Tag Archives: Wyrley & Essington Canal

Canal News – October 19 & 23, 2014

Canal News

October 19 & 23 2014

Anglesey Branch, Wyrley & Essington Canal

Anglesey Branch, Wyrley & Essington Canal

Family fun event at Fradley Junction

Fradley Junction
19 Oct 2014
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Fradley Junction
DE13 7DN

Come and have a fun time with the family at Fradley Junction.
Free children’s activities in the scenic canalside setting of Fradley Junction.
Activities include:
• Hook a Duck
• Canal Art
• Bark Rubbing around the nature reserve

Additional info
Meet outside the Canal & River Trust offices in the café courtyard
The event/activities are run by CRT Education Volunteers and are part of a monthly events programme at Fradley Junction.
Pay and display parking
For more information about our lead visits please visit our website http://www.canalriverexplorers.org.uk or email us explorers@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Waterways Craft Group at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port

Waterways Craft Group
19 Oct 2014
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
This lively group meets the third Sunday of the month (with the odd exception) on the first floor of the Island Warehouse, to demonstrate the traditional crafts of the inland waterways.
Crafts demonstrated include boatman’s belt embroidery, bonnet making, cabin crochet, canal ware painting, rag rugging and patchwork.

Volunteers needed in Cannock

We’re inviting local people living in and around Gailey in Cannock to help give the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal a much-needed tidy.
The next clean-up is planned for Thursday 23 October from 10am – 3pm and people of all ages and abilities are invited to lend a hand to spruce up their local waterway. All equipment will be provided and volunteers should wear old clothes that they don’t mind getting a bit muddy.
The work is part of our Towpath Taskforce volunteering project, which encourages people to come out, get their hands dirty and help protect some of Staffordshire’s most important wildlife habitats and public open space. The Taskforce provides regular volunteering opportunities for local communities which, as well as benefitting our canals and rivers also create memorable and rewarding experiences for everyone who takes part.
Community ownership
The teams meet regularly and are aimed at encouraging more community ownership of and pride in local waterways. Projects include painting lock gates, improving access to the towpath, clearing overgrown vegetation, cleaning up litter and graffiti and helping wildlife by building nest and bat boxes and planting reed beds.
Peter Mathews CMG, chair of the West Midlands waterways partnership for the Canal & River Trust, said: “Staffordshire’s waterways are a real hive of activity with a whole variety plants and animals living along them. There are some areas though that need a little work, from cutting back natural vegetation to clearing away some of the rubbish that gets left behind. The more that people living near the canal can spare a few hours and help us tidy it up the better it will be for the whole community.”
Meeting point is at the Trust’s car park next to the roundhouse, Croft Lane, just off the A5, Gailey, Staffordshire, ST19 5PR.

Volunteer for the Canal & River Trust

Canal News – Brownhills Canal Festival

Canal News

Brownhills Canal Festival

From Brownhills Bob and info from Brian Stringer


Anyway I know we can rely on Our Bob so I just thought I’d fill you in on the programme we have arranged on the stage which will be sited near to the bridge.

  • 10:10  Dr Brian Dakin will be regailing us with tales and monologues for 40 minutes, and I’m told he is brilliant.
  • 10:55   The official opening speech.
  • 11:00   A performance by the Spotlite theatre.
  • 12:00  Trad Jazz with Barbara’s All Stars.
  • 12:45 Winners or the childrens Art Competition will be announced.
  • 1:15      Trad Jazz again with Barbara’s All Stars.
  • 2:15     Pelsall Ladies Choir.

Tesco have donated a trophy and prize money for the Canoe Club to organise a race which they hope will become an annual event, but Sutton Canoe Club are in charge of that so I’m not sure what form it will take.

The weather has been ordered and if delivered as promised we should have a good day.

Cheers Bob and bring your camera.

If you want to know more, help out or offer your services, contact the Brownhills Local Committee with the details below – alternatively, If you want to speak to Brian Stringer directly (he’s a lovely bloke) drop me a line and I’ll hook you up.

