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You can do this route from :
Glascote Basin Boatyard.

Glascote Basin Boatyard



Leaving the much-revamped water frontages of Birmingham via the New Main Line and negotiating parts of the elegant Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal and the Trent & Mersey Canal before returning along the Coventry Canal and the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, this voyage offers vivid contrasts between heritage and contemporary life.

Route Info

Route Facts & Figures

Recommended Holiday
Duration : 7 nights.

Total Cruising Days : 8.00
(Partial or full days)

Total Cruising Time : 44.00 hours

Total Distance : 78.00 miles

Number of Locks : 83

Number of Tunnels : 5

Number of Aqueducts : 0

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Read our cruising notes.


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Cruising Notes

This ring is also known as the Black Country ring

Step back through 900 years of history with a visit to Tamworth Castle. Uncover the secrets held within the chambers and hallways of this unique building and get a real sense of how the Saxons, Normans, Tudors and Victorians lived. It has a Norman motte, an Elizabethan timbered hall, and Jacobean apartments. Tamworth itself has a Post office, stores, garage, station and cinema.

If you wish to start your holiday off with an adventure, how about walking to the Snow Dome which is only about 10 minutes from the marina. All weather skiing and snowboarding centre with kit rental, an ice rink, swimming pool and gym. It is open until late every night.

Day 1

Turn right out of the marina

You will soon reach the only locks on this stretch at Glascote, there are 2 locks fairly close together.

Houses and factories flank the canal as it passes Kettlebrook Wharf, and then it moves briefly into more open country, crossing the River Tame on an impressive aqueduct. The Three Tuns Pub is alongside the canal serving food all day and has moorings.

There are useful stores south of Bridge 76.

At Fazeley junction , the Coventry Canal meets the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal and continues north west towards Fradley Junction, initially on the Birmingham & Fazeley canal, until it becomes the Coventry Canal once again.

This all gives way to lightly wooded open fields towards Hopwas Hill as the Canal follows the course of the River Tame very closely, passing below Hopwas village.

Hopwas is a pretty & tidy village with a green, built on the side of a hill. It has a PO, and a convenience store. On the Canal is the Tame Otter Pub, where real ale & food are served all day, there are moorings available, also here is the Red Lion, food at lunch and in the evenings, steaks are a speciality.

Moor for the night here, it is 2 hours to here.

Day 2

Just beyond here there is a delightful wooded stretch that covers the side of the hill.

Landing is forbidden because these are the Whittington Firing Ranges.

After the wood the canal continues in a side cut embankment with a view of Tamworth to the east.

The next village you will reach is Whittington. There is a PO stores, garage, chemist, Chinese takeaway & off licence. The village centre is to the west of Whittington bridge, the shops are best approached from bridge 78. There are 3 pubs here, The Swan Inn on the Canalside, and the Bell Inn & Dog Inn in the main street.
From here you can catch a bus into Lichfield, which is well worth the detour.

The three spires of the 13th century Cathedral in Lichfield, the 'Ladies of the Vale' are a visible landmark for miles around. The modern shopping centre contrasts sharply with the graceful Georgian buildings of the city centre. There are excellent pubs & restaurants and night clubs, with a Farmers market on Sundays.
You can also catch a train into the centre of Birmingham from Litchfield.

Between Whittington & bridge 78, the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal changes to the Coventry Canal.
At Huddlesford is the junction with the Wyrley & Essington Canal, now only used for private moorings. There is an award winning friendly canalside pub here, - The Plough serving real ale & good food. You can walk the 1- 2 miles to Lichfield.

The Canal runs northward through flat open country and a swing bridge announces your arrival at Fradley Junction, where you meet the Trent & Mersey canal.
There is a boatyard here, a british Waterways information centre and cafe, and a very popular pub, The Swan – reputedly one of the most photographed pubs in the country. It is in a 200 yr old listed building, with cosy fires, real ales, and good bar meals with a carvery on Sundays.

You arrive on the Trent & Mersey in the middle of a 5-lock flight.

Also nearby & good for kids to unwind is the Fradley pool Nature reserve, with lots of walks quite close to the Canal.

