Canal Boat - - Arms & Dead Ends -

Le­ices­ter Line by the Avon Aqueduct just south of North Kil­worth to Welford vil­lage. Built as a feeder from Welford reser­voir (and re­stored from dere­lic­tion in the 1970s), it fol­lows the con­tours of the up­per Avon val­ley side, climb­ing through a sin­gle shal­low nar­row-beam lock (by the re­mains of a long-gone lift­bridge) not long be­fore the ter­mi­nus on the edge of Welford. There’s a pub right by the end of the canal, an­other one (plus shops) in the vil­lage, and a ma­rina and boatyard nearby. We can’t prom­ise you handy pubs, shops or boat­yards at the end of the Birm­ing­ham Canal Nav­i­ga­tions’ Anglesey Arm – but that’s part of the at­trac­tion of the two and a quar­ter mile de­tour from Cat­shill Junction.

The cruise along a mile of the Wyr­ley & Ess­ing­ton Canal to Og­ley (where one day the re­stored Lich­field Canal will con­tinue) and then along the Anglesey Branch ‘proper’ takes you past old col­liery load­ing chutes to ter­mi­nate in a spa­cious tree-lined basin in the shadow of the dam of the vast Chase­wa­ter Reser­voir, sup­plier of many of the mid­land canals. It’s such a quiet spot that it’s hard to be­lieve you’re still on part of the Black Coun­try canal net­work. An­other short-but-sweet arm is the Dews­bury (or Sav­ile Town) branch of the Calder & Heb­ble Nav­i­ga­tion, leav­ing the main line be­low Thorn­hill Dou­ble Locks and run­ning for three-quar­ters of a mile to Sav­ile Town Basin on the edge of Dews­bury.

Ac­tu­ally call­ing it a ‘branch’ isn’t his­tor­i­cally ac­cu­rate: part of the orig­i­nal main line, it was by­passed by al­ter­ations to make more use of ar­ti­fi­cial canal cuts with less reliance on the River Calder. This length sur­vived as an arm serv­ing Dews­bury; it’s still the eas­i­est way to visit the town, as well as serv­ing a boatyard and home-brew pub along­side it.

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