Coventry Canal

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Coventry Canal
Coventry Canal at Fradley

Coventry Canal at Fradley

location Central England
length 65
Beginning Coventry Canal Basin in Coventry
The End Fradley Junction with the Trent and Mersey Canal north of Lichfield
Descent structures 13
Coventry Canal 12n06.jpg
Coventry Canal: view west from Foleshill Rd, near Matlock Rd.

The Coventry Canal is a Narrowboat channel in the Midlands in England .

It begins in Coventry and ends 40 miles north of Lichfield , where it joins the Trent and Mersey Canal . This canal junction is known as Fradley Junction . The Coventry Canal is also connected to the Oxford Canal , the Ashby Canal, and the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal and the Grand Union Canal . Together, these canals or parts of them form the Warwickshire Ring , a circuit in Warwickshire that is popular among boat tourists.

The canal runs through the following towns: Bedworth , Nuneaton , Atherstone , Polesworth and Tamworth . It is known as the Narrowboat Canal because only boats that are no longer than 21.9 m and no more than 2.1 m wide can enter this canal.

Route in detail

The canal begins in the Coventry Canal Basin . The harbor basin was put into operation in 1769 and expanded in 1788. It is located just north of Coventry city center. The harbor basin and the surrounding structures were thoroughly restored between 1993 and 1995. The canal bridge, under which the canal leads into the harbor basin, the administration building of the canal company and the department stores around the harbor basin are under monument protection.

From the canal basin, the canal initially meanders in the city under numerous road bridges to cross the Oxford Canal 8 km north of Coventry, which begins here at the so-called Hawkesbury Junction and ends in Oxford on the Thames. At this Hawkesbury Junction canal junction are some interesting buildings from when the canal was still in commercial use, notably the Greyhound Pub , which used to be the meeting place for boaters working on the ships. It is still a popular resting point for recreational skippers, today's canal users.

Just a few miles north near Bedworth , at the Marston Junction , the lock-free Ashby-de-la-Zouch Canal begins its winding course to the former coal mines at Moira; today this canal is only navigable for about 35 km to Snarestone.

From Marston Junction, the Coventry Canal leads northwest to Nuneaton , Atherstone and Polesworth and finally to Tamworth .

In the suburbs of Tamworth , at the Fazeley Junction , it is possible to sail the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal to the west in the direction of Birmingham.

The Coventry Canal itself continues north to its end at the Fradley Junction , where it meets the Trent and Mersey Canal .


The Coventry Canal Society was founded in 1768. James Brindley was commissioned to build the canal and had work started in December of that year. Since the experienced Brindley insisted on high and therefore costly building standards from the start, the budget was already exhausted when the canal reached Atherstone in 1769 . Brindley had become intolerable to the canal company and was replaced by Thomas Yeoman.

Thomas Dadford built the Tame Aqueduct between 1784 and 1785, and Thomas Sheasby was finally commissioned to complete the connection to the Trent and Mersey Canal, but this only succeeded in 1789.

The Coventry Canal was for many years an important and economically profitable, privately financed and operated inland waterway lane, as it was part of the connection from London to Birmingham, the two major economic and industrial centers in England. The company paid an annual dividend to its shareholders until 1947. In 1948 the canal with the predominant canal network was nationalized and administered by the state canal authority British Waterways until 2012 . Its tasks are now carried out by the non-profit foundation Canal & River Trust .

The Coventry Canal was never abandoned and is still navigable to this day.


  • Hugh McKnight: The Shell Book of Inland Waterways . 2nd Edition. David & Charles PLC, 1981, ISBN 978-0-7153-8239-4 .