Having now been at Fazeley junction for six days, I thought it might be useful to report on what the mooring here is like. At first glance you might hesitate to choose this spot to moor up overnight. Would it be inhabited by chavs? Would my boat get broken into or otherwise assaulted?
Herbie nestles underneath the huge old mill building with its broken and boarded up windows, on the other bank houses and gardens. From the front of the boat I look through the road bridge and see the junction pool, Fradley to the right, Coventry to the left. The bank here has been newly restored with brick paviours and mooring rings.
Fazeley has a strong flavour of industrial decline. During the canal age it was of course an important and thriving place. Despite its appearance the mill is actually a busy small business centre with a wide variety of firms working away. Apparently one small part of the old mill business still survives on the top floor now making cloth tape for labels for Doc Marten boots. Over the road from that is a sawmill where if you look through the gates, you can see huge trees being sawn into planks. Next door to the mill is a garage selling 'Part Worn Tyres'! No one would call it a pretty spot, but it is in fact safe and quiet. The only people using the towpath are the daily procession of mum's taking kids to and from the Nursery School down the canal and the occasional dog walker or jogger.
Next to the bridge on the other bank there is a splendid old Methodist Church, which now appears to be inhabited by a plumbing company.
One minute's walk away is the only little row of shops. A Tesco Express, a chip shop, and a number of Indian and Chinese restaurants and takeaways. There are three pubs, the largest one of which I feared to enter. The Three Horsehoes is the one I would recommend, being quiet, well kept, friendly staff and locals, and well kept ales. Just down the canal towards Fradley is the Three Tuns claiming 'exceptional cask ales'. When I popped in they had only one ale and that was OK but certainly not exceptional. It does however have a small canal side garden.
Just round the corner, near the shops is the bus stop from where you can take the ten minute ride into Tamworth or the large Ventura shopping centre with ASDA,M&S, Boots, WHS, Homebase, etc etc
So all in all a lot better mooring that first appearances would imply. Fazeley junction is not a pretty place, but if you are looking for somewhere to rest your weary boat and crew, it's fine. No chavs, no break ins, cheery passers by. If like me you need to stop for longer (up to 7 days in my spot) it's also fine as long as the little Tesco can meet you needs or you don't mind a short bus ride. For painting the gunnels and other bits and pieces it has been ideal.
This afternoon Kath arrives back at Tamworth Station and we resume our travels.