The canal soon enters quiet countryside until it gets to the village of Handsacre. There is useful store 500 yards south of bridge 59, and a fish and chip shop and a cafe near bridge 58. The net village is Armitage and there is a very popular restaurant called Tom Cobleighs Spode Cottage, also the Plum Pudding Pub is canalside, and the Ash tree at bridge 62.
You pass on your left Spode House, a former home of the pottery family.

The huge chimneys of Rugeley Power station come into view, there are pleasant moorings by bridge 66 with the town centre and shops just a short walk away.

Moor for the night it is 7 hours to here

Day 3

Cannock chase to the south covers an area of 26 miles and has been designated an area of outstanding natural beauty. Near the Sherlock valley are German war graves from the 1st and 2nd World wars. The museum of Cannock Chase illustrate the life of the Chase, from medieval times to a 19th century colliery.

To the south of Wolseley bridge is a pub, indian restaurant, and antique, craft & garden centre.

The village of Little Haywood is off to the right, to your left you have lovely views of Shugborough Hall. Shugborough Hall dates from 1693 and belonged to the Earl of Lichfields family. The estate is now managed by Staffordshire County Council and is open during the season. You can look around the Mansion, servants quarters, walled garden and beautiful terraces and stone monuments with extravagant names scattered around the stunning 19th century Grade One listed gardens. Also on hand is Park Farm which contains an agricultural museum a working mill and a rare breeds centre. There are stores in Great haywood.

After the lock turn left at Great Haywood Junction onto the Staffordshire & Worcestershire canal.
You soon come into Tixall Wide, which resembles a lake rather than a canal. To the north is the extraordinary Tixall Gatehouse , this massive 4 storey Elizabethan building dates from 1598 and is all that is left of Tixall hall. To the south is Shugborough Hall and the park surrounding it.

At Milford there is good farm shop south of bridge 105. Your crew should always be at the ready on this canal, as the locks come at regular intervals!
Radford bridge is the closest point to Stafford, about 1.5 miles if you fancy the walk, although there is frequent bus service. (Stafford is to the North, or right of the canal.)
Stafford is well worth visiting as there is a lot of fine old buildings including the City Hall complex of Italianate buildings dating from 1880. There is also a robust looking gaol and there are some very pretty back alleys.

The canal continues along the Canal until it reaches the relatively old village of Penkridge, and you can moor up above the lock. There is a Pub canalside by the lock, and a few pubs and stores and a bank in the village.

Moor here for the night it is 7.5 hours to here

Day 4

At Filance bridge 84 there is a useful Spar shop 100 yards north on the estate.

Gailey Lock is approached directly as you go under the A51, look out for the large round toll keepers watch tower , there is now a canal shop selling gifts on the bottom floor.
½ mile east of Gailey Wharf is the Gailey & Calf Heath reservoirs which are now nature reserves, and ½ west is the Spread Eagle- a large road house serving real ale & food.

The canal is very twisting which shows its considerable age, you soon pass Calf Heath Marina near Hatherton branch Junction. There is a restaurant serving reasonable priced food in the marina.

You soon reach the outskirts of Wolverhampton, and the junction of the Shopshire Union Canal with the Stafforshire and Worcester at Autherley.

If you wish to moor before you reach Wolverhampton and Birmingham it is 5.5 hours to here.

Day 5

Continue on down the Staff & Worcs Canal as you will soon reach the Aldersley Junction where you turn left onto the Birmingham navigations.

21 Locks now carry you up into the heart of Wolverhampton so your crew are going to keep fit today ( you will need a BW anti vandal key) ! 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. It is also not far into the centre of Wolverhampton.

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 also on your left. At Tipton Green you can moor along the canal to your right which leads to the Black Country Museum and Dudley.
It is 6 hours to here.

You have to visit Mad O'Rourke's World Famous Pie Factory which is close to here. Home of Desperate Dan's Cow Pie the World Famous Meal in a Pie. Located at Hurst Lane, Tipton, with sawdust on the floor, a legendary pie menu and meals served on shovels, its an experience !!

Day 6

Turn your boat around and head back out to the Birmingham Main Line and negotiate the 3 Factory Locks.

