The Wednesbury Oak Loop is the name given to what was once a long meandering loop of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) Main Line leaving the current Main Line at Deepfields Junction and re-joining at Bloomfield Junction, near Factory Junction. This is sometimes known as the Bradley Arm.
The loop was severed many years ago with only the section between Deepfields Junction and Bradley Workshops remaining. It was kept open to allow access to Bradley Workshops, where lock gates are manufactured, and to maintain the water supply from the pumps at Bradley to supply the rest of the BCN.
My previous blog post explained the proposals to turn this into a through navigation by reopening abandoned waterways under the name of Bradley Canal.
The Wednesbury Oak Loop can be cruised, and the towpath is in good condition and can be walked throughout, making a through walk including the route of the proposed Bradley Canal possible. The whole route is shown in my Bradley Canal map and 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.
I’ve made the photos from my recent walk into a virtual cruise, including the through route so you can click through the next buttons to complete your virtual cruise from the comfort of your chair. Just choose your starting point
The signpost at Deepfields Junction indicating the route to Bradley and showing it is a terminus and not a through route any more.
Typical of many signs around the Birmingham Canal Navigations this has a circular top with the name of the junction around the outside and the letters BCNS across the centre, standing for the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society who funded and erected these signs.
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.
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.
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.
This once provided a winding point, although it’s too silted up to be used now, and I’ve removed it from our downloadable Canal Maps which are kept up to date with monthly issues – but it will still appear in our rivals’ printed guides for some time.