Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
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Waterways of West Midlands

Navigable Rivers and Canals within West Midlands

Worcester Bar (Gas Street Basin) on the BCN Main Line.

Anglesey Branch

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

The branch forms northern most part of the Birmingham Canal Navigations and ends at Anglesey Basin, once a centre of coal mining but now providing a quiet, semi-rural, mooring.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Anson Branch (BCN)

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole branch is in the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Runs for just over a mile from the Junction with the Walsall Canal to the M6 Motorway.

History:

Built under the Birmingham Canal Act of 1768 but completed in 1830.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

BCN Main Line

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Worcester Bar, in the centre of Birmingham, where it joins the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, to Aldersley junction on the Staffordshire and Worcester.

History:

From Aldersley to Deepfields Junction was constructed as part of the original Main Line, by Brindley, in 1769 and fully open in 1772. The section beyond Deepfields was built by Telford between 1825 and 1838, reducing the total mileage from 22.5 to just over 15.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Birmingham & Liverpool Junction Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

A canal that runs from the West Midlands through Shopshire and Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

A 39.5 mile and 26 lock canal linking the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal at Autherley to the Ellesmere & Chester Canal at Nantwich. Now part of the Shropshire Union Main Line.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1826, completed in 1835.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Birmingham & Warwick Junction Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

A canal entirely within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

A 2.5 mile narrow canal with 6 locks from the Tame Valley Canal at Salford Junction to Bordesley Junction. Now part of the Grand Union Main Line.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1840 and opened in 1844.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Birmingham and Fazeley Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

From Farmers Bridge Junction in the Centre of Birmingham the canal runs for about 8 miles through the West Midlands to Curdworth, where it crosses into Staffordshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Farmers Bridge, junction with the BCN Main Line, to Whittington Brook, where it joins the detached section of the Coventry Canal.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Birmingham Canal Navigations

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The large canal network centred on the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Originally about 160 miles of interconnected canals but today only just over a 100 miles are navigable.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1768, 1769, 1784, 1785, 1794, 1806, 1811, 1815, and 1818.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Cannock Extension Canal (BCN)

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

Only a short section of this canal, from its junction with the Wyrley and Essington Canal to Pelsall Common Bridge, is in the West Midlands. The remainder is in Staffordshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Pelsall Junction on the Wyrley and Essington Canal, north to Norton Canes Docks.

History:

The last BCN canal to be built opened around 1858 to 1863.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Central Union Canal project

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

A proposed canal from the West Midlands to Warwickshire.

Waterway Description:

A proposal for a canal from the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Worcester Bar to the Warwick & Birmingham Canal near Bordesley and from the Warwick & Birmingham Canal near Solihull to the Oxford Canal at Ansty.

History:

Proposed in 1832 but never authorised or built.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Coventry Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

From its start point in Coventry City Centre to a point just north of Hawksbury Junction the canal is in the West Midlands it then crosses into Warwickshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Coventry to the Trent and Mersey Canal at Fradley Junction, except for a 5.5-mile stretch from Fazeley Junction to Huddlesford Junction which is connected by the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1768, 1786 and 1819 and opened in 1790.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Daw End Branch Canal (BCN)

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

A branch of the Wyrley and Essington Canal, running from Catshill Junction to Longwood Junction on the Rushall Canal.

History:

Built under the Wyrley & Essington Canal Act of 1792 but completed in 1800.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Digbeth Branch Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Aston Junction on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal to Bordesley.

History:

Built under the Birmingham Canal Act of 1768 but completed in 1799.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Dudley Canal Line No 1

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

From Tipton Junction, on the BCN Old Main Line, to Stourbridge Canal.

History:

Started in 1776, under the direction of Thomas Dadford Senior and opened in 1779. It was extended to the Birmingham Canal via Dudley Tunnel in 1792 (under Act of 1785). From Tipon Junction, through Dudley Tunnel, to Park Head Locks officially closed in 1962. Dudley Canal Tunnel Preservation Society formed on 1 January 1964, and provided boat trips through the tunnel. In January 1972 Dudley Borough Council agree to contribute half the cost of restoring the canal and in September it was officially reopened.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Dudley Canal Line No 2

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Parkhead Junction, with the Dudley Canal Line No 1, to Coombeswood. The canal originally went on to join the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Selly Oak. The closed section contains the 3,795 yard Lappal Tunnel.

History:

This extension to the Dudley Canal was authorised in 1793 and completed in 1798.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Gower Branch Canal (BCN)

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Links the BCN Main Line (at Albion Junction) with the Old Main Line Loop (at Brades Hall Junction).

History:

Built under the Birmingham Canal Act of 1768 but completed in 1836.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Grand Union Main Line

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

From its starting point at Salford Bridge Junction the canal runs within the West Midlands county until Bridge 67, about 2 miles north of Kingswood Junction, where it crosses into Warkickshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Salford Junction to the River Thames at Brentford.

History:

Formed from the Grand Junction Canal (Acts of 1793, 1794, 1795, 1798, 1801, 1803, 1805, 1812, 1818 and 1819); Warwick & Napton Canal (1794, 1796 & 1809); Warwick & Birmingham Canal (1793 & 1796); Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal .

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Netherton Tunnel Branch Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Links the BCN Main Line with the Dudley Canal, via Netherton Tunnel.

History:

Built to relieve pressure on the Old Dudley Tunnel. The first sod of the Branch was turned by Lord Ward on the last day of 1855. Opened on 20 August 1858.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Old Main Line (BCN)

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Part of the original main line. Runs from Smethwick Junction to Tipton Factory Junction, joining back to the present Main line in both places.

History:

Engineered by James Brindley and opened in November 1769.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Oxford Canal (Northern Section)

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

From Hawksbury Junction the canal is in the West Midlands for 5½ miles until a short distance before the M69 junction, where it crosses into Warwickshire.

Waterway Description:

This canal runs 22.75 miles from Hawkesbury Junction, where it joins the Coventry Canal, to Braunston Junction, where it joins the Grand Union Main Line.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Pensnett Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

An abandoned canal in the west Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Also called Lord Ward's Branch (another Lord Ward's branch runs from the north end of Dudley Tunnel to the B.N.C. main line) . Was a 1.25 mile level canal from Park Head basin on the Dudley Canal to Lord Dudley's Round Oak iron works.

History:

Built from 1839 to 1840, closed in 1950.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Rushall Canal (BCN)

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

History:

Built under the Wyrley & Essington Canal Act of 1792 but completed in 1847.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Shropshire Union Main Line

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The first ¾ mile of the canal from Autherley Stop Lock No 1 and the junction with the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal to Bridge No 4 is in the West Midlands. The canal then crosses into Shropshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs 66.5 miles from Autherley Junction, where it joins the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, to Ellesmere Port where it joins the Manchester Ship Canal.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1772, 1793 and 1826. The original canal companies were formed into The Shropshire Union in 1846.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Soho Branch Loop Line

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Spon Lane Locks Branch (BCN)

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

From a point between Mops Farm Bridge No 54 and Wightwick Bridge No 57, where the canal crosses into the West Midlands from Staffordshire, to Coven Heath Bridge No 69, where the canal crosses back into Staffordshire, the canal is in the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Runs 46 miles, from Great Haywood, where it joins the Trent and Mersey Canal, to Stourport, where it joins the River Severn

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1766 and 1790

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Stourbridge Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

From a short way before Wordsley Junction, where the canal crosses into the West Midlands from Staffordshire, to Black Delph Junction,where it joins the Birmingham Canal Navigations Dudley Canal Line No 1, the canal is in West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

The main line runs 5 miles from Stourton Junction, where it joins the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, to Black Delph, where it joins the BCN Dudley Canal Line No 1. There are also two branches

History:

Promoted by an Act of 1776 and opened in 1779. The IWA Midlands Branch attempt a "canal busting" cruise through the neglected canal in 1959 and in 1962 the IWA National Rally was held at Stourbridge to draw attention to the poor state of the canal. In July 1964 an agreement was reached between the British Waterways Board and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal Society to restore the sixteen locks using voluntary labour. The Official reopening was on 27 May 1967.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Stourbridge Canal - Stourbridge Branch

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole branch is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Stourbridge Canal - The Fens on Pensnett Chase Branch

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole branch is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Stourbridge Extension Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the west Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Acts as a feeder for the Stourbridge Canal but is mainly closed.

History:

Authorised by an Act of June 1837 and opened on 27 June 1840.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Stourbridge, Wolverhampton & Birmingham Junc'n Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

A proposed West Midlands canal.

Waterway Description:

A proposed canal from the Stourbridge Canal to Broomfield near Tipton Factory Junction. The canal was to be 5.75 miles with a mile long tunnel.

History:

Proposed in 1836 but never authorised or built.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Stratford upon Avon Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

From the start of the canal at King's Norton Junction, where it connects to the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, to the aqueduct before Bridge No 8 at Shirley, where the canal crosses briefly into Worcestershire, the canal is in the West Midlands.

From the railway bridge past Bridge No 9, where the canal crosses from Worcestershire back into the West Midlands, to near Waring's Green Bridge No 19, where the canal crosses into Warwickshire, the canal is in the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Runs 25.5 miles from King's Norton Junction, where it joins the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, to Stratford-upon-Avon, where it joins the Avon

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1793, 1795, 1799, 1809, 1815, 1817 and 1821. Opened 1816. The Stratford upon Avon Canal Society formed in November 1956. In 1958 the Warwickshire County Council decide to apply for the abandonment of the southern section of the canal and the following year over six-thousand formal objections were lodged concerning Warwickshire County Councils plans to close the canal. The southern section of the canal transfered to the National Trust on 29 September 1960. The official reopening of the southern section was on 11 July 1964.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Tame Valley Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Runs from the junction with the Walsall Canal to Salford Junction, where it joins the Birmingham and Fazeley and the Grand Union (Warwick Section).

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Titford Canal (BCN)

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

From Oldbury Junction on the BCN Old Main Line to Causeway Green.

History:

Built under the Birmingham Canal Act of 1768 but completed in 1837.

Points of Interest:

At the top of Oldbury locks is Titford pool, the highest Point on the BCN (511 feet).

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Walsall Branch Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Birchills Junction on the Wyrley and Essington Canal to the junction with the Walsall Canal.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Walsall Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Ryders Green Junction on the Wednesbury Old Canal to Walsall.

History:

Started in 1786 as a branch from the Birmingham canal and reached Walsall in 1799.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Warwick & Birmingham Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

A canal from the West Midlands to Warwickshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs from the Digbeth Branch of the BCN, 22 miles to Saltisford in Warwick. Now part of the Grand Union Canal.

History:

Authorised by an Acts of 6 March 1793 & 1796. Completed throughout on 19 March 1800.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Wednesbury Oak Loop Line

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Only part of the original Loop survives.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Wednesbury Old Canal (BCN)

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

History:

Built under the Birmingham Canal Act of 1768 but completed in 1769.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Worcester and Birmingham Canal

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

From the junction with the Birmingham Canal Navigations at Worcester Bar in Gas Street Basin to the middle of Kings Norton Tunnel (West Hill Tunnel), where the canal crosses into Worcestershire, the canal is in the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Runs 30 miles from Worcester Bar (Gas Street Basin, Birmingham) where it joins the Birmingham Canal Navigations, to Worcester, where it joins the River Severn

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1791, 1798, 1804, 1808 and 1815. Opened in 1815.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Wyrley and Essington Canal (BCN)

Waterway's place in West Midlands :

The whole canal is within the West Midlands.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Horseley Fields Junction, on the BCN Main Line, to the Junction with the Anglesey Branch.

History:

Originally the canal carried on from Anglesey Junction, past Lichfield, to join the Coventry Canal at Huddlesford. The canal was opened throughout in 1797.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

External Web Sites Related to West Midlands Waterways

 

Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Home Introduction Waterways List Waterways Map Links Books DVD Articles Photo Gallery
Features Contact me Glossary Boats Events List History Local Waterways Help Photo List