Worcester and Birmingham Canal –  13th July 2022

It is wonderful to be back on the canals. It is not to say that we don’t like the rivers but the canals are where our hearts are.

We start each day tendering to our flower beds which have been blossoming extremely well. Of course you would flourish if you were being given the optimum amount of fertilizer.

After obtaining our morning latte’s from the coffee narrowboat in the marina, we set off up the Worcester and Birmingham canal. This portion of the canal we are doing today is new ground to us. We did think this piece of art work was worth adding into the blog. We are not sure what it is about but looked effective. There was the very famous battle in 1651 of the Battle of Worcester which was part of the British Civil Wars – oh so complicated but worth a read if you are so inclined.

So leaving from Worcester this morning we planned to make it to the junction onto the Droitwich canal. We are back onto narrow locks and today we did 14. Travelling towards Birmingham it always means you are going up hill as the city sits on a plateau, so will be climbing for the forseable future.

The canal is very reedy along the edges which doesn’t affect the prop but it does make the canal narrow. With all the magnificent willows you’d swear you were buried in amongst the Wind and the Willows book.

We lucked out as the temperature only got to 24c which made for very pleasant cruising and walking for those who did the locks.

At lunch time we pulled up at a pub and had a lemonade, as you do.

The Worcester and Birmingham canal links Birmingham and Worcester, of course. It starts in Worcester, as an ‘offshoot’ of the River Severn and ends in Gas Street Basin in Birmingham. It is 29 miles (47 km) long. There are 58 locks in total on the canal, including the 30 Tardebigge Locks, one of the longest lock flights in Europe. The canal climbs 428 feet (130 m) from Worcester to Birmingham. Hence, the mention of Birmingham sitting on a plateau earlier on.

The canal was open in its entirety in 1815 after the initial act of parliament to construct it was passed in 1791. This makes a lot of the bridges and locks over 200 years old which as the video demonstrates are starting to show their age. Though not used for general traffic access anymore, they are very important to farmers to be able to move their livestock and get around their properties. As they are owned by the Canal and River Trust, they are responsible for their upkeep and must keep them available to the farmers.

A major user of this canal was the Cadbury chocolate factories at Bournville and Blackpole, Worcester. There is still the Cadbury factory at Bournville which we will pass in the next week. It is 20 pound to visit the factory and you get a couple of free samples plus it is geared towards kids with very little demonstration of how the chocolate is actually made. Hmmm, you can buy a shit load of chocolate for 20 pounds and look on google to see how it is made!!

This photo is going to probably end up as our favourite of the trip. It was just one of those quick backward glances where you knew you had the perfect shot. The boater is a service boat that cruises around the canals selling coal, gas, wood and other odds and sods. The lighting was perfect as was the surroundings – this epitomises the canals to us.

We made it to our designated mooring, right outside the Eagle and Sun pub which we hear has a great carvery. Too hot for that, but not for a pint in their beer garden.


3 thoughts on “Worcester and Birmingham Canal –  13th July 2022

  1. Welcome to our home canal. I hope you are enjoying the trip and if you have completed Tardebigge by now, that you were lucky enough to find some voluntary lock keepers. If you haven’t got there yet, so stop for a brief time (if no one is on your tail) and walk to the top of the reservoir – the views are worth it. The flight is long, but is very peaceful and the locks are not too hard to work. I hope you find deep shade on Monday and Tuesday. Your feelings about the Cadbury factory are correct. Have you been to Birmingham before? We used to love being there on our boat. Jennie, formally of nb Tentatrice.

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    1. Thanks Jennie. We have done up to the Queens Head pub today and tomorrow is the Tardebigge flight. We have decided to get into Birmingham by lunchtime on Monday and shelter in air conditioning for those two days.

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      1. I am sure you will be making an early start tomorrow. Do enjoy the trip up the locks. We used to be rangers along the top half of the flight, but had to give up due to health issues – mostly rotten knees! Sheltering Mon and Tues sounds like a plan! I will watch your blog with interest.

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