The Birmingham Level main Line past Tipton Green is very uninteresting until you reach the centre of Birmingham, which is the heart of Birmingham's canal network, and which has been 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 and entertainment area and there are many shopping options within a short walk.

Amongst some of the attractions are the National Sea Life Centre and the Jewellery Quarter Discovery centre, also many fine Art galleries and over 500 restaurants offering every choice of food!

For shopping a visit to the new Bullring is a must, which covers an area the size of 26 football pitches and a has a huge range of shops.
Close by is the National Indoor Arena, one of the busiest large scale indoor sporting and entertainment venues in Europe.

Turn right at Deep Cuttings Junction past Cambrian Wharf and you will meet the Farmers Bridge flight of locks, you will need a BW anti vandal key.

From this point the locks fall steeply away from the heart of Birmingham.

At Aston Junction continue left and northwards where you encounter the Aston flight of locks which takes the canal down 11 locks to Salford Junction. Aston Villa Football Club is about a mile to your left at Holborn Hill Bridge , and they offer Stadium tours , which is a chance to see behind one of the oldest Football clubs in the World. Aston hall is close to the Football Club , built in the 1600's this is one of the last great houses to be built in the Jacobean style .

At Salford Junction turn right onto the Birmingham & Fazeley Junction.

You soon pass Star City on your right, Star City is one of the UK's largest leisure destinations - a unique family entertainment destination with 12 restaurants and 11 leisure attractions including a 25 screen VUE cinema. Funfairs, fireworks displays and other exciting family orientated events regularly take place at StarCity, including high-profile attractions such as the Moscow State Circus and Cirque De Soleil. It is also home to England’s largest Indoor Adventure Golf Complex, a 22 lane ten pin bowling alley, a purpose built all-weather 5-a-side football center, a Laser Station and a Twin Peaks Family Climbing Centre.

You can moor close to here, or if you turn immediately right at Salford Junction onto the Grand Union Canal, you can moor alongside Star City where there are good moorings and CCTV. Tomorrow you will have to reverse your boat back onto the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.

It is 9 hours to here

Day 7 Day 8

All shops are readily available alongside the canal beyond Salford, a good access point is where the A452 crosses the canal at Tyburn bridge.

The Minworth Locks are soon reached and begin the descent towards Fazeley & there is a handy transport cafe near Hansons bridge. There are also pubs – the Hare & Hounds by Minworth Green bridge, and The Boat by Caters bridge.

As the canal descends towards Fazeley it loses the industry that has accompanied it since Birmingham.
At the village of Curdworth there is a pub to the south of Curdworth bridge, and another in the village.
Beyond Curdworth Tunnel and the M6 motorway, the canal continues to Fazeley in complete isolation through empty fields, only the 11 locks falling to Fazeley junction breaking the journey.

At Bodymoor Heath is a lovely pub- the Dog & Doublet by Cheatles Farm bridge. To the right is Kingsbury Water Park, a 600 acre landscaped park containing 30 lakes from old gravel pits. There are walks, nature trails, fishing, horse riding, sailing and wind surfing and power boating.
There is also a childrens farm at broomey Croft near Kingsbury Swivel bridge.

The Gothic style footbridge at Drayton Bassett is worth a photo, it has twin battlemented towers which look quite ridiculous on such a small construction, but it is wonderfully eccentric.
Just beyond that is Drayton Manor Theme park to the left of the road. It has 15 acres of serious rides so a definite day out for the children, also for the smaller children there is Thomas Land, and for all there is a Zoo to look around.

At Fazeley Junction the Coventry Canal meets the Birmingham & Fazeley, turn a sharp right, and you will be back on the home stretch , negotiate the 2 locks at Glascote and moor in the marina where you started.

It is 8 hours back to here


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.


The following boats operate on this route (subject to availability)
New Dawn Canal Boat
Class : H-Dawn
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

Dawn Til Dusk Canal Boat
Class : H-Dusk
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).


Maps and Guides

Sorry, we don't have any maps for this route currently

Pub Guide

Sorry, we have no pub guide for this route currently.


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The information above is provided in good faith to assist you with planning your canal boat holiday. Information accuracy cannot be guaranteed, however, if you do see something that needs updating, please don't hesitate to contact us.