Showing posts from May, 2012

Staffs & Worcs, Shropshire Union canals. Bratch to Tyrley Wharf.

"Well up the Shroppy" describes our situation perfectly. When we got back from Bristol we went through The Bratch
and followed the Staff & Worcs, past Tettenhal where our mate John used to moor,

up to Aldersley Junction where we turned off onto the Shropshire Union. The signpost says Chester and ultimately this canal goes to Elsmere Port, but we’re only going as far as Nantwich where, after a little meander to Llangollen, the Middlewich Branch will take us east to the Trent & Mersey. The southern end of the Shroppy has a very distinctive look about it. Originally the Birmingham & Liverpool Junction Canal, it was built by Thomas Telford in 1835, quite a bit later than the Staffs & Worcs, and with all the engineering skills that had been learnt to date. Bold cuttings and embankments take it in straight lines across the countryside; a super-highway of its day, and result in both spectacular views and high sweeping bridges. When we got to Brewood the visitor moo…

Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. Stourport junction to The Bratch.

We’re getting a lot of practice at driving up and down the A46/M5 from Daventry to the West Country. We’d only just got back from Cornwall when we were off again to Bristol. We’ve left Legend just below The Bratch; a very popular 3 lock staircase with a resident lock keeper who looks after it beautifully. The grass is always trim, the gardens neat and tidy and the paintwork spotless. Legend should be happy there for a few days. We had to dash off and leave it again because, lucky us, we won a pair of tickets to Bristol Folk Festival. Yipee!! Yes it is possible to get to Bristol by boat; there are several narrowboats in the harbour and it’s on our list of future destinations. If we’d had the necessary river licenses and six months to do it we wouldn’t have hesitated. However we hadn’t so, after spending Friday with Chloe, (the afternoon in Ikea spending her money, the evening at her house with Janice and Paul – great fish & chips, by the way – and the night in her spare room) we we…

Stourbridge Canal. Delph to Stourport Junction

As you come away from the BCN, just before the Stourbridge locks, there is a junction on the right which takes the intrepid onto the Fens Branch; a short feeder arm which is navigable for about 300yds, after which it rapidly becomes a shallow weedy ditch reminiscent of canals of our youth. Just before it gets too bad (only just) there is another junction with the 200yd-long Stourbridge Extension Canal. On the off-side of this are moorings behind a fence with a BW keyed gate.
It’s a seldom used back-water and the turn is a bit silted up; we only draw about 2’ and we still had a fight winding and backing onto the moorings, although once we’d got tied up we found ourselves in about 4’ of clear water. The lakes that feed the canals, together with the un-navigable section and the dis-used railway line that lies alongside it, have all been turned into a nature reserve, so that despite being between heavy industry and housing estates it was the quietest night we’ve had since entering suburbi…