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BCNS Explorer Cruise I

May 31 - June 8

The event is fully booked, but it may be worth contacting bcns.explorercruise@gmail.com for a place on the waiting list!

Aims:  to experience the northern reaches of the Birmingham Canal Navigation system with fellow boaters, and historical walk and talk on the BCN.


Friday evening 31st May

Boats to meet at Wolverhampton and to moor either side of Broad St Bridge. An informal gathering at 7pm on the grassed area on the house side of the top lock is planned to discuss the cruise and hand out the itinerary, followed by a get together at the Great Western pub in Sun Street (at rear of the railway station)

Saturday 1st June  to Cannock Extension 14 miles, 0 locks ( 6+ hours)

Boats to leave moorings and turn left at Horsley Fields Junction onto the Wyrley & Essington canal and continue through Bloxwich, Sneyd Wharf and Birchills Junction then through Little Bloxwich to Pelsall Common where you will turn left at Pelsall Junction and moor at the top of the Cannock Extension. You will be likely to encounter weed and rubbish on this canal so take your time & cruise out of gear through bridge holes.

Overnight mooring at the end of the extension then a walk right to the end and cross the road to The Turf for our carvery meal.

CRT facilities at Sneyd Wharf and shopping at Wednesfield (Sainsbury’s and Aldi)

Sunday 2nd June  Longwood Junction 11 miles, O locks (6 hours)

Leave moorings and continue to the junction turning left onto the W&E canal towards Brownhills.

CRT facilities at Brownhills moorings.

Supermarket facilities close to canal, Tesco & Aldi  

Leaving Brownhills, travel towards Catshill Junction. From there, we highly recommend a visit to the Anglesey Basin where you can walk up to the Reservoir, the visitor centre and the Chasewater Light Railway (steam or diesel on Sundays) (good spot for doggy walks)

Return back to Catshill Junction and turn left on the Daw End branch through Walsall Wood.

Pump out available at Aldridge Marina (not CRT card) I have not used this but it’s there if you are desperate.

Continue on to Longwood junction where we will be welcomed by Longwood Boat Club members and directed where to moor.

A Longwood plaque is available (£5) as a proof that you have reached the Northern BCN)

A social evening is planned with a Fish & Chip meal and maybe a quiz in the club house.

Tea and coffee will be available but bring your own drinks.

Also please bring plates, cutlery & cups/glasses. The Club House is undergoing restoration & as yet has no washing up facilities.

CRT facilities available at Longwood Junction.


Monday 3rd June Walsall Town Basin   9 locks (7+ hours)

Leave the Longwood moorings

Descend Rushall locks to Newton Junction.

(Here we hope to be assisted by BCNS lockwheelers)

At Newton Junction (aka Rushall Junction) turn right on the Tame Valley canal, crossing and running close with the notorious M5/M6 junction, and onwards to the junction with the Walsall canal at Ocker Hill. This canal can have a problem with rubbish thrown down the embankment.

CRT facilities at Ocker Hill.

Turn right and continue to Walsall Town Basin.

There is a boom across the arm. It will move to the side as you glide slowly through.

Facilities in Walsall: Tesco & Asda supermarkets and many High St shops, Many food outlets and 2 Wetherspoons.

Recommended pub “ The Black Country Arms” boasts 15 + hand pulled ales but does not do food on Monday.


Tuesday 4th June to Wednesfield Junction 8 miles, 8 locks (6-7 hours)

Leave moorings and ascend the Walsall 8 locks. Here again we may be assisted by BCNS lockwheelers.

Turn left at Birchills Junction and now you are back on the Wyrley & Essington Canal.

CRT facilities at the top of Walsall locks and at Sneyd Junction. Don’t stop for water at Walsall top lock as you must sit in the lock to access the tap.

Continue back on the W&E through Sneyd, Lane Head and moor at Wednesfield, there is moorings for 8 boats only within the Bentley Canal Arm near the Nickelodeon pub, breasted up together

(easier to reverse in!). Other moorings are available on bollards or pegs on the main canal.

Evening get together at the pub which serves meals daily 12.00 – 22.00h (phone 01902 305741 for bookings) Say you are off the boats for a 20% reduction on your meal.