Contact Brownhills Local Committee on 01543 361144.

Brownhills Local Committee
The Parkview Centre
Chester Road North
Ws8 7JB

Canal News – July 12th 2012 – Canal & River Trust Launched

Canal News – July 12th 2012

12 July 2012  Canal & River Trust launches today

Today is an historic day; the day in which the Government places 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in trust for the nation and the new charity, the Canal & River Trust, is launched.

Marsworth, Grand Union Canal

From today, the 10 million people who visit and love the waterways will have the chance to play a greater role in making them more beautiful than ever. Here at the Trust we’re very excited about this new approach to caring for our canals and rivers, and of course we’re delighted to have the Prince of Wales as our Patron.

The move, part of the Public Bodies Reform programme, is the largest single transfer of a public body into the charitable sector and will give communities the opportunity to get involved with the running of their local canal or river.

To mark our launch, we have unveiled our first appeal, 50 projects across the nation that will breathe new life into towpaths and riverbanks. By pledging money or time, people can get involved in projects such as creating new habitats for rare water voles, planting linear orchards for people and wildlife, and restoring neglected towpaths. Take a look at our appeal projects, learn how to become a Friend of the Canal & River Trust and find out how you can get involved with our work.

 Archimedes – One of the few working boats on the Regents Canal.

The Regent’s Canal is a nine-mile man-made stretch of water connecting the Grand Union Canal at Little Venice to the River Thames. The first section of the canal from Little Venice was opened in 1816 and the final section at Limehouse Basin in 1820. The canal has 13 sets of locks.  © Copyright Stephen Craven and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Actor and comedian, Hugh Dennis, who is supporting the Canal & River Trust’s appeal, comments: “For me, as a Londoner, the Regent’s Canal provided a small slice of rural tranquillity right in the middle of a chaotic and bustling city, and its towpath a route to work, my running track, or just a place to watch the world go by. The Canal & River Trust needs your help to make your towpaths even more special. Volunteering or making a small donation will make a huge difference to the people and nature along your local waterway.”

We’re very grateful to the many committed people and organisations who’ve helped us get where we are today, and have invited a number of the organisations who’ve supported us to say a few words about their hopes for the years ahead. Find out what our supporters are saying

Corporate partners

We’re pleased to have already won the support of three major corporate partners. £1m of funding is being pledged to support our conservation work thanks to players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. Google is working with us to encourage people to discover and enjoy the wildlife along their local waterway by literally putting towpaths on the map – Google Maps. And The Co-operative Bank will offer those who enjoy or live on the waterways the option of supporting our conservation work through everyday banking products.

Defra is also helping us get off to a great start by committing to a landmark, 15-year grant funding agreement as the bedrock to us maintain our waterways. In addition to this, we are funded through commercial income including money from waterside property dowry, boat licences and moorings. Every penny donated by the public to the Trust will be spent directly on conserving, restoring, and enhancing the waterways.

Prince of Wales

We’re proud to have the Prince of Wales as our Patron.

Wyrley & Essington Canal, Brownhills

154 – Chasewater RailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News Dec 1992 – Part 4 Cannock Chase Colliery Company Transport Development – The Formative Years.

154 – Chasewater RailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces

 From Chasewater News Dec 1992 – Part 4


Cannock Chase Colliery Company

Transport Development – The Formative Years

Mike Wood

Cannock Chase prior to 1840 was an expanse of barren, desolate heathland with no centres of population and without developed rail, road or water networks – on of the last great wildernesses of England.  The villages of Chasetown and Chase Terrace did not yet exist and were twenty years into the future.  Its few inhabitants made a living from the land selling agricultural produce at market in Cannock or extracting coal from shallow bell pits or drift mines.  There was not only coal on the Chase but also ironstone.  Local opencasters had been aware of its presence for many years but made no use of it as the smelting of iron required organisation and equipment well beyond their primitive means.  For the mineral resources of Cannock Chase to be exploited to the full, big business had to take a hand.  In the form of Henry William Paget, landowner and Marquis of Anglesey, and John Robinson McClean, civil engineer, big business was just around the corner.

