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Staff and Worcs Canal: The Bratch to Stourton

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Staff and Worcs Canal: The Bratch to Stourton
Author: Sammy Benbow, Published: 02 Sep 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
Staffordshire, Wombourne
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Staff and Worcs Canal: The Bratch to Stourton
Length: 7 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 7 mile linear walk along a section of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal. It commences at The Bratch, a staircase of locks near Wombourne and heads through quiet countryside to Stourton, between Stourbridge and Kinver.

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 of while going under and there is a flight of about 15 steps at Swindon Lock. There are no stiles.

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

End Parking: There is a layby adjacent to the endpoint, on the A458 at the junction with the A449.

From car park to the start point: If parking at Bratch Locks, go through the wooden fence and carefully cross the bridge. Keep left and the entrance to the towpath is on the left. If you've parked at The Railway Cafe, walk right along the road, go under the bridge and turn left after 200m onto the towpath.

From end point to the car park: At Stourton Lock, bear right along the driveway. At the end of the drive, the layby is on the opposite side of the road.

By bus to start point: the 255 and 256 buses depart Wolverhampton bus station regularly and stop in nearby Bull Meadow Lane. To get to the start point from here, walk back up to Bratch Lane, turn left and walk 700m along the road, under the bridge. The start point is on the left, just after the bridge. See for timetable.

By bus from end point: The only bus that visits a point near to the end point is the 228, which terminates at Stourbridge. See for a timetable.

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Walk Sections

Start to Greensforge
Start to Greensforge

Start point: 52.5416 lat, -2.1968 long
End point: 52.4955 lat, -2.205 long

Start the walk by following the tarmac path down onto the towpath. The canal will be on your left. The route proceeds under a few bridges with access to pubs, often via a main road. At the first lock, Marsh Lock, however, the towpath switches sides, crossing the canal via a low bridge. There are two nature boards in the short distance between Marsh Lock and Swindon Lock. At Swindon Lock, the towpath crosses the canal again, by a low bridge at the far end of the lock.

Here there is a flight of about 15 concrete steps with a handrail on the left as you descend. The towpath continues with the canal on the left. Continue on past Hinksford Lock, past the long-term moorings until you arrive at Greensforge Lock. The pub visible on the other side of the canal, is the last pub along the route.

Greensforge to End
Greensforge to End

Start point: 52.4955 lat, -2.205 long
End point: 52.4614 lat, -2.2055 long

The route now becomes more rural. Take the path underneath the bridge, then continue to follow the towpath. Parts of this route are likely to be slightly overgrown at the height of summer. The bridges along this section are more picturesque and views of the local countryside can sometimes be seen through the trees. The stream you can occasionally see following the route is Smestow Brook. The Brook, also known as Smestow River, has its origin in the Springfield area of Wolverhampton. It is a tributary of the River Stour.

Continue past the aptly-named Rocky Lock on your left and follow the canal over the aqueduct across the River Stour. A short distance later, the Stourbridge Canal can be seen joining from the left. You are now close to Stourton Lock with its oddly shaped toll-house. The walk ends here. See the 'Getting there' section for details of how to get to the end-point lay-by or the nearest bus stop.

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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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