The Avon Ring Travelogue – Part 3 back to Droitwich Spa Marina

6th August – Today we waved good bye to the crew of the Harry Hudson, I held centre line and they slipped away to go into the last lock and onto the Seven to continue their journey. We will miss our brief time as lock buddies, they have a way to go back to Kate’s boats in Warwick.

Coffee was the start of the day for me with a quick trip to Costa while Sonia cooked breakfast, bacon and sausages in the long roll. Then a trip to the poo bin with the dog, and we are off to explore.

Mary initially stayed on the boat, but when I called and explained we had found a few book shops and cafe called “Cafe au Chocolat” she was soon with us.

This afternoon we are being visited by Jason and Alfie. They went with Sonia to the park while I cleaned up the boat, we had a little water collecting in the bilges.

We finished the day with a takeaway from The Great Wall Chinese, far more that we could eat.

7th August – We were going to send another day in Tewkesbury, but looking at the weather forecast, it was not looking very dry for the next few days, so we decided it was time to head to Worcester, as there was more to do there in the rain.

Tewksbury Lock with Arthur Owl
Tewksbury Lock with Arthur Owl

We backed out of the mooring and waited for a boat to exit the lock, then at 9:30 am we joined another Droitwich Spa Marina based boat Arthur Owl in the lock. It is a very smart looking hire boat from Cafwin Cruises. This was the only time we had our Avon River Licence checked, so glad we had printed it out.

After the lock we took the link to the Seven where we turn right towards Worcester. I had planned on this being a one or two day trip to Worcester, but we did not see any public moorings and we made excellent progress up the river. We soon lost Arthur Owl into the distance, our engine has many hours on the clock, so I did not want to put it under too much pressure and the river was not flowing fast.

The Seven is a wide river and a few hours later we were passing Upton upon Seven, which looked very smart, at the time they may have had some public moorings, but if they where, they already had a collection of narrow boats there so we motored on.

Diglis Bridge
Diglis Bridge

At about one thirty we could see the Diglis bridge coming into view and just past this was the River Seven Lock 5 Diglis, we held station a few hundred yards before the lock and then the green light appeared on the right hand lock and the gates opened.

Diglis Lock on Seven
Diglis Lock on Seven

This lock is massive, the lock keeper advised that we should be OK just using the stern rope, and the gates closed and we very gently rose about 8-10 feet before the north bound gates opened and we slipped gently out of the lock, a much nicer experience that any of the Avon locks.

About ½ a mile upstream is the entrance to the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, these two locks lift you up to the Diglis Inner Basin where we moored up to the water point, we had run out of water during the trip up the Seven, so that fill took a while.

A quick hop passed the Mill Street bridge where we took the last set of rings to moor up for the night.

8th August – Not an early start, so we walked into town and had breakfast at “House of Coffee”, I had the Mr Worcester which is their take on a full English and that set me up for the day, then back to the boat.

We planned on doing two locks, locks 3 and 4 and then a quick trip into ASDA for supplies, before setting off again, very quiet on the canal today. We only saw a few other boats and then mostly at just one lock, after that we got into our stride and we seemed to be at lock 16 very quickly before passing under the M5 motorway.

In the past we would have tried to moor near bridge 25 so we could frequent The Bridge Public House, but this time we continued to just before bridge 30 so we could breakfast at the Fir Tree Cafe and Farm Shop.

9th August – After walking the dog, we headed to the Fir Tree Cafe, which is just a hundred yards to the left in Trench Lane. This all looks very well kept, the Farm Shop is a little small, don’t expect to much, but the breakfast was excellent, all good quality fare, the only disappointment if any is the Cappuccino which tasted a little like filter coffee with a little froth on top. Still highly recommended and good value, we even took some extra cakes for later.

Fir Tree Cafe and Farm Shop
Fir Tree Cafe and Farm Shop

Just a couple of hours and not a boat insight till we reach the turning for the Droitwich when another boat appeared, very kindly they waited before the bridge, as the gap was very narrow with boats moored on either bank.

A multi point turn and then under the bridge that I seem incapable of getting through without tapping the side we arrive at the last three lock before the marina. The excellent volunteer lockies make this complicated set of locks with side pounds very simple and 20 minutes later we are turning into the marina to pump out and refuel. Diesel for the trip cost us about £100.

Getting into our mooring is always interesting, we have never made it look simple, the wind always makes me give it at least 2 attempts, but we are now tied up and secure, we have completed the Avon Ring.

We have travelled over 109 miles and been through 130 locks.

I am glad we have completed this our first ring, the only thing I did not enjoy was the locks on the Avon, the rest is a great way to unwind. While this could be done in a two week trip, we had up to 3 weeks to complete the trip and if it had not been for the rain we would probably taken all three weeks and stayed longer in Stratford, Tewkesbury and Worcester to soak up the history.

Planning Our Next Trip – The Avon Ring

We have been planning our first summer trip as a narrow boat owner, when we first hired from Black Prince we had planned to do the Avon Ring.
Unfortunately, that had to be abandoned this due to the rivers being very high after a few weeks of rain and not being recommended at that time for canal boats.

Avon Ring
Avon Ring – Starting Point Droitwich Spa Marina

The route is approx 110 miles and over 130 locks, if we count the three to get on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal from our base at Droitwich Spa Marina.

This time we have almost 3 weeks to complete our trip, which should give us plenty of time to slowly meander the route, we may even take a slight detour to Birmingham.

The only major question is do we go clockwise or anti-clockwise.