Cruising routes: All our canal boat hire cruising routes start and end at Bosworth Marina. For more information about Bosworth Marina click here
A half day canal boat hire cruising route north will take you through the Special Site of Scientific Interest on the way to Congerstone. From here you will travel over the only aqueduct on the Ashby Canal to Town Bridge, (bridge 53), Shackerstone, where you wind to return. The full day canal boat hire cruising route north takes you on through Snarestone Tunnel to the canal terminus where you can wind for the return journey.
Leaving Bosworth Marina head south and the canal will take you close to Shenton Station where the Battlefield Line Steam train has its terminus. Cruise past Bosworth Battlefield (you will have seen the the flag as you approached bridge 36). At bridge 34, you can wind for your return if on a half day canal boat hire cruising route. For a full day canal boat hire cruising route continue on past Dadlington and Stoke Golding and wind at bridge 22 for your return.
For details of public houses on the cruising routes click here
The tranquil Ashby Canal is a 31-mile (50km) long canal running from the mining town of Moira in Leicestershire to the point at which it connects with the Coventry canal in Warwickshire. The canal meanders through a very level, rural environment, needing no locks at all and is therefore the perfect destination for first-time boaters, more mature boaters or those looking for a lock-free stretch of inland waterways. This gentle and pretty route is ideal for walkers too.
Harry and Sally is based at Bosworth Marina which is situated just outside Market Bosworth, which is south of Shackerstone and north of Shenton. Shenton has the lovely Whitemoors Antiques Centre and Cafe, while the Shackerstone steam railway line, known as The Battlefield Line, is close by and the Bosworth Water Trust is opposite the Bosworth Marina. The water park there has a café, camping and caravan site and a host of water and land based activities.
History of the Ashby Canal
Named after Ashby-de-la-Zouch, the canal winds peacefully through the countryside for almost the whole of its 22-mile navigable length. Hedgerows and reeds add to a green landscape, rich in wildlife, including herons, kingfishers and moorhens. Coarse fish species include bream, roach, chub and pike. From Snarestone to Carlton Bridge, the canal is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, supporting aquatic plant life and several varieties of dragonfly.
Originally intended as a broad-gauge connection between the Coventry Canal and the River Trent (which it failed to reach), the Ashby Canal was constructed lock-free on a contour of 300 feet and served the coalfields around Moira and Measham.
The principal cargoes were coal and limestone to feed the furnace at Moira and the lime works at Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Such was the quality of the coal, prized more highly for its burning qualities than for its use in making iron, that it was still being routinely transported on the line until the 1960s. All this mining activity unfortunately led to serious subsidence throughout the 20th Century, resulting in the closure of the canal’s northern reaches. Since the 1990s, restoration work has seen stretches of canal reopen beyond Snarestone, where the width of the tunnel illustrates the original ambition to build a broad-gauge canal.
Nearby Measham gave its name to a particular style of pottery bearing a homely motto. Usually brown, it was popular with working boaters.
This unspoilt canal is also a gateway into medieval times. The ridge and furrow patterns created by medieval farmers can still be seen and the canal line touches the western edge of Bosworth Field, where Richard III met his match at the hands of Henry Tudor in 1485. The hawthorn bushes at Stoke Golding are said to be where Richard’s crown was discovered following the battle.