THE Coventry Canal is used by canal boat holidaymakers more as a link between the busy Trent & Mersey Canal and the more southern holiday waterways.
It is not by any means a difficult canal to negotiate, and handy for the short break, with just two locks at Tamworth and the Atherstone Flight of narrow locks, though it does boast one of the only swing bridges in the area, as it leaves Fradley Junction, which is very easy to operate.
Mooring along it length is no problem, with rings and piling at many places. All the towns have supermarkets, though none are canal side, but well within easy walking distance. The two locks in Tamworth, (pictured) with nearby hire bases can become crowded as newcomers struggle to master their first ever lock.
There are plenty of boating facilities, with boatyards along its length, and passing through towns, plenty of eateries.
From the North, leaving Fradley, the first junction is to the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, that takes the boater to the maze of the Birmingham Canals, and the 'rings' so favoured of hirers.
It is towards the end of the waterway that the junction with the Oxford Canal appears before its short length into Coventry. Though most boaters ignore this last part of the waterway into the city, it is well worth a visit, with an exceptional basin at the end with plenty of safe mooring near to the city centre and its attractions.
There is little outstanding about this waterway, though there is an aqueduct over the Tame, and sometimes some activity on the army training ground at Hopwas, and though it passes through towns, most of it is attractively rural, with some pleasant wooded sections. It's only downside it that the West Coast railway line accompanies it for many miles.
It is recommended for the new hirer, as even the 11 lock Atherstone Flight has a resident lock keeper, and is by no means strenuous, and there are plenty of facilities for both boater and boat.
There is no longer a resident lock keeper on the Atherstone Flight, though there are the occasional volunteers, but these tend to keep to the top of the flight.
The canal is 38 miles long, has 13 locks with just the single swing bridge, but no tunnels.
Ease of operation ✪✪✪✪✪
Ease of passage ✪✪✪✪✪
Boat facilities ✪✪✪✪✪
The more black stars the better.