The Marquis of Anglesey, whose estate encompassed almost entirely what was to become the Cannock Chase Coalfield, did not begin exploitation of the mineral wealth on his lands until the mid 1840s.  By this time, coal had superseded water as the new power base of the industrial revolution with the increasing use of steam driven machinery in factories and for producing iron.  The success of Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ at Rainhill in 1829 had also led to the widespread adoption of steam traction on the new fast-growing railway network.  The comparative late development of the Chase as a coal producing area is almost certainly attributable to the absence of a satisfactory transportation network of roads, railways or canals.

The first canal to enter the region was not completed until 1797, when the Wyrley & Essington completed its north easterly course from Wolverhampton to Huddlesford Junction near Fradley where it joined the Trent & Mersey Canal.  In connection with this W&E scheme, a large feeder reservoir was created in 1798 by damming Crane Brook at a point one mile north of Watling Street between what are now the villages of Brownhills West and Chasetown.  Norton Pool, as it became known as, was constructed as a storage facility in connection with maintenance of water levels on the main W&E canal. Access from reservoir to canal was via a narrow drain-off channel of approximately 1¼ miles in length to Ogley along the exact course of what eventually became the Anglesey Branch of the W&E or ‘Curly Wyrley’ as it was known locally.

A similar view to the previous photo – the old Wharf Lane bridge can be seen through the new one carrying the M6 Toll.

By 1840 the national canal network comprised over 4,000 miles of navigable waterways providing a means of high capacity, low cost transportation,

It is certain that the presence of a new waterway crossing the southern boundaries of his estate plus imminent construction of the South Staffordshire Railway, due to be opened in 1849, and padding by in the same area as the canal, finally encouraged the Marquis to exploit his underground wealth.

In 1845 the Marquis directed that shafts be sunk at Uxbridge, Hammerwich and Four Mounts on the south eastern shores of Norton Pool, 1½ miles north of the W&E canal and the proposed South Staffs Railway.

The canal company built its Anglesey Branch in 1850 by enlarging its drain-off channel from a main line junction at Ogley.  This branch terminated at Anglesey Basin, a few yards south of Norton Pool where facilities included stables, offices, coal loading chutes and gantries, plus a railway interchange which opened in 1858.  Deep moorings accommodated the endless stream of high capacity canal boats which were to pour their black wealth south down the Birmingham Canal Navigation to fire the industries of Birmingham and the Black Country. These two photographs show the stables and other buildings at Wharf Lane.

Chasewater Dam News – Latest Update, Nov 2011

November 2011 update

Nov 18th, 2011 by lizziethatcher  lichfielddc.gov.uk/chasewaterdam…

Most of the main works to the north of the canal are now complete, although we still have to install drainage pipes through the sheet piles and carry out further landscaping works on the north eastern area next to pool cottages.

The repair works to the canal basin are also nearing completion, although the reconstruction of a concrete cover slab over the drawdown outlet is still to be done. This should be cast within the next few days.

Water levels in the reservoir are rising, albeit quite slowly at the moment. The water is now almost level with the top of the sheet piled dam around the inlet to the drawdown tunnel.

The two valves in the main valve house which are used to release water from the reservoir into the canal have been repaired – one of them had jammed shut and the spindle which operates it sheared away – if you watch our video Dam Cam Goes in Deep – you can see this in detail.

The maintenance regime that we have introduced for the valves will mean that we will have to open them briefly from time to time to ensure that they remain operational, but there is a secondary valve further downstream in the drawdown culvert which will make sure that we do not lose too much water from the reservoir during these tests.

Most of the construction activity is now concentrated on the Nine Foot Pool area. We recently completed the overflow bridge wing walls and started backfilling this and the sheet piled cut off wall.

