Canals in and around Birmingham - enjoy them!

Birmingham is often referred to as being at the heart of Britain’s canal network. With over 100 miles of canals to explore, it’s easy to see why so take our feature and enjoy!


Whether you walk, run, bike or simply sit back and relax, the more time you spend by water the happier and healthier you feel.   

Photography by Kev Maslin

Photography by Karl Newton

The charity, Canal & River Trust, together with dedicated volunteers, do a wonderful job in protecting our canals for everyone to enjoy.

Photography by Damien Walmsley

Photography by Chris Fletcher

This feature is shared with our community and there some great contributions from people who love Birmingham's canals in and out of the City.

Photography by Kev Maslin

 

 

Project dates

03 Apr 2017 - On-going

Passions

Environment & green action

Contact

(for further information)

Jonathan Bostock

0121 410 5520
jonathan.bostock@ freetimepays.com

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Rivers, lakes & canals
24 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Edgbaston Tunnel on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The Edgbaston Tunnel is located on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal below Church Road in Edgbaston. It is 105 yards long (or 96 metres long). The tunnel runs parallel with the railway tunnel on the Cross City Line. It takes boats about 2 minutes to get through the tunnel. In 2018, the tunnel was closed for months to allow for the towpath to be widened.

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The Edgbaston Tunnel on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal





The Edgbaston Tunnel is located on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal below Church Road in Edgbaston. It is 105 yards long (or 96 metres long). The tunnel runs parallel with the railway tunnel on the Cross City Line. It takes boats about 2 minutes to get through the tunnel. In 2018, the tunnel was closed for months to allow for the towpath to be widened.


Edgbaston Tunnel

The Worcester & Birmingham Canal was constructed between 1792 from the Birmingham end, reaching Worcester by 1815. The canal reached Selly Oak by about 1795, so it is fair to assume that the Edgbaston Tunnel was built sometime between 1792 and 1795. Probably dug out by navvies by picks and shovels. Built of red brick, the Edgbaston Tunnel is 96 metres long (105 yards long). It is well under Church Road. Today the closest exits with steps are on Islington Row Middleway (near Five Ways Station) and at The Vale (University of Birmingham student accommodation).

Running parallel with the canal is what is today the Cross City Line. This railway line was built as the Birmingham West Suburban Railway from 1876 until 1885. The Church Road Tunnel was built next to the Edgbaston Tunnel along with a Church Road Station which opened in 1876, not far from the North East Portal of the Edgbaston Tunnel. The station closed in 1925.

Located close to the South West Portal is Hallfield School and near the North East Portal is Sunrise of Edgbaston. When you are up on Church Road, it is a bit hard to see the canal and railway line from above (the brick wall is too high and there is a lot of tree coverage).

During 2018, the Canal & River Trust closed the tunnel, so that they could widen the towpath. This was completed by about May 2018. And now there is more space for cyclists and walkers alike, even with painted lines and "Slow" signs.

 

2016

First walk through of the Edgbaston Tunnel was during April 2016. I got onto the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Somerset Road in Edgbaston and walked up the towpath towards Five Ways.

Approaching the South West Portal of the Edgbaston Tunnel. To the left is the Cross City Line on the other side of the fence. Above behind all the trees and shrubs is Church Road.

Canal & River Trust sign for the Edgbaston Tunnel at the South West Portal. At the time it has space for two way traffic.

Nearing the South West Portal of the Edgbaston Tunnel. The towpath inside of the tunnel was quite narrow. So not enough room for both walkers and cyclists at the time.

This sign states that the Edgbaston Tunnel is 96 Metres in length (which is quite short).

The tunnel was lit up, so when you walk on the towpath, or have a ride on a narrowboat, it is not dark in there.

But as you can see, the old tunnel towpath was really too narrow.

Up ahead was a couple of narrowboats that were about to enter the tunnel, as well as a person out for a run on the towpath.

Just as one narrowboat entered the tunnel, to the right you can see the site of the lost Church Road Station.

Old Georgian and Victorian buildings on Church Road at Hallfield School. The engineering brick on the railway, always seems to get tagged by graffiti vandals. You can also watch passing trains here.

2017

The next time I walked through the Edgbaston Tunnel was during November 2017. This walk started from Bath Row and I went as far as The Vale before getting off.

Approaching the North Eastern Portal was this cyclist in an orange jacket.

This time I had a better view of the white building above the canal. The building is now occupied by Robert Powell Estate Agents.

While the cyclist in orange was riding into the tunnel, saw a narrowboat with all these flat caps and beanies on. Peaky Blinders?

Before I entered the Edgbaston Tunnel, saw a London Midland Class 323 train on the Cross City Line entering the Church Road Tunnel.

