WARWICKSHIRE RING RUGBY 7 NIGHTS
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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)
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 selection of shops to supply food is brilliant in Rugby, offering deli’s, supermarkets, organic shops, local produce, bakers and butchers, and making it worth a stop just for the shopping opportunities alone, bear in mind that after Hillmorton there is only limited opportunity to shop for food for quite some time. The centre of Rugby is a very pleasant place offering nice parkland and places to eat and drink in abundance.
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.
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.
There is a flight of 5 locks at Knowle and the canal heads past the larger town of Knowle on the outskirts of Solihull.
You can moor up at Catherine de Barnes as this is the last place to moor before Birmingham.
There are stores here & The Boat Inn is close by.
It is 9.25 hours cruising to here.
Past Catherine De Barnes the canal now is into the city of Birmingham (there is a pub here by Bridge 78 and stores in the village).
A short walk west of bridge 88 is Birmingham railway Museum ,which has open days throughout the year.
The 5 Camp hill Locks take you to Bordesley Junction where you turn right to the end of the Grand Union Canal, through the Garrison Locks to Salford junction. 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 10.5 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.
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 of British 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.
For lovers of the rural setting this is where the finer section of the canal is, on the run fromAlvecote 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 8.5 cruising hours to here
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 pedestrianised 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.
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.
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 9.75 hours cruising back to Rugby marina, you need to depart by 9.30am on Day 8.
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.
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Maps and Guides
Pubs available on this canal route:-
|Pub Name||Pub Address||Distance from Rugby||More Info|
|The Alexandra Arms||James Street, Rugby CV||Full Details|
|The Yeoman||Saint Nicolas Park Drive, Nuneaton CV||Full Details|
|The Golden Lion||Main Street, Easenhall, Rugby CV23 OJA||Full Details|
|Rupert Brooke||8 Castle Street, Rugby CV21 2TP||1.27 Miles||Full Details|
|The Barley Mow||Main Street, Newbold, Rugby CV21 1HW||1.44 Miles||Full Details|
|The Bell And The Barge||Brownsover Road, Rugby CV21 1HL||1.22 Miles||Full Details|
|The Lawrence Sheriff||28 High Street, Rugby CV21 3BW||1.44 Miles||Full Details|
|The Raglan Arms||50 Dunchurch Road, Rugby CV22 6AD||1.62 Miles||Full Details|
|The Merchants Inn||5 Little Church Street, Rugby CV21 3AW||1.42 Miles||Full Details|
|The Bell Inn||High Street, Hillmorton CV21 4HD||2.65 Miles||Full Details|
|The Old Royal Oak||Crick Road, Rugby CV21 4PW||3.15 Miles||Full Details|
|The George||Watling Street, Kilsby CV23 8YE||4.47 Miles||Full Details|
|The Bulls Head||Coventry Road, Brinklow CV23 0NE||5.11 Miles||Full Details|
|The Boat House||London Road, Daventry NN11 7HB||7.05 Miles||Full Details|
|Corner House||454 Nuneaton Road, Bedworth CV12 9SB||10.65 Miles||Full Details|
|The Bridge||Southam Road, Napton CV47 8NQ||10.08 Miles||Full Details|
|The Folly Inn||Folly Lane, Napton CV47 8NZ||10.82 Miles||Full Details|
|The Bear And Ragged Staff||50 King Street, Bedworth CV12 8JA||11.22 Miles||Full Details|
|The Griffin||Coventry Road, Bedworth CV10 7PJ||11.94 Miles||Full Details|
|The Acorn||Cambourne Drive, Horeston Grange, Nuneaton CV11 6GU||12.35 Miles||Full Details|
|The Cedar Tree||Avenue Road, Nuneaton CV11 4LX||12.40 Miles||Full Details|
|The Rugger Tavern||121 Attleborough Road, Nuneaton CV11 4JQ||12.48 Miles||Full Details|
|The Yeoman||St Nicolas Park Drive, Nuneaton CV11 6EN||12.51 Miles||Full Details|
|Somerville Arms||4 Campion Terrace, Leamington Spa CV32 4SX||13.51 Miles||Full Details|
|The Anker Inn||Weddington Road, Nuneaton CV10 0AN||13.24 Miles||Full Details|
|The White Horse||4 Claredon Avenue, Leamington Spa CV32 5PZ||13.93 Miles||Full Details|
|The Moorings||Myton Road, Leamington Spa CV31 3NY||14.75 Miles||Full Details|
|The Tiller Pin||Queensway, Leamington Spa CV31 3JZ||14.59 Miles||Full Details|
|The Grand Union||Clemens Street, Leamington Spa CV31 2DN||14.09 Miles||Full Details|
|The Roebuck||57 Smith Street, Warwick CV34 4HU||15.93 Miles||Full Details|
|The Bull Inn||Watling Street, Witherley, Atherstone CV9 1RD||16.87 Miles||Full Details|
|The Rose And Crown||Market Place, Warwick CV34 4SH||16.33 Miles||Full Details|
|The Thomas Lloyd||3 Market Place, Warwick CV34 4SA||16.27 Miles||Full Details|
|The Tilted Wig||11 Market Place, Warwick CV34 4SA||16.27 Miles||Full Details|
|The Wharf||Cornhill Lane, Bugbrooke NN7 3QB||16.02 Miles||Full Details|
|The Kings Head||39 Saltisford, Warwick CV34 4TD||16.27 Miles||Full Details|
|The Lazy Cow||10 Theatre Street, Warwick CV34 4DP||16.34 Miles||Full Details|
|The Blue Lion||Church Road, Atherstone CV9 3NA||17.08 Miles||Full Details|
|The Hatton Arms||Birmingham Road, Hatton CV35 7JJ||17.91 Miles||Full Details|
|The Durham Ox||Shrewley Common, Warwick CV35 7AY||19.67 Miles||Full Details|
|Tom O The Wood||Finwood Road, Rowington CV35 7DH||20.27 Miles||Full Details|
|The Blue Ball||6 Cedar Street, Braunston LE15 8QS||27.05 Miles||Full Details|
|Garden House||160 Hagley Road, Edgbaston B16 9NX||29.59 Miles||Full Details|
|The White Swan||Harborne Road, Edgbaston B15 3TT||29.43 Miles||Full Details|
NB: Distances are as the crow flies and will vary for actual canal boating travel distance.