Welford Arm (Leicester Line)

At just 1.6km long, the Welford Arm transports you from the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal to the picturesque village of Welford.

Boats moored along towpath of Welford Arm of Leicester Line Welford Arm, Leicester Line, Grand Union Canal, courtesy of zaphad1, Flickr

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Running alongside the River Avon, a trip along this section of canal will reward you with fine views of the Northamptonshire countryside. At the end of the arm you’ll find two marinas and a much recommended pub, the Wharf Inn.

Once you’ve reached the end, the village of Welford is within walking distance of the canal. You can find a number of amenities in the village including a post office, garage, hairdresser and grocery store.

Walking is a popular past time as the local countryside lends itself to rambling with its numerous well-signposted footpaths. The village of Welford is on the Jurassic Way long distance footpath.

Find stoppages, restrictions and other navigational advice for this waterway.

The history

Opened in 1814, the Welford Arm was originally built as a navigable feeder to link Welford Reservoir and Sulby Reservoir with the 'old' Grand Union Canal.

The wharf at the end of the canal served the needs of the local industry and limestone was bought in to be burnt in the kilns alongside the wharf. You can still see the remains of the kilns today. The wharf was also used to unload and sell coal from the local towns.

Three mills

Originally there were three mills along the Welford Arm. Bosworth Mill beside Bridge 1, then Naseby Mill and finally Welford Mill just before Welford Lock. All that remains of the lift bridge that served the mill is a single wooden post.

When trade stopped the canal fell into decline and ceased to be used for navigation. Following years of neglect the Welford Arm was re-opened to navigation in 1969.


Thank you to @nbepiphanytoo for her help in putting together the information on this page. Find out more about the Welford Arm and see pictures of her travels at nbepiphany.co.uk/2267-welford-arm-a-two-day-diversion