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Shropshire Union Canal: Brewood to Autherley Junction

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Shropshire Union Canal: Brewood to Autherley Junction
Author: Sammy Benbow, Published: 11 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, Brewood
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Shropshire Union Canal: Brewood to Autherley Junction
Length: 5 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 5 mile linear walk along a section of the Shropshire Union Canal. It commences at Brewood (locally pronounced "brood") and heads through quiet countryside, which gradually becomes more urbanised, to Autherley Junction, where the Shropshire Union meets the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal.

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, especially in summer. There is a flight of 15 steps at the start of the walk. The footpath is quite muddy for a couple of miles at the start of the walk, as the canal goes through a cutting, and can be overgrown later on. It becomes more maintained after Bridge 6. The route would likely 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, however there is a radar key scheme gate near to Bridge 4. There are a few shops and a pub in Brewood, but most of the route is well away from urban areas.

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 in Brewood in Stafford Street car park. Approximate postcode: ST19 9DX.

End Parking: Residential street parking is available off Aldersley Road. Approximate postcode: WV6 9NH.

From car park to the start point: Turn left out of the car park onto Stafford Street, then right onto Bargate Street. Walk 350m along the road. At the bridge over the canal, go through the wooden gate on the left.

From end point to the car park: Turn right after the bridge and follow the canal for 800m until you reach Aldersley Junction bridge. Turn right here and follow the tarmac path through the field and past the tennis court. Bear right, slightly uphill, to the entrance, then cross Aldersley Road.

By bus to start point: The 76 bus travels from Stafford to Wolverhampton via Brewood. See for timetable.

By bus from end point: The 6 and 6A buses stop outside the Leisure Village complex, travelling to Wolverhampton. See for timetables.

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Walk Sections

Start to Bridge 6
Start to Bridge 6

Start point: 52.6773 lat, -2.1786 long
End point: 52.6441 lat, -2.1618 long

After going through the gate, descend the steps to the canal towpath. Here you will find three noticeboards detailing the history and geography of the local area. Follow the towpath with the canal on your right.

As previously noted, the towpath at the start of the walk can be muddy. Please take care. Follow the towpath underneath the bridges, some of which are quite grandiose for such a rural area.

Of interest along this section are black and white signposts, about 2' high, that give the distances to various places on the canal. The Shropshire Union was built in three stages, this section being devised in 1826 but work was not completed until 1835. The ultimate aim was to link Birmingham with Liverpool, via canal. The northern terminus is at Ellesmere Port, just north of Chester.

Bridge 6 to End
Bridge 6 to End

Start point: 52.6441 lat, -2.1618 long
End point: 52.6157 lat, -2.1462 long

After passing under Bridge 6, the towpath becomes more well-maintained. Continue to follow the route with the canal on your right.

There are another two distance markers along this stretch. Continue on past Wolverhampton Boat Club on the far bank, with its black and white boat winch. After passing under Bridge 3a, bear to the left of Bridge 3 and follow the path through around the trees. Cross Bridge 2, by the yellow bollards, then continue to follow the towpath with the canal on the left. Continue straight to Bridge 1.

The lock adjacent to the bridge is a "stop lock". This type of lock is similar to the normal kind, but they are used where two rival companies' canals met, to ensure that water was drained from the newer to the older canal, thereby preventing damage to the water supply of the older canal. At Autherley, the situation is unusual in that the level of the water in the newer canal is kept at a lower level.

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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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