WARWICKSHIRE RING FROM TAMWORTH
You can do this route from :
Glascote Basin Boatyard.
Despite the almost constant proximity of conurbation and industry, the Warwickshire Ring manages to carve a surprisingly rural route through manicured fields and ancient meadows for much of its length.
It gives visitors a glimpse into the heart of England , with villages, towns, tunnels, and plenty of locks including the Stairway to Heaven
It passes interesting towns like Warwick and its Medieval castle and Britains 2nd biggest city at Birmingham, along with tiny canal settlements and rural landscapes.
It is such a varied cruise that visitors will enjoy each day which brings a different experience.
Step back through 900 years of history with a visit to Tamworth Castle. Uncover the secrets held within the chambers and hallways of this unique building and get a real sense of how the Saxons, Normans, Tudors and Victorians lived.
If you wish to start your holiday off with an adventure, how about walking to the Snow Dome which is only about 10 minutes from the marina. All weather skiing and snowboarding centre with kit rental, an ice rink, swimming pool and gym. It is open until late every night.
You start off from your mooring in the Glascote marina and cruise eastwards , turning left out of the Marina along the Coventry canal.
You pass through Tamworth for a couple of miles, and then you are out in the country passing the ruins of Alvecote Priory through the trees, with Pooley Field Nature reserve on your left.
Polesworth is the first village of note, having stores, takeaways, fish and chip shop, off licence and pubs, etc, and spans the canal. It is 1.5 hours to here and a good place to stop for the night.
Cruising through more predominantly open countryside, you will soon reach Atherstone Bottom Lock No. 11. Atherstone is a small town with plenty of pubs, for instance, Market Tavern, The Black Swan and The Kings Head. This flight of 11 locks is interspersed at first and once you are into the town the locks become closer together , but the flight is in very pleasant surroundings. To the south of bridge 41 is a useful stores.
Mancetter, another small village, is to the left of the canal about .5 mile east of bridge 36.
Continue south, through the quarry belt towards Nuneaton. En route is a pub at Hartshill called The Anchor Inn.
Cruise through Nuneaton until you reach Marston Junction, then continue south do not turn left aong the Ashby canal, with the suburbs of Bedworth to your right.
Another junction is soon reached, Hawkesbury Junction, where the Coventry canal continues its journey to Coventry but you will be turning sharp left along the Oxford canal and the through stop lock where the water depth changes by about 4 inches!
It is a lovely place to moor for the night , and you have cruised for 8.5 hours.
At Hawkesbury Junction you will see many traditional boats, an fine engine house and useful facilities. To the east of the Junction you can see Hawkesbury Hall, now a private house.
There is a pub at the Junction, called The Greyhound, a traditional canalside pub, dating from the 1800's, which serves food and real ales. There is a garden and mooring here, and children are welcome.
From Hawkesbury Junction, you will now be heading towards, Bridge No. 84, which is 20 miles away.
Firstly when you leave the moorings, you will go under the M6 Motorway Bridge, then turn right onto the Oxford Canal.
On this stretch of canal, the Motorway runs alongside, to your right, until you reach bridges 7 and 9, where the canal veers off to the left. However, at M69 Motorway Bridge No. 13A, you will again go under the Motorway, on your way to Ansty.
Other than the distant noise of the Motorway, the landscape is pretty remote, with just the odd farm here and there.
Ansty is a small picturesque village that grew up next to the canal. Ansty Hall is a popular location for weddings and other events, and is dated 1678. There is a pub in the village, called The Rose and Castle, serving food and real ales. Children are welcome, and there is a large play area in the canalside garden. Moorings and water are also available there.
Moving on, through a couple of small aqueducts, rolling fields flanking the canal, you will again pass under the M6.
Soon you will reach Stretton Stop, with the Stretton Wharf to the left. Stretton Stop was formerly a place at which tolls were taken. The scene here today is invariably busy and colourful. Boaters should take care not to collide with the foot swing bridge which links the towpath side with the boatbuilding sheds on the opposite bank.
