Atherstone Locks - 4½ hours
The top of eleven locks that take the Coventry Canal towards Tamworth is a popular Hargreaves destination for many. Especially those who want a good bag of Fish and Chips onboard. The trip to Atherstone Top Lock and back to base takes 4½ hours plus any stop you want to make. It’s great for self-catering or a trip to the local chippy, and there is access to shops, pubs and cafés as well.
What to See
Starting from Bridge 20 on the Coventry Canal, this trip heads North and is semi-rural as it passes through the outskirts of Nuneaton before reaching open countryside.
The first point of interest will be on the left as we pass Starline Boats who manufacture, service and repair canal boats (known as narrowboats). As we go along under Cat Gallows footbridge, you will see the Greenmoor Road allotments and then we reach bridge 21 (still known by its old names of Wash Lane/Cock & Bear). By the flats you will see where the canal is widened to form a winding hole (place wide enough to turn a narrowboat).
Skirting around the edge of Tuttle Hill we reach open countryside and you will see Caldecote Hall on your right and in the distance Horiba Mira vehicle technology centre. Along the stretch, the main line railway runs in the distance. On the towpath you will see an original 12 bar telegraph pole originally used to carry telephone wires. You may also spot the occasional manhole cover which is where new internet fibre optics have been installed.
Springwood Haven is the home of workshops, a chandlery, souvenir shop and many colourful narrowboats. Soon after passing The Anchor Inn at Hartshill we arrive at Hartshill maintenance yard where you may see Canal & River Trust maintenance boats and equipment. It also houses a water point to top up on board water tanks.
After passing Rothens canal maintenance yard we arrive at Harveys Boat Builders – look out for the Alpacas in the fields each side of the buildings.
On arriving at Atherstone we see the remnants of a major hat factory (once a main industry) on the left, and ahead of us is the first of 11 locks that descend from Atherstone towards Polesworth. Just before the top lock we turn the boat, (note another water point on the left) ready for the return trip.
You have several choices for this trip.
At Atherstone there is a nearby chip shop or you can walk into Atherstone village – about 10 minutes from where we moor – to find a suitable café, pub or restaurant.
Self-catering also works well. This trip is particularly good for the less mobile as by using the chippy or self-catering it is possible to eat on board either when moored or when cruising, if return time is critical