Narrow boat cruises and holidays along the River Soar
The River Soar is one of the finest places to take a narrow boat cruise or holiday. With some of the finest scenery and attractions Hire A Canal Boat are proud to offer narrow boats and canal boats for cruising down this historic river. Please click this link for more information on the availability of our boats for your canal holiday.
The history of the River Soar
After many years of failed attempts, the River Soar was eventually made navigable from the Trent to Loughborough by the Loughborough Navigation Company in 1778. When the potential of the nearby Trent & Mersey and Erewash Canals was understood, the navigational infrastructure along the Soar was improved to increase efficiency. For a time, the then named ‘Loughborough Navigation’ was the most profitable waterway in Britain.
Extension of navigation beyond Loughborough down to Leicester and then, in 1814, onto the Leicester line of the Grand Union Canal increased profitability with the opening of a direct route to London. Factories and workshops and all the associated services surrounding them sprung up. Then the advent of railway competition led to decline, although commercial traffic continued for some years due to the proximity of the River Trent.
With the decline of industry in the sixties, the warehouses and factories which were once the central core of Leicester’s economy fell into dereliction. Leicester City Council eventually decided towards re-developing the waterfront. Today, there are luxury waterside apartments.
The re-development plan also included the building of the Walkers Stadium, home to Leicester City F.C. along the waterway in 2002,. The football club says “from a barren, desolate piece of waste-ground has risen a stunning futuristic collaboration of steel and glass that dominates the skyline of Leicester’. Old warehouses have also been converted into student accommodation for De Montfort University.
On the waterway itself, the navigable River Soar is now a hive of tourism rather than of industry. Holiday narrow boat cruising is extremely popular as a relaxing way to visit the country and get ‘in-touch’ with nature. The tow-paths next to the waterway are used for cycling, rambling, dog walking, jogging horse-riding and picnicking.
The river is a popular location for match and occasional fishing. There are large carp, chub, bream, roach, and perch in the canal plus dace and barbel on some stretches.
The Soar can be subject to flooding particularly after heavy rainfall and indicators on the bridge by the last lock at Red Hill dating from 1955 and 1960 eloquently indicate the need for flood protection precautions.
Legend has it the body of King Richard III is in the Soar. Half a century after his death at Bosworth in 1485 his remains are said to have been ripped from his tomb and angrily thrown into the river by a mob. This consigned Richard III to being the only monarch to have died on home soil whose remains lie unmarked