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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Dec-Jan 2013
Active RetireesTM | 17 Cruise the Avon Ring The cruising routes are divided into rings and the Avon Ring includes some great towns and beautiful scenery, not to mention the waterside pubs that feature on all canal routes. It's about a 180-kilometre journey with more than 130 locks so you could do this in a week, but it would mean cruising all day -- set aside at least two weeks instead and you will be able to see the beautiful country along the way. You could begin at Stratford- upon-Avon, where canal boat moorings are slap bang in the middle, near the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatres and close to cafes such as Carluccio's and pubs such as the Encore and the Dirty Duck. Bidford-on-Avon is downriver from Stratford with a pretty, if narrow, bridge and moorings on both sides. Walk into town to find a bakery and pubs, and check out the The Bridge riverside brasserie. Further on at Evesham, the Upper Avon ends and the Lower Avon Navigation Trust takes over. Visitor moorings are available on the right before Evesham Lock, manned by a keeper who can issue a licence if you don't have one. Moorings are also available near the Workman Bridge. Curry lovers can choose between Indian restaurants on Waterside close to the bridge and the stylish Regal Cinema with a cafe/wine bar and comfy cinema seats. Cruising on past Pershore with its Georgian streetscape, then the pretty countryside of Bredon Hill to historic Tewkesbury, you'll reach the last lock on the Avon before the River Severn. Next, take a right-hand turn towards Worcester, stopping at the lovely town of Upton-on- Severn to visit the fascinating map shop and plenty of pubs and cafes. Worcester itself is famous for the magnificent Worcester Cathedral, the Royal Worcester Porcelain Museum and the Commandery Museum. As you keep cruising, you will need to go through 58 locks between Worcester and Tardebigge Top Lock, but the views to the Malvern Hills will help to compensate. After that, cruise on through tunnels and Birmingham, then take the right-hand turn into the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal. Keeping right, look for the interesting cottages, pubs and three iron aqueducts, then the best of Warwickshire and villages such as Wilmcote, home of Mary Arden's House (Shakespeare's mother). Then there are just 15 more locks to go to Stratford. •• ! Begin the Avon Ring at Stratford- upon-Avon, near the Shakepeare theatres, cafes and pubs. A SHORT HISTORY 10TH CENTURY: The pound lock with two gates (still used) was created by Chiao Wei-yo on the Chinese canal system. 1500: Close-fitting 'mitred' lock gates used in Milan, designed by Leonardo da Vinci. 1681: Canal du Midi opened in France, later inspiring England's Third Duke of Bridgewater to construct canals to link his coalmines. 1776: Bridgewater Canal opens, heralding half a century of canal construction in Britain, including the 'Grand Cross' linking the Severn, Mersey, Humber and Thames rivers. Cruising narrow boats are built along the lines of the original working boats, and decoration is a key element.
Active Retirees Oct-Nov 2012
Active Retirees Feb-March 2013