Napton Hire Base
Ideally situated at the head of the Oxford Canal, Napton is a base for a large number of interesting routes. The Warwickshire Ring, for the more energetic, contrasts the beautiful countryside around Warwick with city life and industry through Birmingham and Spaghetti Junction.
Trips of beauty and interest can also be achieved, including Stratford Upon Avon, Oxford, Snarestone, or a visit to the Waterways Museum at Stoke Bruerne, depending on the number of locks you wish to negotiate.
Suggested Routes From Napton Base:
106 Miles, 8 Locks, 1 Week Cruise, 6 hours per day (ROUTE A)
An easy route for the first timer with only a few locks through rural England. Leaving the broad Grand Union Canal at the busy junction of Braunston, turning up the North Oxford Canal into narrow locks near Rugby at Hillmorton, where the British Waterways Architectural Unit is based. At Hawkesbury you encounter the lock with the smallest lift on the system at 6 inches. The lock-free, rural Ashby Canal is very quiet and extremely peaceful, with few boats to disturb you.
103 Miles, 118 Locks, 1 Week Cruise, 8 hours per day (ROUTE B)
Sometimes known as the Midlands Ring, this is a route of contrasts. Starting on the wide locks of the Grand Union Canal to the Hatton Flight, you continue into Birmingham. Alternatively you can divert at Kingswood via the North Stratford Canal through Kings Norton and onwards into the city. Leaving the city via narrow canals to Fazeley, you return southwards past Coventry. Diversions into Coventry, Stratford Upon Avon, or onto the Ashby Canal should be considered but don’t forget to allow extra time for this.
62 Miles, 60 Locks, 1 Week Cruise, 5 hours per day (ROUTE C)
Another pleasant and easy route cruising on the broad Grand Union Canal where the locks are 14 feet wide, allowing you to share the work with another boat. The start of this trip is lock-free until you get to Braunston Junction; a hive of activity. Cruising onwards you encounter more locks and the turning to Northampton before entering the 3,056 yards Blisworth Tunnel which opens out into the canal village of Stoke Bruerne with its Waterways Museum.
102 Miles, 78 Locks, 1 Week Cruise, 9 hours per day (ROUTE D)
A busier week down the meandering Oxford Canal, which is one of the oldest in the country and follows the contours of the land. The only town on the way is Banbury and there are some lovely villages such as Thrupp, Lower Heyford and Shipton-on-Cherwell, with stone built houses, cosy pubs, ancient churches and village greens.
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