Friday, 2 June 2017

Astwood (think we’ll stay awhile)

Buddy and I set off on Thursday to find the next place to moor.  We were four miles away from a flight of locks at Astwood and the map suggested it could be good for car parking at either the top or the bottom of the flight.

Just after setting off we proved one of the rules of boating – if you’re going to meet a boat it will be at a bridge on a blind bend.  As the other boat was closer to the bridge hole I stopped and then reversed out of the way to let him through.  I ended up letting three boats through.

Waiting for three boats to come through

Next, we went through Dunhampstead tunnel.  This is wide enough for two-way traffic so you can go straight through without having to wait for passage.  It’s not a very long tunnel and we didn’t meet any other boats anyway.

Going into Dunhampstead tunnel

The tunnel still has the chains that the boatmen used to use to pull boats through whilst the horse was led over the top.  They are a useful safety feature nowadays if someone fell overboard – something to cling onto.

Chains still intact on the tunnel sides

A bit further on we arrived at Hanbury Junction where I had hoped we would be able to moor for a while.  But a scouting mission yesterday made me realise there were no easy places to park.

Hanbury Junction

Looking back at Hanbury Junction – I had come up the Worcester & Birmingham canal on the left – to the right is the newly restored (2011) Droitwich Junction canal.  The Droitwich Junction canal goes to Droitwich and then joins the (also re-opened in 2011) Droitwich Barge canal which goes down to join the River Severn.

When we first came down here in winter 2014 we weren’t planning on going down the Droitwich canals as our guide book showed they were still under restoration!  We soon changed our mind when we found they were open though.

You know you are arriving at Hanbury as there are a great many residential boats moored on the offside.

Residential boats at Hanbury

We went up the bottom lock at Astwood and moored up in the pound above, just before the second lock on the flight.  The idea was to have lunch and then go for a walk to look for parking spots at either end of the flight.

Pleasant mooring above Astwood bottom lock

Second lock – taken from the road bridge.

After lunch, we went for a walk but checked the parking first.  There was room for three cars near where we were moored and there was plenty of room at the top lock.  It wasn’t quite as pretty at the top lock so I decided to stay put.

One of the lanes we walked along was so little used that it had a lot of grass growing in the middle.  I know moss and grass often grows in country roads but I’ve never seen this much:

We had good views of the Malvern Hills.

Malvern Hills in the distance

We came back along the canal and at one point there were a dozen or so ducks sitting by the tow path.  Karen doesn’t believe that I have trained Buddy to ignore them so I took some pictures for proof.

Approaching the ducks

Passing the ducks

The lock landing was being repaired at the top lock which will make it difficult to close the lock up when I come through as there is nowhere to tie the boat up.

CRT at work

The evening was the best part of the day, weather-wise, so I got our chairs out and sat by the canal.  Karen joined us when she got home just as the sun started going below the horizon but it was still warm enough to stay outside.

Buddy looking down the tow path waiting for Karen to get home


  1. Chains to pull the working boats through ! I don't think so, these were installed in many tunnels in the early 1990's if memory serves, at the start of the Health & Safety campaigns. The boatmen used to "leg" the boats through tunnels when horse drawn.

    1. Haha! I wondered if I'd get that comment when I wrote it. We all know about legging of course - amazing wasn't it? But CRT site mentions the chains for pulling too