The New Main Line of the Birmingham Canal Navigations runs straight past Deepfields Junction between Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
Category: Bradley Arm Photos (BCN)
The BCN Wednesbury Oak Loop is the remaining part of the BCN Old Main Line which was severed at Bradley Workshops many years ago. The photo is taken from the BCN Main Line, with Wolverhampton to the left and Birmingham to the right.
Immediately after Deepfields Junction the canal passes under the main Birmingham to Wolverhampton railway line, a little to the north of Coseley station.
Deepfields Bridge is a modern replacement for the original bridge.
The route appears to skirt around the housing estate, but the canal was simply following the contours through open countryside when it was built and it’s the modern housing estate that has been built up to the line of the canal.
The towpath is easily walk-able along the full length of the Wednesbury Oak Canal and it links with the footpath along the line of the proposed Bradley Canal to form a through route.
The narrows are from a former bridge which, presumably, once carried the pipe across the canal and that’s now been made into a free standing structure.
There were many short arms along the canal, providing connections and moorings for local industries and a few, like this one, are still identifiable, although most have been filled in with nothing left to see.
There’s still a lovely green corridor for the canal to pass through with most of the modern housing set back a little from the canal.
The moorhen sitting on the nest stood up as we approached and revealed three eggs and two very young chicks, possibly watching their first boat going past.
The man looking over the fence on the left was one of several locals who stood and watched the moorhen sitting on the nest in the middle of the canal as we cruised slowly past.
The swan kept a very close eye on us as we cruised past – perhaps it had a nest nearby.
Found at several locations around the Birmingham Canal Navigations are horses tethered on a long line.
I can remember when both sides of the canal had the same sorts of industrial buildings as we can see on the left. Recently the industries on the right have been replaced by the modern housing.
Where houses replace old industries which came close to the canal there is nothing to separate the houses from the canal. Where houses are built on what was green space the hedge lines have mostly been retained to separate the building from the canal.
As well as the many short arms we have passed along the canal there was once a complete loop near Bradley Workshops. Looking back towards Deepfields Junction we can see the raised brickwork
The Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) are at a higher level than all the joining canals so water must be supplied from reservoirs or by pumping. A pumping station near Bradley Workshops lifts water from
This coots have built this nest in the middle of the canal, rarely disturbed by passing boats along this hardly used section of canal. It’s sitting on a clutch of eggs in the spring.
The coot stood up to stretch its legs as we cruised past, granting us this splendid view of the five eggs it has been sitting on.
The top is missing from this former bridge which once crossed the end of a loop which passed to our right and re-joined the canal further ahead (as we look towards Deepfields Junction).
This winding mechanism once allowed a chain to be pulled taught across the canal outside Bradley Workshops to stop boat movements. Possibly more of a deterrent to stop mischievous youths than real theft.
Bradley Workshops make lock gates for use throughout the canal system. There are several stacked outside awaiting collection, mostly by road but sometimes by boat.
Bradley Workshops, where lock gates are made, are near the end of the Wednesbury Oak Loop. This once formed a complete loop of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) Old Main Line until it fell into decline and was severed.
It’s not possible to walk through Bradley Workshops and the towpath becomes a separate footpath passing behind the workshops so it’s still possible to walk between the main towpath and the main road, and onto the Bradley Canal.
Having passed under the proposed lift bridge the final obstacle is to pass through the pub car park to join the end of the Bradley Arm which is just the other side of the wall at the far end of the car park.