Category: Birmingham Cnl Navs (BCN) Photos

Smethwick Middle Lock

Looking uphill at Smethwick Locks from the Middle Lock towards the Top Lock.

Factory Junction

The photo is taken on the Main Line of the Birmingham Canal Navigations with Wolverhampton behind the camera.

Straight ahead is the New Main Line towards Birmingham and diverging to the right is the Old Main Line to Birmingham.

Ogley Junction

Ogley Junction is, today, considered the end of the Wyrley & Essington Canal which runs from Wolverhampton.

The Anglesey Branch runs from Ogley Junction to Anglesey Basin.

Anglesey Basin

The northernmost point of the Birmingham Canal Navigations is Anglesey Basin at the end of the Anglesey Branch which starts at Ogley Junction.

Deepfields Junction

The New Main Line of the Birmingham Canal Navigations runs straight past Deepfields Junction between Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

Deepfields Junction

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.

Under the Railway Line

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

Deepfields Bridge is a modern replacement for the original bridge.

Skirting around the houses

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.

Walking along the towpath

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.

Narrows of the former bridge

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.

One of the arms is still just there

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.

Modern Housing near the canal

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.

Moorhen chicks

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.

Moorhen sitting on nest

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.

Gliding along

The swan kept a very close eye on us as we cruised past – perhaps it had a nest nearby.

Watched by the wildlife

Found at several locations around the Birmingham Canal Navigations are horses tethered on a long line.

Modern housing replaces older industries

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.

Open spaces near the 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.

Can you see the junction?

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

Crystal clear water

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

Nesting Coot

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.

Five Coot’s Eggs

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.

Former bridge over the former arm

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).

Winding mechanism

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.

Completed lock gates

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

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.

Footpath behind Bradley Workshops

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.

Through the Car Park

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.

Moorcroft Junction

The Bradley Canal starts at Moorcroft Junction with the Walsall Canal, shown above. We are standing on the towpath looking across the Walsall Canal and into the Bradley Canal. Head left along the Walsall Canal for Tame Valley Junction and right for Walsall Junction

Almost passable

Looking along the Bradley Canal, with the Walsall Canal behind us, it’s just possible to imagine a narrowboat cruising along here when the vegetation has been trimmed. The first 500m looks like this.

Walking the towpath

The towpath is walkable throughout the Bradley Canal, although the trees would make it difficult to pull a boat with a rope.

Lock 1 on the Bradley Canal

Lock 1 on the Bradley Canal is the first of nine locks which will lift boats from the Walsall level to the Wolverhampton level of the Birmingham Canal Navigations.

Lock 2 on the Bradley Canal

Lock 2, like lock 1, has been partially restored then filled in for safety and to preserve the work.

Bottom Locks of the Bradley Flight

Looking down over the bottom two locks of the Bradley Flight from Bradley Bridge, the Midland Metro Bridge near the bottom lock.

Bradley Bridge

Bradley Bridge crosses the Bradley Canal below Lock 3. The almost level road surface today hides the former hump backed bridge. The top of the arch is still just be visible in the brickwork near pavement level.

Bradley Lock Flight

Looking up the Bradley Locks flight towards locks 4 to 9 the stepped appearance in the landscape indicates the location of the former locks.

Bradley Locks

The canal climbs up past the houses and will soon have wide ranging views across the landscape.

Rocket Pool

As we near the top of the Bradley Locks flight we can see Rocket Pool to the right between the houses.

View from the top of Bradley Locks

The views from the top of Bradley Locks is one of the places with the longest range views around the BCN. The stepped descent in the footpath indicates where the locks used to be.

Former Rotton Brunt Line

From Bradley Locks Junction at the top of Bradley Locks the former alignment to the south is still followed by the footpath.

Rotton Brunt Line

From Bradley Locks Junction at the top of Bradley Locks a straight section of canal cut off some of the wanderings of the former BCN Old Main Line. The straight cut off was known to some as the Rotton Brunt Line.

Footpath below the canal

The footpath dips to the right and below the line of the former canal line which ran close to the long buildings on the left of the photo.

Squeezing past the building

The canal followed the line of the building at the top of the embankment where the modern footpath dips down to the right, as shown in the previous photo.

Former Branch

A former branch once left the Rotton Brunt Line and descended through three locks with the route still identifiable as the gap between the houses.

Former Tup Street Bridge

The Bradley Canal must cross this road from left to right to meet the end of the Wednesbury Oak Loop (sometimes called the Bradley Arm). The gradient on the road probably precludes raising it for a fixed bridge and a lift bridge seems the most likely solution.

Through the Car Park

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.

