Tag Archives: Norton Branch

Canal News – March 9th

Canal news – March 9th

Saturday 10th March 2012 – Jumble Sale at Peace Memorial Hall, Pinfold Lane, Penkridge. 10am – noon. Set-up and jumble donations from 8.30am. Clothes, household goods, books, CDs, games, toys, small furniture, crockery, glassware, etc. Refreshments available. Admission 30p. (Held jointly with Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust). Donations of jumble can be brought to Branch meetings or to Penkridge early on the day, or it may be possible to arrange prior collection – contact the Chairman as below. An offer of temporary storage facilities, e.g. a shed or garage, would be appreciated.

 Saturday 17th March 2012 – Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust are holding a Quiz Night with Fish & Chip Supper at Boley Park in Lichfield and have invited members of IWA Lichfield Branch to join them. Tickets £8 including supper (vegetarian option available). Tea/coffee provided or bring your own drinks. Start time 7.30 pm at Boley Park Community Hall, 7 Ryknild Street, Lichfield, WS14 9XU (next to the Co-op store – plenty of free parking). More details and tickets from Sue Williams on 01543 671427 or book online at http://www.lhcrt.org.uk

 Cannock Extension Canal & Woodland Walk – Thursday 8th March 2012

21 walkers and several dogs assembled at the Turf Lodge for this enjoyable stroll in the early spring sunshine. Crossing the busy A5 to the truncated end of the Cannock Extension Canal, we passed two active boatyards and colourful moored boats, and noted the remains of several former colliery basins. Leaving the canal at Wyrley Grove Bridge we spotted a herd of deer in the nearby fields (I saw them but missed the photo!). From Lime Lane, well trodden paths through the woodland edge of Wyrley Common led us to Engine Lane where the remains of the Slough Arm Canal were visible, still holding some water. Heading north along an old mineral railway (the Norton Branch, LNWR) brought us back to the A5 but a pleasant route across the fields avoided the traffic and returned us to the canal at Pelsall Road Bridge for a short stroll back to the pub.

Can you help manage fruit trees on the River Severn and Gloucester & Sharpness Canal?

6th Mar 2012

British Waterways is looking for people who can dedicate some of their time to helping them care for fruit trees alongside the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal and on River Severn lock islands from Stourport to Sharpness.

Danielle Jackson, from British Waterways’ environment team, says: “This region is renowned for its variety of fruit trees and traditional orchards. We all know that the canal and river are symbols of our industrial past but they are also important keepers of our natural heritage too.”

There are two training sessions taking place at Holt Lock Island, near Holt Fleet in Worcestershire for interested volunteers:

• Pruning for apple and pear trees, Thursday 22 March

• Pruning for plum trees, Saturday 12 May

Danielle continues: “We are hoping that interested people will help us to manage our existing fruit trees to ensure they are producing a good crop for the community to enjoy. We are also hoping that in the future we will be able to plant new trees to add to our local larder! People don’t need any previous training as we will provide a full initiation and we would ideally like people who can provide a few days a year to help out.”

To register your interest or find out more, including the timings of the sessions contact Danielle Jackson on 01452 318095, or email danielle.jackson@britishwaterways.co.uk

Grove Colliery BasinsThe Slough Arm from an old bridge.

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Norton Branch – Hednesford, Staffordshire

Norton Branch – Hednesford, Staffs.

While writing about the railways around Hednesford it was always my intention to at least mention the Norton Branch, but, when thinking about it, there was so much going on between Hill Top and the railway towards Hawks Green that I thought I would try to describe the area as it was back in the 1950s and before.

As you can see from the left-hand side of the map, the Norton Branch joined the Walsall to Rugeley line at the East Cannock Junction, having reached this point from Norton Junction at Pelsall on the Walsall to Lichfield line – also LNWR.  It was an important line as it connected pits of Cannock & Leacroft, Conduit No.3 at Norton, also connecting with Coppice Colliery from Heath Hayes, the Cannock Chase Collieries, the Wilkin Colliery, and, after passing under the A5 near the Rising Sun (the bridge is still there) passing Brownhills Colliery and the Grove and Harrison’s collieries at Wyrley, then passed the Slough branch of the Wyrley & Essington Canal, under High Bridge past the sidings and on to the line from Lichfield to Walsall.

The Littleworth Extension also connected to the Norton Branch, giving another outlet for the Cannock & Rugeley Collieries.

The picture shows a Stephenson Railway Society special passing the East Cannock signal box and leaving the Norton Branch to join the line to Rugeley.

This next picture was taken from the signal box and shows a Diesel Multiple Unit heading for Hednesford and Rugeley.  The branch off to East Cannock Colliery can also be seen, along with some coal wagons.

