Narrowboat Moorings – Calcutt Boats Marina review
Roger and Rosemary Preen opened Calcutt Boats for businesses in 1973 and rented fiberglass cruisers with outboard motors. At that time the company had no road access and very few facilities for its tenants.
Thirty-seven years later, the business is very different.
Calcutt Boats can be reached via a quiet B-road from A425 Southam to Daventry Road in Napton On The Hill. Half a mile of private road leads to Calcutt Boats and the adjacent Napton Reservoir. The first impression when entering the main gates is space and tranquility. On both sides of the drive there are three fields with SSSI status (Site of Scientific Importance) because wild grasses and flowers are dense
The driveway lined with willows and birches leads to the slipway and two marinas on the left and straight to the reception, the workshop, the quay and the rental fleet. The reception has a small boutique and a curio shop that is only open in summer. The quay offers diesel, gas, coal and pumping services for mooring and passing boats on the Grand Union Canal. There is also an Elsan disposal point and a British Waterways water point above the lock.
The area around the quay is a bit messy. At one end is a color tent that has seen better days, and behind it a hill with nettles. However, the color tent will soon be renovated and expanded, and the hill will soon be cleared of weeds and planted with wildflowers.
Behind the quay there are a number of warehouse buildings and sheds, as well as the construction workshop, in which a number of old engines and engine parts are in full view. There is also a dilapidated vintage bus that doesn't really belong in the port area.
The company offers a wide range of services, from small repairs to full builds. There is a permanent staff of engineers, a carpentry shop, two covered double docks and two single beds. There are full-time painters and black-outs, but if you fancy DIY, you can rent a dock to do the work yourself
Behind the construction workshop is the oldest of the two narrow berths on site, the Locks Marina. The Locks Marina has spacious, individual pontoon berths for 120 boats on 4 1/2 acres and provides access to the slipway and Grand Union Canal.
The left hand branch from the main entrance leads past the woodshed workshop, paint tent and slipway before you pass the south side of Locks Marina. There is the sanitary building with laundry, another pumping station and an Elsan disposal point.
Given the fact that the landscape has been so intensely designed and tried, the landscape is somewhat affected by the presence of three or four old and rusty JCBs, as well as a collection of smaller workshops alongside the street and the main car park. However, it is planned to move or remove the system and to screen the area more effectively.
The road then winds around the steep grass banks of the new Meadows Marina opened in 2006 and now houses another 140 boats. The Meadows Marina is even more spacious than the Locks Marina. In the middle is a landscaped island that is very popular in some places, including many ducks, geese, and swans.
Just over 7,700 trees were planted in 1995 to create two forest areas. The thirty-one species of trees and shrubs are now crossed with a network of trails that are often used by boggers and their dogs.
The company used to provide an on-site WiFi network, but it wasn't very effective. Moorers are now relying on USB dongles for internet access. The 3 network service is very effective in the marina. Mobile phone signals are weak, but available.
Calcutt Boats offer quiet berths away from noisy streets and railway lines in a beautiful landscape and at a convenient point to access the canal network in the north and south. Once the old machines – and the bus – are removed, this will be a really nice place.