BIRMINGHAM FROM STOURPORT ON SEVERN
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Experience Britain's second city, a thriving cosmopolitan centre, with some of the finest shopping, culture and visitor attractions in Europe, with it's waterside pubs and colourful boating community.
Stourport on Severn
If time allows take a train ride on the Steam Railway. The Severn Valley railway is a full-size standard-gauge railway line running regular steam-hauled passenger trains for the benefit of visitors and enthusiasts alike between Kidderminster in Worcestershire and bridgnorth in Shropshire, a distance of 16 miles.
The journey is full of interest, for the route follows closely the meandering course of the River Severn for most of the way on its journey between Kidderminster and bridgnorth. One highlight of the trip is the crossing of the River Severn by means of the Victoria bridge - a massive 200-foot single span, high above the water which, incidentally, features in the film 'The Thirty-nine Steps' with Robert Powell in the leading role.
There being few roads in the Severn Valley, some of the views are only visible from the Railway. The scenery is varied and largely unspoiled, punctuated by the quaint 'olde worlde' charm of country stations, each one giving ready access to local villages and riverside walks.
The canal basins at Stourport are full of pretty moored boats, the locks are open 24 hrs, and form a staircase, the lock-keeper is around much of the day in case of difficulties. You should proceed to the eastern corner of the upper basins to join the Staffs & Worcs canal. There is a useful tea room & craft shop by the lock and temporary moorings.
You soon leave Stourport behind and approach Kidderminster with its smart new developments.
Beyond Falling sands Bridge look out for the steam trains on the Viaduct on the Severn valley Railway. There are good moorings at Weavers wharf between bridges 15 and 16 , with supermarkets & cafes nearby.
It is 2.5 hours to here
Leaving Kidderminster behind you soon enter the open countryside again, until the canal is encroached by trees and cliffs which make you feel you are in the jungle.
Wolverley is north west of bridge 20 and is a fascinating village once dedicated to the nail-making industry. The church stands on a sandstone rock so steep that the building has to be approached by a zig-zag path cut through the constantly eroding stone. In the base of this outcrop is the remains of a smithy's shop. Many of the houses nearby are partly carved from the rock, their dark back rooms actually caves.
At Debdale lock a doorway reveals a cavern cut into the solid rock, which may have been used to stable towing horses.
The canal continues through secluded woodland and pretty locks to the very pretty village of Kinver, where you can stock up on provisions or get some fish & chips! It is worth having a look at the fascinating Rock houses, carved out of the cliffs and in continuous occupation for 150 years until 1935.(Walk up Stone lane close to the White Hart Hotel until trees appear on your left, then follow the path into the trees, the rock houses are at Holy Austin Rock).
Stewponey Wharf at the head of Stewponey lock is very interesting wharf with a restored octagonal toll office.
You pass by the Stourbridge Canal and at the far end of the aqueduct near here is a curious narrowboat-house known as the Devil's Den, cut into the rock. Further on after Rocky lock rooms have been carved into the sandstone.
The canal forks and you should keep left to avoid the marina, the countryside becomes flatter and more regular. There are occasional locks and canalside pubs including a 2 step staircase at Botterham lock which has 4 locks in total.
You can moor for the night after the locks, as once you reach Bridge 43 it is more built up, but there are pubs by bridges 43 & 45, and shops near 44.
It is 8.5 hours to here
Have an early breakfast & prepare for a day with lots of locks!
After Bumblehole Lock you reach the 3 Bratch Locks just north of Wombourne. These locks are open from 8am to 8pm and you should carefully study the operating instructions before use, or consult the lock-keeper if in any doubt.
The Octagonal toll house, lovely setting and unusual layout of the locks make an interesting view, but just treat each one as a separate lock & you should be OK.
You are soon approaching the outskirts of Wolverhampton, there is a handy supermarket near Compton Lock.
You turn off right onto the main line of the Birmingham Canal. 21 locks will carry you up into the heart of Wolverhampton.
Dunstall Park racecourse is passed on the right.
After the last lock you can moor up in the Broad Street basin, as there are useful water and refuse points and plenty of takeaways and shops close by. The Wulfrun shopping Centre is in the city centre just off Dudley Street also the Mander centre with over 100 shops.
It is 8.5 hours cruising to here, and there are 31 locks
Continue down the main line of the Birmingham canal, ignoring the left turn up the Wyrley & Essington Canal, and later on the Wednesbury Oak Loop .
After the short Coseley Tunnel you will see a canal leading off to your right which you should take towards Dudley and the Black Country Museum. It is worth mooring up near this superb 26 acre outdoor Museum which has been built around a re-constructed canal village, with a pub, shops and an inland port. You can ride on a trolley bus or tram, try sweet making , metal working or glass cutting, experience an underground coal mine & meet the characters in the shops and houses.
Turn right along the Wolverhampton level canal, it is lock free for a while now, ignore the right turning at Oldbury Junction, and turn right at the Spon Lane Junction. There are 3 locks at Smethwick, but after these it is lock free again.
Keep on the Birmingham main line towards the Gas Street basin which is in the heart of Birmingham's canal network, and has been redeveloped into a unique experience where traditional narrow boats moor up next to cosmopolitan cafes and bars. The surrounding area is a vibrant arts & entertainment area and there are many shopping options within a short walk.
If you choose to moor up next to the Sea Life Centre, you will be spoilt for choice with the variety of cuisine on offer, with over 500 restaurants to choose from offering Caribbean to Nepalese, Thai to Italian, and many more. You will also find clubs and bars, cinema's, theatre's and comedy clubs.
Among other attractions are the National Sea Life Centre, Fine Art Galleries, and the Jewellery Quarter, which dates back over 250 years and is still home to over 400 jewellery businesses.
It is a designated conservation area, with only 200 listed buildings, and has been described by English Heritage as 'a unique historic environment in England'.
For those who like a little retail therapy, a visit to the BullRing is a must. It covers an area the size of 26 football pitches, and has an enormous range of shops.
Also nearby, is the National Indoor Arena, one of the busiest large scale indoor sporting and entertainment venues in Europe.
It is 6 hours to here
Days 5 6 7
It is 20 hours back to Stourport, so cruise for about 7 hours a day.
NB: This route has been provided as a guide only. Information may become inaccurate or out of date. You should always check with the marina that the route is possible within your time frame, current weather conditions and canal stoppages etc.
Bright Star (Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).
Dark Star (Sleeps a maximum of 7 People).
Dawn Star (Sleeps a maximum of 7 People).
Eastern Star (Sleeps a maximum of 5 People).
Endeavour (Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).
Kentish Star (Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).
North Star (Sleeps a maximum of 12 People).
Star Gazer (Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).
Western Star (Sleeps a maximum of 5 People).
Maps and Guides
Sorry, we have no pub guide for this route currently.