Cruise Details 2018

Takara Hotel Boat
Cruise 1

CRUISE DETAILS 2018

Reading to Great Bedwyn

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 1

Cruise Details

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Cruise 2

Great Bedwyn to Bath

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 2 

Cruise Details

Welcome to the Village of Great Bedwyn. We head west towards the VALE OF PEWSEY and the villages of Crofton, Wootton Rivers, Pewsey and Honeystreet, passing through The Bruce Tunnel. We head towards Devizes and the famous Caen Hill Flight of 29 locks in 3.6km and a drop of 72 meters. We then head towards the lovely town of Bradford-On-Avon and the impressive Aqueducts at Avoncliff and Dundas on the way to Bath.

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Cruise 3

BATH TO HUNGERFORD

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 3

Cruise Details

On leaving Bath we head towards the town of Bradford-On-Avon and the impressive Aqueducts at Avoncliff and Dundas. We arrive at the bottom of the famous Caen Hill Flight of 29 locks in 3.6km and a rise of 72 meters towards Devizes then on through The Vale of Pewsey and the villages of Honeystreet, Pewsey, Wootton Rivers and Crofton, passing through The Bruce Tunnel. Next we go through little villages of Great Bedwyn and Little Bedwyn on way to Hungerford.

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Cruise 4

HUNGERFORD TO THRUPP (OXFORD)

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 4

Cruise Details

On leaving Hungerford we head through the countryside towards Kintbury and Newbury. Next is the town of Thatcham and the villages of Midgham and Aldermaston, then we arrive in Reading where we leave the Kennet & Avon Canal and get on the River Thames going upstream towards Mapledurham, Whitchurch and on towards Goring which is said to be one of the most attractive parts of the Thames. We then contine on to Wallingford and Shillingford, through the area known as Dyke Hills getting to Abingdon and on to Oxford where we join the Oxford Canal at the Sheepwash Channel. Then heading north through Oxford and Kidlington towards Thrupp.

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Cruise 5

Thrupp (Oxford) to Warwick

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 5

Cruise Details

On leaving Thrupp, we head north to Somerton and cross the River Cherwell at Aynho lock. 

Next on our itinerary, you can see the church spire at King's Sutton. Onto Banbury, we head towards Napton Junction; on the way we cruise through Cropredy Village. After 9 locks, we come to Wormleighton Reservoir, then Fenny Compton Tunnel which has no roof. 

Meandering on down through 9 locks to Napton-on-the-Hill then Napton Junction, we leave the Oxford Canal on to the Grand Union Canal.
From here onwards, we descend through wide locks starting with Calcutt, Stockton, Bascote, Fosse and Radford locks. The canal then passes through Royal Leamington Spa and onto Saltisford Canal Centre in Warwick

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Cruise 6

Warwick to Warwick via Stratford on Avon

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 6

Cruise Details

Upon leaving our helpful mooring in The Saltisford Arm, Warwick, we soon reach the foot of ‘The Stairway to Heaven” - the Hatton flight of twenty-one locks. At the top of these, there is Shrewley Tunnel (433 yards) leading to Kingswood Junction at Lapworth, where the Grand Union is linked by a short arm to the Stratford Canal. 

We take this link and join the Stratford by a re-opened channel between two cottages, one of which has a barrel roof, a feature of this canal. Passing through Lowsonford and Preston Bagot, we arrive at Wootton Wawen and cross the A3400 on an iron aqueduct. 

At Edstone, there is a 200-yard long aqueduct which makes it one of the longest in the country. The canal passes close to Mary Arden’s House at Wilmcote (she was Shakespeare’s mother). We now start the descent of sixteen locks to enter Bancroft Basin in Stratford. After staying a night, we retrace or route back to Warwick.

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Cruise 7

WARWICK TO STONE via Braunston

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 7

Cruise Details

Leaving our mooring at Warwick, we descend towards the valley of the River Avon at Leamington Spa. Then we begin to climb slowly and will continue to do so for many miles through Radford, Fosse and Bascote locks. 

We arrive at 8 locks at Stockton, with various reminders of the former days of clay quarrying here. We climb three more locks at Calcutt. Then we pass a reservoir on our right soon to join the joint Grand Union Canal. Turning left towards Braunston, we head towards Rugby and arrive at Brinklow Stretton Stop with its small swing footbridge. 

Continuing our trip, we pass under the M6 motorway bridge, where the canal winds in open landscape and beyond Ansty. Then we head to our favourite junction which is Hawkesbury (also known as Sutton Stop). Here we turn right onto Coventry arm, passing an engine house and then Marston Junction to head on towards Nuneaton and Mancetter. 

