WARWICKSHIRE RING RUGBY 14 NIGHTS
You can do this route from :
This route combines historic castles, like Warwick, daredevil rides at Drayton manor, toboganning or ski-ing in Tamworth, the Stairway to heaven at Hatton's 21 locks, Braunston's pretty canal village and much more. (May require a longer stay) or take a detour up the beautifully tranquil Ashby Canal if you are not stopping elsewhere.
Are you looking for a holiday combining relaxing narrowboating with adventures on and off the water? One offering traditional ‘Olde English’ towns, cosmopolitan cities and memorable waterway sights? Then you will love the Warwickshire Ring.
Sections of the Coventry, Oxford, Grand Union & Birmingham & Fazeley canals are components in the Warwickshire Ring which, despite the almost constant proximity of conurbation and industry, manages to carve a surprisingly rural route through manicured fields and ancient meadows for much of its length.
The canal runs past Rugby through its northern side, missing the busy centre. The canal provides more striking examples of cast iron bridges and an aqueduct giving much to keep the eyes busy.
The canal dips into green parkland and a golf course on the way out of Rugby, crossing over the River Avon before arriving at Hillmorton Locks. There are some great renovated old buildings in this area and aside from some unsightly radio masts near the canal, Hillmorton Locks is an area with of peaceful beauty that belies its proximity to rail lines and Hillmorton directly to the south.
There are shops to the south of bridge 59 and a picnic area below bridge 58 with a huge Tesco supermarket nearby.
By Bridge 71 there is Bardsey's Lock stop Cafe bistro, which is open Wednes-Sat for meals or takeaways & has won awards for the best waterside restaurant.
By Bridge 73,the Royal oak is canalside.
Cruising hours to Bridge 73 is 2 hours
The canal winds southwards and aside from crossing under the M45, dives in to expansive areas of arable farming and not a settlement to be seen in miles.
The village of Willoughby lies to the west of the canal, there are pubs and a few shops here and it is a bit of a walk from the canal, those seeking civilisation should maybe wait until Braunston slightly south from here which is a bit more accessible from the canal. Braunston also marks the point at which the Grand Union joins the Oxford Canal for a few miles before the southern arm of the Oxford Canal begins and the Grand Union veers northwards at Napton on the Hill, this can be an exceedingly busy stretch of canal due to the convergence of boat traffic and the proximity to multiple marinas in the area.
At Braunston Turn turn right onto the Grand Union Canal.
The village of Flecknoe is by bridge 102 off to your left, The Old Olive Bush is a nice pub about a mile from the canal in the village.
The Oxford Canal and Grand Union part ways just before the village of Napton on the Hill, the Grand Union veers off to the north so turn right here, and soon you will encounter the Calcutt locks- 3 locks quite close together. By bridge 21 is the Boat Inn. The canal passes the villages of Stockton and Long Itchington, the canal descends through the Stockton locks (8 locks) and the 2 locks at Itchington.
The local quarries produced blue lias, a local stone, and huge fossils have been found in the blue lias clay. At bridge 23 is the Blue Lias Inn, and the Two Boats inn in canalside at bridge 25, and there are several pubs in the village of Long itchington off to your right. There is also a stores in the village.
It is 7.5 hours cruising to here.
At Bascote the only staircase locks you will encounter are reached, these are just 2 staircase, followed by 2 other locks. This is the last rural stretch before you reach Leamington Spa.
The canal descends through the quiet Fosse locks & the village ofRadford Semele is an outlying village to Royal Leamington Spa.
You can moor up by Radford Bottom lock and walk to the village of Radford Semele off to your left.
The canal heads westerly through the suburbs of Leamington getting to within half a mile or so of the town centre.