One of the men on the narrowboat was standing on it's roof as it went through the tunnel.

Now at the South Eastern Portal of the Edgbaston Tunnel, the gatehouse to Hallfield School is above to the left.

Then I saw another London Midland Class 323 entering the tunnel bound for Birmingham New Street and Lichfield Trent Valley.

2018

The Edgbaston Tunnel was closed to the public from January to March 2018, so that the Canal & River Trust could widen the towpath, resurface it, and install a new safety railing. There was towpath diversion at the time from Islington Row Middleway to The Vale. By May 2018 it was open again, and I went back to check it out.

This was during a long walk starting at Selly Oak towards Five Ways, Already could see the new towpath extension and railings from the South West Portal.

It was mostly complete, but was still some temporary barriers to the left.

There was a sign for Cyclists Slow as there was a ramp onto the new towpath and it wasn't quite finished.

Inside I could see that the towpath was much wider, compared to what it used to be like.

It seems like the tunnel is long, but it isn't, just a trick of the light.

At the North East Portal, a cyclist waits at the Cyclists Slow sign.

Was also a man running through the tunnel, while a builder in yellow and orange overalls was at the other end.

Went back again in December 2018, after the white lines had been painted onto the towpath, and it had all been fully completed.

A cyclist in a yellow jacket heads towards the North East Portal of the Edgbaston Tunnel.

Another cyclist and on the right was a West Midlands Railway Class 323 train on the Cross City Line (passing the site of Church Road Station).

Approaching the Edgbaston Tunnel with the new ramp.

Painted on both sides of the ramp was Slow. Pedestrians get priority in the tunnel.

Before entering the tunnel, Saw a West Midlands Railway Class 323 train go past, in the new orange and white livery (replacing the old London Midland green).

The towpath is now much wider, and even the lighting seems to be brighter in here (not as dark).

Slow sign on the ramp close to the South West Portal.

And another pair of painted Slow signs closer to the exit of the tunnel.

2020

In August 2020, I had my first walk down the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in months (due to the pandemic / lockdown). Starting at The Mailbox and ending at The Vale (was thinking about Somerset Road but The Vale exit came first). Also my first time back in the Edgbaston Tunnel since the end of 2018.

A lady was running towards me, also had to let a couple pass me, due to social distancing.

It was a bit hard to see the at white building on Church Road, due to the amount of leaves on the surrounding trees.

A narrowboat was coming out of the tunnel.

Got this view from just inside of the tunnel as the narrowboat heading out.

Still the optical illusion of the tunnel being long (when it isn't).

A zoom in from the far end of the tunnel as the narrowboat was still heading on it's way.

One last look at the Edgbaston Tunnel as I continued my walk towards The Vale.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
15 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Ariel Aqueduct on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in Selly Oak

The Ariel Aqueduct was built alongside a railway viaduct on the Cross City Line in Selly Oak when the Selly Oak Bypass was built, which opened in 2011. It carries the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. The towpath is suitable for walking, cycling and taking your dog for a walk, as well as going for a run. You can also see trains going past. Below is the Aston Webb Boulevard.

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The Ariel Aqueduct on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in Selly Oak





The Ariel Aqueduct was built alongside a railway viaduct on the Cross City Line in Selly Oak when the Selly Oak Bypass was built, which opened in 2011. It carries the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. The towpath is suitable for walking, cycling and taking your dog for a walk, as well as going for a run. You can also see trains going past. Below is the Aston Webb Boulevard.


Ariel Aqueduct

When the Selly Oak Bypass (later to be named as the Aston Webb Boulevard) was built in Selly Oak during 2010 to 2011, it meant that an aqueduct had to built on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, as well as a railway viaduct on the Cross City Line. The nearby wasteland used to be where the Battery Works used to be. With the completion of the first phase of the bypass, it meant that the University of Birmingham could build new student accommodation nearby to the aqueduct. Further up the bypass, the land had to be decontaminated, as there used to be a landfill there. Eventually the Selly Oak Shopping Park and a student accommodation block was opened in late 2018. And the rest of the land (still to be built on) will be for the Life Sciences Park of the University of Birmingham. Meanwhile since Sainsbury's moved to the new shopping park, it meant that work could start on extending the bypass to Selly Oak Triangle (started in 2019 but is not yet complete).

I used to be able to get onto the Worcester & Birmingham Canal down a road off the Bristol Road near a car showroom. But there is now new steps closed to the Unite student accommodation (as well as a shortcut to Sainsbury's and the new shopping park). Then walk as far as the University of Birmingham before getting off the canal.