Then at Atherstone, we travel down the locks towards Polesworth and under the M42, soon arriving at Tamworth, we see some well-kept gardens, then two locks (very slow filling). 

After Fazeley Junction, we continue on soon passing farmland and, after the village of Coton, we pass an army shooting range. A few more villages farther, we travel alongside the busy A38 - an old Roman road. Reaching Fradley Junction, which is very popular with Gongoozlers (spectators), you can see the Swan Pub, a famous canal landmark.

Leaving the Pub behind, we enter quiet countryside as we wind our way towards Armitage with its Armitage pottery and church. Passing Rugeley, we continue our way towards Shugborough Park with its impressive hall. At Great Haywood Junction Stone, we are only 6 locks away from the end of our journey.

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Cruise 8

STONE TO STONE

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 8

Cruise Details

We leave the canal town of Stone on the Trent and Mersey Canal, heading to Great Haywood. Here we turn right under a bridge to enter the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. Passing over the River Trent, we next come to Tixall Wide. Passing on through the tiny villages of Milford and Acton Trussell, we reach Penkridge.

Winding our way through wooded countryside, we reach Gailey where we pass under Watling Street to find the quaint round Lock Keeper's Cottage by the lock. By twists and turns, we reach Autherley Junction. Making a right turn to a stop lock, we are immediately made aware of Telford’s influence as, after a long stretch of open countryside, we pass through deep shadowy sandstone cuttings and high embankments, after which we arrive at Norbury Junction. 

We continue through uncluttered countryside towards Tyrley, where we encounter our first flight of five locks and descend towards Market Drayton. Down this route, we pass the beautiful locks at Adderley and Audlem, then the Hack Green locks climbing towards Nantwich. Shortly after leaving Nantwich, we turn right at Barbridge Junction and head for the Trent and Mersey Canal at Middlewich. 

Here we turn right and start to ascend locks straight away. This is just a taste of the climb to come as we start to ascend what the working boatmen called 'Heartbreak Hill'. We pass under an aqueduct where the canal water is stained bright orange by deposits in the hills, and we await our turn to enter the magnificent Harecastle tunnel, which are over a mile and half long. Emerging from the far end of the tunnel, we enter the Potteries and then descend Stoke locks and pass the Wedgwood Centre at Barlaston. Meaford locks make a pleasant interlude before we arrive at the canal town of Stone.

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Cruise 9

STONE TO WHALEY BRIDGE via the Beautiful Macclesfield Canal

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 9

Cruise Details

After leaving our mooring at Stone, this cruise takes us through the Potteries with the Potteries Industrial Museum at Etruria. We travel through the Harecastle Tunnel (2926 yards), which is the only remaining tunnel out of three built in this area. The first canal tunnel had to be closed because of subsidence, whereas the third was a railway tunnel, which was closed when the railway was re-routed. 

After the tunnel, we turn onto the Macclesfield Canal, which is very beautiful as it winds its way through the Peak District. Then we head to the Peak Forest Canal, followed by the valley of the River Goyt which leads to Whaley Bridge, and then onto the magnificent Bugsworth Basin.

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Cruise 10

Whaley Bridge to Marsden via Huddersfield canal

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 10

Cruise Details

After leaving Bugsworth Basin heading north to the Marple Flight of 16 locks on the pretty Peak Forest Canal towards Ashton-Under-Lyne, at Dukinfield Junction we turn right on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal going towards Stalybridge, Mossley, Saddleworth before arriving at the 5686 yards long Standedge Tunnel which is the longest and highest in United Kingdom coming out at Marsden.

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Cruise 11

Marston to Ashton-Under-Lyne via Marple

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 11

Cruise Details

On leaving Marsden going through the 5686 yards long Standedge Tunnel which, is the longest and highest in United Kingdom, we then carry on to Saddleworth, Mossley and Stalybridge on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal towards Dukinfield Junction. 

Then we turn left towards Marple on the pretty Peak Forest Canal turning round and tracing our way back to Aston-Under-Lyne.

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Cruise 12

Ashton-Under-Lyne to Northwich via the Anderton Boat Lift

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 12

Cruise Details

Leaving Ashton-Under-Lyne heading West towards Manchester, we go down 18 locks, passing several old canal arms and Manchester City FC new stadium, we then turn right onto the Rochdale Canal. 

There are 19 locks climbing the Pennines to Failsworth winding hole, having past some redeveloped cotton mills then heading back into Manchester going past Manchester United stadium. Then turning left at Waters Meeting on the Bridgewater Canal, heading south through Stretford, Sale and crosses the Manchester Ship Canal towards Lymm and Stockton Heath. 