If you want to, you can moor up here and make your way into Brinklow, a pre-industrial village, with a motte and bailey mound alongside the C15th Church of St John. There are a good selection of pubs here – The White Lion, a traditional coaching inn, children and dogs welcome; The Bulls Head, a family pub; The Raven, also family-friendly – to name just three.
Cruising on through pretty farmland, you will soon pass All Oaks Wood to your right. There are moorings here if you want to go exploring.
A little further, and to your left, you will see a quiet little village called Harborough Magna.
Very shortly, you will approach Newbold Tunnel, which is 250 yards long, and as you emerge from it, you will be in Newbold-on-Avon, on the outskirts of Rugby. Moorings at Newbold Tunnel make a pleasant stop, the Barley Mow is by Bridge 50.
There is a shop, PO & fish & chip shop in Newbold, nearby is the Newbold Quarry Park, now a nature reserve. The Newbold Tunnel is 250 yds long and was built during the shortening of the Oxford Canal in the 1820's. Don't miss Newbold Quarry Park- a nature reserve beside the canal on the site of an old limestone quarry. There are 14 day moorings nearby.
If you want to moor up and take a look around Rugby, there is much to see, including The Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum and The Rugby Art Gallery and Museum. You can moor thoughout the Rugby area, at Ansty, Brinklow, Newbold, Brownsover, and Hillmorton.
As you cruise on, you will notice that to the left is mostly open countryside, whilst to the left it becomes more built up again as you approach Hilmorton.
By Hilmorton Visitor Moorings alongside the canal is a pub called The Old Royal Oak (by Bridge No. 73, with its own moorings), serving food all day, real ale and has a children's room and play area. Also nearby, is Canalchef Cafe, a licensed cafe with a beer garden.
It is 7.25 hours to here so a good place to moor for the night.
Between Rugby & Braunston the Oxford Canal hops from County to County, as it goes backwards & forwards between Warwickshire and Northamptonshire. it runs through wide open country, it is an ancient landscape and by Bridge 87 medieval ridge and furrow field patterns are in evidence.
The canal takes its time travelling between Rugby & Hillmorton, passing through fields and reed beds.
Cruising through a largely isolated and quiet stretch of canal, with fields flanking the canal, the peace will be temporarily shattered by the noise of the M45 at Barby, as it crosses the canal.
Then a wide curve to the right around Barby Hill, onto a straight stretch of tranquility as you approach Willoughby, a small village to the right of the canal.
A little further on, and you will reach Braunston, and Braunston Turn, the junction of the Grand Union, Oxford and Grand Junction Canals.
Braunston is set up on a hill to the north of the canal, and is a popular canal centre. The village has houses of all periods, and is predominantly one long main street.
Just beside Braunston Marina, is a cafe in a narrowboat, called *The Gongoozler's Rest, serving breakfasts, sandwiches and more. There are also a selection of pubs, including The Wheatsheaf, The Old Plough and The Boathouse.
Braunston itself is an important canalside village, set up on a hill to the north of the Canal, at the junction with the Grand Union canal.
There is a historic canal wharf here. The Old working boats have now gone, but you can wander around and see new boats being built, old ones restored and a regular stream of traffic up and down the locks beyond the marina.
By Bridge 91 is the Mill House pub .
At Braunston Turn, you need to bear right, onto the Grand Union Canal (Oxford Canal Section).
The canal meanders through quiet, rural countryside, as you make your way towards, Napton Junction. En route, you will pass Flecknoe, off to the left and then Lower Shuckborough, also on the left. This is a tiny village, worth mooring up for if you want to stretch your legs for a bit with its picturesque victorian church.
At Napton Junction, you need to bear right, onto the Grand Union Canal (Warwick and Napton Canal), passing Napton Reservoirs and the marina above, home to Calcutt Boats.
At Napton Junction the Oxford canal sets off on its long winding course to the Thames, whilst we follow The Grand Union which strikes off north towards Birmingham.