There are plentiful visitor moorings in Leamington, the old high street is just a minutes walk from the moorings next to the Aga factory by Bridge 40 offering a few convenience stores and a lot of Indian restaurants. The walk into the centre goes past the old Pump Rooms that gave the town its name, over the River Leam and the beautiful main shopping street called the Parade begins. There are so many restaurants in Leamington that every taste and budget is catered to, there are even more pubs to enjoy and if walking through pleasant parkland is appealing then stop at Jefferson Gardens next to the Pump Rooms for a good picnic spot and some impressive plants and flowers.
The gap in between Leamington and Warwick is almost indiscernible but the difference in the two towns could not be mistaken. Where Leamington has wide straight roads and white buildings in the spa style, Warwick’s twisting roads, old buildings of every type and shape and more olde world feel is a pleasant contrast, most famous for its incomparable castle Warwick offers much from its racecourse to the beautiful Priory Park there is certainly enough to do here to fill a couple of days. The historic centre of Warwick lies a ten minute walk from the canal to the south, it is well worth getting off the boat for, moor up by Bridge 49.
Warwick Castle is well worth a visit and is possibly the finest medieval castle in the country, it is open all year except Xmas, see the Kingmaker exhibition which uses wax sculpture to recreate the preparations for battle in 1471, as well as the dungeons, ghost tower & sumptuous state rooms.
Warwick itself is a lovely little town with some Tudor buildings, you can get all your provisions here.
The Warwick County museum in the Market Hall houses a tapestry of Warwickshire dating from 1588. The Lord Leycester Hospital is a superbly preserved group of 14th century timber framed buildings.
It is 5 hours cruising to here so time to go & see the Castle.
Soon after Warwick the Hatton Locks loom, they are undoubtedly a large undertaking being 21 locks in total ,but the lock gates are in good working order and towards the top the views back over Warwick are worth the effort, there is of course room for two narrowboats side by side to help share the load.
The Waterman Pub & restaurant has fine views over the Hatton Locks.
Hatton Country World is south of Bridge 55, there are 20 independent shops in the shopping village, and the Hatton Farm Village is great for kids with farmyard animals, fun fair rides and adventure play areas. Www.hattonworld.com
A couple of miles further up from Hatton is the 400 metre long Shrewley Tunnel which comes out into open farmland as the canal heads into the northern reaches of Warwickshire.
East of bridge 65 along the Heart of England way is Baddesley Clinton, a national trust property
This atmospheric house dates from the 15th century and was the home of the Ferrers family for 500 years. The house and interiors reflect its heyday in the Elizabethan era, when it was a haven for persecuted Catholics - there are three priest's holes. There is a delightful garden with stewponds and a romantic lake and nature walk.
2 miles west of Bridge 66 is Packwood House, another National Trust property.
The house is originally 16th-century, yet its interiors were extensively restored between the world wars by Graham Baron Ash to create a fascinating 20th-century evocation of domestic Tudor architecture. Packwood House contains a fine collection of 16th-century textiles and furniture, and the gardens have renowned herbaceous borders and a famous collection of yews.
When you get to the Kingswood Junction with the Stratford on Avon Canal, you will be turning left then right, and you can moor up for the night anywhere you can.
Canalside on the Grand Union by bridge 65 is the Navigation Inn. The village of Kingswood is scattered over a wide area.
It is 6 hours cruising to here.
You are now in the Lapworth Flight of Locks – you have 18 left to do so make sure you have a good breakfast!!
Continue north (right) along the Stratford on Avon canal, bridges 26 and 28 operate hydraulically, so use a lock windlass. You soon past Hockley Heath on your right. The Wharf Tavern is canalside by bridge 25, there are several shops conveniently close to the canal.
There is also a good bakery north of Bridge 20.
You can moor up near Bridge 18 as it is a short walk into Earlswood, which is great for walks as there are 3 lakes here – there is also fishing available
It is 5.75 hours cruising to here.
The cruise today is going to take you past Cadbury World into the heart of the Gas Street basin & Cambrian Wharf area of Birmingham, which today it is a pleasurable and relaxing tourist attraction far removed from the hustle and bustle of canal life of the past, with its waterside pubs and pretty canal boats moored along the banks it is well worth a visit.