We head for Preston Brook Tunnel 1239 yards long on the Trent and Mersey Canal, followed by 2 more tunnels before going down The Anderton Lift and arrive in Northwich. 

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Cruise 13

Northwich to Llangollen via the Anderton Lift and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 13

Cruise Details

On leaving Northwich, we rise up in the magnificent Anderton Boat Lift and turn right to head for Middlewich, skirting around the environs of industrial Northwich. We cruise through pleasant countryside equally beautiful to many other stretches in the country. 

Reaching Middlewich, we turn right to join the 11 miles of the Middlewich Arm, which is all open country, punctuated by 4 locks. At Barbridge Junction, we join the Shropshire Union main line and follow a brief stretch of this canal until we reach Hurleston Junction. 

Afterwards, we turn right onto the Llangollen Canal and immediately climb the four locks by Hurleston Reservoir. 

The canal travels through lovely scenery and reaches Wrenbury, where we encounter the first of several lift bridges. We continue until we reach Grindley Brook with its three chamber staircase lock. After Grindley Brook, the canal crosses Whixall Moss, a bog rich in flora and fauna. 

Over the next few miles there are several meres (small lakes formed in the Ice Age) on either side of the canal, which are followed by the short Ellesmere Tunnel (87 yards). Ellesmere town is at the end of a short arm. A few miles further on comes Frankton Junction, where we continue past up to New Marton Locks, the last of the canal, and cross the Chirk Aqueduct overlooked by the railway viaduct and into Chirk Tunnel (459 yards). 

Whitehouse Tunnel (191 yards) follows quickly after and then we reach the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct 126 feet above the River Dee. Immediately after the aqueduct, there is a ninety degree turn as the canal continues its short journey to Llangollen. This stretch of the canal is very narrow and slower with one-way working in places. 

We finish our cruise in the marina at Llangollen.

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Cruise 14

Llangollen to Northwich via the Anderton Lift and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 14

Cruise Details

As we leave Llangollen going through some narrow parts of the canal with some passing places and a ninety degree turn just before arriving at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, we then crossing the River Dee 126 feet below. 

Next is the time for two tunnels, the Whitehouse (191 yards) and the Chirk (459 yards) long. We come to the smaller Chirk Aqueduct and our first locks heading down to New Marton and the lovely Welsh countryside before we turn onto the beautiful Montgomery Canal. 

Having gone down as far as possible before turning round and then heading back towards Ellesmere. Over the next few miles there are several meres (small lakes formed in the Ice Age) on either side of the canal. Next comes Whixall Moss a bog rich in flora and fauna, after comes Grindley Brook with its three chamber staircase lock and some lovely scenery before arriving at Wrenbury.

Coming to Hurleston Junction turning left on the Shropshire Union main line canal until Barbridge Junction turning right onto the Middlewich Arm following the countryside for 11 miles towards Middlewich. 

After the built up area of Middlewich and some locks we go back into some lovely countryside before the industrial edge of Northwich before going down The Anderton Lift and onto the River Weaver towards Northwich.

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Cruise 15

NORTHWICH to Stone

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 15

Cruise Details

On leaving Northwich, we rise up in the magnificent Anderton Boat Lift and turn right to head for Middlewich, skirting around the environs of industrial Northwich. We cruise through a beautiful stretch of countryside, heading to Bugsworth Basin, Middlewich. In Middlewich, which is known for its dairy, silk products and brine (the source of salt), you can see a large salt factory and salt mountain. 

We then head for Heartbreak Hill, a flight of 26 locks that unfold mostly in open countryside. We travel on past Hardings Wood Junction to Harecastle Tunnel, which in places is extremely low but is one of our favourites, because it's one way. After leaving the tunnel, we pass a large and long tile factory, soon to pass Westport Lake. 

At Etruria, we turn onto the Caldon Canal, which is acknowledged to be one of the most picturesque of the inland waterways. We pass through Hanley, the main town of 'The five towns' of the Potteries. The first part of the canal is projected against an industrial landscape background before it reaches open country. 

There are several lift bridges and, at Stockton Brook, a flight of five locks raises the canal over 40 feet into stone wall country. The canal passes under the Leek Branch at Hazelhurst Junction and continues on to Cheddleton, where there is one of several flint mills which supplied flint to the pottery trade. Beyond Oak Meadow Ford Lock, the canal joins the River Churnet. 

