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Good stopping places and pubs


kohaladonah
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We are a group of narrowboat newbies from the US (collectively a good deal of boating experience of one sort or another but no narrowboats) We are hiring from Napton Narrowboats and have two weeks. Our plan at this point is to go north through Braunston, perhaps spend a couple of nights in Coventry and do some sightseeing from there in the general area by public transportation, then go up the Ashby, see Bosworth Field and make our way back to Napton.  We're not committed to any of this, but aren't particularly interested in routes with lots of locks (we're all seniors) and would love some feedback and ideas about good moorings near towns or pubs for our evening meals and possible sightseeing ideas along the route.  Any advice and counsel gratefully accepted!  

 

Donna

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Hi Donna,

 

Your suggested route is probably one week of pure cruising time so you will have plenty of time to take things in. As far as Coventry goes there is the Cathedral and the Motor Museum which are the obvious places to visit and both walkable from the canal basin which is close to the city centre.

 

I am assuming you have deliberately chosen not to do the Warwickshire Ring which would involve a lock heavy second week to your holiday but would also allow visits to Birmingham, Packwood House and Warwick Castle. I suspect you may also be thinking of visiting Stratford-on-Avon which along with Warwick Castle would be the most obvious destinations from Coventry.

 

As far as pubs go the Greyhound at Sutton Stop (officially Hawkesbury Junction) is a famous canal pub and pretty much gets universally favourable reviews. The Globe at Snarestone right at the top of the Ashby Canal is also a pub that seems to be well regarded although I can't personally recommend it because I've never been there. Your basic route just misses the Folly Inn at Napton although it's a feasible on your last evening before returning the boat. It will mean going past the hire base before turning below Napton locks and walking a short distance to the pub. Probably best to book the pubs if you wish to eat at them. There are lots of other pubs on the route of which the Barley Mow at Newbold and Lime Kilns near Hinckley on the Ashby are a couple that spring to mind.

 

If you find you are bit short of cruising with your chosen route you have the option of continuing on up the Coventry and turning immediately before Atherstone locks. Otherwise if you think you have been short on locks take a trip up Braunston's six locks and through the tunnel, turn at Norton Junction and head back again. This will take a few hours and allow you to see the main part of Braunston from a canal perspective and visit the Admiral Nelson, another well known canalside pub.

 

JP

Edited by Captain Pegg
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If you want to find out about pubs, then https://whatpub.com/ will give you lots of info.  Just enter a location and all the pubs nearby will come up.  Don't be afraid of locks - the ones in that area aren't difficult, and you should get help from other boaters (and give help too - I'm in my seventies and am always grateful these days, as a singlehander, for the help given by hire boat crews).

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We recently did the stretch between Hawkesbury Junction and Coventry Basin and were disappointed with the state of the canal. The basin itself is quite nice but there is not much going on there. We felt more needed to be done to attract both boaters and others. There was quite a bit of rubbish in the canal and were scraping along in a couple of places (particularly around bridge 4 if I recall correctly).

 

So, by all means visit Coventry Basin but don't expect to be delighted with the approach!

 

I can recommend the Saltisford Arm at Warwick if you get over that way. Ideal for visiting the castle. Stratford on Avon is also a delight with lots of nice mooring in the basin and the option to drop onto the River Avon as well. However this area would involve moor locks.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, RichLech said:

 

 

I can recommend the Saltisford Arm at Warwick if you get over that way. Ideal for visiting the castle. Stratford on Avon is also a delight with lots of nice mooring in the basin and the option to drop onto the River Avon as well. However this area would involve moor locks.

 

 

Eeeeeek! Napton to Stratford and back is 100+ locks, and hard work! Agree Warwick and Saltisford is a great option.

The Ashby is a good option especially in August....when are you going?  Not many good pubs between Napton and Sutton stop. Try Braunston. Next good one is the greyhound but if your doing it in August then it could be busy. We were in there twice last week and the was a 90mins wait for food. It was mobbed. Not relaxing eating. The sunshine brings the crowds out. There are more good pubs on the Ashby. Try them all. The Globe at the top is very good with upmarket food. We were impressed with Anchor on the Coventry, south of Atherstone. Excellent food and beer. 

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46 minutes ago, RichLech said:

We recently did the stretch between Hawkesbury Junction and Coventry Basin and were disappointed with the state of the canal. The basin itself is quite nice but there is not much going on there. We felt more needed to be done to attract both boaters and others. There was quite a bit of rubbish in the canal and were scraping along in a couple of places (particularly around bridge 4 if I recall correctly).

 

So, by all means visit Coventry Basin but don't expect to be delighted with the approach!

 

I can recommend the Saltisford Arm at Warwick if you get over that way. Ideal for visiting the castle. Stratford on Avon is also a delight with lots of nice mooring in the basin and the option to drop onto the River Avon as well. However this area would involve moor locks.

