Lias & Stockton Locks

Circular Walk 15 (5.25 Miles)

Walk Overview

Please only park in the pub car park if you intend using the pub, otherwise park a little way down the track in the fishermans car park. This is an attractive walk encompassing some delightful canal towpaths, mostly flat through countryside and woodland near to the lovely villages of Long Itchington and Stockton. Refreshments are available at three canal side inns: The Blue Lias Inn, The Two Boats Inn and The Boat Inn. There is also the Crown Inn in Stockton. The walk incorporates sections of The Millennium Way, where you will be guided by the distinctive black and white waymarkers.

Walk Details

  • Start: Blue Lias Inn, Stockton CV47 8LD
  • Start Grid Ref: SP426 646
  • Parking: Pub car park
  • Refreshments:
    • The Blue Lias Inn (01926 812249)
    • Two Boats Inn (01926 812640)
    • Crown Inn, Stockton
    • Boat Inn (01926 812657)
  • Maps: OS Explorer 222 or OS Landranger 151
  • Distance: 5¼ miles
  • Time: 2½ hours
  • Stiles: None
  • Download: Walk GPS (GPS Exchange Format, GPX)
  • GPS and GPX explained
  • Find a mobile app on the Apple App Store or Google Play

Updated January 2024

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Walk Instructions

Section A

Our walk starts from the The Blue Lias Inn situated by the canal on Stockton Road, between the villages of Long Itchington and Stockton. Emerging from the pub car park turn left along the road. You are already on the Millennium Way. Cross the bridge over the canal and after a few steps go through or to the side of metal gate on your left and join the canal towpath to go with canal on your left. Stay on towpath passing under bridge 24, then pass the canalside Two Boats Inn and go under bridge 25, the A423 Banbury to Coventry road.

Section B

Immediately after passing under bridge 25 go right to pass a small brick cubicle and take a kissing gate into paddock. Cross paddock and take two further kissing gates on either side of a farm track. Go ahead over field to cross footbridge and take kissing gate, then ahead on path between trees towards a modern white house to find another kissing gate. Here we leave the Millennium Way to rejoin it later at point H).

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Blue Lias Inn on canal side

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Quiet paths

Section C

Take the kissing gate and turn sharp right down surfaced drive past houses to corner and follow yellow way marker through metal gate. Then stay right near hedge to cross bottom of garden of house maintaining the same line through a short area of woodland and continue through corner gap along a short path to exit by metal kissing gate to cul-de-sac. Bear left to reach Shepherd Close and left again to reach Southam Road.

Section D

Turn right on main road and after a few yards cross over using the pedestrian crossing and continue up road to the road junction where we bear left onto Stockton Road. Continue ahead for a while passing a wooden bench on left, then eventually Wulfstan Drive and a little further along, the Primary School. Proceed on wide tarmac footpath past a lot of new houses on Keepers Meadow housing complex. When you exit the footpath to the road, cross over to pass a deep layby on the right before reaching a sharp right hand bend.

Section E

At the bend we recross the road to continue ahead down a waymarked bridleway with sign to High Clays Farm. Where the gravel drive swings left to High Clays Farm, continue straight on down a wide bridleway between trees and hedges. Near the end of the track exit by gap to reach the canal towpath (here you are only a short way from the start!). Bear left and continue along towpath with canal on right, passing the flight of locks. Continue on past Top Lock Cottage, Stockton Top Marina on right and then The Boat Inn, also on the opposite side of the canal. Pass under bridge 21.

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Stockton's Flight of Locks

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St.Michael's
Stockton

Section F

Continue for 1/2 mile, passing Nelson's Wharf on the right, until you will reach bridge 20. Go under bridge then almost immediately exit the towpath left to find road. Go left on road to cross over canal bridge and pass Station Farm on right walking gently up the road crossing another bridge over a disused railway line. After this bridge we descend gently to reach a junction.

