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Our guide to the waterways of the UK in detail.

The Staff & Worcs Canal.


The Staffordshire & Worcestershire canal was built to connect the Trent and Mersey canal with the River Severn as part of the Grand Cross idea to connect the four main rivers of the UK, the rivers Severn, Trent, Mersey and Thames. It travels from Stourport for forty-six miles passing the outskirts of Wolverhampton to join the Trent & Mersey canal at Great Haywood near to Stafford.

It starts in the basins at Stourport, a Georgian town which was created by and to serve the canal. It then threads its way out of Stourport and through Kidderminster to reach the country at Wolverley after five miles and four locks. It climbs through another six locks to reach the junction at Stourton after twelve miles where the Stourbridge canal climbs off to the East to go up to Birmingham. After crossing over the river Stour on a aqueduct at the top of Kiderminister lock right below the church, the canal has followed the sandstone cliff's on the East bank of the river. In places like Austcliffe the sandstone leans over the canal. In other places the canal has been cut through short spurs of the cliffs to give us tunnels at Cookley, 65 yards, and Dunsley, 25 yards. Some of the locks like that at Debdale are also cut into the rock as is a stable there.

After Stourton the canal crosses back over the River Stour on a very solid typical aqueduct for this early date with a lake alongside and a curious boat house, the devil's den, cut into the rock alongside the aqueduct. The canal then continues to climb up to the summit level through another sixteen locks, all narrow and all varied they include the unusual three at Bratch and the two tier staircase at Botterham. For the last three miles the canal starts to pass through the outskirts of Wolverhampton. On the summit level first is Aldersely junction on the East where the Birmingham Canal Navigations climb up through twenty one locks to the centre of Wolverhampton and then Autherley Junction to the West where the Shropshire Union goes off to Chester and eventually the Mersey.

After Autherley Junction the Staff and Worcs continues along the eleven mile summit of this canal. For the first mile it passes through a very narrow rock cutting only wide enough for one boat to pass, fortunately it is straight and has space for one boat to pass in the middle. After the cutting we pass under the M54 and back out into the country. We pass Hatherton Junction where a very active society is restoring what will be another link through to the Birmingham canals and down the other side to the Coventry canal. Finally at Gailey the descent of twelve locks to Great Haywood, twenty miles away is started. At first the locks are close together and for the first seven miles the M6 keeps appearing. However when total quiet returns the locks spread out with only two more locks remaining Although Stafford and it's suburbs are now close they are well hidden keeping up the rural appearance of the canal. Finally after crossing the River Sow on a massive early aqueduct the canal arrives in the vicinity of Shrugborough Hall. To retain the views from the parkland the canal here broadens out into Tixall Wide with 'follies' in the distance. The canal then ends by arriving at Great Haywood junction over another aqueduct and under a much photographed towpath bridge.





We will be on this canal in 2012 during cruise



Some pictures of this canal?

Stourport to Stourton / Stourton to Autherley / Autherly to Great Haywood.


More information from Reed Boats about this canal.

A history of this canal.


Find our information about other canals and rivers on the canal index page.


If you have any questions then do ring us on 07977 229103
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