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Warwickshire Ring - where not to stop


libali

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Hello,

We are planning to do the Warwickshire Ring anti-clockwise from Rugby, via central Birmingham (and possibly with a detour down to Stratford if we have time - it's an 11 night trip).

Is there any reason not to go anti-clockwise?

And are there any places / stretches where you would advise us not to moor?

 

Background: We've done a few canal holidays, love locks, and did the Stourport Ring via Birmingham last year. The reason for choosing anti-clockwise is to get some distance done at the beginning, so we know what our options are for detours, stopping etc in the busier southern parts. We'd love to go down to Stratford but realise it may not be possible.

 

Thank you!

Edited by libali
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The usual reason to go clockwise is when starting from Braunston/Napton you get a lot of the locks done first, so at the end it is easier to catch up if you are running late.  That in my opinion is not so critical if starting from Rugby, also if you want to keep Stratford as an option then keeping that until later is also good.  So with what you have said I would say anti-clockwise is the righ choice.

 

As to where to stop etc, as you aproach Birmingham on the B&F stop no later than the Cuttle Bridge Inn, and then the next day go from there to the centre of Birmingham (suggest an early start!).  On the way out of Birmingham on the North Stratford the earliest stopping place would be Shirley drawbridge, if you a go a bit further to Wearings Green (near the Blue Bell pub) that is nicer, or carry on to Hockley Heath.  Other than that stop anywhere, although Leamington would not be my choice of stopping place.

 

As to Stratford if you are gluttons for punishment you can go down from Kingswood in a day and then back up the next day.  I have done both ways in a day each, but not on consecutive days!

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39 minutes ago, john6767 said:

if you a go a bit further to Wearings Green (near the Blue Bell pub) that is nicer, or carry on to Hockley Heath.  Other than that stop anywhere, although Leamington would not be my choice of stopping place.

 

As to Stratford if you are gluttons for punishment you can go down from Kingswood in a day and then back up the next day.  I have done both ways in a day each, but not on consecutive days!

Second the Blue Bell, it's one of my favourite stops. Go past the private moorings, through bridge 19 and stop anywhere before you get to the next corner, else you start to hear the M42. Make sure you visit Wedges bakery near bridge 20 !

 

When we did Stratford earlier in the year we stopped at Wilmcote rather than pushing down to the basin, turned at the winding hole and reversed onto the moorings there, then caught the train down from the station 2 mins walk away and for £2.30 return. You could make a decision as you get there, if you're pushed for time but still want to visit Stratford then it'll save you 16 locks each direction and the train trip is only about 10 minutes.

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Thank you both, this is all very useful indeed. Really good to know there are not too many 'no go' areas, as we've meticulously planned routes in the past only to have to change them completely when we've been told our mooring plans are unsafe.

 

I suspect we are gluttons for punishment @john6767! But great to know the train option too, @gatekrash, I would never have thought to do that. Obviously, being lock-junkies (!), missing 16 locks each way doesn't appeal as much as many would think, but it might be necessary.

 

Now we've got to factor in a teenager joining us by train on our 3rd day. We were hoping that could be in Birmingham to make it simple, but I don't think we'll get there soon enough. Time to peruse canalplan armed with your useful responses 👍🏼.

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1 hour ago, libali said:

Thank you both, this is all very useful indeed. Really good to know there are not too many 'no go' areas, as we've meticulously planned routes in the past only to have to change them completely when we've been told our mooring plans are unsafe.

 

I suspect we are gluttons for punishment @john6767! But great to know the train option too, @gatekrash, I would never have thought to do that. Obviously, being lock-junkies (!), missing 16 locks each way doesn't appeal as much as many would think, but it might be necessary.

 

Now we've got to factor in a teenager joining us by train on our 3rd day. We were hoping that could be in Birmingham to make it simple, but I don't think we'll get there soon enough. Time to peruse canalplan armed with your useful responses 👍🏼.

For stations, Atherstone which is probably to early for you, Wilnecote in Tamworth if you would be at Fazeley Junction.  Then it is Birmingham, but they could get the train out to say Aston and join you part way on the ascent to Birmingham.

 

In terms of Stratford I understand the train bit in saving locks and time, but then you could equally just drive to Stratford when you drop on boat off!  For me the point in going by boat is to moor in Bancroft basin or on the river.  With the 11 days you should be able to have more then 2 days to go the Stratford and back, perhaps down in a day and then 2 days back so you don’t have to set off so early.  On the second of the days coming back you could go on to the top of Hatton

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The basic ring is about 105 miles and 120 locks and using timings from my boat and crew you need to be moving for about 50 hours over your 11 nights.  Of that 50 miles, 52 lock and 23 hrs to Birmingham. Extra bit to Stratford is another 26 miles and 70 locks, which I'd leave another 20 hours, as the Southern Stratford can be slow.

