The Droitwich Ring from Worcester Marina

3 Nights

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The Droitwich Canal links the Worcester and Birmingham with the River Severn at Hawford creating a new mini ring from Worcester. Cruising the ring will take approximately 16 hours so a short break is possible, but will require long days cruising on weekend breaks. The Droitwich Canal is an amalgamation of the Droitwich Barge Canal and the Droitwich Junction Canal both built to carry salt from Droitwich Spa but were abandoned in 1939.

It is a route that travels on both a canal and river.  This new ring can be cruised again for the first time in 90 years. It combines four contrasting waterways : The Droitwich canals, the southern part of the Worcester Birmingham Canal and the River Severn north of Worcester.  You will travel from Worcester Marina which is in the heart of Worcester not far from the M5 motorway.

We would suggest doing this mini ring clockwise, which will mean you will travel on the River Severn first.  The reason we suggest this is that doing it clockwise will mean your first stop will be around 3 hours away with only 4 locks, instead of the first stop being 4 hours away with 11 locks – start as mean to go on, in a relaxing way!

Day 1.

When you leave the marina at Lowesmoor you will join the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and turn right under the bridge.  You’ll pass through two locks and arrive in Diglis Basin where you will descend two further locks onto the River Severn.  You will need to turn right when joining the Severn to head up the river, or you can turn left and then turnaround a short distance downstream.  You will be approaching Worcester City centre where the Cathedral is overlooking.  You will then pass under Worcester Bridge built in 1781 and alongside Worcester Race Course which is by the river.  Now you are heading towards open countryside.

Your first stop will be the Camp House Inn on your left which is just below Bevere Lock.  This is one of the few riverside inns on the Severn and there is a floating pontoon at the end of the pub garden which you can moor at.  

Day 2.

Start the day by going through Bevere Lock onot the Droitwich Canal.  Bevere Lock like all of the Severn locks is mechanised and keeper operated. 

Half a mile above the lock you’ll find new landing stages that sit at the entrance to the Droitwich Barge Canal. In 1771 under engineer James Brindley the Droitwich Barge Canal was opened it’s just under 6 miles long with eight locks climbing from Hawford to Droitwich. You cruise the canal following the meanderings of the of the Salwarpe river. There are no roads and little sign of habitation for over a mile just isolated Lock 3 and Lineacre Bridge, a farm crossing dating from Bindley’s time. Porters Mill Bridge is the start of the canal’s main flight of locks; there are five, strung out over three-quarters of a mile of gently curving rural canal. The canal then heads off again on a 3 mile level into open countryside.

Next you pass through Salwarpe a tiny settlement and the only canalside village. The canal briefly forsakes the contours but then returns once again for the rest of the journey to Droitwich. The Railway Inn marks the arrival in Droitwich the only waterside pub although there are plenty more in the town if you want to moor and take a walk.

Droitwich was built on Salt and Vines Park was the site of the former brine works and salt wharves. You’ll notice the church tower leaning and other buildings in Droitwich as a result of salt-mining subsidence. Four swing bridges cross the canal in Vines Park the final one crossing Barge Lock where you enter another waterway Droitwich Junction Canal. You’ll pass along a new canalised length of the River Salwarpe. The river section quickly comes to an end and the first of four brand new locks appear. The town of Droitwich is left behind and you head into open countryside once again.

As an alternative to mooring in Droitwich on the second night you might want to continue through the Hanbury Locks and onto Hanbury Junction where a tight right turn brings you into the canal settlement of Hanbury Wharf.  Here The Eagle and Sun pub is on your left, right by the side of the canal and looks down onto the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.

Day 3.

On your last day you’ll travel from Hanbury back down to Worcester.  From Hanbury there is a stretch of four miles without any locks.  A wooded cutting leads to Dunhampstead Tunnel and after you pass through the villages of Oddingley and Tibberton the descent to Worcester begins with a flight of 6 locks and then a further 4 at Astwood as you enter the outskirts of Worcester.  Along this stretch you will pass a few pubs such as The Fir Tree and The Boat and Railway further up the canal, but at Tibberton there are another two pubs, The Bridge and Speed The Plough.  This will give you plenty of opportunity to grab some lunch.   

When you get back to Worcester many people come back into the marina at Lowesmoor to stay overnight and take the opportunity to go into Worcester.  There are many places to eat out or takeaways to bring food back to the boat and have a relaxing evening.  Alternatively you can moor alongside the canal just outside the base and cruise for about half an hour on the morning to reach the base by 9am. 

Featured Boats

Featured Boats from Worcester Marina, Worcestershire

Two to Five berth Boats

Alvechurch Wren

Max: 4 People

Length: 49ft

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Six to eight berth Boats

Alvechurch Dove

Max: 6 People

Length: 60ft

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Alvechurch Duck

Max: 6 People

Length: 60ft

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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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