Thursday, 21 August 2014

Day 3: From Hanbury, through Droitwich and back on to the Severn

We made a start shortly after nine o'clock this morning and chugged a few hundred yards past Hanbury Wharf before making a sharp left turn on to the Droitwich Junction Canal. 

This section of the waterways has only recently returned to use after restoration works were completed in 2011 and now allows the mid Worcestershire ring to be navigated. Immediately after turning on to the Junction Canal were faced with  set of six narrow locks that lead down in the direction of Droitwich town centre. The first few of these were manned by volunteers and we made swift progress. After the last of the locks we passed along a heavily reeded section that was more "African Queen" than rural Worcestershire. This took us past the rugby club and new marina before we reached Droitwich proper. 

At Droitwich town a wide beam lock forms the entrance to the Droitwich Barge Canal, which has wide beam locks all the way from the town down on to the Severn.* The town centre also features a set of swing bridges that need to be operated and we paused briefly in the midst of these while 30% nipped over the road to Waitrose for a few supplies. 

We paused again a few hundred yards further on at a proper mooring where we lunched before making our way down the Barge Canal to The Severn. This was a pleasant cruise through woods and meadows punctuated by half a dozen locks. We had hoped to moor for the night along this section but the banks were heavily reeded and no suitable temporary berth could be found. 

Our return to the Severn was something of a surprise. One minute we were cruising in to a canal lock and then suddenly we saw the comparative vastness of the Severn ahead. Only then did we see a diminutive set of signs with navigation and licensing warnings. 

Moorings are few and far between on the river but a local boater suggested a pub about half an hour upstream ...

... So this evening we found ourselves dining at The Wharf Inn just South of Holt Lock. 
*Apparently the Barge Canal was constructed as a wide beam navigation to allow large loads of Droitwich salt to be transported by barge down on to the Severn and on to the ports. 

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