About the BCN Society

The Birmingham Canal Navigations Society (BCNS) aims to conserve, improve and encourage a wide range of interests in the 100 mile network of the Birmingham and Black Country Waterways known as the BCN.
It was formed in 1968 and has been promoting the areas canal system ever since.  In the early days it fought campaigns against the closure of many canals, but now the emphasis is on restoration and promoting awareness.

The BCNS has its headquarters at the restored Pumphouse on the Titford Canal, in Oldbury.  At 511 ft above sea level the Pumphouse is at the highest part of the BCN. Around the pumphouse are moorings – both for visitors and long term (booked through C&RT), and in the pumphouse is a sanitary station to service the moorings.

We meet monthly at the Pumphouse for talks by a wide variety of speakers on canals and subjects of related interest. See the Meetings and Social Events page for details.  A fair proportion of us are boaters, so we don’t have meetings across the summer – too many of us are off on our boats.

Two Explorer Cruises – the first in May, ending at our summer rally at Titford, the second in June.

The BCN Society Marathon Challenge – how much of the BCN can you cover in 24 hours over the late May Bank Holiday?

We are also working to refurbish the Titford Pools.  To encourage more use, and therefore dredging and restoration, we will give a plaque to every boat that navigates the pools. Full details on the cruise Titford Pools page.

We also support many other events and rallies throughout the Midlands canal network and within the local community.

See the Rallies page for details.

We keep our members are kept up to date with news and events around the region with our quarterly magazine “Boundary Post”.  (Named after the posts that once lined the edges of the BCN marking the canal company boundary.)

The Society works closely with the Canal & River Trust to ensure the ongoing maintenance of the local system.   The BCNS has C&RT recognised self supervising work party status.   We hold regular work parties  throughout the year using the society’s purpose built 38ft workboat Phoenix paired with open butty Crow.  In September 2009, in recognition of its work, The BCNS was one of ten national recipients of British Waterways Volunteer Awards.

Since 2008 The BCNS, in partnership with Coombeswood Canal Trust  (CCT), has operated the historic British Waterways workboat Atlas and butty Malus.  Restoration and maintenance are ongoing, and we welcome anyone interested in historic boats to join us.

Why not join us and help us conserve this valuable labyrinth of canals and its heritage for the benefit of everyone. Go to the “Join the BCNS” page for more details.

The BCNS was established as a Registered Charity (charity number: 1091760) in 1968.  In 2002 we reconstituted as a Company Limited by Guarantee (company number: 4306537).

6 thoughts on “About the BCN Society

  1. I would like to do the inner ring of Birmingham canals but can’t find any hire boats on the Wolverhampton Level.
    I realise that I could do this from Alvechurch or Autherley but I would prefer a long weekend hire.
    Any thoughts?

    • Hi Paul,
      There used to be hire boats at Sherbourne Wharf and Gas Street, but that’s no longer the case, unfortunately!
      Alvechurch seems to be the only option, their shortest hire period is three nights, and Alvechurch is quite a nice starting point to reach the BCN
      Might that be an option for you?

  2. Hello,

    I was recently rereading the Spring 2017 Boundary Post (Edition 216) and reread a letter from me regarding the “A-Z of the Birmingham Canal Navigations”. I noticed that my name was incorrect. My actual name is Eric Ruff (not Eric Firth as shown). The error was transferred to the map by me shown in the BCNSociety website (https://bcnsociety.com/moorings/titford/). Might you please change my name in the website?

    Actually, the map is a composition of four or the c1900 Ordnance Survey maps published by Alan Godfrey Maps. I’d done this as Valencia Wharf, which interested me, was in the corner of four different maps.

    Thank you very much.


    Eric Ruff
    Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

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