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Wyrley and Essington Canal: Horseley Fields to Sneyd Junction Bridge

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Wyrley and Essington Canal: Horseley Fields to Sneyd Junction Bridge
Author: sammy_benbow, Published: 21 Oct 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star0 Wyrley and Essington Canal: Horseley Fields to Sneyd Junction Bridgestar0 Wyrley and Essington Canal: Horseley Fields to Sneyd Junction Bridgestar0 Wyrley and Essington Canal: Horseley Fields to Sneyd Junction Bridgestar0 Wyrley and Essington Canal: Horseley Fields to Sneyd Junction Bridgestar0 Wyrley and Essington Canal: Horseley Fields to Sneyd Junction Bridge
West Midlands, Bloxwich
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Wyrley and Essington Canal: Horseley Fields to Sneyd Junction Bridge
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot Wyrley and Essington Canal: Horseley Fields to Sneyd Junction Bridge boot Wyrley and Essington Canal: Horseley Fields to Sneyd Junction Bridge
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This is a 6 mile linear trail from Horseley Fields Junction Bridge in Wolverhampton, to Sneyd Junction in Bloxwich. It follows the course of the Wyrley and Essington Canal. Allow 2-2.5 hours to complete.

The route itself is along a canal towpath. There are no steps or stiles, but there are a couple of bridges to navigate. There are also several radar key scheme gates. The route starts in Wolverhampton which has all the usual amenities and ends near to Bloxwich, a busy town. There are also several shops near to the first waypoint.

This route is something of a "route of two halves". It starts in a highly developed area of Wolverhampton but ends between several nature reserves. There are several canal junctions along the route and points of historical interest. There is also lots of wildlife to see, particularly at the end of the walk. Kingsfishers have been spotted between waypoints 1 and 2.

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

By car to start point: The nearest parking is a pay and display car park at Oxford Street, Wolverhampton. Approximate postcode: WV1 3SD. From the car park, head onto Middle Cross, turn right along Horseley Fields, walk 400m along then turn left immediately after the bridge over the canal.

By bus to start point: Wolverhampton is quite close by, however the nearest bus stop is on Horseley Fields. The 529 bus departs here regularly, visiting Wolverhampton - Neachells - Willenhall - Bentley - Walsall. See nxbus.co.uk for timetable. Stop ID nwmjdwmp or nwmjdwmj.

By train to start point: The nearest train station is Wolverhampton. Depart the train station, walk past the multistorey car park on your left, then keep left before the bridge. Follow the footpath onto Horseley Fields, then walk down to Lower Horseley Fields. Turn left immediately after the bridge.

By car from end point: there is roadside parking available adjacent to Sneyd Reservoir, on Vernon Way. Approximate postcode: WS3 2LU From the canal bridge, head directly north and cross the A4124 onto Vernon way.

By bus from end point: The 89 stops nearby, visiting Walsall - High Heath - Bloxwich - Wednesfield - Wolverhampton via Pelsall, New Invention and New Cross Hospital. From the canal bridge, head directly north and turn right along the A4124. See nxbus.co.uk for timetable. Stop ID: nwmgwpga or nwmgwpdw.

By train from end point: The nearest train station is Bloxwich. Head north onto the A4124, turn right and walk along, taking the third right onto Sneyd Hall Road, then the first left on Mulberry Road. Follow Mulberry Road, bearing left onto Croxdene Avenue. The access to the platform will be on your left.

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Walk Sections

Start to Bentley Bridge Basin
Start to Bentley Bridge Basin

Start point: 52.5853 lat, -2.113 long
End point: 52.597 lat, -2.0925 long

The walk starts at the junction of the Wyrley and Essington Canal and the Old Main Line canals. At the far side of the Old Main Line, note the white BCN-style signpost. The centre arm points the way the trail is headed. Go under the railway bridge, keeping the canal on your right.

