distances are as the crow flies and will vary for actual canal boating travel distance.