Base 81 offers a selection of routes for beginners to the most experienced, with the contrasting sights of countryside and city life. There’s a host of attractions including Shakespeare’s birth place - Stratford upon Avon, historic Coventry, the city of Birmingham, or if you enjoy history then head to the Waterways Museum at Stoke Bruerne.
Short Break Routes
Norton Junction and Return:
Passing through Braunston and its famous tunnel, along to Norton Junction. From here it is a short walk to the New Inn at Buckby Locks or turning into the Leicester section and turn at the bottom of the Watford flight of locks.
Stoke Golding and Return:
Aan ideal route for a leisurely cruise, with only one lock at Hawkesbury Junction. On to the Coventry canal and the rural Ashby canal to the delightful village of Stoke Golding, turning the boat at Sutton Cheney Wharf for the trip back.
One Week Routes
Snarestone and Return: 74 miles 2 locks 42 hours
Ideal for first timers, or those wanting a very relaxing holiday. There is only one lock at Hawkesbury, allowing you to cruise the length of the attractive and rural Ashby canal, 22 lock free miles, passing the Battlefield of Bosworth, Shackerstone Steam Railway and many small villages.
Warwickshire Ring: 100 miles 95 locks 56 hours
Sometimes known as the Midlands Ring, this is aroute of contrasts. Starting on the wide locks of the Grand Union Canal to the Hatton Flight, you continue into Birmingham. Alternatively you can divert at Kingswood via the North Stratford Canal through Kings Norton and onwards into the city. Leaving the city via narrow canals to Fazeley, you return southwards past Coventry. Diversions into Coventry, Stratford Upon Avon, or onto the Ashby Canal should be considered but don’t forget to allow extra time for this.
Leicester and Return: 108 miles 100 locks 56 hours
This route has something for everyone with a great selection of canal features. Head south to Braunston then Norton Junction and then along the Grand Union Leicester arm summit. For the less energetic turn down the Welford Arm and then return. For something spectacular go down the staircase locks at Foxton, site of the inclined plane, then into Market Harborough. This trip has narrow locks, broad locks, staircase locks, tunnels and a swing bridge gives you plenty of variety but also long stretches of quiet cruising. Highly recommended!
This route includes two sets of staircase locks there are time restrictions and there can be queues at busy times. Probably a more challenging route for families with young children.
Leicester Ring: 154 miles 101 locks 98 hours
Travel to Braunston, turn left at Norton Junction continuing north to Leicester and the quiet scenery of the River Soar. Turn onto the Trent and take the Trent & Mersey Canal to Burton, then south via the Coventry and Oxford canals back to Rugby.