Section G

Turn right at junction signed Stockton 3/4 mile then almost immediately take lane right, leaving Wynnstay Stores on your right and the signage for four businesses on your left,  to go through waymarked metal gate ahead. Stay along narrow track with tall metal fence on left. Where metal fence turns sharp left, stay ahead to reach a concrete track where a large concrete barrier has been laid. Go left here on the track keeping hedge left and after 75 paces take way marked footpath left in hedge gap by large tree. Go along well defined path with hedge and trees right, in the direction of houses. Stay with hedge right to exit in corner by a row of concrete posts and continue forward past a brick garden wall and through a wooden five bar gate to reach a  road. Ahead into Elm Row and continue along to reach the crossroads. Cross directly over into High Street, Stockton and stay left passing the interesting "Boulder and the Pump" on your right and then The Crown Inn on left.

Section H

At the convenience store, turn right into Mount Pleasant walking uphill. Here you have rejoined the Millennium Way. Ignore side roads and continue uphill to arrive at a grassy passageway, with houses left, leading through spinney and around a redundant stile to a field . On entering the field go left with hedge left and wire fence right to take a gap next to a stile to the main A426 road. Cross the road, take gap and then go down a short steep slope, which may be slippery if wet. Don'y take the path sharp left but continue ahead with hedge left. Go through corner gap and along a short passageway continuing with hedge left along narrow track at field edge with wire fence right. Follow corridor over two wooden bridges then along woodland path staying close to wire fence on right. At the end of the wire fence you will come to a fence post with waymarkers. Stay forward along  the grassy path through the spinney, shortly to arrive at a gap. Go slightly right then immediately left, staying on the same line (the waypost is leaning against the hedge), to go with hedge left and after some 70 paces take gap left into woods to find redundant stile with waymark. Go around the redundant stile and ahead along delightful woodland path, which can be quite muddy. Cross track and exit past one old metal kissing gate and through another to a lake. Bear right then keep lake left and take gap which leads back to your starting point at The Blue Lias Inn.

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Friendly Wild Life?

Points of Interest - What to know and what to see...

by Andy Botherway
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Fossil
Blue Lias Pub

The walk start point is the ‘Blue Lias’ canalside pub, named after the extensive areas of blue lias clay, a raw material used in cement manufacture, surrounding the village of Stockton. Blue lias is famous for its fossils, especially ammonites. The same material is found forming the cliffs at Lyme Regis in Dorset.

The Grand Union Canal

The canal descends into the valley of the River Leam by the Stockton flight of ten locks (often known as 'the Itchington Ten'). Above the eighth lock down the flight, "Kaye's Arm", which is now used as pleasure craft moorings, used to serve Southam cement works. (The rest of the flight will be climbed later after Long Itchington). Until the arrival of the railways, the canal was a vital transport link for the local industry.

Long Itchington

Until the late ‘90’s the village was dominated by the now-closed cement works. This walk only skirts the edge of the village. Walk 26 goes through the centre and has more information on some of the historic buildings.

Returning to the canal, the Stockton flight is climbed, then the canal and a disused railway crossed. This was the Weedon branch, running parallel to the Grand Union and joining the Leamington to Rugby railway line. This line opened in 1851 and closed to passenger traffic in 1959. The line remained open for freight serving the cement works until 1985.

Stockton

Stockton's name was first recorded in 1272, the name meaning 'a fenced enclosure'. Stockton developed as an industrial village in the 19th century. The chimney of the now-closed cement works can be seen for miles around.

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Ichthyosaurus

In 1898 a large fossil of an Ichthyosaurus was found locally and is now in the Natural History Museum in London.

An image of an Ichthyosaurus is used on the sign at the entrance to the village.

The Blue Lias Rings

On the route back to the Blue Lias Inn, a waymarker is passed showing that this route is shared with the Blue Lias Ring walks. This is a group of 9 walks around the Stockton area, available as leaflets from Warwickshire County Council. The walk leaflets contain more historical information about the area and are illustrated by the late Henson Bamford, a local artist.

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