 

Always hard to advise where other boaters won't like to moor. Near another moored boater will be fine, give or take the occasional grumpy isolationist.  Over this route we have had no problems when moored anywhere. In the middle of the day we were moored outside the SeaLife Centre on the OozellSt Loop in the centre of Birmingham, and the boat rocked slightly as someone boarded. Opened the front door to find a tourist posing for a photo. Smiled grumpily, and they went away. BCNS mooring advice here

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Yes, I think Tamworth looks like the best option. Direct train from London and in about the right place. Thanks.

 

We're not bothered by the presence of other people, just don't want to be cast adrift in the middle of the night or feel threatened. Other than that, all good.

 

We're thinking of mooring between Hawkesbury and Marston on night 1, Polesworth night 2, on to Tamworth the next day to meet teenager (in possession of A levels by that point, I hope) and onward to spend night 3 around Curdworth. Then to Birmingham, hopefully to moor near Sealife again on night 4. We moored there last year and it was fab.

 

Not got any further yet.

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1 hour ago, libali said:

Yes, I think Tamworth looks like the best option. Direct train from London and in about the right place. Thanks.

 

We're not bothered by the presence of other people, just don't want to be cast adrift in the middle of the night or feel threatened. Other than that, all good.

 

We're thinking of mooring between Hawkesbury and Marston on night 1, Polesworth night 2, on to Tamworth the next day to meet teenager (in possession of A levels by that point, I hope) and onward to spend night 3 around Curdworth. Then to Birmingham, hopefully to moor near Sealife again on night 4. We moored there last year and it was fab.

 

Not got any further yet.

I would book a table at the Greyhound and stop overnight at Hawkesbury on night 1.

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17 hours ago, john6767 said:

The usual reason to go clockwise is when starting from Braunston/Napton you get a lot of the locks done first, so at the end it is easier to catch up if you are running late.  That in my opinion is not so critical if starting from Rugby, also if you want to keep Stratford as an option then keeping that until later is also good.  So with what you have said I would say anti-clockwise is the righ choice.

 

As to where to stop etc, as you aproach Birmingham on the B&F stop no later than the Cuttle Bridge Inn, and then the next day go from there to the centre of Birmingham (suggest an early start!).  On the way out of Birmingham on the North Stratford the earliest stopping place would be Shirley drawbridge, if you a go a bit further to Wearings Green (near the Blue Bell pub) that is nicer, or carry on to Hockley Heath.  Other than that stop anywhere, although Leamington would not be my choice of stopping place.

 

As to Stratford if you are gluttons for punishment you can go down from Kingswood in a day and then back up the next day.  I have done both ways in a day each, but not on consecutive days!

I was nodding in agreement with all of this until the bit in bold.  There's plenty of mooring options before the drawbridge.  And right by the drawbridge itself isn't very nice.  Better to carry on through and moor after the railway bridge and winding hole.

15 hours ago, john6767 said:

For stations, Atherstone which is probably to early for you, Wilnecote in Tamworth if you would be at Fazeley Junction.  Then it is Birmingham, but they could get the train out to say Aston and join you part way on the ascent to Birmingham.

 

 

If you moor by the Cuttle Bridge Inn, Water Orton rail station is an easy walk.

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I would mostly second what John said about going straight from the Cuttle Bridge to central Brum.  But if that doesn't fit your schedule there are other options.  There's a visitor mooring at Star City which is safe.  The following morning you can either reverse back to Salford Junction and up the Aston flight (the normal way), or carry on and up the Garrison Flight.

 

If you're going via the Aston flight and run short of time, you can moor on the offside above the third lock.

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12 hours ago, Rob-M said:

I would book a table at the Greyhound and stop overnight at Hawkesbury on night 1.

That's exactly what we did, with Polesworth the following night.

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18 minutes ago, libali said:

This is all great information, thanks so much and keep it coming!

@Rob-M were you doing the Warwickshire Ring, or just that stretch?

We do that stretch quite often, we usually stop at the Greyhound either for lunch or the evening depending on where we started. If it is for lunch we then usually carry on to the Anchor at Hartshill for overnight, if it was an overnight then the next day would be to Polesworth or Fazeley Junction depending on where we are heading.

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3 hours ago, libali said:

This is all great information, thanks so much and keep it coming!