This picture shows the two bridges on the Cannock side of the Globe, now only one remains.  The bridge closer to the camera carried the Norton Branch.

The track-bed can be seen behind the BDF – Newlife store, where it is on an embankment, at the foot of which is all that is left of the canal and its basin.

The canal shown on the map is the Cannock Extension Canal.  It’s the extension from the Wyrley & Essington Canal from Pelsall.  It runs past the site of the Grove Colliery and Norton Canes Docks, ending now at the Watling Street Bridge on the A5.  It used to run from there across the back of Norton Canes and on to Hednesford.  There were wharves for each of the pits along the way – the Conduit Collieries, Cannock & Leacroft, Coppice Colliery and when it reached Hednesford, East Cannock, West Cannock and Cannock & Rugeley Collieries.

Looking at this photo now, it seems impossible that it was ever there!

On the map at the start of this post can be seen a tramway from the West Cannock pits.

It follows the tunnel that went from West Cannock No.4, 1 and 3 plants down to the other side of the main Cannock to Rugeley mineral line, from were it emerge alongside West Cannock No.2 plant which closed in 1887 in the valley below East Cannock Colliery, it then ran over land going under the East Cannock Rd below the Globe Inn to end at East Cannock canal basin.

For more information please go to the Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society website, www.CCMHS.co.uk the ‘Fame, Facts and your story’ section.

In the middle of the map another tunnel can be seen on the other side of the ‘Globe’, from East Cannock pit to a tramway and down to the canal.

The Littleworth Extension of the London & North Western Railway came down to the canal basin from Cannock Wood via Wimblebury Colliery and the Cross Keys, passing to the right of the pub when facing it.

Three stages of the Globe

Mark 1


Mark 2


Mark 3

Many thanks to Alan Dean for his help in putting this post together.

The East Cannock Colliery site today.

Brownhills Walk 2

Another stroll with the dawg, this time starting from Brownhills West Station – I had some leaflets to drop off so it made the decision easy.2009_08220001I decided to walk along the Midland Railway trackbed to start with – ‘our line’ from the other side of the M6 Toll.  This first pic is taken from the bridge over the motorway.2009_08220005This bridge is where you first take the footpath along the trackbed, just over the motorway.2009_08220006Nice to know that the trackbed was put to some good use.  This pic was taken a few hundred yards from the previous one – I bet this was better than playing at Wembley when the kids were young – their very own goal-posts!2009_08220009Talking about football, this was taken in between the A5 and the Chester Road and it is the pitch where Brownhills Scouts used to play – takes some believing!2009_08220011Back to the trackbed, this is taken facing from the Chester Road back towards the A5.2009_08220014There is still some brickwork left of the old Brownhills Midland Railway station in the undergrowth.2009_08220016Walking along the Wyrley and Essington canal now, the photo looks back from High Bridge bridge.  I had taken a bit of a short cut, which didn’t do me any good.  I’d crossed the Chester Road, meaning to go down the Norton Branch trackbed but found another footpath before I reached it and took that instead.  Just a path through trees, nice pool half-way along (which the dog fell in!), otherwise muddy and boring.2009_08220021This photo was taken on the other side of the bridge and shows the area where the Norton Junction marshalling yard used to be.  From here I crossed a field and made my way onto the LNWR Lichfield to Walsall trackbed, from which you can still make out the trackbed of the branch from Walsall Wood Colliery to the LNWR line. We have the train staff for this line in the Museum.  This picture was taken by my good friend Godfrey Hucker and used with his permission (well, he would have given it if I’d asked him!!)Trackbed 3 Walsall Wood Colliery to Norton JunctionFrom here I walked along the trackbed towards Brownhills.2009_08220023A lone signal post is all that’s left and a little further along, the trackbed gets much narrower.  If you look closely at our Ellie you will see that she looks as though she has got grey wellies on.  It was foul smelling clay-type mud – if the weather had got much warmer I would probably had to chip it off!

2009_08220026 Back on to the Wyrley and Essington canal now, looking through the LNWR railway bridge to the Pelsall Road bridge beyond.2009_08220033I came off the canal in Brownhills at the new bridge and walked across the parade towards Chasewater.  I took this photo to illustrate my point from the first walk, about the lack of light and grass under the trees – it uses to be just grass and very pleasant.2009_08220035Back to the entrance to Chasewater Country Park and a chance for Ellie to have a paddle to get rid of the mud – not to mention a well-earned drink!2009_08220041Nearly back at the railway, and as you can see, the mud has been washed off and she has company – she ignored them to start with but had to say a quick ‘hello’ eventually.  They were completely unimpressed and it was their turn to ignore her!!