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Staff and Worcs Canal: Aldersley Junction to The Bratch

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Staff and Worcs Canal: Aldersley Junction to The Bratch
Author: sammy_benbow, Published: 27 Aug 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
West Midlands, Wolverhampton
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Staff and Worcs Canal: Aldersley Junction to The Bratch
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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This is a 6 mile linear walk along a section of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal. It commences at Aldersley junction, where the Staff and Worcs and Birmingham Old Main Line canals meet and heads through quiet countryside to The Bratch, a staircase of locks near Wombourne.

The walk itself is along a canal towpath and offers views of the surrounding countryside and of the canal, which is often reasonably busy with boat traffic. The footpath is a well maintained gravel path for the most part and would also be suitable for cyclists. However, there are several low bridges that you will need to take care while going under. There are no stiles. There is a café available near to the end of the walk. See therailwaycafe.vpweb.co.uk for opening times.

As a linear walk you have two choices for getting there: either to leave a car at each end, or to use local buses.

Start parking: There is free parking available at Aldersley Leisure Village off Hugh Porter Way (WV6 9NW). Alternatively, residential parking is available off Aldersley Road.

End parking: Free parking is available adjacent to Bratch Locks. Alternatively, free parking is available to the rear of The Railway Café (WV5 9AB).

From car park to the start point: Head through the car park at the leisure centre and follow the path alongside the tennis courts. Continue on through the field area and through the gate. The walk turns right immediately after the gate, in front of the bridge.

From the end point to car park: After going through the Bratch Locks, go through the wooden fence and carefully cross the bridge on the left. If you've parked at The Railway Cafe, walk left along the road for 200m, go under the bridge and turn left into the driveway.

By bus to start point: The 6 bus leaves Wolverhampton bus station regularly and stops adjacent to the Leisure Village. See nxbus.co.uk for timetable.

By bus from end point: the 255 and 256 buses return to Wolverhampton bus station regularly and stop in nearby Bull Meadow Lane. To get there, turn left on leaving Bratch Locks, and walk 700m along Bratch Lane, taking the fourth turning on the right. See nxbus.co.uk for timetable.

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Walk Sections

Start to Wightwick Mill Lock
Start to Wightwick Mill Lock

Start point: 52.6083 lat, -2.1453 long
End point: 52.5839 lat, -2.1848 long

Commence the walk along the towpath, heading down the slope to the right of the bridge. On your left, you can see the junction with the Birmingham Old Main Line canal, which rises via a flight of 20 locks to Wolverhampton. Follow the towpath, keeping the canal on your left. There are four nature boards along this walk which detail some of the history of the local area, three of which are along this first section.

Continue until you reach Wightwick Mill Lock. Adjacent to Wightwick Mill Lock is Smestow Valley Local Nature Reserve, an important area for water vole conservation.

Wightwick Mill Lock to End
Wightwick Mill Lock to End

Start point: 52.5839 lat, -2.1848 long
End point: 52.5415 lat, -2.1969 long

Continue to follow the towpath, keeping the canal on your left, until you reach Dimmingsdale Lock. The path takes you over to the other side of the canal at the end of this lock.

Continue on until you reach The Bratch Locks, with their unusual octagonal lock keeper's tollhouse. The locks here were built in 1771 and opened a year later. The canal itself is 46 miles in length and was engineered by James Brindley. The walking route ends here; see the Getting There section for details of how to walk to the relevant bus stop or car park.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2014 by the author sammy_benbow and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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