Napton is a hilltop village about 15 mins walk from the Canal, with 3 pubs and well stocked PO stores. There are useful bus links to Leamington Spa.
From the Junction, you can clearly see the windmill on top of Napton Hill.
The rolling countryside continues on through Stockton Locks you will notice the remains of the old narrow locks, besides the newer wide ones.
Around here there is a change in the landscape,with the hills coming much closer to the Canal, broken by old quarries and thick woods along the south bank. The quarries produced blue lias, a local stone, huge fossils have been found here dating from the Jurassic period.
A canalside pub is the Blue Lias Inn by bridge 23 at the top of the flight of locks.
Long Itchington is just to the left of the canal about half a mile, where there are plenty of pubs to choose from, including The Two Boats Inn, The Duck on the Pond and The Harvester. All serve food and real ales, and all welcome children.
Moor here for the night it is 8 hours to here.
Fields and distant hills flank the canal as you make your way to the Bascote Locks, which descend towards Warwick.
The two top locks at Bascote form a staircase, and are besides a pretty toll house.
Once through the locks, you will once again be in wooded countryside, then descending through Fosse Locks.
There is a pretty wooded cutting as you pass through Radford Semele, a suburb of Royal Leamington Spa.
Soon you will be cruising through Leamington, where halfway through the town, the canal enters a cutting, hiding it from the road and railway.
If you want to have a look around Leamington, there are numerous places to moor. The Fusilier, The Lock, Dock and Barrell and The Grand Union, are among several pubs within walking distance of the canal.
Leamington Spa is a prosperous Regency Spa town, with a great choice of individual shops and high street stores. Don't miss Jephson Gardens- formal town centre gardens with a new £3 million lakeside pavilion containing a temperate House explaining plant evolution from 500 million years ago to the present day. There are 48 hour moorings at Clements Street & Emscote Rd.,
Cruising onwards, out of Leamington, you will cross the River Avon via an aqueduct at Emscote, into the suburbs of Warwick.
The best place to moor if you want to go into Warwick, is by Bridge 49. It is then about a half hour walk. Another good place is from the Saltisford Canal Centre.
Warwick has plenty to offer. Don't miss Warwick Castle with its Kingmaker exhibition, which uses wax sculpture, sounds and smells to recreate the preparations for a battle in 1471, as well as the dungeons, ghost tower and sumptious state rooms.
Also Market Hall Museum; Lord Leycester Hospital – C14th timber framed buildings, incorporating the Chapel of St James, the Great Hall and a galleried courtyard, also housing The Museum of the Queen's Own Hussars.
After Cape Locks, the canal swings round to the left, towards Budbrooke Junction, with the Saltisford Arm branching to the left.
Near to Cape Locks is a canalside pub called The Cape of Good Hope, whose speciality is fish dishes. There is lockside seating, and children are welcome.
From Cape Locks you will soon be at Budbrooke Junction.
Bear right (left is the Saltisford Arm, which is a dead end), and continue towards Hatton Locks also called The Stairway to Heaven'.
You will see the paddle gear and gates stretching up the hill in the distance.
As you climb the flight, a total rise of 142 feet, look back and you will see the spires of Warwick in the distance. Hatton Locks Cafe is between locks 45 and 46, a welcome break. At the top of the flight the canal passes through wooden hills, concealing the village and Hatton Park.
Moor for the night here as it is 9.75 hours to here.
South of Bridge 55 is Hatton Country World, a family-friendly craft and antique centre with farm village, 25 individual shops and a choice of places to eat. (www.hattonworld.com)
There are 48 hour moorings at Hatton Top Lock.
A wooded cutting then takes you to Shrewley Tunnel. Shrewley Tunnel is 433 yards long. Two 7ft boats can pass each other, please keep right.
Shrewley itself has a local shop and is best approached from the north western end of the Tunnel.
Hills surround the canal once you're through the Tunnel. To the left, you may hear the roar of traffic on the M40. The canal winds its way along to Turner's Green, where a beautiful old beamed house stands alongside the canal.