Windmill End Junction

Windmill End Junction lies near the south end of Netherton Tunnel. Despite the sign only having three fingers it is possible to cruise in four different directions, albeit the missing finger would point to a very short branch.

Boshboil Branch

The Boshboil Branch extends just a short distance from Windmill End Junction where it meets the Dudley No 2 Canal.

Albion Junction

The New Main Line of the Birmingham Canal Navigations passes Albion Junction between Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

Looking towards Albion Junction

Looking along the Gower Branch towards Albion Junction where it meets the New Main Line. The railway runs parallel to the New Main Line on the far bank.

Brades Bottom Lock 3

The bottom lock on the Gower Branch is a single lock, with single top and bottom gates. Albion Junction with the New Main Line is just available in the distance. The upper locks are behind the camera.

Brades Staircase Locks 1 & 2

Brades Locks 1 and 2 form a staircase, the only staircase on the Birmingham Canal Navigations. In staircase locks the top gate of the lower lock forms the bottom gate of the upper lock and the boat can move between the locks when the water is level.

Looking towards Brades Hall Junction

Looking from Brades Top Lock 1 towards Brades Hall Junction with the Old Main Line. Turn left for Birmingham or right for Wolverhampton.

Brades Hall Junction

At Brades Hall Junction the Old Main Line of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) runs from Birmingham (behind the camera) to Wolverhampton (straight ahead).

Icknield Square Junction

At Icknield Square Junction the Icknield Port Loop diverges to the left under the towpath bridge. This loop was the original route of the canal.

Derelict surroundings

Many of these once fine building s are lying derelict. It’s likely they will be demolished and replaced by modern developments once

Edgbaston Reservoir

Built for the canal company in 1826 to supply water for the Birmingham Canal Navigations this was called Rotton Park Reservoir.

Traditional Craft

The Canal & River Trust base on the Icknield Port Loop is often used for mooring historical craft.

Canal Workshops

The Icknield Port Loop has contained canal owners workshops and other facilities for many years, and is still used by the Canal & River Trust today.

Unusual Windows

Rather different in style from the other buildings at the depot, this building has unusually shaped windows.

One end of Icknield Port Loop

This is looking into the Icknield Port Loop at Rotton Park Junction where it meets the Main Line of the Birmingham Canal Navigations at right angles.

Worcester Bar at Gas Street Basin

Our Waterway Routes narrowboat is passing through Worcester Bar as it leaves the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and enters the Birmingham Canal Navigations Main Line at Gas Street Basin.

When first built the act of Parliament which authorised their construction required them to be separated by a bar and all good had to be transhipped across the bar. Eventually permission was granted for the channel to be constructed through the bar that we use today.

Broad Street Tunnel

Having left Worcester Bar and Gas Street Basin, our Waterway Routes narrowboat is now leaving Broad Street Tunnel in Birmingham. Today this is more a large bridge than the tunnel it was in the past.

Centre of Birmingham

Cruising from Worcester Bar and Gas Street Basin through the centre of Birmingham towards Deep Cutting Junction and Old Turn Junction.

Sherborne Wharf Trip Boat

Euphrates, the Sherborne Wharf Trip Boat is moored between Broad Street Tunnel and Deep Cutting Junction in between trips .

Deep Cutting Junction

Our Waterway Routes narrowboat is turning onto the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal which is generally considered to start at Deep Cutting Junction these days.

Historically, the section from Deep Cutting Junction to Farmers Bridge Junction (at the top of Farmers Bridge Locks) was built as the Newhall Branch of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN).

Old Turn Junction

Deep Cutting Junction and Old Turn Junction are often considered as one junction where you can go four ways.

This side of the footbridge, with the signpost on the island, is Deep Cutting Junction where the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal to Fazeley Junction leaves behind the camera. The Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) Main Line runs to Gas Street Basin and Worcester Bar to the left.

President and Kildare

Moored between Old Turn Junction and Ladywood Junction, with Sheepcote Street Bridge in the background, are President and Kildare.

President is an historic steam powered narrowboat, with Kildare being the unpowered butty it usually pulls.

Sheepcote Street Bridge

Cruising along the Birmingham Canal Navigations Main Line towards Sheepcote Street Bridge.

Ladywood Junction

Ladywood Junction is on the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN). We are looking along the BCN Main Line towards Old Turn Junction, with Wolverhampton behind the camera.

The Oozells Street Loop, the original route for the canal, leaves under the bridge to the the right and takes a longer route to Old Turn Junction, passing through Sherborne Wharf on its way there.

Sunshine in Birmingham

Looking towards Birmingham on a sunny afternoon. The lovely green corridor leads to St Vincent Street Bridge, with Ladywood Junction just beyond.

Monument Road Bridge

Monument Road Bridge carries Ladywood Middleway over the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) Main Line.