 

View below of the Ariel Aqueduct from the Aston Webb Boulevard (Selly Oak Bypass) during September 2012. Leading towards Queen Elizabeth Island and New Fosse Way. The new Birmingham Super Hospital opened in 2010, so these new roads helped give access to it (the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham).

The views of the Ariel Aqueduct taken during February 2013. This was during a walk along the canal from Selly Oak to the University of Birmingham.

The towpath turns slightly to the right as you head onto the aqueduct.

Saw a man in green running past me. Best to stop and let them pass you.

From here you can see the railway viaduct on the right. If you are lucky you could see some trains passing by!

Some nice reflections from the railings. You can only get to the other side in a narrowboat.

In January 2014, could see the completed Victoria Hall from the Ariel Aqueduct next to Old Joe.

Within a few years of the completion of the bypass several student accommodation blocks got built down there.

Jarratt Hall is seen to the right of the aqueduct.

The view of the bypass. The University of Birmingham is on the left. The Bournbrook area of Selly Oak is on the right.

The view below taken during August 2017. It always feels weird walking over the aqueduct. It's so high up above the bypass.

In this February 2019 view, I caught a view of the Ariel Aqueduct from a train passing over the railway viaduct.

In August 2019 on another walk over the Ariel Aqueduct, saw a cyclist going past me. The grass and trees more grown by this point.

Went over it again during January 2020. This time a cyclist in orange was coming towards me.

From the other side, caught a Class 323 West Midlands Railway train passing over that railway bridge. Touch Base Pears seen behind.

For another post on aqueducts in the West Midlands region go to this post on the Wootton Wawen & Edstone Aqueducts on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal in Warwickshire.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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60 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
11 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct and the Edstone Aqueduct on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal

Recently I've had the chance to go to the Edstone Aqueduct in Warwickshire for a walk up the Stratford-on-Avon Canal. Didn't quite get to the Wootton Wawen Aqueduct this time around, but I popped over it several years ago. Wootton Wawen built in 1813 and Edstone in 1816. This canal links Kings Norton to Stratford-upon-Avon. The Edstone Aqueduct is the longest aqueduct in England.

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The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct and the Edstone Aqueduct on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal





Recently I've had the chance to go to the Edstone Aqueduct in Warwickshire for a walk up the Stratford-on-Avon Canal. Didn't quite get to the Wootton Wawen Aqueduct this time around, but I popped over it several years ago. Wootton Wawen built in 1813 and Edstone in 1816. This canal links Kings Norton to Stratford-upon-Avon. The Edstone Aqueduct is the longest aqueduct in England.


Wootton Wawen Aqueduct

The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct is a Grade II* listed aqueduct dating to 1813. It crosses the A3400 Stratford Road in Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire near The Navigation Inn. It was restored in 1960. It was built by William Whitmore for the Stratford Canal Company. Made of a Cast-iron trough with integral towpath with cast-iron railings. The Southern Stratford Canal was built from 1793-1816. The canal was leased by the National Trust in 1960 from the British Waterways Board. They also acquired the freehold of the canal in 1964. The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Seen from the Stratford Road in July 2014, near The Navigation Inn. There is a plaque in the middle with an 1813 date.

Seen during late April 2017, some time before 8pm in the evening before sunset to finally cross the Wootton Wawen Aqueduct for the first time.

This aqueduct is quite short, so it doesn't take long to cross it.

The Navigation Inn see to the left. Beyond was a garage.

To the right of the Wooton Wawen Aqueduct is Anglo Welsh Waterway Holidays. Where you can hire a narrowboat.

The steps takes you slightly below the level of the water.

This aqueduct has been here well over 200 years, and has had some modifications since then.

I'm not sure what this archway was for though.

Edstone Aqueduct

The Edstone Aqueduct is a Grade II* listed aqueduct dating to 1816. It is the longest canal aqueduct in England at a length of 475 feet (145 m). It crosses Salters Lane, the Shakespeare Line (between Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon), a minor road and the trackbed of the former Alcester Railway. It was built from 1812-16. It was made of English bond grey brick piers, and regular coursed stone and brick abutments. With some late 19th century engineering brick. It carried what was formerly called the South Stratford Canal. It is between Wilmcote and Wootton Wawen, and is also near Bearley (sometimes also called the Bearley Aqueduct).

This visit was on the last day of May 2020, as lockdown restrictions were eased. It was warm but not too warm in the morning. Arriving near the car park on Salters Lane. Was a brilliant blue sky that morning in Warwickshire.

It is the longest canal aqueduct in England.

Got some brilliant shadows from the railings onto the towpath here.

It didn't even feel scary or nervous to walk over this aqueduct compared to some other ones I've been on. Then again it wasn't too high.

