The Ashby Canal

The Ashby Canal is the longest contour canal in England.

Ashby Canal Map

Ashby canal was first announced in 1782 but its development was very slow.

It creped northwards from Bedworth at such a slow rate because of the slow development of the coal pits around Measham and opened in Market Bosworth in 1798.

The whole canal running from Marston Junction on the Coventry canal via Hinckley, Stoke Golding, across Redmore Plain between Sutton and Shenton and north of Bosworth to Congerstone, Shackerstone, Snarestone, Measham and Moira, was 30 miles in length and all built on one level.

All along its length, there were narrow, barrel-arched bridges of local brick with parapets, and numbered from the Bedworth end.

Pickfords canal-carriers, operated on the Ashby canal in the early years, and a small local trade in coal and Ticknall lime developed between Bosworth and Hinckley.

Bosworth wharf with its eastern arm for two boats, was a temporary terminus in 1800, and coal and lime were unloaded into stores and sheds along the canal side and taken by carts up the hill into town.

The warehouses and the coal yard house were built by Mrs Pochin, a member of the Dixie family.

The Midland railway company purchased the canal in 1845 for about £110,000 but were required under pressure exerted by the Coventry and Oxford canal companies to keep the Ashby canal in good repair to maintain its viability. Traffic increased rapidly between 1845 and the opening of the railway in 1861.

The trade gradually eased off in the late 19th century and now is used in stretches by pleasure boats.

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