Work is progressing well on the construction of the bases to the retaining walls which will run either side of the spillway area downstream of the weir.

Because of Galliford Try’s planned construction sequence and the need to have access through the whole of the Nine Foot Pool and spillway area, it is likely that the weir itself will be the last structure to be built in the New Year.


The SCC team

FAQs ….

Nov 18th, 2011 by lizziethatcher

In response to various queries that we receive from time to time, we have included below a few FAQs relating to the reservoir and dam works:

  • When will we be able to walk across the dam?

If it is safe to do so, we are hoping to temporarily open the footpath along the crest of the dam to walkers over the Christmas period when the site will be shut down. This, however, depends on the stage that the works at the Nine Foot Pool and in particular, the overflow bridge, have reached at that time. Unfortunately, we will then have to reclose the access over the bridge in the New Year to enable us to complete the outstanding works and the path across the dam will then remain closed until the project is completed in Spring 2012.

  • When will the dam work be finished and the site cleared?

Subject to weather conditions over the winter which could delay progress, we are currently planning to complete the works and clear the site by late March/early April 2012.

  • Where does the water come from that feeds the reservoir other than rain water?

The reservoir has what is known as a “catchment area”, an area of land over which rain water, ground water and some drainage run-off collects into various streams and watercourses which ultimately flow into the reservoir.

The catchment area for Chasewater Reservoir is about 9 square kilometres and lies mainly to the north of the reservoir. The main dam was built across the valley of the eastern Crane Brook which rises in high ground in Burntwood and flows into the reservoir along Blackman’s Gutter and into the inlet where the sailing club is now sited.

The secondary, western dam retains streams such as the Big Crane Brook from Biddulph’s Pool and other ponds to the north which before disturbance by mining subsidence and open cast mining flowed into the River Penk to the west.

  • When will the sailing and powerboat clubs be back open?

This is entirely dependant on the water level in the reservoir and, therefore, the rate at which it refills. The reservoir level is currently around 144 metres above ordnance datum (AOD). Based on historical records and current rates of rainfall, it has been estimated that it may be the summer of 2013 before the reservoir starts to reach normal operating levels of between 150 and 152 m AOD. However, the sailing and power boat clubs can operate in lower water levels than this and so may be able to open a little earlier.

  • Will Pool Road be reopened, when the dam is finished? If not, why?

It is our intention to seek to close Pool Road to all traffic other than for access to the properties on Pool Road after completion of the works, however, this will be subject to a statutory consultation exercise.

  • Will there be a DVD released of the works involving the dam and of the hidden chamber?

We don’t anticipate releasing a DVD as such but video footage of the drawdown culvert and hidden chamber was included in an earlier blog update.

  • Will they remove all the debris and plants before it refills?

Some willow growth will be removed but other plant growth will not. This will die out naturally as the reservoir fills.
Debris will be removed where it might form a hazard to boat traffic or is regarded as waste.

  • Will fish be put back into the reservoir?

There is no requirement or intention to put any fish back. We estimate that a small proportion of the total fish stock was removed. The majority of fish removed were predatory which may actually benefit the water body as smaller prey species may now be more prolific. In addition there will be a large flush of nutrients through re-fill which will ultimately facilitate the quick expansion of the fish populations.

  • Can you explain, ‘What is the plug that has been put back in?’

A critical part of the works was to ensure that the brickwork tunnel (the “drawdown culvert”) which runs under the eastern dam from the bed of  reservoir and which is the means by which water is released into the canal system was in good condition and fully functional.

Until this work was complete, water levels in the reservoir had to be kept down. Having completed these works, there is now no need to continue to release water from the reservoir and it can now be allowed to refill naturally.

  • Is there really a plug?   
  • There is no actual plug but the valves that control the flow of water out of the reservoir are now shut.

Some of the Latest Museum Items

Although I can’t imagine the first items shown will ever be seen in the museum, they do show something of the variation in size between items offered.This photo shows two of four signal posts which have been at Chasewater for many years and have recently been removed from the undergrowth by the overflow car park.One of them is clearly stamped with what is presumably the date, 1915.