@Rob-M were you doing the Warwickshire Ring, or just that stretch?

Another highly recommended stop on the ring after Hatton is the Cape of Good Hope -- excellent beer (you'll need some by then) and good food.

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52 minutes ago, IanD said:

Another highly recommended stop on the ring after Hatton is the Cape of Good Hope -- excellent beer (you'll need some by then) and good food.

We go there quite a lot and were last there Friday just gone and had to breast up with friends well beyond the bridge in the last available space at about 4pm. Seems everyone on hire from Kate boats moors there for their last night! Fortunately, we had booked a table... Message: avoid Fridays and book.

 

Next morning, Saturday, was the opposite to busy - we were the only 2 boats going up Hatton and passed just one coming down. As we first caught site of the bridge by the depot there were 2 volockies gongoozeling. By the time we reached the "Welcome Hut", their assistance notable only by its complete absence, they were sat inside having their lunch. After we moored at the café for a cream tea, one appeared looking a bit gormless, he approached the top lock as 2 ladies in a boat entered it from above, then turned and walked back to the hut without lifting a finger. I made it a total of 4 boats all morning on that flight and not one was "assisted". On the plus side, neither did we receive any "advice", so I guess we broke even! Message:  a single handed novice cannot rely on assistance.

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7 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

We go there quite a lot and were last there Friday just gone and had to breast up with friends well beyond the bridge in the last available space at about 4pm. Seems everyone on hire from Kate boats moors there for their last night! Fortunately, we had booked a table... Message: avoid Fridays and book.

 

Next morning, Saturday, was the opposite to busy - we were the only 2 boats going up Hatton and passed just one coming down. As we first caught site of the bridge by the depot there were 2 volockies gongoozeling. By the time we reached the "Welcome Hut", their assistance notable only by its complete absence, they were sat inside having their lunch. After we moored at the café for a cream tea, one appeared looking a bit gormless, he approached the top lock as 2 ladies in a boat entered it from above, then turned and walked back to the hut without lifting a finger. I made it a total of 4 boats all morning on that flight and not one was "assisted". On the plus side, neither did we receive any "advice", so I guess we broke even! Message:  a single handed novice cannot rely on assistance.

The Cape is -- unsurprisingly! -- very busy on Friday as you say, but the OP (11 day trip anticlockwise starting from Rugby) should hopefully be passing it midweek (like we did) so should be fine -- depending on start day, obviously.

 

If they did the Stourport Ring (including Tardebigge) last year and love locks, Hatton is unlikely to faze them 😉

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4 minutes ago, IanD said:

If they did the Stourport Ring (including Tardebigge) last year and love locks, Hatton is unlikely to faze them 😉

Particularly not if they know there are Screaming Mexican Dirty Fries waiting at the bottom!

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1 minute ago, IanD said:

If they did the Stourport Ring (including Tardebigge) last year, Hatton is unlikely to faze them 

We did 🙂.

Our start day is a Monday. Which, it has just occurred to me, means we'll be arriving in Birmingham Thursday evening. Hopefully that'll mean it's not too crowded.

 

Loving all the pub recommendations. We try not to eat out every night as it gets so expensive, but it's great to know a good option for each stop. 

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5 minutes ago, libali said:

We did 🙂.

Our start day is a Monday. Which, it has just occurred to me, means we'll be arriving in Birmingham Thursday evening. Hopefully that'll mean it's not too crowded.

 

Loving all the pub recommendations. We try not to eat out every night as it gets so expensive, but it's great to know a good option for each stop. 

Stourport Ring is great -- *loads* of brilliant pubs, especially for beer 😉

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Mid-Worcestershire Ring (Droitwich etc) in 2019 was fabulous, Stourport Ring even better (we thought we might finally quench our thirst for locks, but no). Doing it during a pandemic with all the booking in advance & distancing stuff did mean we may not have made the most of ALL the pubs 😉. Got stuck in Stourport due to a Severn closure and ate great pizza though. 

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3 minutes ago, libali said:

Mid-Worcestershire Ring (Droitwich etc) in 2019 was fabulous, Stourport Ring even better (we thought we might finally quench our thirst for locks, but no). Doing it during a pandemic with all the booking in advance & distancing stuff did mean we may not have made the most of ALL the pubs 😉. Got stuck in Stourport due to a Severn closure and ate great pizza though. 

If you *really* like locks, you should do the Rochdale/HNC ring (210 locks in 10 days?) like we did... 😉

 

Also has some great pubs, and magnificent scenery -- and Standedge Tunnel 🙂 🙂 🙂

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