Favourite Sections of Canals

Postings to the canals mailing list in April 2010.

From:	Julian Tether
Date sent:	Tue, 6 Apr 2010
I still like the Thames but now with the new boat it's extended down to Southend and up to almost Hannington Bridge --
From:	Ian Mac
Date sent:	Tue, 06 Apr 2010
For the all round boating experience it has to be the Shropshire Union, centred on Tyrley Locks, they are just wonderful and a pleasure to work. Starting at Market Drayton, and going on to The Anchor at Higher Offley and onto Gnosall. It has everything, the cuttings the embankments, the possibility of spotting the flash of blue of a Kingfisher, great pubs with good beer, a lovely town and village and a lost canal all to visit and explore.

For the view Lock 5 on the Ashton Canal at sunset with the whole of Manchester city centre winking in the sunlight still takes a lot of beating,

For idyllic countryside, the Droitwich Barge canal will take a lot to better, I'm really looking forwards to boating it in the near furture,

For the joy of getting your steering right, the Bridgewater through Dunham Massey,

For pure heritage and Northern Grit The Rochdale from Littleborough to Sowbery Bridge takes a lot of beating.

For the best hidden gem Greenberfield Locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

For the best canalside cottage Pool Quay Cabin Lock Cottage (Montgomery Canal)

For the best boat club - Stafford what a great set of people.

For restoration Bugsworth basin (at the end of the Peak Forest Canal) is in a class of its own,

For something to look forwards to Ogley Locks and to dream about working up the Golden Valley in Autumn

and before all the industrial landscape vanishes - The BCN, especially those little arms and loops, everybody should do the Engine branch, and go to Brades Works, Tifford Pools and Swan Village (well nearly)

For the must do destination - Albert Dock, just for the speed trials along the new channel and in the docks if not the culture of Liverpool and the Lambananas.

for a place to sit and watch the water levels and view, Locks 13 or 5 Marple (Peak Forest Canal), each seat has its own fascination,

and lastly because of all the effort I and others put in The Rochdale 9 in Manchester

From:	Steve Wood
Date sent:	Tue, 06 Apr 2010

Caldon from Hazlehurst to Consall
Llangollen from Whixall Moss to Ellesmere
Thames from Windsor to Henley

Potentially navigable:
Montgomery from Carreghofa to Vyrnwy Aqueduct (overall favourite)
Uttoxeter from Froghall to Denstone

From:	Baz Juniper
Date sent:	Tue, 6 Apr 2010

here's my vote for two sections of the K&A, not least  
because the boat is moored thereon:

K&A:  Avoncliff Aqueduct to Dundas Aqueduct - where the canals clings  
improbably to the valley side, passing through stands of beech and  
then opening out with views across the valley.  Enhanced by perfectly 
acceptable pubs at Avoncliff [Cross Guns] and Limpley Stoke [Hop  Pole] and
largely free of the continuous moorers that plague much of  the rest of the
western end of the canal.

K&A:  That bit of the Long Pound between Honey Street and Pewsey -  
apparently miles from anywhere with the Marlborough Downs rising to  
the north and much of it without a human habitation within sight. You  can
moor and stroll up Woodborough Hill for a rewarding panoramic  view.  OK, so
it can be a bit exposed in a westerly gale, but how  often do we have bad
weather in Southern England?

Further afield, I've walked much of the Mon & Brec towpath between  
Govilon and Llangynidr, all of which is delightful, although boats  
seem to move v-e-r-y slowly.  And as we seem to be allowed to include 
rivers, Cliveden Reach on the Thames is pretty hard to beat for  dramatic
scenery, at least in Lowland Britain.

From: "Adrian Stott"
Date sent:	Wed, 07 Apr 2010

No favourites, but a couple of bits which were unexpectedly nice:

- The Brecknock & Abergavenny.  Amost all of it.
- The Medway.  A surprisingly large amount of it once you get above
- The Bristol Avon.  Completely not what I expected (thought it would be in
a flat valley like the Lee is, but found it is actually hilly and windy and
almost totally rural and very pretty mostly.  And DEEP (lovely).  Good pubs
- The Little Ouse above Brandon.  Only available to portable craft at the
moment.  Such a shame.  Goes through forest much of the way, and Thetford is
a nice town.
- The Chesterfield through Retford (over the aqueducts).   And above Worksop
(all those weird staircases and the summit cutting, only available on foot
at the moment, but soon? ...)
- The Basingstoke, most of it up to Ash (that cursed low bridge stopped me
at that point), but especially the Deepcut flight.
- The currently unnavigable bit of the Warks Avon between Stratford and
Warwick, especially Warwick <-> Barford.  Again, only portable boatable and
walkable for now.

If we're adding potentially navigable bits, then I would like to
include the Thames & Severn Golden Valley section.

