Friday 10 September 2021


 Today's Canals - Ashby, Coventry

Although the forecast gave quite a high chance of rain today, in the end we only had a couple of quite short showers and in between there were some very pleasant sunny interludes.

As promised, just after setting off we took a closer look at the Sea Cadets base alongside the Wharf Pit 3.

Our water tank was quite low and Christine was about to do a load of washing. There was a water point just after the A5 bridge and then nothing until Hartshill, which hoped to reach by the end of the day but if anything held us up we could be rather dry!. Hence we stopped here and filled up.

It would seem as if this was once also a rubbish disposal point here but which has had to be removed, save for a small litter bin. Hence the right and shiny new blue CaRT sign, which reads, "No rubbish to be left here" and also lists the next places where it can be. Shame that some boaters (or others) are unable to read, or at least comprehend. How they expect their bags to be removed is perhaps too difficult a question - certainly is for us!

Elms Farm, just around the corner, has four huge sheds which look as if they are for breeding and growing chickens (or perhaps turkeys). Online we found the permit they were granted in 2018 for up to 220,000 chickens!

By coffee time, the blue sky had arrived.

Bramcote Hospital was built around 80 years ago as a TB sanatorium but changed to other purposes over time, Latterly it was mainly used as a 20 bed unit for elder care for those who could not be transferred to Adult Social care but did not need hospital conditions. It closed in 2011 and by 2015 it had been agreed that the site would be sold for housing. As can be seen from Google, the site is complete but looks oddly isolated, strictly confined to the footprint of the former hospital, and, as its original use suggests, isolated from any other community. We could just see the new houses actress a field from the canal.

It was still not quite time for lunch as we passed under the final bridge on the Ashby at Marston Junction. We turned right and continued for a while.

The a rea largely to the west of the canal will, for some distance, see barely visible remains of the once thriving coalmining industry that drove the development of the surrounding towns. Just after the junction, close to the pipe bridge, it is almost possible to make out (if you have a good imagination) the start of the Bedworth Mill Arm off to the right of the photo.

Sir Richard Newdigate, 3rd baronet of the Arbury Estate, built a network of canals associated with various mines. Although no longer navigable, the line of this arm can still be easily traced on an aerial view.

A strange collection of characters in someone's back garden still has a way to go before it is in real competition with Charity Dock.

At Boot Bridge, the boatyard is still very much in business (although it will not in too many prizes for tidiness!) much of the former site has been sold off for housing development. Some of the properties back on to a narrow strip beside the canal which the boatyard still let out for permanent moorings. Suspect this is a recipe for a disaster in community relations - perhaps the obstructive double mooring opposite towpath moorings is a consequence.

This open space, clearly used by the public, is an oasis in the middle of surrounding urban development. On the OS map it is labelled as a Recreation Ground but does not seem to have any facilities other than open air, but we have seen a reference to several sports pitches but they are not readily visible from an aerial view.

The site dates back to 1884 when a Reginald Stanley from the town proposed the project but it took until 1892 until the opening ceremony took place. Its history has had several controversies - not all citizens liked the idea of something open and free for all to enjoy! Some fascinating detail can be found here.

The obligatory lonely-telegraph-pole photo. (Hyphens in case any pedant thought that we meant a lonely photo of  a telegraph pole!)

Shortly after passing through Hartshill we pulled onto a good mooring for the rest of the day.

11.9 Miles - 0 Locks 

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