Cruise to Kings Norton Junction & turn right. Soon you will reach Bournville, & there are visitor moorings here. Cadbury World is signposted from the canal. There is an exhibition dedicated to the history of chocolate, audio visual displays, Victorian Birmingham & a Jungle to explore! Cadbury World has 14 amazing zones to explore,you can learn how chocolate is made, uncover the fascinating story of chocolate, and plain in chocolate rain!!
The average visit is about 3 hours and you get free chocolate samples to take away, plus there is the worlds biggest Cadbury Shop, and places to eat & drink.
Continue north up the Worcester & Birmingham canal, until you arrive at the Gas Street Basin which is in the heart of Birmingham's canal network, and has been redeveloped into a unique experience where traditional narrow boats moor up next to cosmopolitan cafes and bars. The surrounding area is a vibrant arts & entertainment area and there are many shopping options within a short walk. You can moor up by Cambrian Wharf by the Sea Life centre, (turn right at Deep Cutings Junction).
Amongst some of the attractions are the National Sea Life Centre , & the Jewellery Quarter Discovery centre, also many fine Art galleries and over 500 restaurants offering every choice of food!
For shopping a visit to the new Bullring is a must, which covers an area the size of 26 football pitches and a has a huge range of shops.
Close by is the national Indoor Arena, one of the busiest large scale indoor sporting & entertainment venues in Europe.
It is 5.5 hours to here
From this point the Farmers bridge flight of 13 locks falls steeply away from the heart of Birmingham. Moorings have been provided between the Farmers Bridge and Aston Flight.
Aston Junction marks the start of the Aston flight, so keep straight on here, do not turn right down to Typhoo Basin. The canal falls through 11 locks here to Salford Junction. All shops are readily available alongside the Birmingham & fazeley Canal beyond Salford.
Turn right here onto the Birmingham & Fazeley canal.
Past Minworth the canal loses Birmingham and the industry that has accompanied it.
The Hare& Hounds is by Minworth Heath bridge, and the Boat has moorings. At Curdworth there is a stores and a couple of pubs in the village.
There are 6 locks at Curdworth and the M6 motorway looms close to the canal.
You can moor up at Cheatles' farm Bridge near Bodymoor Heath. The Dog & Doublet is a lovely pub just by the bridge.
It is 9.75 hours cruising to here.
Flooded gravel pits and the bird life they attract, constitute Kingsbury Water Park- the visitor centre is east of Bodymoor Heath Bridge, across the motorway. A 600 acre landscaped park.
Continuing north the canal continues through quiet and attractive open farmland, by Drayton Bassett there is a folly footbridge which is very curious in its Gothic style with twin battlemented towers.
If you fancy a family day out, then moor up just past Drayton Swivel bridge as this is the entrance to Drayton Manor Theme park.
It is 1.25 hours cruising to here
Drayton Manor Park is home to some of the biggest wettest and scariest rides around with Shockwave, Europes first stand up roller coaster, Stormforce 10, with a backwards water drop and Apocalypse voted the scariest ride in the Uk by Channel 4's The Gadget Show.There is also Thomas land for the smaller children, and a Zoo. It is definitely the place to spend a whole day.
After the intensity of Fradley Junction, Fazeley is remarkably serene, it is the location ofBritish Waterways central shires office and offers limited facilities such as cruising information but regrettably no shops or eateries.
From Fazeley we veer eastwards (turn right) through Tamworth and pass over the aqueduct over the River Tame and come to the Glascote Locks.
There are plenty of mooring places around the locks and if you need provisions there are facilities nearby in Tamworth home of the Tamworth Manifesto in the 19th century and Tamworth castle, an Historic Fortification which is well worth a visit. Also there is the fantastic snowdome where you can ski or snowboard, but you do have to pre-book.
There are pubs by Bridge 74,73 & 69.
It is 1 hours cruising to here from Drayton manor
For lovers of the rural setting this is where the finer section of the canal is, on the run from Alvecote there are nature reserves at Hodge Lane and Pooley Fields and Pooley Hall .