We continue for a further two miles and turn round at Flint Mill Lock and retrace our journey to Hazelhurst Junction. Next we make a very sharp left turn on to the Leek Branch for about 2 miles, and then turn around at bridge nine and retrace our steps back to the Trent and Mersey Canal. Turning left we immediately descend five locks, passing old factories, and two bottle kilns which have been restored amongst new apartments. Descending one lock at Barlaston and the Wedgwood factory, we continue to descend past Meaford and on towards Stone.

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Cruise 16

Stone to Worcester

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 16

Cruise Details

Leaving Aston Marina we travel south to Great Hayward and turn right at Great Hayward Junction to go on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal along the Penk Valley through Milford, Baswich and Penkridge. 

It is surrounded by heathland and also a roundhouse at Gailey. 

We arrive at Autherley Junction where the Shropshire Union Canal joins our canal, we continue south towards Newbridge, Compton and the unusual Bratch Locks, following the countryside towards Kidderminster. 

Next comes Stourport-on-Seven where we turn left on the River Seven through a valley of forests and hills coming to the pretty Bevere Locks just before Worcester.

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Cruise 17

Worcester to Warwick

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 17

Cruise Details

Heading north on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal going through the Dunhampstead Tunnel surrounded by pasture land towards 36 locks between Stoke Prior and Tardebigge. 

Followed by 2 tunnels before we arrive in Alvechurch surrounded by fruit plantations. 

 We go through another tunnel Wast Hills at 2726 yards long before turning at Kings Norton Junction to get on the Stratfrord-upon-Avon Canal going into the countryside until Lapworth. 

Then going down 18 locks before turning onto the Grand Union Canal towards Shrewley Tunnel and the famous Hatton Flight of locks going down 21 to our destination Warwick.

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Cruise 18

Warwick to Atherstone

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 18

Cruise Details

Leaving our mooring at Warwick. We descend towards the valley of the River Avon at Leamington Spa. Then we begin to climb slowly and will continue to do so for many miles through Radford, Fosse and Bascote locks. 

We arrive at 8 locks at Stockton, with various reminders of the former days of clay quarrying here. We climb three more locks at Calcutt. Then we pass a reservoir on our right soon to join the joint Grand Union, turning left towards Braunston. 

We turn left at Braunston turn heading towards Rugby, reaching Brinklow Stretton Stop with is small swing footbridge. 

Continuing on, we pass under the M6 motorway bridge the canal winds in open landscape and beyond Ansty. 

Then onto our favourite junction which is Hawkesbury. (Also known as Sutton Stop) Here we turn right onto Coventry arm passing an engine house, soon passing Marston Junction, heading on towards Nuneaton, Mancetter. 

Then at Atherstone we travel down the locks to our destination.

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Cruise 19

Atherstone to Market Harborough via Burton

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 19

Cruise Details

Leaving Atherstone we travel down 6 locks towards Polesworth and under the M42. Soon we arrive at Tamworth, we see some well-kept gardens, then two locks (very slow filling).

After Fazeley Junction we continue on soon passing farmland, after the village of Coton we pass an army shooting range, (looks like its disused). 

A few more villages later and we travel alongside the busy A38 an old roman road. 

Reaching Fradley Junction, which is very popular with Gongoozlers (spectators), you can see the Swan Pub a famous canal landmark.

We then turning right onto the Trent & Mersey Canal towards Alrewas. Now known for The National Arboretum which was officially opened to the public in May 2001. Then we join the River Trent for a short time, after a few miles we arrive at Burton Upon Trent, known for its Breweries. 

One more narrow lock in passed through in Burton Upon Trent and after 7 miles we start to descend wide and very deep locks. Still in open countryside there are plenty of manmade lakes which are old Gravel Quarries. 

After a few flood locks we join Sawley cut turning right towards Kegworth and Loghborough with two locks and plenty of gardens to see. 

Passing Barrow-Upon-Soar we wind our way towards Leicester traveling up four locks, and to our right you will see Watermead Country Park. 

Sailing through Leicester with a few large ornamental bridges and Leicester Football Stadium to our left next to a large weir. 

After climbing eleven locks we arrive at Kilby Bridge where we are now traveling in open countryside with spaced out locks and then Saddington Tunnel (880 yards). 

After three more miles we reach Foxton Junction where we turn left passing the bottom of Foxton Locks, (there may be time for a look around) with its staircase of ten locks arranged in two five lock flights. 

To the side of the locks is the site of the incline plane, which was built to replace the locks, but was not a success, and fell into disrepair. 

There is a museum here which has exhibits demonstrating how the incline plane worked. 

Now on the Market Harborough Arm we wind our way to our mooring in the Basin.

