Warwickshire Ring Canal: A Boating Guide
Spanning over 100 miles of breathtaking rural bliss, the Warwickshire Ring is one of the UK’s most popular cruising hotspots.
And if you’re considering touring this iconic system of British canals, this is the complete guide for you.
Here, you’ll find important information you need to plan your next (or first) trip on the Warwickshire Ring.
Topics on this page include:
- How long does it take to do the Warwickshire Ring?
- What waterways are in the Ring?
- How many locks are in the Warwickshire Ring?
- What are the best things to do in the Warwickshire Ring?
Let’s get into it:
Warwickshire Ring Canal Facts
In this section of our Warwickshire Ring guide, we’ll talk all about the things you need to know before taking a trip, including where it is, routes to take, the number of locks, and much more.
What and Where is the Warwickshire Ring?
The Warwickshire Ring, sometimes called the Midlands Ring, is a series of connected canals that forms a circular route around the West Midlands.
Its circuit is made up of parts of four canals, which are:
- The Grand Union Canal
- The Birmingham and Fazeley Canal
- The Coventry Canal
- The Oxford Canal
What Canals Are There on the Warwickshire Ring?
As discussed, four main canals make up the Warwickshire Ring.
The Coventry Canal runs from Fazeley Junction to Coventry and features 13 locks. You can enjoy the lock-free Ashby Canal from here, which can be a peaceful retreat for a few days.
Travel 20 miles on this stretch, and you’ll join the Oxford Canal.
The North Oxford Canal found at Hawkesbury Junction has the fewest locks in the Warwickshire Ring, with just 4. It’s 28 miles from the Grand Union Canal.
The Grand Union Canal starts in London but joins the Warwickshire Ring and covers the area between Braunston through Warwick. It has a hard climb to the Birmingham plateau with 63 locks.
This canal provides a great opportunity to explore Warwick, Leamington Spa, and even Stratford upon Avon - home of William Shakespeare.
Finally, you can travel 38 miles from the Grand Union Canal to the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. You’ll find 14 locks here with another 12 miles to reach Fazeley Junction and Coventry Canal.
Before you make your trip, be sure to check if there are any strong stream warnings.
How long does it take to do the Warwickshire Ring?
The time it takes to complete the Warwickshire Ring can depend on several factors, including the route you take, the number of locks, the activities you do, and how many moored boats there are.
Generally, it can take anywhere from one to two weeks to cover the Warwickshire Ring while cruising for about seven to nine hours a day.
Those at our Warwickshire-based Ventnor Waterside Marina have easy access to the Grand Union Canal and can take a trip to the beautiful Lapworth Junction in about 16-18 hours each way.
If you need help planning a route, check out online Warwickshire Ring canal route planners like this from Black Prince.
What’s the Speed Limit on the Warwickshire Ring?
The speed limit on canals is 4mph. This comfortable walking pace was chosen to minimise damage to canal banks and reduce wildlife disturbance.
How Many Locks Are on the Warwickshire Ring?
The Warwickshire Ring has a total of 121 locks. Most of the locks are well-maintained, and some are operated by lockkeepers who are on hand to assist boaters.
If you plan a day out travelling on the ring and wish to avoid encountering too many locks, you can choose to boat along shorter canal sections.
Should I Go Clockwise or Anticlockwise on the Warwickshire Ring?
You can travel both clockwise or anticlockwise on the Warwickshire Ring, and this will depend entirely on where you want to go based on your starting point.
Many boaters travel clockwise around the Ring, starting from areas like Braunston or Napton, as you can get through many locks first.
What to Do on the Warwickshire Ring?
In this section of our guide, we’ll discuss some activities you can do and see while travelling around the West Midlands on the Warwickshire Ring.
There are plenty of historic and interesting locations to view. Here are some suggestions for taking a break from being on the water:
This medieval castle is one of the most well-preserved castles in the UK and is an extremely popular tourist attraction attracting thousands of visitors a year.
It’s located in Warwick, which is easily accessible from the ring canal route. Just moor at the Grand Union Canal and enjoy a 30-minute walk to get to the south side of Warwick.
Birthplace of William Shakespeare
Visit the home of Britain’s most renowned playwright in Stratford-upon-Avon and see where the bard himself lived, worked, and created his classic comedies and tragedies.
You can moor along the Stratford Upon Avon Canal to get there, which gives an easy 10-minute walk into town.
Drayton Manor Theme Park
This theme park is in Tamworth, close to the ring's Birmingham and Fazeley Canal.
It’s a great place to stop if you are boating with the kids, and the park has over 100 rides and attractions that will delight and entertain.
National Motorcycle Museum
Also situated close to the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, this museum houses a collection of over 1,000 motorcycles from across the world.
Birmingham Canal Navigation Society Museum
For those interested in learning about the history and construction of the Warwickshire Ring Canal, this museum has information and stories about the canals, their purpose, and the people who built them.
History of the Warwickshire Ring Canal
The Warwickshire Ring was created around 90 years ago when four existing canals were linked to form the well-known circular route boaters travel today.
Canals were built originally to transport goods and raw materials, allowing items to be transported along the narrow waterways to towns and cities.
The Warwickshire Ring was a notable feat of engineering that played a significant role in business and local industry.
Today, the Warwickshire Ring Canal ring is used mainly for leisure cruising, and the area attracts thousands of boaters every year.
Find a Reliable Base Near the Warwickshire Ring With Aquavista
Excited to explore the Warwickshire Ring?
If you need a reliable base to cater for all your boating needs, an Aquavista marina is the perfect place.
We have three amazing mooring opportunities around Warwickshire.