At Alvecote you can see the remains of a Benedictine priory through the trees.
The rural setting is largely due to reclaimed mining land, the spoil heaps have grassed over and lakes now fill the sinkholes caused by mining, all in all it's nicer than it sounds.
As well as Pooley Hall, Polesworth offers shops and pubs but also remnants of an Abbey and a tithe barn which lends the village considerable character and interest. Onwards from Polesworth the rural scenery is ever improving, giving a chance to unwind and take in the scenery to charge the batteries before the downward journey through Atherstone Locks, with views out to the Anker Valley in the west and rolling hills to the east.
The town of Atherstone borders the east bank of the canal, only running alongside the canal on the bottom half of the flight of locks beyond bridge 45, despite this, the setting of the entire flight feels detached from an urban setting other than some well kept homes and gardens in view of the canal. The locks are usually in a series of two or three with long pounds between most that offer some of the best moorings along the canal due to the quiet setting and proximity to local pubs and shops a short walk away. Atherstone flight will now be a quick process whether by design or not, despite being in good working order the locks operate reasonably sedately, take time to take in the architecture of some interesting footbridges such as footbridge 47 or the old buildings along the canal or the re-creation of a canal side yard.
Moor up after the Top Lock , there are a few pubs and a few shops in the town. The town has a pleasant 18 century feel with a market place in front of the church.
It is 6 cruising hours to here from Tamworth
After Atherstone we once again find ourselves cruising through the ‘nicer than it sounds’ reclaimed industrial land towards Nuneaton where we thankfully say goodbye to the railway line for good and meander through some pleasant woodland.
Hartshill yard houses a splendid clock tower, and some attractive British Waterways buildings.
The canal passes near to the recently redeveloped pedestrianized shopping centre in Nuneaton,and offers large supermarket shopping, pubs and modern shops within easy walking distance of boot wharf at bridge 20.
Nuneaton and Bedworth (pronounced Bedearth by locals) almost merge into one but between them is Marston Junction which leads to the Ashby canal which is 22 miles of some of the laziest, lock free canal boating in the country. If you have given yourself enough time a detour up the Ashby Canal is recommended, at the very least, to see the sight of the Battle of Bosworth.See end of these notes for a full description of the route.
Bedworth lies to the west of the canal and is barely seen at all, in fact the remainder of the cruise the canal winds through urban centres yet is surprisingly rural in nature for much of it. On the lower edge of Bedworth lies Hawkesbury and the entrance to the Oxford Canal at Hawkesbury Junction. Hawkesbury Junction boasts nicely redeveloped industrial architecture and one of the most striking bridges on the network in black and white cast iron. Turn a sharp left onto the Oxford canal but be aware that at peak times the stop lock can cause surprisingly large queues for a six inch drop.
You can moor up here for the night
It is 4 hours 20 minutes cruising to here.
The canal meanders past the village of Ansty offering a chance to moor up and visit a pub, The Rose & castle is canalside.
The canal turns southwards after cutting through the middle of a golf course and passes under the M6. The canal follows a southerly course into deeper countryside, trading motorway for railway line which follows the canal on and off into Rugby, with only intermittent passing trains.
The canal skirts past Brinklow village which requires a bit of a walk to get to enjoy some of the amenities there, but the canal starts to dish up wooded areas as it plunges through mostly arable countryside with only the occasional passing train reminding boaters that they are in a busy corner of the country.
The canal runs past Rugby through its northern side, missing the busy centre. The canal provides more striking examples of cast iron bridges and an aqueduct giving much to keep the eyes busy.
It is 5 hours 20 minutes cruising back to Rugby marina, you need to depart by 9.30am tomorrow, so time to explore the town.
Rugby is a large town with many shops and of course is the home of the game of Rugby. It is 30 minutes walk to the town centre.
The centre of Rugby is a very pleasant place offering nice parkland and places to eat and drink in abundance. There is a pedestrianised shopping centre and an open market with a town crier.