They came from the Pinnox Junction area of Stoke-on Trent.North Stafford Railway locomotive about to leave Pinnox Junction with coal from Whitfield Colliery around the turn of the 20th century. To the right, the Tunstall Lower Branch railway from Longport to Tunstall Junction on the Loop Line and bridge carrying the Whitfield line from Pinnox to Greenhead Wharf. Staffs pasttrack

The next item is a ‘Trains Cross Here’ sign.This was found in the mid 1960s in the Wyrley Branch of the Wyrley & Essington Canal which is now under Vernon Way, in the New Invention, Essington area.  The railway crossing of the A4124 Lichfield Road from Holly Bank Colliery to the canal basin at Short heath was about 150 yards away on the other side of the M6.  It seems logical to assume that this was where the sign was originally placed.This is how the sign would have looked when in position.  Although this photo was taken on the same line, it is probably not the same  sign, being a bit too far away.  The sign was donated to the museum by Mr. D.Townsend.

The third item is the smallest.This is a badge of the Walsall Locomotive Society donated by the museum’s Chairman, David Bathurst.

We have also had a number of items loaned to us, including the nameplate ‘Beatty’ and number plate ‘139’ from an ex Dorman Long Hawthorn Leslie 12″ x 20″ 0-4-0ST preserved at Telford Steam Railway.

Staffordshire Police set up local Canal Watch


 Staffordshire Police set up local Canal Watch


Staffordhire Police have started a brilliant new initiative on Facebook, a canal watch. Visit and contribute by surfing to http://www.facebook.com/StaffordshireCanalWatch. Perhaps by supporting this service we can encourage other police forces to take boat crime more seriously.

I have suggested to the organisers of Staffordshire Canal Watch that they also start a Twitter page and have asked them to send Waterwaywatch regular bulletins so that we can publish them here too.

They have requested help for the following incidents:

Can you help??
We are appealing for witnesses after a woman had her handbag stolen. This happened yesterday, Tues 23 August, at approximately 6.35pm. The woman got onto the towpath at Cromer Road and was heading towards Abbey Hulton. The offender was a male on a red bike wearing a black hoody, cycling the other way towards Hanley.
Any information please ring us as soon as possible on 0300 123 4455, quoting log number 642,23/8/11.

On Sunday 4 September, there was a report of anti-social behaviour on theTrentandMerseycanal. Groups of youngsters were sitting on benches, nearWyggeston Street,BurtononTrent, clearly under the influence of drink or drugs.

Local officers ask that if anybody witnesses such behaviour, to ring Staffordshire Police on 0300 123 4455.
Any problems relating to litter (especially bottles or glass), fly-tipping or other environmental issues can be reported to British Waterways on 01827 252000.

In early hours of Mon 5 September, damage was caused to 2 boats moored up on theTrentandMerseycanal in Alrewas area. The canvas on one boat was slashed and there was a footprint on the window. Youths were heard and seen walking past, in drink, during the night and the man on the boat heard a bang and discovered the damage in the morning. Anyone with any information about this or who is victim of damage to their boats within Staffordshire, please ring Staffordshire Police on 0300 123 4455.

A boat was reported broken into on Tues 6th Sept. The boat was moored up on theCaldonCanal, 1/2 mile from The Boat Inn and bridge no.45, Cheddleton area. Nothing was stolen however a fire extinguisher was set off inside.

Officers are asking that anyone living near the area or using the canal towpath regularly is extra vigilant and reports any suspicious people around the boats to us on 0300 123 4455. In an emergency always dial 999.

Damage has been caused to the window of a boat on theTrent & Mersey Canal, Trentham area. A small window on the boat was smashed, possibly on the evening of Tues 6th. It is not known how it happened. Can anyone in the area, living near the canal or using the towpath, please be vigilant. Anything or anyone suspicious, please report on 0300 123 4455.