An evening walk to a good Camra recommended pub (Dog & Partridge) at Pinfold bridge.

Wednesday 5th June  to Bradley Canal  5 miles 0 locks (3-4 hours)

Before we leave we will be met by local councillor Mr Phil Bateman, a keen supporter of the local canals.

The local press may also visit us at around 09.00 for a photo shoot.

Continue along the W&E to Horseley Fields Junction and turn left  

Just after you come to a motorway type bridge (it’s the Black Country Route) you will see a left turn. Turn into Deepfields Junction, you are now on the Bradley Canal. Watch out for floating weed. Water is pumped out of the Bradley mine into this canal to feed the Wolverhampton level as it is so pure and contains nutrients necessary for weed growth we have to cope with it. CRT do send weed cutters regularly but it still poses a problem. Moor at the end in the basin or outside.

You cannot get out of the compound so it’s eat in or BBQ – weather dependant.


Day 6 Thursday 6th June – Bradley Workshops Tipton 5 miles 0 locks 3 hours

We will take look at the CRT work shop this morning at around 9am. (change in time here due to the manager’s meeting}. There is no guided tour as such so after an introduction you are free to walk around and look at the work and the staff will be prepared to answer your questions. We should be finished here by 11am to return to our boats for a spot of lunch before our walking guide, Dave Pearson, arrives to give us an informative walk along the Bradley lock line. There is a defined footpath. Dogs are of course welcome on a lead on the walk & in the work shop. On our return from the walk (about 3.00pm) we will return to the Main Line at Deepfields Junction turning left to head for Tipton where you turn right at Factory Junction for the evening mooring near the Fountain Inn & Neptune Health Centre on either side of the canal.

Note:  mooring rings available on either side, and ignore the’ no mooring’ sign outside the flats as we have special permission to moor there!

Meal at the Pie Factory – directions: Go through the Health Centre and turn right walk along the pavement until to come to The Pie Factory – there’s a pig hanging over the door!

Friday 7th June to Titford, 4 miles, 6 locks (3-4 hours)

At around 09.45 we will walk to the Tipton library where we will be met by Tipton community representatives and given a morning talk and presentation by Phil Wild. It is expected to last about 1 hour.

The presentation is on “” and will start at 10.00.  It comes highly recommended, so come along and find out the 10 reasons why Tipton is world famous!

CRT facilities including pump out at the Black Country living museum.

Water point only beside Owen St Bridge. Shopping: town centre Co-op and many takeaways.

Leave Tipton moorings on the Old Main Line and bear left at Tipton junction.

Look out for Tividale Quays, an expanse of water surrounded by houses. Enter this basin the locals are friendly. Next pass through Tividale crossing the Tividale aqueduct over the entrance to the Netherton Tunnel, continue around Oldbury and under the M5 Motorway to Oldbury Junction.

At Oldbury Junction turn right (sharp right!) and ascend the Oldbury 6 locks, aka ‘The Crow’. Here we may be met by BCNS lockwheelers to assist with the passage.

At the top you may moor along the canal in front of you or there may be some room on the left. We need to moor outside the Pump House so please leave space there.

Friday evening we will be entertained by Billy Spakemon  “Let’s All Share Some Songs and Stories”. Donations welcome.


Saturday 8th June – cruise Titford Pools then on your way

You will have the opportunity to explore the Titford Pools, and get a free plaque from the BCN Society to celebrate your visit – advice on getting there will be available.

Shopping: convenience stores and takeaways in Langley village, ASDA and Aldi from Jarvis Bridge.  


We must especially thank, Keith Hodgkins as well as Rob Hazel at the Tipton Library for the use of their premises, as they give their services free of charge.

We are most grateful to all our BCNS lockwheelers for giving up their time so freely.


Recommended reading

“The other 60 miles” by Richard Chester Browne (A survey of the abandoned canals of Birmingham and the Black Country)

“Tipton through time” by Keith Hodgkins (On the changing scenes of Tipton in the Black Country)

I have copies of “The Other 60 miles” and other books may be available at the Pump House on the last night.


May 31
June 8
Event Category:


BCNS Explorer Cruises