Canal boat holidays—Staffs & Worcs Canal

Published: Wednesday, 19 January 2011

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Staffs & Worcs Canal—South

From Autherley Junction the canal takes on a different aspect, through a cutting slicing through Wolverhampton, though it simply does not encroach on the waterway. Compton Lock, is the first that Brindley built on the canal way back in the 1760's.

Many find this section of the canal so attractive as it passes for mile after mile through pleasant wooded areas that are most picturesque, though they present problems when wanting  to obtain a television signal!

Once again the locks are fairly easy to operate, and it is the locks that give the waterway an attraction, first with Bratch Locks that seem like a steep staircase, but are not, with three separate locks jammed close together, operated together with side ponds, and luckily for beginners, a resident lock keeper.

After this comes the actual staircase of the Botterham Lock, but this time no lock keeper, but very detailed instructions on how to operate.  And as beginners tend to flood the bottom chamber, there is a a handy overflow to prevent any damage.

A great attraction of this waterway is its  sandstone cliffs, and even a stable cut out of sandstone at a particular lock.

Unlike its Northern counterpart, this section has boatyards and marinas, so there are plenty of facilities, with mooring all along the waterway, some with rings.

Shopping too is no problem, for in addition to the smaller shops in the villages there are canalside supermarkets, with two in Kidderminster.

A warning about Kidderminster, as it is not a recommended town to moor overnight owing to reported vandalism and drug use by the side of the canal, though it is an exceptional town for shopping.

The waterway ends at Stourport with its many basins and its locks down on to the Severn, a vastly different waterway.

This section is okay for beginners, the locks are fairly easy and there are plenty of villages and eateries along the way, and shopping is no problem, though again, the locks can be quite fierce.

The two tunnels are very short, and it is easy to see if a boat is coming the other way, so presenting no problem. The only problem being for television addicts, unable to obtain a television signal in the thickly wooded areas of the waterway.

This section of the canal is 25 miles long with 26 locks,  two very short tunnels, but no lift or swing bridges.

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The more black stars the better.