We’ve just returned from our first cruise of the season over the past two days, from our home mooring at Sherborne Wharf to Wolverhampton and back. It’s always nice to be cruising again, and we identified a few items that need fixing after the winter before we start cruising again.
There’s a new swing bridge across the canal which provides a level link to the Black Country Living Museum and the boarding point for the trip boats into Dudley Tunnel. The tunnel portal is just visible in the background.
The trip boats are electric and have a low height so they fit into Dudley Tunnel which has such a low profile that most narrowboats will not fit inside.
The entrance to Hawne Basin, under the bridge, marks the normal limit of navigation on the Dudley No 2 Canal. Straight ahead the canal once continued to reach the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Selly Oak but is now a short length of moorings.
Restoration is planned, as the Lapal Canal, following a similar route to the Dudley No 2 Canal and taking the route over the top of the hill with additional locks instead of through the collapsed Lapal Tunnel.
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.
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.
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.