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Saturday 14th January
RAR 255
COVENTRY'S GBG

Meet at Greyhound, Sutton Stop, 12 noon
Sunday 5th February
HW 55
SNOWDROPS AT ALLESLEY

Meet at The Brooklands, Kingsbury Road, 12 noon.
Saturday 18th February
RAR 256
STATFORD TO WELFORD ON AVON

National Express 460 bus departs Pool Meadow Stand B 11:00am arrives Stratford 11:25am (X18 takes 1 hour 35 mins!!)

The No.27 bus leaves Welford at 3:16pm and arrives Stratford 3:29pm (opposite Maypole)
5:50pm arrives 6:12pm
6:09pm arrives 6:46pm

The X18 bus leaves B439 (Binton turn) at 3:19pm arrives Stratford at 3:56pm. This stop is supposedly 20 mins walk from Welford.
3:49pm arrives 4:26pm
4:24pm arrives 5:01pm
4:54pm arrives 5:31pm

The 6:30pm No. 460 National Express arrives Coventry 7:00pm
Saturday 18th March
RAR 257
WELFORD ON AVON TO BIDFORD ON AVON

National Express 460 bus departs Pool Meadow Stand B 11:00am arrives Stratford 11:25am

The 11:54am X18 bus from Stratford arrives B439 (Binton turn) at 12:07pm
Saturday 15th April
RAR 258
BIDFORD ON AVON TO HARVINGTON

National Express 460 bus departs Pool Meadow Stand B 11:00am arrives Stratford 11:25am

The 11:54am X18 bus from Stratford arrives Bidford 12:11pm
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After the winter it is good to get back to proper country walks. This is an excellent canalside walk and on the return stretch we cross the railway line frequently. The only drawbacks are that in late January it was muddy after all the precipitation last year, so boots are essential, and there is the constant drone from the nearby M40. Torches are also neccessary as we shall pass through the horse tunnel at Shrewley.

So we meet at Coventry railway station at 10:30am and catch the 10:42am train to Birmingham. Here we change to the 11:30am from Moor Street, which gets to Hatton at 12:02pm. From Hatton station we walk directly onto the canal towpath. We follow the canal as it winds through the countryside to Shrewley tunnel, which is 396 metres long. It was built without a towpath, so, rather bizarrely, the builders provided a seperate tunnel for the horses!

photo of Shrewley tunnel from the northwest
Approaching Shrewley tunnel from the northwest
The excellent view from Tythe Barn Bridge, bridge 59 on the Grand Union Canal.
Photo © Copyright Robin Stott and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
photo
Grand Union Canal: Shrewley Tunnel: North-western portal
Shrewley Tunnel is part of the original fabric of the Warwick and Birmingham Canal that was completed in 1799. This is the north-western portal which is a Grade II Listed Structure. The English Heritage website describes it as;

"Tunnel portal and high-level towpath tunnel (for horses) on same elevation. Late 18th century with later alterations. Probably designed by Wm Felkin and Philip Henry Witton for Warwick and Birmingham Canal Co. Brick and stone. Both portals have semi-circular arches, faced with blue-grey engineering bricks. Main portal has a brick band. Towpath tunnel is brick paved and vaulted, with coursed stone and brick walls. Its S entrance has a red brick horseshoe-shaped arch with dripmould keystone and squared stone coping. A very rare example of a canal and towpath tunnel combination."
photo of horse tunnel
Shrewley Horse Tunnel (Grand Union Canal)
This horse tunnel leads down from the village of Shrewley to the Grand Union Canal, meeting the northern mouth of the Shrewley tunnel. Horses could not pass through the canal tunnel, they had to walk over the hill. This short tunnel provides the shortest (and possibly only?) route back to the canal tunnel mouth. One imagines that a longer route for the horses was considered and ruled out - or maybe there was a longer route for horses that refused the steep, dark and slippery descent/ascent through this tunnel.
© Copyright Simon Challinor and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
We have to walk up the hill to Shrewley High Street, where we find the village shop, which sells Henley ices and samosas etc. Then over the road and down a track between Nos 96 and 92 we enter the horse tunnel, where torches are needed, to emerge at the west portal of the canal tunnel. We follow the canal to bridge 62, Rowington Hill Bridge, which we reach after an hour, say at 1:00pm.
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Turning left we go through a gate and start the return leg. We follow a hedged path skirting the hill and on the left you should see Shetland ponies and goats. This is the worst place for mud on the walk.
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Railway bridge
We pass two streams and go under the railway. Through a field we pass back under the railway. This leads us into a plantation.
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Avenue of trees at the plantation
We can take the path on the right, or the avenue of trees parallel to it. Then a stile on the right leads back to the railway, which we cross by means of a footbridge this time. Through a field we enter a fenced path alongside the M40. There are brambles here, so SECATEURS FRED. This path leads us to the High Street in Shrewley again, close to the DURHAM OX, which describes itself as a 'Restaurant and Country Pub', whatever one of those is. We should get there about 2:00pm.
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THE DURHAM OX at Shrewleyphoto of bar
We can stay here for 30 minutes to an hour to aim for the 4:43pm return train. From the Durham Ox we continue along an excellent, well drained track, back to the railway. We cross by a footbridge and follow the railway for a while, with a little stream on our other side. Over the stream the path crosses a field to return to the canal close to Hatton station. I think it will be the 4:43pm return train.
photo
Mid Warwickshire Yacht Club
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