A Boat Trip on the River Severn and the Droitwich Barge Canal
A Boat Trip on the River Severn
What better way to enjoy the beautiful English countryside than a leisurely boat trip, we’re fortunate in our country to have so many beautiful rivers and canals to enjoy and I’m very fortunate to have a brother in law with a boat!
On this occasion we spent the morning on a river and the afternoon on a canal, you’ll see from the photos that not only did the weather change through the day but the scenery too!
With the promise from my brother in law Dik, that the day would be broken up by a lunch experience to remember, my excitement was mounting - so it was ‘all aboard and anchor away!’
We set out from the pretty town of Upton on Severn in Gloucestershire on the river Severn.
Upton on Severn has been dubbed Upton ‘under’ Severn due to it being the most flooded town in Britain in recent years.
The river Severn is the longest river in the United Kingdom, it’s 220 miles (354 km) long.
It flows from its source in the Plynlimon Mountains in West Wales, then through several counties – Plowys, Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. It finally flows into the Bristol Channel.
In the 2007 United Kingdom floods, the levels exceeded those in 2000 and the town of Upton on Severn was inaccessible by road.
If you look closely at the photograph below of the pole next to where the boat was moored, you can see the flood markings. The very top mark was made in the flood of 2007 - incredibly this pole is about 20 feet high!
Our trip from Upton on Severn to Droitwich
'Gina' sets out on the River Severn
Although the weather forecast was encouraging, the dark looming clouds weren’t, as we set off aboard Gina. We were heading towards the city of Worcester, we had just one ‘lock’ to navigate on route and were looking forward to our lunch stop the other side of Worcester.
The river Severn is a very wide river and although the scenery was lovely it was in total contrast to the canal in the afternoon.
I sat next to their dog Hendrix, who seemed to delight in taking in the surroundings!
We saw some fabulous river cruisers and plenty of colourful barges, their names were quite colourful too! My favourite was ‘Flat Bottom Girl’
The River Severn on a cloudy morningClick thumbnail to view full-size
The river lock
The majority of locks are navigated by the individual boatsperson, but a very large lock, such as this one is manned and has it’s own lock keeper. All we had to do was manoeuvre the boat into the lock and out again!
After we’d entered the lock the gate closed. You can see on the third photo on the bricks, how high the water level needed to rise before it had reached the level the other side and the gate opened.
This river lock was huge
The City of Worcester
As we passed through Worcester, we saw the beautiful Cathedral and sailed under the main traffic bridge.
Gradually as we left Worcester, the river started to narrow and the countryside became more scenic.
Boating through Worcester
Time for lunch!
One of the advantages of being in a boat, it’s so easy to moor up next to a riverside pub - and that’s exactly what we did!
We stopped at the Camp House Inn in Crimley, which if you were arriving by car is a bit off the beaten track - It’s a lovely old country pub!
You can just see 'Gina' moored in the bottom of the photo.
Camp House Inn Crimley
A Pub Lunch with a Difference!
As we walked up to the pub garden from the boat the first thing I noticed was the cockerel crowing! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that the pub was mainly occupied by chickens and peacocks - They outnumbered the customers!
By now, the clouds were starting to clear and it was brightening up so we were able to sit in the pub garden for lunch.
I was just amazed to see chickens wandering around, as we supped our beer and ate our lunch - it was quite surreal!
A 'Fowl' lunch?Click thumbnail to view full-size
An afternoon Boating on the Droitwitch Barge Canal
Back aboard and still laughing about an unforgettable lunch experience, we approached a small lock that would take us onto the canal.
The Droitwich Barge canal had been a huge renovation project lasting 30 years.
They finally succeeded three years ago, in opening 75 miles of fully restored waterway.
The canal had been officially abandoned in 1939 and the locks were neglected and fell into disrepair. Twelve locks have now been repaired and four new locks created to bring the canal back into navigable use.
A great deal of silt was dredged and removed from the canal bed and was spread on local agricultural land. The dredges were careful to leave the reeds on both sides of the canal to give the bank support
The lock to the canal
The Canal Lock
Locks are normally found where the level alters, they can even allow canals to go up and over hills. Depending upon the change in level it can be a lock on it’s own or they can even come in flights of upto twenty or more.
It’s not all rest and relaxation on a boat, this is when the manual work starts!
To allow the boat to get in and out, and to keep the water in, there are gates at both ends of the lock.
To open and close these gates, you have to push them as in the photo above
To let water in and out you wind up paddles in the gates, which are a bit like valves, using a windlass
The beautiful Barge CanalClick thumbnail to view full-size
A beautiful sunny afternoon
Gradually the clouds disappeared and the sun was shining, what a beautiful way to spend a sunny afternoon.
The scenery was fabulous, the countryside quiet and peaceful. Our only company the Dragonflies, Kingfishers, ducks and occasional Heron!