Bradley Canal

The Bradley Canal is the name being given to the waterway created by the proposed restoration of closed canals within the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN).  The Bradley Canal will provide a new route between the BCN Walsall Canal and the BCN Main Line.

Route of the Bradley Canal
Route of the Bradley Canal

This will include three distinct former waterways:

  • Bradley Branch, with nine locks between the Walsall Canal at Moorcroft Junction and Bradley Locks Junction
  • Rotton Brunt Line, a straight cut off section which once avoided a winding section of the Old Main LIne, from Bradley Locks Junction to Batmans Hill Junction
  • Old Main LIne, from Batmans Hill Junction to Bradley Workshops

From  Bradley Workshops the canal is still open and forms:

  • The Old Main Line section usually known as the Wednesbury Oak Loop, and sometimes as the Bradley Arm, from Bradley Workshops to Deepfields Junction with the Main Line.
Extract from free Bradley Canal Map
Extract from free Bradley Canal Map

Detailed maps of the restoration route can be downloaded in both Acrobat (pdf) and Memory-Map (qct) formats and, like all the maps for restoration projects, the Bradley Canal maps are free to download.

Start of the Bradley Canal where it meets the Walsall Canal at Moorcroft Junction
Moorcroft Junction where the Bradley Canal meets the Walsall Canal

I walked the route recently and the paths are in good condition throughout.  I was surprised by the long range views available from the top of Bradley Locks.  Please take a look at the photos which form a virtual cruise along the Bradley Canal, starting at Moorcroft Junction where it meets the Walsall Canal, or at Bradley Workshops.

Uttoxeter Canal Map

The Uttoxeter Canal once ran from Froghall Junction at the end of the Caldon Canal to Uttoxeter.  The canal opened in 1811 and closed in 1849, except for the first lock and basin which remained in use until 1930.  The Churnet Valley Railway was built on parts of the canal bed.

> Uttoxeter Canal Map
Uttoxeter Canal Map

The first lock and basin re-opened  in 2005 as the first stage in restoration.

My December map updates included a Uttoxeter Canal map showing the original route and the proposed new route for restoration.  Like all the maps for canal restoration projects the Uttoxeter Canal map is free to download.

> Extract from Uttoxeter Canal Map
Extract from Uttoxeter Canal Map

This is the latest map to be released covering restoration projects around the connected canal systems.  I have two more projects in hand then I’m wondering which to draw next.  Do you have any suggestions about which canal restoration projects I should be producing maps for next?  Please leave a comment, or email me direct – those most requested are likely to be next on my list.

Map Updates – December 2015 – Issue 45

I’ve just released the December batch of map updates, bringing them up to issue 45.  Over forty maps have been updated, although many of the changes are very minor but I like to keep them up to date.  Even a very minor change could be important to somebody.

> Extract from Lapal Canal Map
Extract from Lapal Canal Map

You can see a full list of the issued maps and those with significant changes are: Birmingham Canal Navigations Caldon Canal Chesterfield Canal (Restoration Section Free) Lapal Canal (Free) River Trent Shropshire Union Canal Trent & Mersey Canal Four Counties Ring Black Country Ring Remember, you can update your map to the latest version – free during the first year and a small charge after that.  You can also upgrade to a larger map.  Just email with details of your existing maps for a no obligation quote. There’s still time to order for Christmas, as the last posting day is Monday 21st, but please order before noon to ensure I have time to get it into the post box.  The England & Wales Cruising Maps are proving very popular this year.

> Coverage of the England & Wales Canal and River Map
Coverage of the England & Wales Canal and River Maps


Into Birmingham

We continued along the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal into Birmingham.


The winter sunshine wasn’t producing much warmth and we were glad of the locks to work to keep us warm.


We weren’t the only ones hoping for warmth in the sunshine.  This dead tree makes a handy perching place where you can be on your own, or in groups.


It still surprises me how green the grass is when almost everything else has turned brown near the end of autumn.

Looking back as we approached Salford Junction I spotted a new sign, requiring boaters to come up from the left and merge with the motorway traffic.


We’re moored outside Star City, on the 24 hour moorings at the start of the Grand Union Canal.  Tomorrow I will reverse back to Salford Junction, using the bow thruster to steer, then we’ll head up the Aston and Farmers Bridge flights to our home mooring in the centre of Birmingham.

Homewards along the Coventry Canal

We’re heading home with our repainted Waterway Routes Narrowboat.

> Atherstone Locks
Atherstone Locks

The sunshine looks nice but it was bitterly cold. There was a sprinkling of snow on the boat this morning and it took until nearly lunchtime for that to melt.  There are lots of marks appearing on the boat but they are all reflections – well nearly all – we did touch the side in a few locks.

We passed through Atherstone and Glascote Locks on the Coventry Canal and turned left at Fazeley Junction onto the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal where we are moored near Fisher’s Mill Bridge.

Tomorrow (Sunday) we will be heading into Birmingham, although we don’t expect to make it all the way home, and will probably moor outside Star City for the night.

Repainted Waterway Routes Narrowboat

We left Rose Narrowboats this morning with our newly repainted Waterway Routes Narrowboat.

