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Short
Breaks

Snarestone & Return from Springwood Haven

3 Nights
TOTAL LOCKS: ZERO
CRUISING TIME PER DAY: 8.5 HOURS (20 TOTAL)

Maps & Guides for this route: N3, P6, L13 | Click here buy maps

This peaceful lock-free route meanders through countryside and mingles pleasantly with wildlife, while whispering old stories of stockings, steam engines and fancy teapots. Yet it secretly harbours deathly histories of Richard III and bloody battles too.

Cruise south from Springwood Haven Marina along the Coventry Canal. The canal flows through open countryside, passing a series of nature reserves and landscape formed from the spoil heaps of former quarries, the most dramatic of which is known as Mount Judd. Nuneaton’s main claim to fame is as birthplace of the writer George Eliot, and the canal winds past pretty gardens round the edge of the town.

Just to the south of Nuneaton, turn left at Marston Junction to follow the Ashby Canal. The canal immediately shows its credentials as it passes through a landscape of open farmland, trees and its distinctive stone arched bridges. Flowing under the old Roman road of Watling Street (now the A5), the canal winds through the edges of Hinckley, which is the last real sign of habitation for the canal’s entire length. Home to Triumph motorcycles, it is possible to take a factory tour to learn more of this iconic brand’s history and how the world-renowned motorcycles are produced. The town is also known as the ‘Cradle of Hosiery’, with an industry dating back to 1640 when the first stocking machine in Leicestershire was installed here.

The gentle contours of the canal, and of course the lack of any locks, give plenty of opportunity to take in the rural views and spot wildlife. Only history contradicts the tranquillity of this journey, as the canal skims the site of the bloodiest final battle of the Wars of the Roses. The window sills of Stoke Golding’s Church of St Margaret of Antioch show grooves which legend has it were caused by the soldiers sharpening their swords on the eve of the battle (during another war, World War II, the spire of the church was taken down due to low-flying aircraft heading to a nearby airfield, and the numbered stones were painstakingly rebuilt after the war).

Wars raged over several decades for control of the throne between the houses of Lancaster and York (the red and white roses), and this final battle between Yorkist King Richard III and Lancastrian Henry Tudor changed England's history. Richard III fell to a gruesome death here at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. Richard was the last king of England to die in battle, and was the last of the Plantagenet Dynasty, leaving Henry to found the Tudor Dynasty by becoming Henry VII. Of course, more recent history resulted in the mysterious ‘body in the car park’ in Leicester being formally identified as the remains of Richard III. He was finally laid to rest with full honours in Leicester Cathedral in 2015 after several days of commemoration.

‘Battlefield’ moorings are best after bridge 35 and just before Shenton Aqueduct. Following the footpath up from either Sutton Wharf or bridge 34A up to the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre, there are also trails to follow around the battle site. Near bridge 35, the Battlefield Line steam railway runs north to Market Bosworth and on to Shackerstone and its Victorian tearooms. The canal swirls northwards with the railway, then branches off to the northwest to its current terminus just beyond Snarestone Tunnel (250yds/229m long).

The original canal continued for another 8 miles through Measham (well-known for its pottery and, among canal boat dwellers, its ornate Measham Teapots) to Moira where the last mile of canal has already been restored. If your itinerary allows, there is much to be explored here and it ien restored and there re are een restored and there are plans to restore the remaining miles to connect back to the s hoped that the remaining miles may also be restored to connect up the entire canal again. Once you’ve had your fill of exploring, it’s time to turn your boat in the winding hole just beyond the tunnel and gently cruise back to the marina.

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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