The Shakespeare Line crossed underneath. Also known as the North Warwickshire Railway. Or the Birmingham and North Warwickshire railway. I kept hearing trains, but didn't get to this spot on the aqueduct in time to see them.

The view of the Edstone Aqueduct from Bearley Lock No. 39. From here it looks quite small.

Later on the walk back down the Stratford-on-Avon Canal, saw the rare sight of a narrowboat (on the move during lockdown). Behind was an inflatable dinghy. Then again this was my first canal walk in more than 3 months.

Due to social distancing, we had to wait for other people to cross the aqueduct before us.

I found a hill with a wooden banister and popped down for this view. Wasn't really a path, so had to drag myself back up to the canal along the banister.

Time to cross the Edstone Aqueduct again.

One last look before we returned to Birmingham. The car park is to the left. Good point to start walks, take your dog for a walk, or bike rides.

There is at least one or two other aqueducts on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal that I've yet to walk over. But waiting until the late Spring to go over the Edstone Aqueduct (even under lockdown) was worth it. And was best to wait till now, as in the winter, it might have been muddy on the canal. Some of the towpath was really dry, and the mud or soil was cracked (and hard to walk over).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

 

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70 passion points
Environment & green action
20 Feb 2020 - FreeTimePays
Gallery

'All things Water' from across Birmingham & the West Midlands

Photo above courtesy Kevin Maslin

With all the heavy rain we have had let's share some wonderful  'all things water' photography from our brilliant and talanted people with real passion.

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'All things Water' from across Birmingham & the West Midlands





Photo above courtesy Kevin Maslin

With all the heavy rain we have had let's share some wonderful  'all things water' photography from our brilliant and talanted people with real passion.


Gas Street Basin

Photo courtesy Chris Fletcher

 

Moseley Park & Pool

Photo courtesy Barry Whitehead

 

Gas Street Basin

Photo courtesy Christine Wright

 

Birmingham & Fazeley Canal

Photo courtesy Kevin Maslin

 

Along the canals just past Digbeth

Photo courtesy Tammie Naughton

 

Doing the loop the canal way in Birmingham

Photo courtesy Jay Mason Burns 

 

Brindleyplace

Photo courtesy Damien Walmsley

 

Edgbaston Reservoir 

Photo courtesy Daniel Sturley

 

Witton Lakes Park

Photo courtesy Elliott Brown

 

Gas Street Basin

Photo courtesy Mac McCreery

 

Swanshurst Park

Photo courtesy Karl Newton

 

Gas Street Basin

Photo courtesy Pete Davies

 

It's good to get out for a ride or walk on our West Midland Canals

Photo courtesy Peter Leadbetter

 

Urban Autumn in Birmingham

Photo courtesy Victoria Ball

 

250 years since West Bromwich was linked to Birmingham by canal

Photo courtesy Kevin Maslin

 

Cannon Hill Park Lake 

Photo courtesy Karl Newton

 

Gas Street Basin in Snow

Photo courtesy Daniel Sturley

 

Early evening sunset at Gas Street Basin in Birmingham

Photo courtesy Chris Fletcher

 

Regency Wharf in Birmingham

Photo courtesy Barry Whitehead

 

Fox Hollies Park

Photo courtesy Tammie Naughton

 

The Blue Hour, Edgbaston Reservoir 

Photo courtesy Karl Newton

 

Autumnal reflections

Photo courtesy Jay Mason Burns

 

Kings Heath Park, Birmingham

Photo courtesy Christine Wright

 

Canal Journey 

Photo courtesy Damien Walmsley

 

Pool in Moseley Park

Photo courtesy Elliott Brown

 

Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham

Photo courtesy Peter Leadbetter

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50 passion points
Photography
05 Jun 2019 - Karl Newton
Gallery

Canal photography around Birmingham - start of a gallery!

Hi all, this is Karl

Over the last few months I have developed an interest in our canal networks and moving forward I am planning to develop this into some sort of formal project and document more of it with my camera, in the meanwhile here below is a look back at some of my photos so far

Related

Canal photography around Birmingham - start of a gallery!





Hi all, this is Karl

Over the last few months I have developed an interest in our canal networks and moving forward I am planning to develop this into some sort of formal project and document more of it with my camera, in the meanwhile here below is a look back at some of my photos so far


All photography courtesy Karl Newton

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80 passion points
Green travel
17 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A look at the Grand Union Canal from Birmingham to Leamington Spa

The Grand Union Canal links Birmingham to London, but here we will just look at the areas from Birmingham towards Leamington Spa. Made up of smaller canals bought by the Regents Canal Company in the 1920s. Many locks were widened for double sized barges, although they ended up being used by pairs of narrowboats instead! Through Acocks Green, Olton, Hatton, Warwick and Leamington Spa.