From:	Michael Askin
Date sent:	Wed, 7 Apr 2010

I like the top end to the tunnel of the Chesterfield above Shireoaks,
and in fact some of the lower end is nice as well.

While not really a canal, the River Trent in the right weather can be

The summit of the Leicester Arm makes many a pretty picture, as does
the top end of the Rochdale, Hudderfield Narrow, and odd parts of the
Leeds and Liverpool.

For their shear size, canals like the Aire and Calder and Manchester
Ship Canal always impress - especially as you still get actual
commercial traffic on them.

Favourite lock flights... I quite like Farmers Bridge on the Birmingham
and Fazeley, especially since some locks are close enough to jump ship
as the boat leaves the lock, close the gate while the boat finds its
way into the next lock, then run to the top paddles to stop the boat
hitting the gate!

Stockton Locks (on the Grand Union) also seemed to go smoothly even
though I did it single handed in the dark!

Hatton Locks (on the upper Grand Union) while pretty is a few locks
too many in one run, especially with them many turn paddles - but boy
are them locks good at filling and emptying.

However, Hillmorton Locks (on the northern Oxford Canal) are the most
fun, as you can play with two locks at a time, and also have races.
The trick is knowing which are the quickest! :-)

From:	"peteuk"
Date sent:	Wed, 07 Apr 2010

My favourite flight must be Frankton (on the Montgomery Canal) partly
for the same reasons that Mac favours the Rochdale nine. The views
are much better than the nine as well, and from a restoration point
of view, the whole Montgomery should be everyones favourite anyway.

From:	Ron Jones
Date sent:	Thu, 8 Apr 2010

peteuk wrote:
> ... the whole Mont should be everyones favourite anyway.

I'll second that.  We did the navigable bit of the Mont last year, it's
really nice - especially after the hussle and bustle of the main Llangollen
(not the Prees branch though, where we moor, that's nice and quiet - dead
ends often are!)

Postings to the canals mailing list in February 2006.
From: Neil Arlidge

My  personal favourite bits in order of preference.

1 - Rochdale Canal, Hebden Bridge to Littleborough.
2 - Huddersfield Narrow Canal, yep all of it!
3 - Chesterfield Canal, Worksop to Norwood.
4 - Caldon Canal, all of it.
5 - Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation, all of it.

From:  John & Gill Watson, nb Tam Lin

Still stand by our original comments:

Such a difficult question, we like so much of the system for so many different
reasons. However if pushed (some would say I should be!) I reckon the
Caldon between Consall Forge and Frogall must be high on our list as would
Bugsworth Basins.

However since then we have particularly enjoyed parts of the Upper Thames.

From:	Richard Allingham:

I'd vote for (in no particular order)

Shropshire Union between Barbridge Junction and Chester - I find this
section very atmospheric and I've always had good weather when I've been up
there for some reason. All of the Upper Peak Forest - I love the occasional
glimpses of the views across the valley. Middlewich Junction - My favourite
junction. Coventry Canal between Polesworth and Hartshill - Home territory
but an under-appreciated bit of canal in my opinion. BCN Mainline between
Galton Tunnel and Factory Locks - Straight as an arrow but lots of interest.

From:  Anne Coleman

My top ten favourite bits are:

1. The Macclesfield canal- all of it, especially from Hardings Wood to 
    Congleton and Macclesfield to Marple
2. The Peak Forest Canal to Whaley Bridge
3. The Llangollen Canal, especially the last (narrow!) bit
4. The Kennet and Avon from Newbury to Bath, particularly the stretch 
    between the Avoncliff and Dundas Aqueducts and the bit through the Vale
    of Pewsey by the Barge Inn at Honeystreet - not so keen on the bit from
    Reading to Newbury- too much like hard work!
5. The Southern Stratford Canal from Stratford to the top of Lapworth
6. The Staffs and Worcester from Great Haywood to Stourton, and especially
    Bratch locks
7. The Basingstoke canal - Deepcut locks are terrific
8. The Thames from Wallingford upwards
9. The Grand Union from Milton Keynes to Braunston and from Hatton flight to
10. The River Avon through Evesham and Pershore

From:  John H

My vote goes to the restored section of the Montgomery from Frankton.
Utterly lonely and away from it all.

From:  Phil Rushton

My favourite sections are all on canals where I don't normally have to
queue for locks. If I mention which these are I might find myself in a
long queue this summer, so I will keep quiet :-)

Of the busier canals, despite the amount of traffic, I find the
Llangollen Canal past Blakemere and from Chirk to Llantisilio
still has almost the same magical ambience that it did 40 years ago.
That comment might assure me of a 3 hour wait at Grindley Brook
next time :-(

For older reports, see Favourite Sections of Canals - 1999
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Last Modified: Thursday, 8-Apr-10 7:20 pm EDT