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on the Canals and Rivers of the UK

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Our guide to the waterways of the UK in detail.

The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal.

The canal starts at King's Norton junction on the South Western outskirts of Birmingham. In the first twelve miles It drops down nineteen locks to the junction at Kingswood with the Grand Union Canal. It continues for another thirteen miles down thirty five locks to join the River Avon at Stratford upon Avon.

It starts in King's Norton with a guillotine stop lock. It stays on the level for the next ten miles to Hockley Heath using a tunnel at Brandwood, 352 yards, cuttings, embankments and a couple of short aqueducts to do this. Along this length are three draw bridges and the feeder channel from the Earlswood reservoirs which were constructed in 1816 once the canal had resumed creating locks down to Stratford. For the first six miles it cuts through suburban housing estates then comes out into the country where it stays.

After Hockley Heath the canal then drops through the nineteen Lapworth locks to the junction at Kingswood with the Grand Union, formerly the Warwick and Birmingham canal. Nine of them in a spectacular close placed flight.

From Kingswood junction the Stratford canal carries on through another seventeen locks to Preston Bagot Bottom Lock. The locks gradually getting further apart and in more and more rural surroundings. One of the locks, Bucket Lock has a very short iron aqueduct immediately against it's top gate. After Lapworth the nature of the canal has changed, this section of the canal was built very much on a budget. Bridges are built without towpath and a slit in them for the towrope. The lock keepers cottages are barrel vaulted, probably reusing bridge formers for the roof.

A six mile level pound follows Preston Bagot with just the one lock isolated in the middle of it. On this section there are with two cast iron aqueducts, one the Edestone aqueduct which crosses over a stream, railway and a road and is the longest aqueduct in the UK. Finally the canal drops down into Stratford through the eleven Wilmcote flight and the five Stratford locks. Under a low bridge you come into the basin alongside the river Avon and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre on the opposite, southern side of the basin is a broad lock down into the River Avon.


Books on this canal.

There are many books on this canal. One I would recommend is;

Stratford Canal. By Nick Gillingham, published in 2002 by Tamps Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7524-2122-0
A well illustrated history of this canal, its creation, decline and restoration.

There is a copy of this book in the library on the boats, which you can read while cruising with us.



We will be on this canal in 2012 during cruises

1, 6, 7, 12, 19, 20 , and 21


Some pictures of this canal?

Pictures from Stratford to Kingswood. / Pictures from Kingswood to King's Norton.


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
or email us at

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