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Wide shot of a canal on a sunny day with buildings on both sides and a couple of people on the towpath

Coventry Canal

Coventry Canal

The Coventry Canal starts in Coventry Canal Basin and stretches for 38 miles into the Midlands’ countryside.

Coventry Canal

Length38 miles

Maximum boat dimensions

Length21.34m 70ft
Width2.13m 7ft
Draught1.4m 4ft 7"
Headroom1.7m 5ft 7"

The five and a half mile stretch of the canal between the basin and Hawkesbury Junction was designated as a Conservation Area on 4 July 2012. The stretch, with its lush towpath, is popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists as it offers peace and tranquillity away from the busy city.

Beyond Coventry, much of the canal is rural and home to diverse wildlife. At its other end, the Coventry Canal joins the Trent & Mersey Canal at picturesque Fradley Junction. Stop by the Canal & River Trust welcome station where our friendly volunteers will chat to you about the story of Fradley Junction and the local area. Go for a stroll past the locks or around Fradley Pool Nature Reserve and enjoy the abundance of wildlife.

Days out near Coventry

The history

The Coventry Canal was constructed to connect the rapidly expanding city of Coventry with the Trent & Mersey Canal. This way, its promoters hoped to exploit the potential of the Warwickshire coalfields, shipping fuel both to the north (via the Trent & Mersey Canal) and the south (via the Oxford Canal).

The canal's construction period dragged on for over 20 years before the whole line eventually opened in 1790. Nonetheless, it was a profitable venture that still paid a dividend right up to 1947, the year before the canals were taken under the Government's wing.

Commercial traffic north of Nuneaton continued until the 1960s and has now been replaced by increasing volumes of pleasure boats. The line terminates a short walk from the cathedral at a basin that has itself undergone much improvement in recent years.

Hawkesbury Junction

For about a mile south of Hawkesbury Junction, the old route of the Oxford Canal can be seen running parallel. This was the ludicrous result of a disagreement between the rival companies, which was only resolved when the connection was cut at Hawkesbury. The resulting sharp turn from one canal into the other can be a challenge to navigators of longer craft.

Hawkesbury Junction is also known as Sutton Stop, after the family of the same name who once lived in the lock keeper's cottage.

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