Exploring Coventry Canal

Canals were built to carry Britain's goods 200 years ago, long before railways and motorways.  Time moves on and commercial boats and barges have all but disappeared, but the waterways still keep their charm and character.  Canals now provide a distinctive leisure asset to the community.  Because of their age, canals are home to some fascinating buildings.  In fact, you will find more listed buildings on the canals than anywhere else in Britain.  Part of Coventry Canal is even a conservation area [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/heritage-ecology-trees/conservation-areas], meaning there are some restrictions on changes to buildings and the built environment to preserve the unique canalside character.

Most canals have towpaths that were used by horses to pull the boats. They are very pleasant to walk, and alive with wildflowers and animals.  Within Coventry, the towpath is paved so can be used in all weathers, although parts will be unlit at night. 

You can also use cycles on the towpaths, but please take care as the towpath is narrow in places with limited visibility under bridges.  A friendly bell ping ahead of blind corners will help people coming the other way, but do not assume people have head you so always be prepared to stop.

The Canal River Trust [http://www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/] looks after the canals in England and Wales and their heritage, and makes sure any improvements fit in.  This includes managing Coventry Canal Basin [https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-to-visit/coventry-canal-basin].  Details of events on the Coventry Canal can be found on the Visit Coventry website [https://visitcoventry.co.uk/?s=coventry+canal].

Other useful websites can be found at:

  • Association of Inland Navigation Authorities [http://www.aina.org.uk/](external)
    AINA represents the inland navigation authorities of the United Kingdom.
  • Broads Authority [http://www.broads-authority.gov.uk/] (external)
    The Broads is Britain's largest wetland and is part of the family of National Parks.
  • British Marine Federation [http://www.britishmarine.co.uk/] (external)
    Website for the British boating industry's trade association, the British Marine Federation
  • Coventry Canal Basin [https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-to-visit/coventry-canal-basin] (external) section of Canal & River Trust website
  • Coventry Canal Society [http://www.covcanalsoc.org.uk/] (external)
    For excellent information and images of the canal art trail and more.
  • Environment Agency [https://www.gov.uk/environment-agency] (external)
    the leading public body responsible for protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales
  • The Living Environment Trust has responsibility for the maintenance of Coventry Canal. 
  • National Association of Boat Owners [http://www.nabo.org.uk/] (external)
    The National Association of Boat Owners is dedicated to promoting the interests and concerns of boaters on Britain's Canals and Rivers.
  • Residential Boat Owners' Association [http://www.rboa.org.uk/] (external)
    The Residential Boat Owners' Association exists to act in the interests of boat dwellers. Maybe you'd like to live afloat but you don't know where to start, our FAQ covers the most common questions we get asked about living on a boat. You can also find details of our work and a diary of events.

How to find Coventry Canal

There are multiple access points to Coventry Canal, but the main focus is Coventry Canal Basin, in the heart of the city.  It is a short walk from Pool Meadow Bus Station and Broadgate.  Take a look at this map [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/7666/coventry-canal-towpath-map] to find out all the places where you can get onto the canal towpath.

Address: Coventry Canal Basin, St Nicholas Street, Coventry CV1 4LY
By bus: Routes 20 and 148 stop on Foleshill Road, adjacent to the towpath at the Leicester Row bus stop opposite Halfords, just a short step-free walk from the Canal Basin.   Both routes pick up in the City Centre from Trinity Street, and run as far away as Longford, Bedworth and Nuneaton.  Both routes also cross the canal multiple times, so can be a useful option to complete a circular walking route in combination with public transport.
By road: For Coventry Canal Basin, leave Coventry Ring Road at Junction 1. Follow Foleshill Road, first left down Leicester Row, up St Nicholas Street.  Look for the brown direction signs when leaving the Ring Road.
Nearest parking: On-Street pay & display parking on Leicester Row, Draper's Fields and St. Columba's Close.
Admission: FREE. Open all year round. Canal-side shops and café opening times within the Canal Basin will vary.

Coventry Canal art trail

Coventry has a five and a half mile long outdoor art gallery alongside the canal, inspired by local history and culture, that is safe and practical. The 39 high quality works have been created by 31 different artists to a very modest budget through Government and European funding and the National Lottery. 

The success of the project was also helped by local community artists linked to Coventry Arts Exchange. Seven of the works have been entirely community-inspired through workshop sessions with local people – including some of the most colourful pieces on the Trail, such as Waterwall, Perch Seats, The Foxy mural and The Crash mural. 

The art trail makes an exciting walk and is well worth visiting. The walk starts at Coventry Canal Basin and ends at Hawkesbury Junction and there are pubs along the route to refresh yourselves. Or why not just walk a part of the route and have a look at one or two of the sculptures, they really are quite excellent. 

For more information about the art trail contact:

Park Service Rangers

Address: Whitley Depot
259 London Road

Telephone: 024 7683 3633 Opt 3 [tel:02476833633Opt3]