Nicholson's Waterway Guide makes Alrewas sound like the kind of village that's worth a leisurely visit, so we set out from Branston under a bright sky, and made our way through some delightful countryside. Branston Water Park is another fine example of an area once designated industrial (gravel and cement I believe) having been turned into an area of natural beauty, and a superb recreational facility.
Not long after that, however, the A38 road came in alongside the canal, and followed it noisily for a couple of miles. At Barton Turn Lock, I met two of the crew of a boat of Swedes, holidaying on the canal for the first time, and thoroughly enjoying it. I also met an elderly American couple, sent by their British host to manage the lock while he stayed at the helm. They had quite literally never seen a lock before that moment, and I wondered at the intelligence of their friend. I talked them through the process, they filled the lock, opened the gates and looked pleased with themselves. The Swedes were younger, and rather more clued up, but still needed to be given a few bits of advice. If anything, they were rather too enthusiastic, wanting to open gates before the water was level, opening paddles too soon, and the like. They'll be fine by the end of the week!
The canal turned away from the road at Wychnor Lock, and the noise of cars and lorries faded into the distance. Just above Alrewas we joined the Trent for a short distance, passing the huge weir which serves at that point.
The approach to Alrewas is very attractive. We took the first available mooring, just below the bridge which carries the road into the heart of the village, and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon and early evening under a warm sun.
This morning, we took a stroll around the village with our cameras. It's really quaint, with lots of old buildings, half-timbered, thatched, all sorts. A number of canalside warehouses have been very tastefully developed, but it's sad to see where councils of the sixties have allowed horrendous architecture to be built amongst the old, with no sympathy whatsoever to the heritage of the place.
This weekend, the village is having two Open Garden Days, and people are busy preparing for that, making sure that flowers, trees and shrubs are being shown to full effect - even in the cemetery!
It's a lovely village - with a good Co-Op, too; always a bonus! - and well worth a visit. It would be good to stay for the weekend, but it's 48 hour mooring here.