Fradley Junction & Return from Springwood Haven

3-4 Nights

Maps & Guides for this route: N3, P6 | Click here buy maps

Treading a rural route through nature reserves and pools left behind by industry, this cruise winds gently through beautiful countryside. You’ll hear stories of mining and hat making, money troubles, medieval angels and the English language.

Setting off from the marina, head northwards along the Coventry Canal. Very quickly, you reach Atherstone, once a thriving centre for hat making. A burst of energy is needed here for the attractive 11 Atherstone Locks, the majority of the locks on the entire Coventry Canal, which take the canal down to open farmland. The railway and the River Anker shadow the canal and, passing the remnants of an unusual iron swing bridge, the canal ambles through Polesworth and past Pooley Country Park before ducking under the noisy M42.

At Alvecote, a nature reserve has been created from the pools left by the mining industry. The canal passes through the outskirts of Tamworth and descends through another two locks at Glascote. Crossing the River Tame over the beautiful Grade II-listed Tame Aqueduct, you reach Fazeley Junction, where the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal heads off south towards Birmingham. You may want to moor up for any children aboard who want a quick detour to Drayton Manor Theme Park, just south of the junction.

The Coventry Canal Company ran out of money at Fazeley so the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal carries on for a couple of miles to the northwest of Fazeley Junction – though the Company later managed to buy the section from Whittington through to Fradley Junction, now a stranded portion of the Coventry Canal! (A stone by bridge 78 at Whittington marks where the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal changes back to the Coventry Canal).

There is no mooring allowed by the wooded hillside at Hopwas as this is the Whittington Firing Ranges (look out for the danger flags!) At Huddlesford Junction, the remains of what is now called the Lichfield Canal are now used for moorings. If time allows, the city of Lichfield, two miles along the A38, has much to explore. Lichfield Cathedral is world famous and is the only three-spired medieval Cathedral in the UK. One of its highlights is an 8th-century carved panel of the Archangel Gabriel which was discovered in 2003. The close around the Cathedral dates back to medieval times, and the city is also renowned for its Georgian architecture. Samuel Johnson was born here in 1709, his birthplace now a museum. The writer, often referred to as Dr Johnson, published his ‘A Dictionary of the English Language’ in 1755, and according to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations is one of England’s most quoted people.

The Coventry Canal ends at Fradley Junction where it meets the Trent & Mersey Canal. The junction is a bustling hotspot with an award-winning nature reserve, a pub (the Swan, known as the ‘Mucky Duck’) and teashops to tempt you to stay a while. It is also a popular spot for ‘gongoozlers’ (people who watch boating activity) so make sure any boat manoeuvres are well controlled! Once you’ve had your fill of exploring, it’s time to enjoy the return journey to Springwood Haven Marina from a different perspective.

Featured Boats

Featured Boats from Springwood Haven, Warwickshire

Two to Five berth Boats

Alvechurch Swift

Max: 4 People

Length: 49ft

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Alvechurch Grebe

Max: 4 People

Length: 47ft

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Alvechurch Wren

Max: 4 People

Length: 49ft

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Six to eight berth Boats

Alvechurch Duck

Max: 6 People

Length: 60ft

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Alvechurch Gull

Max: 6 People

Length: 66ft

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Alvechurch Lark

Max: 6 People

Length: 66ft (63ft from Falkirk)

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Alvechurch Warbler

Max: 8 People

Length: 69ft

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Up to twelve berth Boats

Alvechurch Wagtail

Max: 10 People

Length: 70ft

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