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A look at the Grand Union Canal from Birmingham to Leamington Spa





The Grand Union Canal links Birmingham to London, but here we will just look at the areas from Birmingham towards Leamington Spa. Made up of smaller canals bought by the Regents Canal Company in the 1920s. Many locks were widened for double sized barges, although they ended up being used by pairs of narrowboats instead! Through Acocks Green, Olton, Hatton, Warwick and Leamington Spa.


Starting at Spaghetti Junction, below the M6 motorway is Salford Junction. This is where the Grand Union Canal starts in north Birmingham (unless you count Bordesley Junction as the start). At Salford Junction is the Salford Junction Bridge. The canals going left and right is the Tame Valley Canal and the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. Above is the concrete and graffiti carrying the M6 motorway at the Gravelley Hill Interchange aka Spaghetti Junction. The canal was formerly called the Birmingham & Warwick Junction Canal until it was bought in 1929 by the Regent's Canal company to form the Grand Union Canal. It goes down to Bordesley linking up with the Digbeth Branch of the Grand Union Canal.

This April 2018 view of the Grand Union Canal from near the Bordesley Village. Near the Garrison Lane Bridge. Towards The Village Bridge. Graffiti street art for the Canal & River Trust and Phoenix Hall below Bordesley Village. Not far from here is St Andrew's home of Birmingham City FC.

Near Bordesley Middleway the canal locks that leads onto the Grand Union Canal. The railway bridge of the Snow Hill lines and to the right was the Holy Trinity Church in this view from October 2009. The canal lock is labelled "Bordesley Middle Way no 1". This direction towards Small Heath. Digbeth is back around the loop to the right of here. Time to head off to the suburbs!

Seen near the Westley Vale Millennium Green in Acocks Green. A look at the Grand Union Canal during May 2015. So lush and green at this time of year! The canal down here was the Warwick & Birmingham Canal before becoming part of the Grand Union Canal. Seen from bridge no 86, dating to the late 18th century. Also known as the Woodcock Lane Bridge. This area is not that far from Acocks Green Station.

Now the canal heads through Solihull. First a look at the canal in Olton, not far from Olton Station. Seen from the Richmond Road Bridge during January 2013. There had been a bit of snow at this point of the year, but mostly melted. The towpaths can get quite muddy in Solihull!

An April 2018 walk from Solihull to Catherine-de-Barnes started at the Damson Parkway Bridge and ended at the Hampton Lane Bridge in Catherine-de-Barnes, a village in Solihull Borough. The towpath was very muddy! Mud on my jeans and shoes! Later took a path back via some fields back to Solihull. A pair of narrowboats seen near the Hampton Lane Bridge, where I got off the muddy towpath to have a look at the village! Yes, it's possible to walk from Solihull Town Centre to Catherine-de-Barnes via the Grand Union Canal!

Down to Warwickshire now, and the Hatton Locks. This was from a visit to Hatton during March 2017, getting the train from Solihull to Hatton. After exploring the area, I made it eventually to Hatton Locks, what a sight to see from the top! This photo was from around lock 42. The locks are known as the "Stairway to Heaven". This was close to the Hatton Wharf.  St Mary's Church in Warwick was visible from this point. I returned to the Hatton Locks two years later during April 2019 (during my Warwick Station to Warwick Parkway Station walk). That ended near the Hatton Bottom Lock. The canal here was still formerly part of the Warwick & Birmingham Canal, only ending at Budbrooke Junction, near the Saltisford Arm.

In Warwick from the Coventry Road Bridge. This view of the Grand Union Canal, Kate Boats in Warwick is on the right. Many narrowboats were moored here. My April 2019 walk along the Grand Union Canal in Warwick started from the Coventry Road Bridge, but first a look at the side that I didn't walk up. Got the train to Warwick Station with the intention of walking towards Warwick Parkway Station. The walk takes you past many bridges. The canal here was formerly the Warwick & Napton Canal. It leads to Budbrooke Junction. I got off the canal at the Birmingham Road Bridge and saw the Saltisford Arm, but had to get back on the other side, towards the Hatton Bottom Lock, before getting off again near Warwick Parkway Station!

The Grand Union Canal was looking lush and green during May 2016 in Leamington Spa. Train down from Solihull to Leamington Spa. I got onto the towpath at Old Warwick Road and got off at Tachbrook Road. I think at the time I was thinking of getting on at the road I got off, but plans never go to plan when you get to a location to take photos! Here a narrowboat was going at a leisurely pace along the canal, while a man was jogging along the towpath. The canal here is not that far from Leamington Spa Station. Both the canal and the Chiltern Mainline run quite close to each other in Warwickshire!