From Bridge 62 you can reach Rowington and The Cock Horse pub, or the Tom O'The Wood.
East of Bridges 64 and 65 is Baddesley Clinton Hall, a medieval manorhouse.
At Kingswood Junction, keep right or straight on staying on the Grand Union Canal.
2 miles west of Bridge 66 is Packwood House, a National trust 16th century manorhouse. Events are staged here throughout the summer.
Near Black Boy Bridge No. 69, is a pub called The Black Boy, a traditional family-friendly pub with a canalside garden and children's play area. Real ale and good food are available lunch and evenings. A little further, at Kings Arms Bridge No. 70, is another pub, called The
Soon you reach Knowle Locks, a rise of 42ft, cruising through green and hilly countryside.
The village of Knowle is set back from the canal, on the left. It has maintained its village status, despite its close proximity to Birmingham. The one pub in the village is a Toby Carvery, called The Wilsons Arms. Children are welcome and there is outside seating.
You will soon pass under the M42 and cross the River Blythe, via a small aqueduct. Between Knowle and Bordesley Junction the canal is quite shallow, so take care not to get grounded.
Soon, you will reach the outskirts of Birmingham, via Solihull. The last village before Solihull is Catherine de Barnes, a small village with a shop, post office and pub, called The Boat Inn, a friendly pub offering real ale and bar meals. Children are welcome, and there is a garden.
As you cruise further into Birmingham, the wooded cutting ends and housing estates and disused buildings prevail.
Leaving Solihull, there is a cafe between bridges 87 and 88, called The Barge Stop, with a restaurant and bar, and canalside seats.
A little further and you will reach Camp Hill Locks, another rise of 41ft 8”, then Bordesley Junction where you bear right and continue on to Salford Junction and through Garrison Locks.
Just before Salford junction is Star City, you can moor here for the night as there are good pontoon moorings and CCTV at Star City.
Star City is one of the UK's largest leisure destinations - a unique family entertainment destination with 12 restaurants and 11 leisure attractions including a 25 screen VUE cinema. Funfairs, fireworks displays and other exciting family orientated events regularly take place at StarCity, including high-profile attractions such as the Moscow State Circus and Cirque De Soleil. It is also home to England’s largest Indoor Adventure Golf Complex, a 22 lane ten pin bowling alley, a purpose built all-weather 5-a-side football center, a Laser Station and a Twin Peaks Family Climbing Centre.
It is 9.5 hours to here.
Day 7 Day 8
At Salford Junction bear right towards Erdington. As you leave the suburbs you will encounter Minworth Locks, which will start your descent towards Fazeley, just beyond which is Caters Bridge. Two bridges further on, Minworth Green Bridge, is a pub, The Hare and Hounds, family-friendly with children's indoor and outdoor play activities. Food is available all day, and there is a garden.
Curdworth is the next village you pass, through a tree lined cutting. You will be able to see the church tower. Beyond Curdworth Bridge is a short tunnel, 57yds long, just prior to the M6 toll road.
Following the M6 for a while, the canal veers away from it at Bodymoor Heath. East of the bridge here is Kingsbury Water Park.
The White Horse at Curdworth and The Dog and Doublet at Bodymoor Heath conveniently placed if you want to stop for lunch or just a snack.
Next are Curdwoth Locks, then quiet, pretty open countryside, as you cruise towards Fazeley Junction. En route, you will pass Cliff Pool Nature Reserve and Middleton Lakes Nature Reserve on the right. The isolation of the canal ends at Drayton Bassett, where the A4091 runs alongside until Fazeley.
To your left is Drayton Manor Theme Park, a huge Theme Park, with dare devil rides and a Zoo and Thomas Land for the toddlers.
At Fazeley Junction, bear right onto the Coventry Canal, where a couple of sharp turns take you through the Glascote Locks, rising 13ft 8”, and into the suburbs of Tamworth and back to Glascote Basin on your right.
It is 8 hours back to the Marina.
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
Sorry, we have no pub guide for this route currently.