The Web Ellis Rugby football museum tells the story of the game of Rugby over the last 160 years. As part of your tour of the birthplace of the game be sure to take a walk along the Pathway of Fame, a unique tour which celebrates the history of the game and some of its most notable players
The town and borough has much more to offer than its unique connection with the famous game. It has links to great literary figures such as Rupert Brooke, Matthew Arnold and Lewis Carroll.
A variation on this trip if you do not want to stop at Drayton Manor or Tamworth is to explore the very peaceful lock free Ashby Canal which is a 2 day trip:
The Ashby canal is steeped in history, this beautiful, tranquil canal passes by the historic scene of the Battle of Bosworth. It meanders through a very level, rural environment - therefore no locks were ever needed.
The 22-mile long canal commences at Marston Junction and drifts gently through countryside barely touching a village - let alone Ashby-de-la-Zouch, the town which gave the canal its name. Hedgerows and reeds give an air of timelessness whilst offering ideal habitats for many species of wildlife.
There is of course pubs along the way, for those not wanting to cook every night, but you really are right out in the country on this route.
It is a 8.5 hour trip to the end of the canal at Snarestone, so a 2 day trip there & back.
After Nuneaton turn left onto the Ashby Canal at Marston Junction.
The canal begins at Marston Junction where it links to the Coventry Canal in urban Bedworth. There is a now disused stop lock to pass through, the gates now removed, and it\\\'s just 1 mile toBulking Road Bridge where there is a pub – The Corner House Hotel, within walking distance.
Next along the way is the Gamecock Barracks, which used to be called RAF Bramcote duringWorld War II, ( you may recognize some of the base from TV and films! ) Once you pass the boats moored at Bramcote Wharf it\\\'s just a short hop to the tiny village of Burton Hastingswhere the Church of St Botolph lies at the centre of the village. This little English church is a simple old stone building with a tower from the 14th century and you get a lovely view of it from the canal.
The character of the Ashby has already shown itself by this point with rural farmland, woodlands and the occasional bridge. The only town of any significant size along the entire canal is Hinckley, which it is to be found a short distance from Burton Hastings. There is the neighbouring medieval village of Stretton Baskerville which can be seen just before you pass under the A5 Watling Street which lies in the outskirts of Hinckley. The A5 is the only major road to cross paths with the Ashby but it is worth stopping by the A5, despite the noise, to enjoy a refreshing drink in the friendly waterside pub- The Lime Kilns Inn by bridge 15.
The Ashby Canal skirts around the outside of Hinckley, flanked by housing & light industrial buildings, Trinity Marina can be found at Hinckley, and can supply you with all your boating needs plus there is a laundrette, café, restaurant, and good moorings (To avoid grounding you should always moor at a designated spot- by bridge 16, or just past trinity marina on your right, or just before Bridge 17a on your left.). The town centre of Hinckley is within walking distance and offers many different shops and eateries and of course pubs. South of bridge 16 is a greyhound stadium. The Concordia Theatre offers performances all year round. The Hinckley & District Museum has been established in a row of thatched cottages once used for framework knitting, and the museum now houses displays from prehistoric to the current period.
The section of canal running through the Hinckley district is designated as a conservation area, and, as with the rest of the canal there are lots of birds and wildlife to be seen with the towpaths regularly used by walkers, cyclists and anglers alike.
Following on from Hinckley you pass the small villages of Wykin and Higham on the Hill and there are a couple of pubs at the latter- The Odd fellows Arms & The Fox Inn. Higham is 1 mile west of bridges 21 & 23. Running alongside the canal here are the remains of a loop railway built in the 1870\\\'s to carry coal , but it was abandoned in 1900 having never had a train run on its tracks. This is a short section with a few bridges carrying the country lanes over the canal, then you are on the outskirts of the village of Stoke Golding, which proudly boasts to be the “Birthplace of the Tudor Dynasty”. This is the site of the Battle of Bosworth where in 1485 The War of the Rosesfinally ended with King Richard III being defeated by Henry Tudor, who was crowned King Henry VII, the coronation being held here, in Stoke Golding.