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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70 passion points
Environment & green action
02 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

From Birmingham to Worcester on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal

A look at the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. Starting near the Mailbox, heading down Edgbaston, Selly Oak, Bournville, Stirchley to Kings Norton. Also at look at the other end of the canal down in Worcester. Between Five Ways and Bournville, the canal and railway run almost parallel. There is also the Ariel Aqueduct in Selly Oak! At Kings Norton you can leave this canal for Stratford!

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From Birmingham to Worcester on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal





A look at the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. Starting near the Mailbox, heading down Edgbaston, Selly Oak, Bournville, Stirchley to Kings Norton. Also at look at the other end of the canal down in Worcester. Between Five Ways and Bournville, the canal and railway run almost parallel. There is also the Ariel Aqueduct in Selly Oak! At Kings Norton you can leave this canal for Stratford!


We start at The Cube. In this August 2013 view near The Mailbox. Directly ahead is Gas Street Basin, where the Worcester & Birmingham Canal ends at Worcester Bar, and near the start of the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline (through the Broad Street Tunnel). I normally do the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in small sections. I usually see cyclists on the towpath, and occasionally dog walkers. The Salvage Turn Bridge (as it is called) aka the Love Lock Bridge. It was recently repaired.

In this January 2011 view from the Granville Street Bridge. Head down the steps, and you can walk towards Bath Row, then onto Islington Row Middleway. Student halls on the left are for University College Birmingham (UCB). You may also see an abandoned railway line on the right (usually full of litter). Could do with restoring somehow!

View from April 2014 near the IQ student accommodation. From Bath Row towards Islington Row Middleway. The exit near here is on the other side of the Bath Row Bridge. In recent years, a new exit to Islington Row Middleway and Five Ways Station was installed. As that is the last exit for a while before The Vale at the University of Birmingham!

In this view from February 2012, from the Islington Row Middleway Bridge, you can see a pair of narrowboats, including the Sherborne Wharf tourist trip boat, on the left. While Five Ways Station with a London Midland Class 170 passing (it does not stop there on the way to Hereford). Abandoned railway line in the middle, that used to go to about where the AXIS building is now (the tunnels are still there, but are blocked off). The St James Road Bridge does not have steps, so if you are on the towpath and want to get off, you have to walk towards The Vale! Beyond here it is very leafy and tree lined, to keep the Calthorpe Estates of Edgbaston looking pretty!

The Edgbaston Tunnel seen from near the north portal, during April 2016. Running on the right is what is now the Cross City Line. The lost Church Road Station used to be around here. A narrowboat is seen going through the tunnel. In 2018, the towpath in the tunnel was widened, so this section was closed for a few months (it is now open again). I regularly see cyclists down here when I walk this section. Hallfield School is on the other side of the tunnel.

Also April 2016. If you want to get off after a walk from The Mailbox, take this bridge at The Vale, near new student accommodation blocks for the University of Birmingham. The road / path leads to Church Road in Edgbaston, near the number 1 bus route! The bridges around here normally get tagged!

Another set of steps at Somerset Road in Edgbaston to get onto the Worcester & Birmingham Canal towpath. Near the University of Birmingham. On the Cross City line during January 2018, West Midlands Railway 323203, is seen cruising towards Longbridge and Redditch (is always nice to be sat on the train, when passing the canal down here). The totem pole was heavily vandalised at the time.

Next up is this February 2013 view from the Pritchatts Road Bridge in Edgbaston, around the University of Birmingham. On the Cross City line around to the right is University Station. No towpath access here, the next one up is next to University Station at the Westgate (or University Road West).

The Selly Oak New Road opened in 2011 and that including building an aqueduct for the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and a railway viaduct for the Cross City Line. This view from February 2013. The road below is called the Aston Webb Boulevard, after the architect of the original University of Birmingham buildings. From the canal you can see the railway. You can also see th aqueduct from a train passing over the railway viaduct! Beyond here is the Battery Park redevelopment site, where the new Selly Oak Shopping Park opened in late 2018. While the Life Sciences Park for the University of Birmingham has yet to be built!

The Worcester & Birmingham Canal switches sides with the Cross City line between the Bristol Road and Raddlebarn Road bridges in Selly Oak. In this March 2018 view, a West Midlands Railway Class 323 train is seen heading towards Selly Oak Station. The Bristol Road entrance to the canal is via The Dingle. But is also access near some of the new housing developments.

March 2018 between Bournville Station, Mary Vale Road towards Raddlebarn Road in Bournville. As a West Midlands Railway Class 323 train headed south towards Longbridge, I was approaching the Cadbury Railway Wharf Bridge. It is no longer used. Was the former Cadbury private railway that led to the chocolate factory! But the bridge remains!

