The Lime Kilns Pub, Hinckley - 5 hours
A trip to The Lime Kilns, Hinckley will enable you to experience the difference of two canals. Turning off the Coventry Canal at Marston Junction the Ashby Canal begins its 22miles of lock-free rural tranquility. The trip to the Lime Kilns and back to base takes 5 hours, plus any time you want to spend at the Lime Kilns pub, or moored up somewhere nice as you have your self-catered 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), and we begin to head East. We pass through the narrow remains of a ‘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. Just sit back and enjoy the beautiful countryside. Notice the bridges mostly have a 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. We pass the Lime Kilns public house on the right after bridge 15, but we need to go to the boat turning point just before bridge 16 (Nutt’s Bridge) to turn the boat.
The Lime Kilns is a very popular pub. Advance booking is essential.
Self-catering also works well and is particularly good for the less mobile, as by self-catering it is possible to eat on board either when moored or when cruising, which can be important if return time is critical.