KIDDERMINSTER AND RETURN FROM ALVECHURCH
You can do this route from :
Stourport Basins - discover the historic heart of Stourport-on-Severn and its unique origins as a canal town. The Stourport Canal Basins are made up of five historic basins and are home to nearly 100 beautifully painted and colourful narrow boats.
Tardebigge - the thirty locks in the Tardebigge Flight make it the largest flight of locks in Britain and raise the Worcester and Birmingham Canal up 220 feet through some delightful countryside. Complete this feat of engineering and get a real feeling of satisfaction as you look back on this magnificent flight of locks.
The town of Kidderminster has much to offer.
Severn Valley Railway, conveniently situated within walking distance of the canal alongside the railway network’s site. The first indication to the existence of the steam railway is the very impressive Severn Valley viaduct as you leave Kidderminster, take your time to improve your chances of seeing a steam train cross the viaduct to truly take a step back in time.
Read our cruising notes to help you plan your canal boat holidayRead our cruising notes.
Leaving Alvechurch Marina, you will soon reach your first tunnel – Shortwood Tunnel, which is 614 yards long. Look out for water dripping from the roof of the tunnel, and don't forget to put your headlight on.
A little further and you will be at the second tunnel – Tardebigge Tunnel, a little shorter at only 580 yards long.
Very soon, after cruising through Tardebigge Wharf, you will catch sight of the first of the locks, which you will tackle tomorrow.
An early night would be advisable as tomorrow will be busy.
You have cruised 2 miles in just over an hour.
Your destination today is Astwood Bottom Lock No. 17, 5 miles away.
The first task is to navigate your way through the longest flight of locks in the UK – the Tardebigge Flight, 30 locks in total. A mammoth task, but if you have lots of crew it shouldn't be too bad. Once you've done a few, looking at them stretching into infinity, you wonder if you will ever reach the end, and each one looks exactly like the last til you can't remember how many you have navigated! It will be worth it! You will have a sense of pride at the end, that you have mastered the longest flight, which is an achievement.
There are places you can moor for a short time in between the locks, for a restorative cup of tea, or something stronger, so do take advantage.
Once you reach the last one, you will see a pub, like an oasis in the desert! So moor up and perhaps have a nice meal across the canal (accessible by bridge) at The Queens Head on Sugarbrook Lane at Stoke Pound. The food here is good, and well-behaved children and dogs are welcome. Many of the tables overlook the canal, and there is an outside decking area.
A little further on and you will get to Stoke Bottom Lock, then the Astwood 5 Locks. Once you have passed through them, you can moor up for the night, and congratulate yourselves for having got this far.
You have cruised 5 miles and navigated 41 locks in just under 8 hours.
On leaving Astwood Bottom Lock No. 17 you will soon reach Hanbury Junction, where the junction is with the Droitwich Canal – bear right here onto the Droitwich Canal.
Soon there are more locks – 6 in total – before you reach the junction of the Droitwich Barge Canal and Droitwich Junction Canal, where you take the Droitwich Barge Canal.
You will now be in the suburbs of Droitwich, and after the Three Swing Bridges, you might like to moor up and have a look around.
Droitwich town (shortened from Droitwich Spa), is built on huge deposits of salt, which has been extracted for many centuries. The ratio of salt per gallon of Droitwich brine is only rivalled by the Dead Sea, and is ten tines stronger than sea water.
The town itself has much to offer in the way of shops and cafe's, pubs and restaurants, so take the time to stroll around and enjoy the sights. For more information about the town and what you can see and do there.
Moving on, you will come to a small, pretty village called Salwarpe. There are some beautiful old buildings here, including Salwarpe Court, a C15th/C16th Grade II listed manor house. It is well worth having a look around the village if this sort of thing appeals to you.
Leaving here, you will approach the Ladywood Locks and then Hawford Locks, before reaching Hawford Junction, where the canal joins the River Severn. You now need to bear right onto the River Severn. You will then be able to moor anywhere along here for the night, near a place called Grimley, which is a small farming village that can't be seen from the river. Once moored, you might like to walk into the village and have a well earned drink or meal chosen from the extensive menu at The Wagon Wheel.
You have navigated 17 locks over 8 miles in just under 7 hours.
Leaving your mooring, you will soon approach and area called Holt Fleet, where there is a delicate iron bridge. For the most part, you will be cruising through peaceful countryside, with woods and fields on either side of you. Astley Wood is to your left, as is an area called The Burf.
Soon you will reach Astley Cross, and the junction where the Severn meets the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. You will need to bear right onto the Staffs and Worcs Canal, via the Stourport Narrow Locks Entrance . You must use the correct locks at this point.
Once on the canal, moor up and visit Stourport on Severn, where there is a vast amount to see and do.
Moving on, you will soon be in Kidderminster. On the way, you will pass Falling Sands Pipe Bridge No. 2, which will be your mooring for the night, so you can either turn here now, or cruise on into Kidderminster to look around, then turn and come back, or turn and moor up now and take public transport into Kidderminster. The choice is yours.
The town of Kidderminster has much to offer. There are lots of things to see and do, including the Severn Valley Railway, Whitlenge Gardens and Nursery, Worcestershire County Museum, and much more, including places to eat, pubs, etc.
When you leave here, if you haven't turned already, then you should do so, if you have then make your way back to the mooring for the night, as tomorrow you will begin the return journey.
Today you have travelled 14 miles and navigated 12 locks in just under 7 hours.
You will now be making your return journey, so if there was anything you missed on the way up, you could stop on the way back if you wish.
On day 8 you will need to return the boat by 9.30 am, so do make sure you are not too far away from the marina.
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.
Maps and Guides
Pubs available on this canal route:-
|Distance from Alvechurch
|The Bulls Head
|77 The Green, Kings Norton B38 8RU
NB: Distances are as the crow flies and will vary for actual canal boating travel distance.