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Barton Turns - Newark

8 - 16 April 2004

9 Days, 115 Miles, 48 Locks


Day Miles Locks From To
1 14.7 5 Barton Turns Marina Lowes Bridge, Swarkstone
2 6.1 4 Lowes Bridge, Swarkstone Idle Bridge, Shardlow
3 12.15 8 Idle Bridge, Shardlow Nottingham (Before Castle Lock)
4 24.37 7 Nottingham (Castle Lock) Newark Town Centre
5 0 0 Newark Town Centre  
6 24.37 7 Newark Town Centre Nottingham (After Castle Lock)
7 12.35 8 Nottingham Idle Bridge, Shardlow
8 8.94 5 Idle Bridge, Shardlow Hicklins Bridge (20), Stenson
9 11.83 4 Hicklins Bridge (20), Stenson Barton Turns Marina
  115 48    


This was our first cruise of the 2004 season and we originally intended to go up the Erewash Canal. However, every boater we spoke to on the way to Nottingham recommended avoiding the Erewash. They said that there was always trouble with kids throwing stones, especially over the holiday period, and in the early part of the season the locks were always difficult. Hence we decided to go as far as we could up the non-tidal Trent, and went as far as Newark.


Thursday 8th April


Leaving Barton Turns and heading towards Burton on Trent, Barton Turn Lock is reached almost immediately, with the Marston’s pub “The Barton Turns” adjacent.



The canal proceeds eastwards alongside the Ryknild Street Roman Road until Tatenhill Lock is reached, just before Branston Water Park. A small level change of 3 ft is accomplished at Branston Lock and the canal heads for Shobnall and Burton-on-Trent. Dallow Lock, the last of the “narrow” locks is reached just after Burton, and the canal continues on through Horninglow , Stretton and Willington before reaching Stenson’s Lock, which has a massive 12ft 4in level change and can accommodate two boats side by side. We moored up for the first night 3 miles beyond Stenson’s Lock, near Lowes Bridge, bridge 15.


Friday 9th April 2004


Leaving Lowes Bridge, we soon arrived at Swarkstone Lock, with watering and winding points. The lock is 10ft 11 in deep, and a double lock similar to Stenson’s. The canal passes trough open countryside alongside the River Trent itself, passing Weston-on-Trent, to Aston Lock, and the on to Shardlow Lock.


Swarkestone Lock

Shardlow was a major canal town, with the wide beam barges coming down the Trent discharging cargo in to warehouses for transhipment on to narrow boats for the inland canal system. As such there are many nice old warehouses in Shardlow, including the 18th C Trent Warehouse, restored in 1979 and now called the Clock Warehouse. It is a pub and restaurant now, and their curry night at £5-95 per head including a pint of Fosters is not to be missed! We moored up just beyond Idle Bridge, and fell asleep listening to the sound of an owl hooting in the tree above us!





The Clockhouse, Shardlow


Saturday 10th April 2004

Three miles beyond Shardlow you reach Trentlock. Shardlow to Derwent Mouth is on the narrow canal; the open Trent is then navigated to Sawley Cut and its two locks, under the M1 bridge and past a large weir. The entrance to Sawley Cut and the marina is protected by a flood lock, and the exit back on to the Trent is via paired hydraulically operated locks. These are normally manned by a lock keeper, but caused us some confusion as the lock keeper was absent and we did not realise at first that they were hydraulically operated (using the BW key). Then it is back on to the open Trent to Trent Lock, and the junction with the River Sour and the Erewash Canal. Two locks take you through the Cranfleet Cut, and it is back on to the open Trent again.


Waiting for Dinner


5 miles from Trentlock is the Beeston Weir and Beeston Lock, which takes you back on to the narrow canal (Beetson Cut, which bypasses the unnavigable parts of the Trent) in to Nottingham. After 3 more miles we were safely moored up in Nottingham outside the Sainsbury store, which is right alongside the canal and near Nottingham Castle Marina.
Sunday 11th April 2004
Leaving our mooring outside Sainsbury’s we dropped through Castle Lock right in to the heart of Nottingham. The central area has been redeveloped alongside the canal, and is now trendy bars, including the old Fellows, Morton & Clayton warehouse.



Central Nottingham


A sharp right hand bend in the canal leads under the railway bridge and on to Meadow Lane Lock, where you rejoin the Trent. There is a convenient watering and Elsan point adjacent to the lock.
The Trent feels massive compared to the narrow canals, and the journey from Meadow Lane Lock to Newark is 23.5 miles and 5 locks.


The River Trent


The next set of locks were large, hydraulically operated locks taking several boats at a time. They are operated by a lock keeper, and he requires that you tie the boat bow and stern before he operates the lock sequence. There are down wires placed 8 feet apart in the lock walls, and the idea is to catch and tie up on these as you enter the lock. Not easy the first time that you try it, and there is a definite knack to it! The run to Newark was long, open and exposed to the wind and rain and took some seven hours. We were pleased to reach Newark Town Lock late in the afternoon, and to enter the centre of Newark.




Newark Town Lock


We passed the Castle, under a very old 7-arch bridge, and found an excellent mooring pontoon right outside the British Waterways offices. The river current is quite strong, and on the advice of a local boater we went a bit further downstream and turned, before going in to moor. If you don’t do this it is quite difficult to stop when you reach the mooring and avoid collisions with moored boats!
After the long day on the boat we had a quick walk around Newark, and headed to Pizza Express for dinner!
Monday 12th April 2004
A day of rest enjoying the pleasant town of Newark


Moored in Newark


Tuesday 13th April
We retraced our steps to Nottingham and the pleasant mooring outside Sainsbury’s, just passed Castle Lock!

On the River Trent


Wednesday 14th April 2004
We retraced our steps to Shardlow, and enjoyed Curry Night at the Clock Warehouse.
Thursday 15th April 2004
We retraced our steps to Stenson’s Lock, mooring there for the night. We had intended to go to the nearby “Bubble Inn” pub which we were told offers excellent steak dinners, but opted in the end for a meal on the boat and an early night!

Aston Lock


Friday 16th April 2004
Back to the marina at Barton Turns. It was late afternoon as we arrived, just as the Shakespear lines hire boats were going out for the week end. We felt sorry for those hiring boats for the first time, as the weather turned wet and windy. When it rains at Barton Turns it really rains! We took refuge for the evening in the Shoulder of Mutton pub in Barton-under-Needwood