The towpath bridge on the right crosses the entrance to Monument Lane Basin and this forms a handy winding point. Boats unable to turn or wind at Ladywood Junction, around 500m (¼ mile) nearer Birmingham, can turn here.

Icknield Square Junction

At Icknield Square Junction the Icknield Port Loop diverges to the left under the towpath bridge. This loop was the original route of the canal.

The bridge in the distance marks Rotton Park Junction which is at the other end of the Icknield Port Loop.

Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) Main Line

Cutting off the three loops (Oozells Street, Icknield Port, and Soho) the new Main Line is wide and straight with towpaths along both banks. It must have seemed like a motorway to the old boatmen.

We are looking towards Rotton Park Junction where the bridge crosses the canal. Icknield Square Junction is behind the camera.

Rotton Park Junction

Rotton Park Junction is a four-way junction with the waterways meeting at right angles.

We are looking along the main line towards Smethwick Junction and Wolverhampton, with Icknield Port Junction and Birmingham behind the camera.

Rotton Park Junction

The four-way signpost marks Rotton Park Junction.

The Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) Main Line runs from Birmingham to Wolverhampton. The original route of the canal now forms the Icknield Port Loop and the Soho Loop which diverge at this junction.

Former Railway Bridge

The pier of a former railway bridge still stands in the middle of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) Main Line.

The railway branch linked Harborne to the main railway lines into Birmingham and opened in 1874. Passenger services stopped in 1934, but freight traffic continued until 1963.

Lee Bridge

The large Lee Bridge spans the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) Main Line at an angle.

Lee Bridge

The name plate on Lee Bridge also shows the date MSDDDXXVI, which is 1826.

Winson Green Bridge

Winson Green Bridge strides across the wide route of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) Main Line, which includes towpaths along both sides.

Winson Green Junction

Looking along the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) Main Line towards Wolverhampton, with Birmingham behind the camera.

The finger sign on the left bank point along the Soho Loop which emerges from under the towpath bridge at Winson Green Junction.

Winson Green Junction

The finger sign at Winson Green Junction identifies the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) Main Line between Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

At Winson Green Junction the Soho Loop, part of the original route of canal, leaves and rejoins at Rotton Park Junction.

Winson Green Toll Island

Immediately on the Wolverhampton side of Winson Green Junction is a toll island. Now grass covered the island provides a channel each side just wide enough for a narrowboat to pass through.

As boats passed through the narrows the toll keepers measured their depth in the water and, using information from their records, could calculate the weight of the cargo and the appropriate toll to be paid.

Former Cape Junction

This is the site of the former Cape Junction which, like Rotton Park Junction, had four routes.

The new route of the Main Line of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) runs from Birmingham (behind the camera) to Wolverhampton (ahead).

Avery Rail Bridge

The main railway line between Birmingham and Wolverhampton follows a very similar route to the canal and they run very close for much or the journey. They swap sides twice along the route, with Avery Rail Bridge being on of those locations.

Industrial Setting

Between Birmingham and Wolverhampton the canal passes through a great variety of scenery, including modern residential developments and historical industrial settings.

Smethwick Junction

At Smethwick Junction the Old and New Main Lines diverge. They rejoin into a single route at Factory Junction.

To the right is the original route of the canal, now known as the Old Main Line. It climbs almost immediately through three locks, then runs on that level to Wolverhampton.

Smethwick Junction

The signpost at Smethwick Junction marks the three way junction.

To the left is the main line to Birmingham. Straight on is the New Main Line to Wolverhampton and diverging is the Old Main Line of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN).

Factory Junction

The photo is taken on the Main Line of the Birmingham Canal Navigations with Wolverhampton behind the camera.

Straight ahead is the New Main Line towards Birmingham and diverging to the right is the Old Main Line to Birmingham.

Bloomfield Junction

The dark coloured edge to the towpath on the outside of the curve marks the site of the former Bloomfield Junction. A large loop once diverged to the right and wandered for more than eight kilometers (five miles) around the landscape before rejoining the current route just over two kilometers (one and a quarter miles) further on at Deepfields Junction.

Green Landscape

Travelling through the Black Country the wonderful green landscapes may surprise some people.

Wallbrook Bridge

As the canal approaches Coseley Tunnel the land level gradually rises each side of the route and the bridge linking the two sides is rather taller than usual.

South Coseley Bridge

South Coseley Bridge has a pipe bridge over the top as the canal enters the gradually deepening cutting towards Coseley Tunnel.

Approaching Coseley Tunnel

The gradually deepening cutting leads to Coseley Tunnel. It was the construction of this tunnel that provided a more direct route between Bloomfield Junction and Deepfields Junction than the former Wednesbury Oak Loop.