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Sunday, August 26, 2007


The windmill on top of Napton hill

View from the windmill.

One of many lift bridges along this canal.
The old school house in Fenny Compton village.
Sun flowers standing like soldiers watching the boats go by.
Single beam footbridge, very basic.
The footbridge view as you cross, carefully.
The end of a pleasant days cruising.

Monday, August 20, 2007


The Oxford canal stretches beyween Hawkesbury Jct. and Oxford and covers a distance of 74 miles. It was used to bring coal from the Warwickshire coalfields to Oxford and here it gained access to the R. Thames and of course into London.

The northern section, Braunston to Hawkesbury, twisted and turned following the contours of the land so much that in the 1820`s 13 miles was cut from the 36 miles of this section. This was achieved by building Aqueducts, deep cuttings and embankments. A lot of the old route can still be traced if you go looking.

The Tunnel at Newbold is the result of this streamlining and the picture below shows two pubs

Barley Mow & Boat Inn. The canal ran right past these pubs and in fact the car is on what was the towpath. I have taken the pic from the towpath as is now and to my right the canal makes its way through the new tunnel and then along a deep cutting dead straight. The bushes on the right belong to a house built after the canal was re-routed but next to it remains the original canal w`house that had stables so the horses could rest while the boatmen drank in the pub.

In the far distance across a road is a church and if you walk into the grounds of the church you can see the route across the lawn where subsidence has left a clear sign and as you walk to the

right of the church itself the public footpath you are alredy walking goes off through a gate and as you walk into the field you are in the old canal bed. Look back and you can see the old tunnel.

Walk away from the tunnel and you can follow the dried up bed of the canal filled in by farmers
in places but walk around the fields a bit and you are suddenly rewarded by the finding of

things like this old footbridge hidden away amongst the trees and bushes that have grown in the old canal bed. I have actually climbed down into the canal bed to take the pic. Then just 50yds

further is this old bridge where the canal passed under a farm access road/track. After this it was difficult to trace the canals route but after walking across a field again it appeared buried beneath a hedgerow.
When i pass Braunston again i am going to do the same as the canal did in fact go through the marina and across the road into the fields.
If all this seems a bit boring to some you must remember that the waterways have become my life and its history is there to find, also with retirement comes time to do whatever takes your fancy and the exercise is good for you.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Came onto the Oxford canal at Hawkesbury Jct also known to the old working boatmen as Sutton stop because of a Mr Sutton who collected the tolls at this jct.
Andy/Tina had Sandra aboard for a few days, the cakes (homemade) were lovely Sandra, thankyou. I had a visit from a friend on a beautiful sunny day that made it all the more enjoyable.
Chas/Ann on board Moore2life cruised by with Ann walking the gunnels tending her roof garden.
Had to help my son Kevin move house so a couple of days away from the boat and a trip down the M1 and back made me appreciate the slow and quiet life i lead, 60mph in a truck is frightening after 4mph on the boat. At least i didn`t have to drive this time as Kev has just passed his HGV test, well done son, and well done to his partner Joanne who passed her test in a car last week.
So returning to the boat after humping furniture i found a card to say that Dot/Derek on their boat Gypsy Rover were moored just a couple of boats back from me so i invited them aboard for a coffee and a natter. A nicer pair of kiwi s i have yet to meet.
I think in the last month i have met up with 4 fellow bloggers, 2 i hadn`t seen for a year, 1 for 6 mths and the other not at all. One day we will meet again and to you all i wish good health and happy cruising.
At the moment we are all gonna head down the Sth. Oxford canal probably as far as Banbury and then who knows, heh this is freedom.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Coming down the Ashby Canal at Marston Jct. a left turn that needed a bit of reversing to get round the sharp turn brings me back on the Coventry Canal and as you pass under bridge 13 over on the right is what is pictured below. Doesn`t look that interesting does it but according to the map this is the site of the Newdigate Colliery Arm. So after mooring up further along at Hawkesbury jct for a few days i walked back to investigate if anything was left to see and stood
on the footpath bridge that can be seen in the above picture the only surving part of the arm can
be seen in the picture above.
Now i have found it`s always worth nosing around and walked along the dried up bed of the old arm and eventually came upon a park and discovered it was the Miners Welfare Park.
The land was purchased in 1921 by the Bedworth miners welfare committee and handed over to the Parish council in 1923. So full of old mine workings it was no good for housing and after the site was cleaned up it became a place for locals most of whom were miners to walk and relax.
( Handy for those who didn`t want to go to Bingo or a disco)
The park today contains football & cricket pitches, pitch&putt, swimming pool, leisure centre, bird aviary and as a reminder of the parks origins this mine shaft wheel that was taken from
Newdigate Mine when it closed in 1982. The mine shaft was sunk in 1898.
Walking around the town centre of Bedworth i came across these magnificent Almshouses that were erected in 1840 at a cost of £8,500 to replace the original Almshouses of 1715.
In 1715 Nicholas Chamberlaine had before his death been Rector for 51 yrs and Squire of the parish for 29yrs and his will ordered his executors to build 2 schools and a block of Almshouses,
not these pictured, at bedworth Hall.
A schoolmaster `fit sober and discreet` to teach 40 boys born in Bedworth to read and write would be paid £10 per year and an assistant to be paid 40 shillings per year. Bet they didn`t have 7 weeks summer holidays.
A schoolmistress `a fit grave matron` to teach the girls to read ,write, sew, knit & spin would be paid £5 per year. No mention of an assistant.
The Almshouses inmates ( not residents) would get an allowance of 1/6 per week, 4/- per yr coal allowance and every 2 years a gown or coat upto a cost of 8/-. All inmates wore a uniform that was still worn untill 1951. Also inmates not attending sunday service morning & evening would lose one weeks allowance.
So there you go just a bit of nosing around after seeing that scene in the top picture ends up with a walk through an award winning park full of beautiful trees and flower beds and a history.

Monday, August 06, 2007


Just sitting having a read when through the window i spotted Andrew Denny on his boat Granny Buttons . Andrew is a fellow blogger and a reader of my blog and below you can see his calling card a mini-pac of chocolate buttons that he gives to all he meets. Nice to see you Andrew.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Well not much to report lately its just been a bit of cruising and relaxing. Came down through Tamworth and at Polesworth Andy/Bev came with the kids who have just got over chicken pox and both delighted in showing me the spots that were almost gone.
We all cruised for an hour then winded and cruised back past Polesworth to Alvechurch Marina and had a meal in the newish pub the name of which escapes me. The nice thing is the pub/restaurant is on the 1st floor and from the balcony you get a view over the canal and the marina and the kids are safe away from the water.
So down the 11 locks at Atherstone and a chance to visit the charity shops looking for books. So much time to read that i keep having to grab what i can when we get near towns. At the moment i`ve a thing about Lynda La Plante as an authoress.
Have now gone up the Ashby canal as i did last year and was hoping to go to the Hinkley greyhound track but chatting to locals over a pint discovered it shut just a few weeks ago.
The weather has bucked up lately so i am just sitting in the evening sun having a read or a pint but most of all enjoying life.
Untill next time bye for now.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs