Tag Archives: Birmingham Canal Navigation

Canal News, Waterscape.com – March 3rd

Canal News – March 3rd 2012


Cannock Extension Canal and Woodland Walk

08 March 2012

The Turf Lodge,  Watling Street,  Norton Canes,  Cannock,  Staffordshire.

WS11 9ND

Join the IWA Lichfield Branch for a group walk along canal towpath and through woodland near Brownhills. About three miles. No stiles. Dogs on leads welcome.

Meet at 10.30 am for a 10.45 start at The Toby Carvery (The Turf Lodge).

Non-members welcome. No charge but donations of £1 to Branch funds appreciated, to support canal restoration projects. Further information from Margaret Beardsmore on 07581 794111 or margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.uk.

The Wyrley & Essington Canal is aptly nicknamed the Curley Wyrley, due to its twisting course.

Constructed entirely on the level, this canal was once busy with boats carrying coal from the Cannock pits. Most of the main line has survived as a charming, part-rural waterway. It is not often cruised by pleasure boats, but is a deservedly popular waterway with walkers, cyclists and anglers.

It runs for almost 17 miles from Wolverhampton to Brownhills, skirting the northern Birmingham Canal Navigations. The canal runs close by many local attractions: Pelsall Common, once the site of Pelsall Iron Works but now popular with walkers and nature lovers; Chasewater Leisure Park, a popular tourist destination; Wolverhampton city centre, Walsall town centre, and many more.

Does Birmingham really have more miles of canal than Venice?

The exact numbers depend on where you draw the city boundaries, but the whole Birmingham Canal Navigations system extends for 100 miles in total. It is one of the most intricate canal networks in the world.

These waterways converge at the city centre bustle of Gas Street Basin, where historic boats and canal architecture mingle with modern-day restaurants, cafes and pubs. But elsewhere on the ‘BCN’, you can really get away from it all on winding suburban canals and a series of surprisingly rural branches.

Raised towpath, Birmingham and Fazeley Canal

The Birmingham and Fazeley Canal is part of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. It forms a link between the Coventry Canal and Birmingham and thereby connects Birmingham to London via the Oxford Canal.  John Smeaton was the builder and it was completed in 1789.   © Copyright Nigel Chadwick and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The canals were the life-blood of Victorian Birmingham and the Black Country. At their height, they were so busy that gas lighting was installed beside the locks to permit round-the-clock operation. Boats were built without cabins for maximum carrying capacity, and a near-tidal effect was produced as swarms of narrowboats converged on the Black Country collieries at the same time every day.

The BCN has survived remarkably intact, with 100 miles still navigable from a peak of 160. The main lines and city centre canals are well patronised, but the waterways of the Northern BCN remain truly off the beaten track. But should you decide to tackle some of these rarely cruised waters, beware – boating the BCN can become addictive.

Bridge over the Birmingham Canal

The Birmingham Canal, was built from 1768 to 1772 by James Brindley from the, then, edge of Birmingham, at Paradise Wharf (also known as Old Wharf) near to Gas Street Basin to meet the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal at Aldersley, near Wolverhampton. The canal was upgraded and straightened by Thomas Telford between 1824-7.  The canal forms part of the Birmingham Canals Navigation, a network of canals in and around the city.  © Copyright Nigel Chadwick and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Canal News – IWA Press Release re. Funding Deal

IWA Welcomes Government Funding Deal for New Canal and River Charity

IWA Press Release

ISSUE DATE: 31st January 2012


The Inland Waterways Association today welcomed the announcement by DEFRA that it had reached a negotiated settlement with the transition trustees of the Canal & River Trust over the amount of Government funding that it will receive when it takes over responsibility for the management of the waterways currently run by British Waterways in England and Wales.

Commenting on the settlement Clive Henderson, IWA national chairman said:

‘We welcome the CRT transition trustees’ announcement that they are now in a position to launch a sustainable charity to run the waterways. This is a big step towards realising a vision held by IWA for over 60 years to have a single independent charity running the waterways for the benefit of all.

The settlement looks considerably better in general terms, and is substantially more than was first put on the table. We are particularly pleased to see that many of the issues that IWA raised and lobbied for through our supporters and Members of Parliament have been addressed and that the original settlement has been substantially increased from £390million over ten years to potentially, £800m over the full 15 years if you add indexation. There is also the full property portfolio of commercial premises and land worth an additional £460m.

Wolverhampton Top Lock

The issues that IWA lobbied for and that have been addressed are:

Increased funding- Starting in 2015/16 there is an extra £10 million per year conditional grant, (capped in the last 5 years); and a further one off repayment of national loans of £6.2 million payable immediately.

Indexation to protect the funding from inflation- There is now indexation on the core grant.

A longer contract term- This has been increased by a third, giving financial certainty for 15 years.

Additional resources to address the past service pension liabilities- This has been addressed in part with a government guarantee of last resort for 19 years and a one-off payment of an additional £25 million grant for this year.

He went on to say:

‘I would like to thank all of our supporters for all of the time and care they took in contacting and briefing their MPs so that they could lobby government during the negotiations and I believe this played an important part in the improved settlement. We have seen the initial funding offer move from £39 million to potentially over £70 million this year. I hope that they will join me in supporting the CRT by providing volunteer support and assistance at local and national level. This will be especially important in the critical first three years before much of the additional funding kicks in’.

‘The next stage for IWA is to identify and help to resolve any issues that go beyond early teething problems and to ensure that these are fed into the Government’s second year review. IWA will also wish to see Defra provide a detailed programme for the transfer of Environment Agency navigations into the CRT as promised in 2015/2016, so that this process is little more than a formality for the CRT trustees.’Wolverhampton Railway Arches – Derek Pratt

Netherton Tunnel Closure – Waterscape

Waterscape.com              Netherton Tunnel, South Portal – Martin Cordon

 Netherton Tunnel

Monday 28 November 2011 – Friday 9 December 2011
Closure of the tunnel and both towpaths is required on the following dates and times: 28th November to 9th December 2011, 09:00 to 12:30 and 13:30 to 17:00, Monday to Friday only.

As such, the tunnel will be open for navigation before 9am, after 5pm and for 1 hour during the day (12:30 – 13:30). The tunnel will be entirely reopened across the weekend of 3rd and 4th December.

The stoppage is required to undertake intrusive, noisy investigation works, which are likely to create dust and cause disruption, all as part of survey work looking in to the condition of the tunnel which will aid the design of future repair works.
Signage will be in place at both tunnel portals to warn of the works being undertaken.
British Waterways apologises for any inconvenience caused.

Enquiries: 01827 252000