Photo: Andrew Batram
The walk follows the route of the tranquil Ashby Canal, a 31-mile waterway that runs from the mining town of Moira in Leicestershire, to where it connects with the Coventry Canal in Warwickshire. The waterway was completed in 1804, and was used largely to transport coal from the mines of North Leicestershire and Derbyshire. As well as glimpsing relics from our industrial heritage, you can also get a feel for our medieval history – the ridge and furrow patterns created by medieval farmers can still be seen in the surrounding countryside.
The walk starts at Bosworth Marina, on the outskirts of Market Bosworth. This is a pretty Leicestershire town, complete with a cobbled market square surrounded by craft shops and cafes. It’s served by the number 153 bus, which runs to and from Leicester.
Pick up the towpath and continue south beside the water. After four miles, you reach Sutton Wharf, once a noisy industrial site, now a picturesque and tranquil place to sit and watch moorhens and coots bobbing about on the water, or call in for tea and cake at the waterside cafe.
You can also take a detour to Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre, which tells the dramatic story of the Battle of Bosworth on Monday 22 August 1485, which marked a major turning point in English history. It was here that Richard III met his match at the hands of Henry Tudor in 1485.
Back at Sutton Wharf, you can continue walking along the towpath to Stoke Golding, a village that declares itself ‘The Birthplace of the Tudor Dynasty’. It’s said that Richard III’s crown was discovered here among hawthorn bushes following the battle. In the village you can refuel on fish and chips, or pop into the pub before catching the bus to Nuneaton (number 66), which has a railway station that connects to Leicester and beyond.