Stoke Golding itself is to the right of Bridge 25, but there are good moorings by bridges 27/28. It is a stunning village, it has an impressive Grade 1 listed Saxon church, the window sills of the Church still show grooves, which legend has it were caused by the soldiers sharpening their swords on the eve of the battle. There is a village shop where you can pick up supplies for your journey, and it\\\'s well worth having a walk around the village which is full of beautiful buildings from times past. This is also the home of the Ashby Canal Centre (marina) who have done a lot in the restoration of the northern section of the Ashby Canal. The White Swan & George & Dragon Pubs are in the village.
Heading north out of Stoke Golding you pass Dadlington, another small village with the Dog & Hedgehog pub , and then you find yourself in the busy Sutton Cheney Wharf. There is a trip boat here, and a café- Cafe Canalside that opens 9-5, and it is just a short walk from here to the Battlefield Visitor Centre which has interactive displays about the battle. There is also another café here and a shop. You can take a walk through the woods along the battle trails, or why not take a ride on a steam train on the Battlefield Line Railway from Shenton to Shackerstone and walk back along the towpath, around a 5 mile walk. There are also moorings at Shenton where you can also walk to the battlefield. Shenton station is here and old steam & diesel trains run along the Battlefield Line of 9 miles between Shackerstone & Shenton via Market Bosworth during the season.
After leaving the battlefield the canal crosses the road using the only aqueduct on the entire canal, the lovely little brick built Shenton Aqueduct. Next along the journey is Market Bosworth to your left which is a good place to stop, a mile walk from the canal takes you to the town centre where there are shops, a café, and several pubs. A market is held every Wednesday. This is the last chance to stock up on supplies till the end of the canal, so make sure to get everything you need before continuing on.
Just to the west of bridge 42 is Bosworth water Trust, a large leisure park with a 20 acre lake for water pursuits. Craft & wetsuits for hire.
The canal continues to meander through open fields passing Congerstone village to Shackerstone which is the home of the Battlefield Line Railway. There is a tearoom at the station and a wonderful railway museum packed with exhibits and memorabilia from the days of steam. The wooded section beyond Bridge 53 marks the start of Gopsall Park. The hall here was demolished in 1951, however Gopsall Wharf by Bridge 58 was the last site used for loading coal and transporting it to the paper mills along the Grand Union Canal. The Rising Sun Pub is in the village.
Snarestone is the home of the Snarestone Tunnel, which is quite short at 228 metres and is only suitable for one way traffic as there is a kink in it, there are moorings at the entrance which are convenient for visiting one of the two pubs in the village. The tunnel leaves us with just a half mile cruise to the end of the canal which finishes suddenly in the middle of the countryside.
Beyond here work is in progress to restore the northern section of the canal.
Although not close to the canal, it might be worth getting a bus from either Hinckley, Market Bosworth, Snarestone, & Measham to Snibstone Discovery park, which is a 100 acre multi-award-winning interactive museum specialising in science and technology, engineering, transport, fashion, history and mining. Based on the former Snibston Colliery, it comprises 7 hands-on galleries, a children’s outside play area, wild water play, an under 5s’ section, a café, a shop, plus a former 1940s’ travelling theatre. The emphasise at Snibston is on discovery. There are over 90 interactive exhibits that are suitable for all ages. The whole site is in 100 acres of landscaped grounds.
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.
Annar (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).
Astrid (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).
Bryn (Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).
Cape Warbler (Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).
Elnar (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).
Flutist Wren (Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).
Grendal (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).
Hooded Grebe (Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).
Silver Gull (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).
Wood Lark (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).
Yellow Wagtail (Sleeps a maximum of 10 People).
Maps and Guides
Pubs available on this canal route:-
|Pub Name||Pub Address||Distance from Rugby||More Info|