Basin Bridge, Hinckley - 6 hours
Basin Bridge is bridge 22 on the Ashby Canal and there is a small residential marina with no facilities for trips, just a place for us to turnaround. Its a peaceful setting along the rural Ashby Canal. A trip to Basin Bridge on the Ashby is 7 hours long, an extended version of the trip to the Lime Kilns. This length makes it recommended for self-catering, as there is no time to stop for lunch.
What to See
Starting from Bridge 20 on the Coventry Canal, this trip heads South and passes through the outskirts of Nuneaton before reaching open countryside. Watch out for some creative gardens.
The first point of interest is on the right as we pass All Saints School and the allotments. We soon reach a point where the canal is on an embankment (look at height of the trees and down where the steps are). Shortly we see on the right the remains of the entrance to the Griff arm of the canal which served the collieries at Griff and Clara (Bermuda Park). This now forms a winding hole (place wide enough to turn a narrowboat).
Bridge 18 is known as the Turnover Bridge (and to some as Mollies Bridge). It is unusual in that it is designed to allow a horse pulling a boat to cross the canal from one towpath to the opposite side without untying the rope.
Just after the ‘pipe bridge’, there is evidence of the canal that used to serve the Arbury Estate. Look for the line of reeds across the edge of the field towards Collycroft. If you visit Arbury Hall you may see remnants of the canal route which was for smaller boats that used the main canal network.
At Marston Junction the Ashby Canal entrance is on the left under Marston Junction Bridge, number 15a (though the sign may be missing).
We then pass through the remains of ‘stop lock’, once used to hold boats to take toll charges. Gates could also be closed to conserve water if either canal sprung a leak. Water was a precious commodity to the competing Ashby and Coventry canal companies.
The Ashby canal is very rural in nature so there are few major landmarks. Notice the bridges mostly have a lovely, distinctive style and are made of stone rather than the brick bridges of the Coventry canal.
By bridge 5, we go through a deep cutting past a mobile home park. The cutting may be why bridges on Ashby Canal are made of stone rather than the brick construction on the Coventry Canal.
Between bridges 12 and 13 the abandoned village of Stretton Baskerville is visible as a mound in the middle of the fields, on the right.
Soon after passing the Lime Kilns/A5 at Bridge 15 we reach the outskirts of Hinckley. Just beyond Bridge 17 we pass Trinity Marina on the right, and as we leave Hinckley behind us, the Triumph Motorcycle factory is on the right just beyond Bridge 17a.
The canal now becomes very rural in nature. Past Higham on the Hill and Bridge 21 you’ll see a small offside marina on the right called Basin Bridge Wharf. We reach our turning point immediately beyond Bridge 22.
Self-catering is the only reasonable option for this cruise, as it is so long. You can eat as we cruise and view the rural tranquillity of the Ashby Canal.