The project to build Fradley Marina is a process that has allowed us to live our dream whilst realising the canal boat dreams of our clients. This is the story of how we imagined, planned and are now building the Staffordshire’s newest and most environmentally attractive narrowboat marina.
Almost as soon as we began building luxury narrowboats, over ten years ago, we thought about creating our own permanent base and workshop. As the boat building business developed, we came to realise that if we were going to create our own base, it would need to follow our approach to building canal boats and be practical but with a unique and appealing style.
Six years later the opportunity to purchase seven acres of land on the banks of the Trent & Mersey canal presented itself and within a week or two we were the proud owners of a field. Over the next few years we worked with the various powers that be to plan and get permission to build a marina, slipway & workshop and in the late summer of 2018 we began to dig the foundations of our first buildings. All the time helping people to realise their narrowboat dreams as we continued to launch around six luxury narrowboats each year.
The Marina consists of three interconnecting ponds that have been specifically configured to shelter one narrowboat from another. Many modern commercial marinas look like jam packed car parks for boats, set against a background of retail park. That’s all well and good if your plan is to maximise visitor footfall and £s per square inch but it’s not what we’re after.
The way the ponds are built means that our berth holders will have privacy, natural screening and in some cases access to an area of greenery around their boat. We’ve built in large turning circles for novice cruisers and we’ve planned in easy access areas and car parking for narrowboaters with limited physical movement as well as EV charge points..
There are only two buildings on the site to house our workshop & offices and for the washrooms and amenities for berth holders. The idea is that driving onto the marina will be more like arriving at a country park than a retail park.
That said, once the planting matures, behind the foliage you’ll find a fully equipped slipway, workshop and dry dock, capable of handling the largest and smallest boats, whether V bottom of flat bottomed. Attached to this facility will be an office and main reception, disabled toilets and showers and laundry facilities.
Our vision for Fradley Marina has always been for it to be a well-appointed, secluded and welcoming community for the wide range of people that love cruising on and enjoying our wonderful waterways. Our berth-holders will enjoy contemporary facilities in an un-crowded setting that prioritises the quality of the overall environment over the number of boats we can fit onto the site.
Happily, all this tranquillity is enhanced by our physical location. We are just a few minutes’ drive from the A38 and 12 minutes from Litchfield and its junction on the M6Toll. We’re a 5-minute cycle or a 10-minute walk from the old villages of Fradley and Arlewas. But, and this is really important, you can’t hear any of those roads, villages or cities from the marina. Once you’re on site it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere… with hot showers.
If that sounds like the kind of place you’d like to keep your boat, then drop us a line and let’s talk moorings.