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Walsall Canal

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The Walsall Canal is a narrow 7 foot canal, seven miles long, forming part of the Birmingham Canal Navigations, and passing around the western side of Walsall, West Midlands, England


  • 1 Route
  • 2 History
  • 3 Points of interest
  • 4 Gallery
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links


The canal runs from Ryders Green Junction where it meets the Wednesbury Old Canal and the Ridgeacre Branch and immediately drops through the eight Ryders Green Locks to the 408 foot Walsall Level At Doe Bank Junction Tame Valley Junction it meets the Tame Valley Canal and the very short Ocker Hill Tunnel Branch, now private moorings, which fed water to the Ocker Hill pumps to replenish the Wolverhampton Level It passes northwards, past the junction of the derelict Gospel Oak Branch and under the Midland Metro line, passes the short Bradley Branch at Moorcroft Junction In this area it passes the huge iron gates of the Patent Shaft factory, which remain despite the factory's closure in 1980 It then passes the short Anson Branch which once led to the Bentley Canal, abandoned 1961 and under the M6 motorway just south of Junction 10 The very short Walsall Town Arm at Walsall Junction leads into Walsall itself while the main canal rises through eight locks to meet the Wyrley and Essington Canal at Birchills Junction

The canal starts at the Birmingham Level, descends 45 feet to the Walsall Level, then rises 65 feet to the Wolverhampton Level


The canal was built in four distinct stages It started life as the Broadwaters Extension to the Wednesbury Canal which opened in 1785 to serve collieries in Moxley This section was authorised as a detached part of the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal under that canal's original Act1

Meanwhile from the other direction, the Birchills Branch of the Wyrley and Essington Canal reached Bloxwich Wharf to the north-west of Walsall by 17982 Much of this branch from Sneyd Junction was later subsumed into the new mainline of the Wyrley and Essington, when that canal was extended towards Huddlesford, leaving about 700 metres of the Birchills Branch as a stub

What was by then known as the Birmingham, Birmingham and Fazeley Canal Company was authorised by the combined company's sixth Act of Parliament on 17 April 1794 to extend the canal from Broadwaters to Walsall It allowed the Company to borrow £45,000, with which to construct the canal to Walsall and three branches to serve iron-stone and coal mines in the locality, all to be completed within three years3 Construction began at Broadwaters and reached Darlaston by May 17984 The second phase of construction began in April 1798: excavation was completed in 1799 but the job remained unfinished in 18005

The canal was mapped by John Snape 1737–1816 in 1808 and this was to be his last known map6

The small gap between the Birmingham Canal Navigations line to Walsall and the Wyrley and Essington Canal's Birchills Branch was of concern to businessmen to the north of Walsall, whose access to the south was by a very circuitous route An independent canal to link the two was planned, but in 1839 the BCN agreed to build a connection7 The Walsall Junction Canal was completed in March 1841,8 its 06 miles containing eight locks and completing the through route

Points of interestedit

Point Coordinates
Links to map resources
OS Grid Ref Notes
Ryders Green Junction 52°31′22″N 2°01′20″W / 525228°N 20221°W / 525228; -20221 Ryders Green Junction SO985916 Wednesbury Old Canal
Toll End Junction 52°32′14″N 2°02′08″W / 525372°N 20356°W / 525372; -20356 Toll End Junction SO976932 Toll End Communication Canal
Ocker Hill Tunnel Branch 52°32′22″N 2°02′09″W / 525394°N 20357°W / 525394; -20357 Ocker Hill Tunnel Branch SO976934
Tame Valley Junction Doe Bank Junction 52°32′24″N 2°02′07″W / 525400°N 20354°W / 525400; -20354 Tame Valley Junction SO976935 Tame Valley Canal
Gospel Oak Branch Junction 52°32′57″N 2°02′13″W / 525493°N 20370°W / 525493; -20370 Gospel Oak Branch Junction SO975945
Moorcroft Junction 52°33′15″N 2°02′28″W / 525541°N 20411°W / 525541; -20411 Moorcroft Junction SO972951 Bradley Branch
Anson Branch Junction 52°34′39″N 2°01′20″W / 525775°N 20221°W / 525775; -20221 Anson Branch Junction SO986977 Anson Branch, leading to Bentley Canal
Walsall Junction 52°35′05″N 1°59′34″W / 525848°N 19928°W / 525848; -19928 Walsall Junction SP005986 Short branch to Walsall centre
Birchills Junction 52°35′55″N 1°59′52″W / 525987°N 19979°W / 525987; -19979 Birchills Junction SK002000 Wyrley and Essington Canal


From north to south:

See alsoedit

  • UK Waterways portal
  • Canals of the United Kingdom
  • History of the British canal system


  1. ^ Shill, Ray 2005 Birmingham and the Black Country's Canalside Industries Tempus Publishing ISBN 0-7524-3262-1  p33
  2. ^ Paget-Tomlinson, Edward 1993 The Illustrated History of Canal & River Navigations Sheffield Academic Press ISBN 1-85075-277-X  p217
  3. ^ Joseph Priestley, 1831, Historical Account of the Navigable Rivers, Canals, and Railways, of Great Britain
  4. ^ Shill, Ray 2005 Birmingham and the Black Country's Canalside Industries Tempus Publishing ISBN 0-7524-3262-1  p44
  5. ^ Shill, Ray 2005 Birmingham and the Black Country's Canalside Industries Tempus Publishing ISBN 0-7524-3262-1  p45
  6. ^ A W Skempton 2002 A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland Thomas Telford ISBN 0-7277-2939-X 
  7. ^ Shill, Ray 2005 Birmingham and the Black Country's Canalside Industries Tempus Publishing ISBN 0-7524-3262-1  p98
  8. ^ Broadbridge, S R 1974 The Birmingham Canal Navigations, Vol 1 1768 - 1846 David & Charles ISBN 0-7509-2077-7  p73
  • Pearson, Michael 1989 Canal Companion - Birmingham Canal Navigations J M Pearson & Associates ISBN 0-907864-49-X 

External linksedit

Coordinates: 52°35′05″N 1°59′34″W / 525848°N 19928°W / 525848; -19928

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