If anyone has any information about this damage or any incidents listed on this page, you can ring Crimestoppers annonymously on 0800 555 111 too.

The organisers tell me that Canal Watch is fully supported by British Waterways and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service. For fire safety advice onboard your boats and free smoke alarm fittings, please call 0800-0241-999 or go to www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk

They offer the following tips to help keep your property safe:

– Make sure valuables are kept out of sight
– Turn off gas and fuel supply valves when not in use
– Report suspicious behaviour to the police
– Fit good quality locks and alarms to your boat
– Fire can spread quickly, even on water. Alarms and detectors could save your life

Anyone who is an existing member of Canal Watch (and of course, those who want to join in future) can now have one of our information packs. These contain fire and safety information, window stickers, 2-3 suspicious incident report forms, contact details for Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and hints on what details to have handy if you should have to ring the emergency services from your boat, to help those services find you quickly.


Brownhills Canal Festival – June 26th 2011

Brownhills certainly chose the weather for the Festival!

Another fleeting visit to a Canal Festival – a quick extra short walk for my hound before shooting off to Chasewater (Brownhills Bob and Oakparkrunner have their bikes, Ivo Peters had his Bentley, I’ve got a Dobe!)This way home, Dad!

There was plenty going on to keep people happy, including the Town Crier (should it have a ‘Y’ or an ‘I’?).  It was quite early when I was there, well before eleven, but a good number of visitors were in evidence and the boat trips were already running.
Not too many boats but everyone seemed to be enjoying their day in the sun – a better Sunday than the Pelsall do a couple of weeks ago!
There will be more pics on flickr – just click flickr in the blogroll.

Pelsall Boat Festival – June 2011

Pelsall Boat Festival – June, 2011

Today I paid my first ever visit to a Canal Festival.  I’d blogged it so I thought that I’d go and have a look for myself.  I can’t imagine a better all round venue for a show of this kind – lots of water, with the Cannock Extension junction with the Wyrley & Essington Canal being at hand and a lot more parking than I expected – and all free!  The parking arrangements were well organised too – the first person I saw on my arrival, guiding me into the site, was our railway friend Keith – how could I go wrong?!Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay very long, and to confirm that my sell-by-date is well past, I forgot to take my spare camera batteries, so not really enough photos to chose from.  My apologies!  There is a set of 14 photos on flickr – click on the blogroll.Looking back towards Brownhills.

Canal News – Updated, June 8th

First ever head of fundraising appointed for new waterways charity

Posted by Waterway Watcher on June 1st, 2011

1st Jun 2011

Ruth Ruderham has been appointed as the first ever head of fundraising for the New Waterways Charity, which will manage the canals and rivers in England and Wales.

This latest announcement follows last week’s news that transition trustees have been selected for the charity, which is expected to launch in 2012.Ruth has more than a decade of fundraising experience and will come to the new waterways charity from Christian Aid, where she has helped the organisation to grow income beyond £100m for the first time in its history.

She has also previously worked at Friends of the Earth and Crisis.

In 2005 Ruth was named Professional Fundraiser of the Year.

Simon Salem, director of marketing at British Waterways, says: “The nation’s 200-year-old canals need a sustainable plan for their future, which is why we have been championing the move to charitable status for some time. Voluntary fundraising will be an important part of this and I extend a very warm welcome to Ruth, who joins the team with an outstanding record in fundraising growth, strategy and, most importantly, income. Ruth will lead the waterways charity into a new era of voluntary giving. It’s one of the most exciting fundraising challenges around right now.”

Exciting plans

Ruth says: “I am delighted to join British Waterways at this critical stage in the history of the waterways and it is an incredible privilege to be the first fundraiser the new charity will ever employ.

The plans that British Waterways have already developed are really exciting and I can’t wait to start recruiting supporters of this unique and important cause.”

Ruth will further develop the voluntary fundraising strategy for the new charity which has been put together by British Waterways and specialist Think Consulting.