An October 2011 view of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal from near Mary Vale Road in Bournville. London Midland 323215 was at Bournville Station, while a cyclist and some joggers were heading up the towpath! On a nice autumnal day! I hadn't started to use the Cross City line at that point! If you get on the canal in Stirchley (on the Pershore Road near Lifford Lane), you can get off here, and head down Mary Vale Road to the Pershore Road. Or head in the other direction to Cadbury World and Bournville Village.

An unexpected site during March 2015 from the Pershore Road Bridge in Stirchley. A club of canoeists on the canal! The road on the left, is another section of a lost railway line. Lots of industrial units up this way.

The Camp Hill Line railway bridge seen during April 2016 in Stirchley. This part of the towpath is part of the Rea Valley Route. There is various paths along the River Rea that goes through Stirchley, then joins the canal near here, and goes down to Kings Norton and beyond.

The view from March 2012 in Kings Norton. This part of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Kings Norton Junction, near the start of the Stratford-on-Avon Canal. Not far from here is the Guillotine Lock on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal. This building was the Lock Keepers Cottage, also known as Junction House, a Grade II listed building. It has been empty for a long time, and was sadly a victim of an arson attack. It was built in 1802. Hopefully the Canal & River Trust / Birmingham City Council can restore it, and give it a use. Maybe a canalside cafe / tea room. It can't be left empty forever (and hopefully it won't be demolished!). It might even date to as early as 1796!

The furthest south in Birmingham on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal that I have explored was from Parsons Hill in Kings Norton, near Wharf Road. From here in March 2012, I would have walked up to Kings Norton Junction. I have yet to cover the section south of here. Anything further south in Worcestershire, I covered by getting a train to Alvechurch or Worcester!

A February 2016 train trip to Alvechurch in Worcestershire. Near Alvechurch Station is the Alvechurch Marina on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. A useful place to start a boating holiday. Seen from Scarfield Hill

Now a look at some parts of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in the City of Worcester!

My last visit to Worcester by train was during August 2018 to check out their Giraffe sculpture trail, Worcester Stands Tall (similar to the Big Hoot / Big Sleuth in Birmingham). This view from the bridge on Lowesmoor Place in Worcester.

November 2011 in Worcester. Converted factories and Albion Mill in the Diglis area of Worcester. New buildings and old being converted into flats / apartments, like in Birmingham.

Diglis Basin and the Dry Dock during November 2011 in Worcester. Like with Birmingham, they have converted old factories into apartments, and built new buildings up the canal. Many narrowboats here.

The end of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at the River Severn in Worcester. Seen November 2011 at the Diglis Bottom Lock. I acutally walked down the River Severn path, then up the towpath from here towards Worcester Shrub Hill Station! The lock here is Grade II listed Barge Lock No 1 Adjacent to River Severn, Worcester.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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40 passion points
History & heritage
24 Mar 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Birmingham more miles of canals than Venice

I went to Venice in July 2010 and had a ride on a gondola. We were also taken around the lagoon. A comparison of Birmingham's canals with those in Venice, Italy. Gondolas vs narrowboats. We have more miles of canals in Brum compared to Venice. 35 miles of canals with the City of Birmingham, with most of that navigable. Around 26 miles in Venice. Venice first then a look at Birmingham!

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Birmingham more miles of canals than Venice





I went to Venice in July 2010 and had a ride on a gondola. We were also taken around the lagoon. A comparison of Birmingham's canals with those in Venice, Italy. Gondolas vs narrowboats. We have more miles of canals in Brum compared to Venice. 35 miles of canals with the City of Birmingham, with most of that navigable. Around 26 miles in Venice. Venice first then a look at Birmingham!


This post will mostly be a comparison of the Dragon Boat race near Brindleyplace and the narrowboats within the city centre on the Birmingham Canal Navigations near Brindleyplace. With the world famous gondolas seen on the canals in Venice.

We start off with Venice. After the long boat ride to get to the city we got straight onto a gondola for a ride around the famous canals of Venice! The journey starts from the Bacino di San Marco.

I was on one gondola back in July 2010 and saw this gondola in front! This canal was the Rio di Palazzo. The gondolier's were having a chat with each other!

Both gondolas were heading for this footbridge. Many interesting looking buildings on the way!

A view of the Hard Rock Cafe in Venice. I can't even recall there being a Hard Rock Cafe in Birmingham! More recently saw a Hard Rock Cafe in Lyon, France and in Florence, Italy. Seen at the Orseolo basin (Bacino Orseolo). The canal might be the Rio del Cappello.

More tourists enjoying a ride on a gondola, like I did earlier that day (a roasting hot 12th July 2010 over 35°C!). This canal was the Rio del Scoa Camini. The Bacino Orseolo (Orseolo Basin) is around the corner.