 

 

Well it's a bit of a vicious circle isn't it? There are things that can be done to help though;-

 

1. Join the Coventry Canal Society. Give them your time and if that's difficult give them a donation toward their work.

 

2. Endeavour to return to contribute to the number of boats.

 

3. Encourage others to visit.

 

I cruised it about a year ago and thought it pretty par for the course for an urban canal and I am very familiar both with urban canals and the neighbourhoods this particular one passes through. I had no difficulty in cruising it and I saw no obvious problems with the state of the canal. I do wonder quite what people expect of this sort of canal. It was never picturesque, you have to find interest in other ways but if you can't do that on an urban canal it's because you don't want to. Urban canals are equally part of the network as rural ones; one makes no sense without the other. Usage is key to the health of all canals. Compared to what the generation or two before ours had to do to keep these waterways open for the benefit of boaters and the local community our task is very simple. Just use them, it's our duty.

 

JP

Edited by Captain Pegg
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Thanks so much, everyone!  It is helpful to know that we can be a little more ambitious given our available time.  We will be departing in early September and, so far as I know, not hitting any major bank holidays or festivals.  Thank you as well for the notes on the pubs.  I'll make a list to take with us.  We're very excited to embark on this adventure.  We've watched all of the Great Canal Journeys, read the boater's handbook cover to cover a couple of times, and watched lots of YouTube videos on how to do locks.  Hopefully, we won't disgrace ourselves utterly or drain all the water out of the canal - a dear friend in the UK who knew about our plans sent us that press clipping!  If any of you are out and about between September 8 and 22, we'll be on the Constance from Napton Narrowboats - be sure and give us a wave! 

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We did the Warwickshire Ring last year in 11 days - with a few longer days possible thanks to June / July daylight hours.  With 14 days you should be fine apart from the last few days on the Hatton flight etc.  A few locks to think about, but with a crew of 4 or 6 you should be fine (famous last words).

 

Coventry Canal was ok but not a highlight.  We moored in the centre of Birmingham for a couple of nights and with 14 nights you could extend this.  Warwick was another highlight where we were able to moor right by the Cape of Good Hope for two nights.

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You clearly have done a lot of research and have picked well for a low lock route.

 

On the day you pick the boat up if you decide you want to stop in Braunston then you can turn right at the Junction (you would go left for you planned route) and go through Braunston and if there is space to stop overnight there.  You can turn round in the main marina entrance to go back to the Junction and up the North Oxford.  In Braunston you can then take a walk up the locks to the Admiral Nelson pub, I think you will enjoy that and it does reasonably upmarket food if you wanted to eat there.  That will let you see the wide locks there so that you can think about on yourreturn if you have time to consider going up the 6 locks and through Braunston tunnel to Norton Junction and stop there over night.  I think if you felt you could do this it would enhance your overall experience!

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Don't be afraid of the Hatton Flight.

 

Yes, 21 (or 23 including the pair at the Cape) is a lot of locks, but they are efficient, meaning they work as they are designed to, winding down/dropping paddles notwithstanding.

There are usually volunteer lockies about, especially towards the top, so you might get some help, and as they are double width locks you might get to share which should half the work.

 

Last time I went that way single handed from Leamington Spa to Lapworth and I'm over 60. I'll admit I was a bit tried at the end of the day though!

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1 hour ago, Victor Vectis said:

Don't be afraid of the Hatton Flight.

 

Yes, 21 (or 23 including the pair at the Cape) is a lot of locks, but they are efficient, meaning they work as they are designed to, winding down/dropping paddles notwithstanding.

There are usually volunteer lockies about, especially towards the top, so you might get some help, and as they are double width locks you might get to share which should half the work.

 

Last time I went that way single handed from Leamington Spa to Lapworth and I'm over 60. I'll admit I was a bit tried at the end of the day though!

Yea but your a super hero.  They also have to do 23 to get to Cape from Napton, and then back again unless they do the ring.  It’s a big step from their plan!

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4 hours ago, Victor Vectis said:

Don't be afraid of the Hatton Flight.

 

Yes, 21 (or 23 including the pair at the Cape) is a lot of locks, but they are efficient, meaning they work as they are designed to, winding down/dropping paddles notwithstanding.

There are usually volunteer lockies about, especially towards the top, so you might get some help, and as they are double width locks you might get to share which should half the work.

 

Last time I went that way single handed from Leamington Spa to Lapworth and I'm over 60. I'll admit I was a bit tried at the end of the day though!

I did top of Stockton to Hockley Heath in a day and I was completely knackered/f##$&d etc

 

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4 hours ago, Victor Vectis said:

There are usually volunteer lockies about, especially towards the top, so you might get some help, and as they are double width locks you might get to share which should half the work.

 

I found the volunteer lockies on the Hatton to be useless boarding on dangerous.

Sharing the locks with another boat does not in my experience halve the work or speeds up the time at all. Though it is good to meet people and have a good chat.

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10 minutes ago, matty40s said:

I did top of Stockton to Hockley Heath in a day and I was completely knackered/f##$&d etc

 

You are doing something wrong then. We have done all these flights loads of times and recently the caen hill jobbies and I am nearly as fresh at the finish as I am at the start. You will tell me you had to get off the boat for some reason at some of the locks next. ?

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If you do decide to do the 6 Braunston Locks plus tunnel and overnight at Norton Junction then you should walk the short distance to the top (first) lock of the Buckby flight to visit the New Inn pub. We had fabulous fish and chips in there a few months ago and it was only £9.99. 

 

Also worth a short walk towards the next lock to visit the little canalside shop.

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