Situated just North of Foxton Locks, Debdale Wharf provides an ideal cruising base from which to explore this peaceful and much underrated section of the canal network.
Travelling south, it takes just 20 minutes to reach the bottom of Foxton Locks with plenty to see and do at Foxton. Keep going to the left and you’re onto the Harborough arm with bustling Market Harborough 5 miles distant and just a couple of hours lock free cruising away.
Climb the Foxton Staircase and you reach the top pound of this section of canal with 20 miles of lock free cruising until you reach the Watford flight. In around two and a half hours you’ll reach Debdale’s sister marina at North Kilworth. Complimentary moorings are available here for Debdale moorers wishing to break their journey.
Heading south from North Kilworth Marina it’s less than a mile to the canal’s junction with the Welford Arm. A short hop to Welford Wharf, but worth it if only for lunch in the Wharf Inn. Carrying on south, the canal meanders gently through peaceful countryside. There are plenty of secluded moorings to be had right up to Yelvertoft – just over 8 miles away and the first village within easy walking distance of the canal. From here there’s only another couple of miles until you reach Crick – well known for it’s annual boat show. There’s easy mooring here within walking distance of the main village and a choice of eateries including The Moorings right by Bridge 12.
Onwards through the Crick tunnel (wear a hat – it’s wet in here!) to Watford Locks, 3 miles distant. Less of a tourist draw than Foxton, but impressive nonetheless. Watford Gap services are just around the corner – perhaps not on everyone’s must see list, but there aren’t many other motorway service stations you can moor up at in a narrowboat! Another 2 miles without any further locks brings you to the Norton Junction and the Grand Union Main Line.
Travelling North from Debdale its five miles to Kibworth Top Lock, with plenty of quiet places to moor along the way if this is as far as you want to go. After Kibworth the canal starts its decent towards Leicester. Wistow soon appears on the left with its acclaimed model village and garden center (www.wistow.com) – well worth a visit.
There’s another 12 miles and 15 locks to go before the canal’s junction with the River Soar in Leicester. Opinions vary on the merits of lingering in the city, but it has lots to offer and there are good secure moorings available at Castle Gardens.