is that a widebeam I see before me?
at the brand new marina in Stratford upon Avon
‘To build or not to build’. That was the question facing Land & Water's marina team after purchasing the 22-acre site adjoining the River Avon in Stratford upon Avon back in 2016.
Despite planning consent being granted 45 years previously there was still some local opposition to a new Marina being constructed just 400m from the Bard's final resting place at Stratford’s landmark Holy Trinity Church.
To the formidable Stratford Society who viewed the sweeping field and floodplain as ‘such stuff as dreams are made of' it was always going to be a difficult ‘buy in’ to the project. Fortunately, Land and Water's reputation in developing environmentally, and ecologically sensitive sites gave the local planning department the confidence to approve the development; the first sod was cut and in spring 2021 work began on digging out the marina.
Two years on the marina has become a tranquil green oasis nestling into the local Warwickshire countryside. Facilities include diesel, pump out, elsan, coal, wood, bottled gas. There are also sparkly new showers, disabled facilities, a laundry and a welcoming marina office. The state-of-the-art rise and fall pontoons have been designed for a once in a hundred years flood so moorers can be reassured that their boat's safe from rising river levels.
The marina accommodates all shapes and sizes of boats and is particularly popular with wide beams as it offers the most northerly secure moorings for bigger boats on the Avon. The marina will shortly be welcoming the arrival of a Nationwide boat brokerage company selling new and second hand boats as the demand for narrowboats continues to rise and what better place to showcase the lifestyle than here at Shakespeare Marina.
what light through tender pontoon breaks?
The unique selling point of this Marina is its location – just a hop skip and a jump away from the centre of historic Stratford upon Avon. Many of our moorers are choosing to use their boats as weekend holiday homes rather than heading out to explore the waterways and who can blame them? With a sun-drenched drinks terrace boaters are planning parties and BBQs to run the length of the summer. To the marina operators Geomac it has always been about people not boats and they wanted to create an environment that boaters would flock to and enjoy tinkering around on their boats.
It may be close to the action but the marina has become a tranquil oasis in the heart of the Warwickshire countryside. Moorers have been delighted watching otters, kingfishers, deer, foxes and rabbits, but with Stratford famous for its ubiquitous swans, the marina is visited daily by families of swans acquainting themselves with those friendly faces offering food.
It is expected that when full the 250-berth marina will contribute millions into the local economy and the local residents who have been clamouring to take a look at the progress appear to be extra keen for cafes, restaurants and other facilities to be built on site.
"All we can say to these people is that hopefully these will be included in Phase 2 of the development with our plans to develop this into a real destination location," says Ruth Noon the new Marina Manager. "In the meantime, we’ll be hosting a number of events on site including a monthly pop-up supper club, bespoke weddings, car rallies and marquee parties on the wider site. We’re open to all sorts of suggestions and ideas and local companies have approached us to host launches, training sessions, meetings and exclusive evening gatherings here in the marina office and who can blame them with the most enviable views in Stratford."
"We hope that we’ll be providing a new and exciting venue for the people of Stratford, and making the marina even more attractive to visiting boaters who will no doubt be spending their hard-earned ducats in the historic town itself."
Ruth Noon joined the Marina in November. With a lifelong love of narrow-boating combined with senior level experience at the Canal and River Trust, she is delighted to join the team as Shakespeare Marina Manager. Having previously established and run the hugely popular Stratford River Festival, Ruth is excited to develop the marina's potential. Her immediate priority is to encourage new moorers and offer great customer service.
Shakespeare Marina is in walking distance of the picturesque town of Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire. Perfectly placed for boating enthusiasts , the marina will have easy access to four cruising rings centred on the charming River Avon. The marina offers 250 new canal boat berths within an elegant landscape that mirrors its rural and historic surroundings.