There are several points of interest in this immediate area. The canal narrows significantly here at a toll point, the towpath leads over two bridges which would once have led to basins and the remains of Lycett Basin can be seen on the right. The canal, known locally as the Curly Wyrley for its meandering route, was devised by William Pitt in 1792 and opened in 1797.

Follow the towpath under Swan Garden Bridge, Heath Town Railway Bridge and Deans Bridge. Shortly after this point, the remains of a blue brick railway bridge can be seen. There is a modern art installation here - you are not seeing things. The surface of the piece is stainless steel and reflects both the canal and the brickwork.

Continue along under Heath Town road bridge and New Bentley road bridge, before crossing the canal at New Cross Bridge, which takes its name from the nearby hospital. Shortly after this, cross the Grade II listed bridge over what is left of the Bentley Canal. All that remains of the canal, which was opened in 1843, is a small basin now used for moorings. The canal originally joined with the Anson Branch of the Walsall Canal, which is now disused, some 3.5 miles away.

Bentley Bridge Basin to Devils Elbow Bridge
Bentley Bridge Basin to Devils Elbow Bridge

Start point: 52.597 lat, -2.0925 long
End point: 52.6103 lat, -2.0692 long

Continue to follow the canal towpath, keeping the canal on your left. The canal now meanders past Wednesfield town and the adjacent suburban areas. Although the area is suburbanised, several forms of wildlife can be seen along here. Keep your eyes peeled for a flash of turquoise and your ears piqued for a high pitched pip-pip-pip sound, as you may catch sight of a kingfisher.

The Wyrley and Essington Canal was built to allow coal from mines in nearby Wyley and New Invention to be transported to Wolverhampton and Walsall.

At the point where the path splits, keep to the left. Directly after this is Devils Elbow Bridge, which has been significantly altered from its original and is now covered in cement rendering. It is located on a particularly torturous bend in the canal, from which it likely takes its name. To the right of the bridge is a BCN signpost.

Devils Elbow Bridge to Holly Bank Basin
Devils Elbow Bridge to Holly Bank Basin

Start point: 52.6103 lat, -2.0692 long
End point: 52.6025 lat, -2.0419 long

Continue under Devils Elbow Bridge. The route continues under Olinthus Bridge, Castle Road bridge and Perry Hall road bridge. Shortly after this bridge, the remains of Pool Hayes and Miles Meadow Colliery Wharf can be seen on the far side of the canal. There is a barrier across, but wetland plants can be seen growing on the far side. The colliery operated from 1889 until the early 1900s.

Shortly after this point, there is an unusual overflow weir set into the towpath. Originally the towpath would have risen at this point, but now the structure of the overflow can be seen. Note the outlet in the far corner. As the area is now developed, it is difficult to know where the water would have originally been diverted to.

The path continues under a couple of bridges to Holly Bank Basin, AKA the Short Heath Branch. This branch was added to allow coal to be moved from New Invention to the Wyrley and Essington proper. It was opened in 1906 by the Hollybank Colliery.

Holly Bank Basin to End
Holly Bank Basin to End

Start point: 52.6025 lat, -2.0419 long
End point: 52.6149 lat, -2.0229 long

The trail continues on along the towpath, keeping the canal on your left. After proceeding under two bridges, the canal enters an area dominated by nature reserves. Bentley Haye Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is on the towpath side, while Rough Wood is on the far side. The low rumbling sound that can be heard is the M6, which unfortunately the canal eventually travels under.

Bentley Wharf Bridge allows access to Rough Wood should you wish, but your path continues along the towpath. Continue along, past Oily Goughs LNR on your right, until you arrive at Sneyd Junction. The towpath continues under the bridge, but your walk terminates here.

To reach the parking/bus stops, take the bridge over the canal and follow the footpath to the main road. Vernon way is directly ahead. The reservoir nearby was an important feeder for the Wyrley Bank Branch canal, which is now non-navigable.

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network Wyrley and Essington Canal: Horseley Fields to Sneyd Junction Bridge Original GPX source file

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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