Repainted Waterway Routes Narrowboat leaving Rose Narrowboats
> Repainted Waterway Routes Narrowboat leaving Rose Narrowboats

A few days ago it was behind those green doors in the paint shed.  Paul (the painter) has finished his hard work and the boat looks new again.  I wonder how long we can keep it looking like that.

> Repainted Waterway Routes Narrowboat moored at Rose Narrowoboats
> Repainted Waterway Routes Narrowboat moored at Rose Narrowboats

The name is on the bows, as before, so people will recognise us coming.

We’re on our way back to our home mooring at Sherborne Wharf, in Birmingham.  We moored at the top of Atherstone Locks late this afternoon.  Tomorrow should see us through Atherstone and Glascote Locks and, perhaps, a little onto the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal.  Please give us a wave if you see us.

Chesterfield Canal DVDs

I am pleased to say our Chesterfield Canal DVDs have just been released and they will make great Christmas presents.

Chesterfield Canal Combined DVD Cover.

The Chesterfield Canal DVDs are available in our usual three formats:-

  • Popular – like a television programme showing the highlights of the canal
  • Bowcam – a forward facing camera, speeded up for a little fun, showing the whole canal
  • Combined – both Popular and Bowcam in one box for the best of both worlds, saving money and postage.
Chesterfield Canal DVDs
(Popular, Bowcam and Combined)

The DVDs follow the navigable canal from the River Trent at West Stockwith to the limit of navigation at Kiveton Park.  We follow the section proposed for restoration from Kiveton park to Staveley on foot.  Then, with kind permission from the Chesterfield Canal Trust, we follow one of their trip boats from Staveley into Chesterfield.

Map showing the route covered by the Chesterfield Canal DVDs.

The Popular and Combined DVDs each include an information booklet and a fold-out map.

Contents of the Chesterfield Canal Combined DVD.

Enjoy this lovely canal from the comfort of your armchair.  These Chesterfield Canal DVDs, or any others from our great range of waterway DVDs, will make a great Christmas present.  Why not treat your family and friends, or start dropping hints about what you would like for Christmas.

We also have the Chesterfield Canal Maps which are available to download in both Acrobat (pdf) and Memory-Map (qct) formats..

Chesterfield Canal Map
Extract from the Chesterfield Canal Map

The Chesterfield Canal Maps are also available on CD in a presentation box which makes them another great Christmas present idea.

Chesterfield Canal Map Cover.

A big thank you to the members of the Chesterfield Canal Trust who helped on their trip boat and with proof watching the DVDs.

Map Updates – November 2015 – Issue 44

I’ve just published the monthly update to my maps for November 2015 and the England & Wales map is now as Issue 44.

Many of the changes are small, but important to those involved.  One example is completion of the next section of the Ashby Canal through Bridge 62 to a new winding hole.

> Extract from Ashby Canal Map
Extract from Ashby Canal Map

This is a short winding hole, being 15.2m (50′) long and, like all winding holes less than full length for the canal, is carefully marked as such on the maps.

Those maps with significant changes this month are listed here.

England & Wales Waterway Map

Ashby Canal Map (the restoration section is free to download)
Cotswold Canals Map (free to download)
Wilts & Berks Canal Map (free to download)

There are a few others, like the Grand Union Canal Map, which have minor updates too.

Thank you to all those who have let me know about updates they have found.  I can’t check every mile of every canal personally each month, and feedback is important to help me keep the maps up to date.

More Gloss Coats

Further progress with repainting our boat, visible during two recent visits.

Last week I saw the first gloss coat rubbed down and the second gloss coat being applied.  The name panel looks shiny with the second gloss coat on the right hand side.


The left hand name panel is painted the same red colour, although filming inside under difficult lighting make it look a different colour.  The inner blue panel has its second gloss coat too.


This week I saw the third, and final top coat nearing completion.  Paul (the painter) is carefully reaching over the side to paint the blue on the roof.


Paul can paint the circles around the mushroom vents without masking tape – and they do look circular.


This is half way through week five out of an estimated six weeks.

First Top Coat

I was back at Rose Narrowboats again yesterday, to see even more progress with repainting our narrowboat.

Bows with second undercoat sanded down.
Bows with second undercoat sanded down.

The bows, which looked shiny in my last post because the undercoat was wet have been sanded down.  Now its the red paint looking good with the first coat of gloss complete.

Front with second undercoat sanded down.
Front, with second undercoat sanded down.

The whole of the front had been sanded down and will probably have the first coat of gloss on by the time I publish this.

Paul (the painter, not me) painting inside the marked panels on the left hand side.
Paul (the painter, not me) painting inside the marked panels on the left hand side.

Paul, the painter, was working his way along the left hand side of the boat, painting inside the marked out panels.

Paul, working his way around the outside of the panels.
Paul, working his way around the outside of the panels.

A lovely picture of Paul’s reflection in the red name panel.  He’s working his way around the outside of the panels with the blue paint now.

Right hand side with first top coat still wet
Right hand side with first top coat still wet

Paul had already finished the first (of three) top coats on the right hand side.  The reflections are gradually making it harder to photograph the boat as they fool the camera.  The red name panels in the last two photo really are the same colour, but the light and reflections make them look very different.

Paul has warned me that the boat will look different outside.