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.