The view from the same footbridge as above, so still the Rio del Scoa Camini. A footpath running alongside the shops. More tourists riding on gondolas. One gondolier on a brake (on the right).

Another Venetian canal. Several boats moored on the left. Seen from a footbridge on the Riva degli Schiavoni. This canal is the Rio di San Lorenzo. The bell tower on the right is of the Church of San Giorgio dei Greci (Chiesa di San Giorgio dei Greci in Italian).

If you want a taxi around Venice, then this is the way to travel, by a speedboat! Seen from another footbridge on the Riva degli Schiavoni. This canal was the Rio della Pieta. At this point we were heading to catch a boat for a Lagoon cruise! This might be almost 9 years ago but this day in Venice is still quite memorable!

OK enough with Venice, and back to Birmingham!

Flowers on the Brindleyplace Bridge over the Birmingham Canal Navigations in this view towards the Broad Street Tunnel. The ICC on the left, Brindleyplace to the right. Flowers out for the 4 Squares Weekender which was held in the city centre over the weekend of the 6th to 8th September 2013 (around when the new Library of Birmingham had opened). The red Waterbus seen behind. And the Sherborne Wharf tourist boat in front!

Not something you see on the Birmingham Canal Navigations every day. Canoeing on the canal. Saw this in May 2015 close to the Barclaycard Arena (now Arena Birmingham). This view the corner close to the Sealife Centre.

This view close to the Sheepcote Street Bridge. I also once saw canoes on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal from the Pershore Road Bridge in Stirchley!

What you are more likely to see around here is a service boat! Seen passing the Waterbus and the Sherborne Wharf tourist narrowboat. It was heading past the Brindleyplace Bridge towards the Broad Street Tunnel during early April 2018. Behind was Arena Birmingham, The Malt House and the Brewmasters House!

See my post on them here The Brasshouse, The Brewmasters House and The Malt House - historic canal buildings around the BCN and Brindleyplace.

About a week later (still April 2018), saw this man on a surfboard and a lady on one (might be a canoe)? Well they weren't surfing on the Birmingham Canal Navigations, as they headed under the Brewmasters Bridge. Probably rowing on their boards! This was round about when the BSAVA Congress was on at The ICC (probably not related).

OK here's the promised Dragon Boat Race photos. First one from June 2017 outside of the Sealife Centre Birmingham, close to the Brewmasters House and the Brewmasters Bridge. These boats are probably the closest thing we would have in Birmingham to the gondolas in Venice!

The Dragon Baot Race  seen during June 2018. Packed full of spectators around the Birmingham Canal Navigations. This was also close to the Sealife Centre Birmingham.

Now a building at Brindleyplace that wouldn't be out of place in Venice. Three Brindleyplace is seen to the left of the Sealife Centre. Teams at the race getting ready to race up and down from the Sealife Centre to the Broad Street Tunnel and back. I was only passing through, so didn't see much of the race in 2017 and 2018.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. The day trip to Venice was during July 2010.

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80 passion points
Green open spaces
13 Feb 2019 - Laura Creaven
News & Updates

Birmingham & Fazeley Canal open weekend

The Canal and River Trust are hosting an open weekend on 23 - 24 February 2019, to celebrate the importance of the canal network to the people or Birmingham and see restoration in action.

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Birmingham & Fazeley Canal open weekend





The Canal and River Trust are hosting an open weekend on 23 - 24 February 2019, to celebrate the importance of the canal network to the people or Birmingham and see restoration in action.


The open weekend will take place at Cambrian Wharf, on 23 - 24 February 2019  10:00am - 4:00pm, near Kings Edwards Rd and the Flapper Pub.  Visitors will get to see restoration in action, as well as see what life was like living on the waterways, enjoy some walks along the canal and hear more about the Canal and Rive Trust's (CRT) partnerships with location organisations.

The gates at Locks 1 and 2, located a short walk from Brindley Place at the back of the Library, are being replaced.  Repairs are being made to the masonry in and around the lock too, as part of the CRT's winter maintenance programme. Over two days, visitors will be able to see the brand new hand crafted gates, made at the CRT's local Bradley workshop, as well as inspect the old gates. 

A heritage working boat will be moored close by for visitors to learn how life was for families who lived on board canal boats, and there will be old photographs of the lock, as well as activities for children.  Visitors will also be able to hear how the CRT are working in partnership with the National Trust. And of course, enjoy some towpath walks along the canals in central Birmingham. 

Each year the Canal and River Trust hold a number of free open days for the public. They are an exciting opportunity to see behind the scenes, see how they work with local communities and what improvements are taking place.

For more information, visit the Canal And River Trust website.

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50 passion points