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Cruise 20

market harborough to aylesbury

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 20

Cruise Details

On leaving Market Harborough we head up the arm and turn left (south) through countryside towards Husbands Bosworth Tunnel and through the Avon Valley of open fields. 

The canal meanders for the next 6 miles before getting to Crick Tunnel. We then arrive at Watford Locks with a staircase in the middle, then turning left at Norton Junction following the M1 south for a couple of miles before some open countryside until we reach Weedon. 

Then on to Gayton Junction where the Northampton Arm leads to the River Nene. Soon after we reach Blisworth Tunnel (3056 yards) and Stoke Bruerne with its waterways museum from here we now descend 7 locks. 

At Cosgrove Village look out for Soloman's Bridge, turning left we drop down a lock, now lock free round Milton Keynes until Fenny Stratford which is only 1 foot 1 inch drop. 

We travel 7 more miles & 5 locks with open landscape until we reach Leighton Buzzard and we start to climb again through the lovely Chiltern countryside towards Marsworth Junction.

Passing through 10 locks we turn onto the Aylesbury Arm, which descends through attractive farmland to reach our destination.

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Cruise 21

Aylesbury to London (Paddington Basin)

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 21

Cruise Details

We leaving Aylesbury up the Aylesbury Arm towards Marsworth Junction turning right towards Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempsted. 

Coming down the Chiltern Hills to Kings Langley through the Colne valley and Harefield Moor towards Cowley Peachey Junction. We then turn left at Bulls Bridge Junction and onto the Paddington Arm past Northolt, Wembley and Kensington arriving at Little Venice.

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Cruise 22

London (Paddington Basin) to Leighton Buzzard

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 22

Cruise Details

Leaving Little Venice, we travel towards Kensington, Wembley and Northolt on the Paddington Arm, we turn right at Bulls Bridge Junction towards Yiewsley going through the Cowley Peachey Junction.

Next we arrive in Uxbridge, Harefield Moor and the Colne Valley towards Kings Langley, climbing the Chiltern Hills to Hemel Hempsted and Berkhamsted. Carrying on through the most peaceful stretches of canals in the country and still climbing through farm land, then past Ivinghoe towards Leighton Buzzard.

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Cruise 23

Leighton Buzzard to Warwick

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 23

Cruise Details

As we leave our mooring at Leighton Buzzard the canal enters the valley of the Ouzel and meanders sharply soon to arrive at the Soulbury flight of three locks and another at Stoke Hammond. 

Soon passing Fenny Stratford and Milton Keynes heading on towards Old Wolverton and Cosgrove after 6 miles we arrive at Stoke Bruerne home of the BW Waterways Museum. 

Then it's onto Blisworth Tunnel, which is the third longest waterway in Britain open to navigation. At Gayton junction we pass the GUC Northampton Arm which branches away to the north east.

We continue north west entering a relatively empty stretch of agricultural land and open fields falling away to the north and steep hill to the south, as it approaches Bugbrooke and onto Weeden a quiet open stretch follows north to Long Buckby. 

We keep traveling north passed Norton Junction towards Braunston Tunnel and 6 locks going left at Braunston Turn, we carry on down to Napton on the Hill, then at Napton Junction we leave the Oxford canal on to the Grand Union Canal. 

We descend through wide locks from now on starting with Calcutt, Stockton, Bascote, Fosse and Radford locks. The canal then passes through Royal Leamington Spa and onto Saltisford Canal Centre in Warwick.

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Cruise 24

Warwick to Warwick via Stratford 

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 24

Cruise Details

Upon leaving our helpful mooring in The Saltisford Arm, Warwick, we soon reach the foot of ‘The Stairway to Heaven” - the Hatton flight of twenty-one locks. 

At the top of these, there is Shrewley Tunnel (433 yards) leading to Kingswood Junction at Lapworth, where the Grand Union is linked by a short arm to the Stratford Canal. 

We take this link and join the Stratford by a re-opened channel between two cottages, one of which has a barrel roof, a feature of this canal. Another feature is the design of the bridges, which have a slot through the middle of them to take the horses rope, to save it having to be removed. 

Passing through Lowsonford and Preston Bagot, we arrive at Wootton Wawen and cross the A3400 on an iron aqueduct. At Edstone is another aqueduct which at 200 yards is one of the longest in the country. 

The canal passes close to Mary Arden’s House at Wilmcote (She was Shakespeare’s mother). 

We now start the descent to Stratford, which we reach after sixteen locks, and arrive in the Bancroft Basin close to the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre. On leaving Stratford-upon-Avon, we retrace the route back to Saltisford Arm.
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