I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Thursday 13 July 2023

July 2023 - The lovely River Avon

Pershore (River Avon) – Sunday 9th July

We weren’t moving today so we were able to have a lie-in.  A luxury we haven’t been able to have for two weeks! 

There is an Asda across the park, so Steve and I set off to fill up the fridges and freezers.

Though we didn’t go into the town on this visit we have been before, and it is a lovely town which has lots of elegant Georgian architecture. In 1964 the Council for British Archaeology included Pershore in its list of 51 British "Gem Towns" worthy of special consideration for historic preservation, and it has been listed as an outstanding conservation area.  These are a couple of photos I took in 2017. 

Pershore is known as the capital of plum growing.  Its association with the plum is not a new thing, the area has been famous for its fruit growing since medieval times. Early in the 19th century the Pershore Yellow Egg Plum was found growing wild in Tiddesley Wood and by 1870 records show that over 900 tons of the fruit were being sent to market during harvest time.  To celebrate this famous fruit, Pershore holds a Plum Festival throughout the month of August, when the town turns “plum crazy” and the grand finale of this festival is the Plum Fayre and Farmers Market on August Bank Holiday Monday. 

It was a strange afternoon.  We started by sitting out until the rain came, so we all packed up our chairs and moved back inside our respective boats.  A bit later we were outside again, jackets on as the sun went in, jackets off as the sun came out.  Under a big tree as it rained, out in the sun, back under the tree until it really did pour and we all gave up and went inside.

Evesham (River Avon) – Monday 10th July

The forecast wasn’t good again for today, so we made an early start to try and get into Evesham before it rained too hard.

The first lock was Wyre Lock, which is a diamond shaped one.  From my research I discovered that once it was turf sided.  It is thought that was once six turf sided locks on the River Avon. It is an ancient navigation, and it is thought that the diamond turf locks were built in an effort to reduce erosion of their earth sides by water from the top paddles when they were opened. A diamond lock might have made it easier for unpowered barges to enter (at an angle) as the weir stream below can be tricky. Also the "modern" walled lock was once larger too. The retaining walls were crumbling so a new wall was built against the old one.

We had some left over bread, so I fed the ducks.  I know I shouldn’t give them bread but there wasn’t much of it. 

Fladbury Lock has to be, not only my favourite lock on the Avon, but on the whole canal system.  It is so pretty.  Back in 2021 I discovered that the building in the photo is not Fladbury Mill, that is situated on the other side of the weir, this is Cropthorne Mill which was built in the later 18th Century or early 19th Century.  It is Grade II listed.   Fladbury Mill was first mentioned in the Domesday Book.  In 1086 the Bishop of Worcester held the mill.  It was worth 10S a year and the yearly rent was 20 sticks of eels.  Eels were usually counted in units called sticks.  25 eels – this is likely from the number of eels you could smoke on a stick at one time. 10 sticks of eels were called a bind.

Also looking over the weir is this lovely house.

Richard and Steve taking care to let the water into the lock very slowly.  The locks on the Avon are very violent and the paddles have to be lifted very slowly.  You have to rope on at the front and back, none of this centre line business!  This is something which, I think, nearly all boaters do and if they don’t they soon decide it’s a good thing to do.

Chadbury Lock is a special lock for me.  Friends, Mike Rayne and his partner Jenny, lived in Evesham until both of them sadly died, both too early. Mike was a volunteer for ANT (Avon Navigation Trust).  All the locks on the Avon have a nominated Trust member to look after them.  Mike and Jenny’s lock was Chadbury.  Mike and Jenny put plants on a lock beam that had been placed on the lock side along with a watering can and a sign asking people to water them if they looked thirsty.  The new lock carer has obviously carried on the tradition.  I checked on them today and they were well watered with the rain, but I noticed that the watering can has now gone so I’m not sure how anyone could water them. 

We arrived in Evesham and moored up.  That’s us for today.  Richard and I wandered up to Waitrose as we needed milk.  This is the last shopping place before Stratford.  We got caught in a real drizzle shower on the way back which wasn’t very pleasant.  We had a Chinese take away for dinner, there are numerous take-away places just a few 100 yards away from us, including three Chinese.  Sadly, we chose the wrong Chinese as it really wasn’t very good ☹ 

10.03 miles
3 locks

Bidford-on-Avon (River Avon) – Tuesday 11th July

We weren’t too sure how far we would get today as there was a tree across the river between Bidford and Barton Lock, our destination.  ANT thought it would be clear by lunch time.

There were these very odd “dragon” boats under the old lock keepers house at Evesham Lock.  I think they are some sort of pedalos.  

The lock house is having a lot of work done to it.  I don’t think it has been lived in for a long time, it’s a real shame.  It was built in 1972 for £8,000 and used as a toll station and lock keepers cottage.  

The cottage was damaged and rendered unusable by two floods. 

What I have discovered in that in 2021 the Avon Navigation Trust (ANT) wanted to bring boat hire back to the park alongside a nature trail, paddle sport tuition and boat handling courses for all ages.  The lock house will be used as an outdoor education area.  Back in 2021 Evesham Town Council had endorsed The Evesham Lock House Volunteer Activity Centre scheme, which it put forward for funding from Wychavon District Council’s Community Legacy Grant scheme.  I can’t seem to find any more on the scheme, but as I said the house is being renovated and I wonder if the “dragon” boats moored below the lock are all part of the scheme.

At Offenham Lock we stopped for a while, emptied the elsan and filled with water.  It seemed a good idea to stay there as we still didn’t know what was happening with the tree.  All three dogs loved and mooched for ages.  Muffin and Ted even did zoomies until both were exhausted!  (Ted is the same age as Muffin.)

As we approached Bidford a boat was pulling away from the moorings, so Richard did a quick turn and moored up.  Over the Moon breasted up with us.

Maggie, from Over the Moon, is an elderly retired greyhound.  She really is lovely but is struggling with arthritic hips.  Today Steve and Tracey realised that she probably had cystitis.  Dog + cystitis + on a boat = accidents!  As Steve and Tracey don’t live far away their daughter came and picked them up and took Maggie to the vet.  It is cystitis and she now has some anti-biotics.  She did very well but there was rather a lot of washing.  Steve made a washing line between the mooring poles which worked really well. 

We finally got to have our BBQ.  We’ve been talking about it for days, but the evenings have been wet, but today was the day!  Richard had to finish off under an umbrella but at least we got our food.  We sat out under our pram covers until nearly 10pm!

9.02 miles
4 locks


  1. Chadbury lock, we have replaced the watering can twice now, but boaters keep taking it, so now we hope boaters will use their own receptical to water the plants.

    1. I'm just pleased that the lock is still be cared for :-)