The Nice Way To Be Sent To Coventry

Coventry is nothing if not an historic place. While its modern city focuses on car marking and recovery from the Blitz, it is also the city of Lady Godiva’s streak on horseback and the origin of the term ‘Peeping Tom’ (for the guy who dared to look at her and was allegedly struck blind). 

Another culturally-rooted phrase from the city is the term ‘sent to Coventry’, which today means giving someone the silent treatment, but originated in the ostracism faced by royalist troops imprisoned in the city in the civil war by the local Parliamentarian population. 

However, there is nothing unpleasant about using narrowboat hire as a means of sending yourself to Coventry, for the Coventry Canal is one of the delights of the West Midlands region.

The canal is 38 miles long, running from Coventry Basin in the city centre through the north of the city and out into the Warwickshire countryside beyond, providing a mix of urban and rural scenes to enjoy.

Just outside the city there is the Hawkesbury Junction, which provides a connection to the Oxford Canal. This flanks the city’s eastern outskirts before heading south-east to Rugby and beyond. 

Continuing on the Coventry Canal, there is another junction with the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Canal before it passes through Nuneaton. 

Continuing north and skirting Atherstone, the canal meets another major junction with the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal near Drayton Manor. It finally terminates at the Fradley Junction, just north of Lichfield, as it joins the Trent and Mersey Canal.

As well as its junctions, the canal has 13 locks and also meets a number of basins and marinas. These include Springwood Haven Marina and Mancetter Marina between Nuneaton and Atherstone and the Alvecote Marina near Tamworth.

Whether you start or end in Coventry, you should look around the city too. Britain’s ‘City of Culture’ in 2021, it is a place of fascinating history with its grand cathedral spires and its Transport Museum, which tells the story of the local automobile industry. 

However strong the city’s links with the car industry may be, there is no doubt that canal boating offers a far more gentle and peaceful option. It also, needless to say, beats riding naked on horseback.

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