The Wyrley and Essington Canal

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Warning! - The following access details were correct at the time of my walk - but may have now changed.

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Virtual Walks-3 From Catshill Junction to Pelsall Junction ( 2001 onward )
Wyrley and Essington Canal
Visit the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust web site to find out about the Trust that was formed in 1988 and is a registered charity. It campaigns for the restoration of the "Lichfield Canal" (as the closed section of the W&E between Ogley and Huddlesford is now called) and also the Hatherton Canal through the Cannock / A5 area. It promotes the restoration as public amenities for boating, angling, walking, cycling etc. and raises funds to carry out physical restoration work.
Catshill Junction Bridge. The footbridge crosses the start of the Rushall Canal and leads towards Wolverhampton 18 miles away.

The foot bridge signed BCN 1892.
Fingerpost - "(BCNS/BWB 1985) Wton 15 miles - Rushall Jcn 8miles 9 locks - Anglesey Basin (Terminus) 2 miles". (The Anglesey finger was missing by 2012)

Access via towpath

Taken looking West - 27/09/2012.

"Cycle of Life" at Catshill Junction

A sculpture from local artists Ron Thompson and Julie Edwards of Planet Art.

British Waterways commissioned the piece of community artwork as part of an improvement of the canal network funded by 2 million from British Waterways and the European Regional Development Fund. Walsall Council Mayor, John Cook, and Mayoress, Lynn Staffiere, unveiled the work on 12 December 2005.

Photo left - taken looking NorthEast - 10/04/2006.

Photo right - copyright Planet Art.

Access via towpath opposite the sculpture.

"The Spot" footbridge

Access from Silver Street, Pier Street(pedestrianised) and Spot Lane(footpath).

Taken looking NorthWest - main towpath on the left - short Silver Street towpath on the right

The photo on the right taken 10/04/2006.
The photo on the left taken 02/10/2012.

Connects Clayhanger at Spot Lane (previously Little Wyrley Road) with Brownhills.
The new bridge was officially opened on Friday 5th. October 2007.
The previous metal structure replaced an earlier wooden footbridge. On the right, at the end of Pier Street, was a canal-side pub (The Pier Inn and previously "The Fortunes of War"). It was used by working boaters up to the end of the 1950s. Pier Street was named after the pier built into the canal for loading and unloading.

An overflow in winter and summer December 1984 (left) and April 2006 (right).

Taken looking North.

(just North of "The Spot" footbridge)

Access via towpath

Brownhills Canoe Club
(or "Brownhills Canoe and Outdoor Centre")

The Club state ... "We officially opened our doors in June 2006 during the Brownhills Canal Festival
The Centre was built with funding from Active England (a joint funding programme between Sport England and the Big Lottery Fund), the European Regional Development Fund and British Waterways.
Our aim is..'to provide a venue for the community of Brownhills and the surrounding areas to take part in the sport of canoeing and other outdoor recreational pursuits' " (From their old web site)

Taken looking North - 16/07/2006.
main towpath on the left - short Silver Street towpath on the right (Access via
"The Spot" footbridge or direct from Silver Street)

Brownhills Basin & wharfs

On the left before housing development and the Brownhills Canoe and Outdoor Centre arrived.
Taken looking North
- 2001.

On the right with housing development and the Brownhills Canoe and Outdoor Centre.
Taken looking North -
10/04/2006.

Viewed from towpath (Access via "The Spot" footbridge from Silver Street)

The Midland Railway bridge route from Birmingham to Wolverhampton via Walsall was opened in 1879. To provide access to the coalfields in the Chasewater area a branch line of about five miles was planned from the "Sutton Park Line" at Aldridge and the branch line serving Brownhills coal mines opened to goods in November 1882.In 1962 goods services finally withdrawn with the closure of local pits and the line closed.

General view taken looking East - close-up taken looking North. Access via towpath

Coopers Bridge carries a farm lane to Swingbridge Farm(disused) once run by a Mr. Cooper. A earlier swing bridge crossed the canal at this point, giving the name to the farm.

Taken looking West.

Access from a rough lane for walkers from Pelsall Road or Clayhanger Common.

Rail bridge - which did carry the South Staffordshire Railway to Brownhills. The track bed is currently a walkway in variable condition.

Taken looking North.

Access via towpath - access from the track bed only for the brave.

Becks Bridge (under Pelsall Road (A4124)) - bridge is dated 1997.

Taken looking North.

Access via towpath - No Access from Pelsall Road.

Jolly Collier Bridge - under Coppice Side. The Jolly Collier public house was at the nearby corner of Coppice Side and Pelsall Road.

Taken looking West.

Access via steps to Coppice Side

Old South Staffordshire Railway bridge now Beacon Way long distance walk over canal. The view on the right shows an alcove in brickwork of bridge to allow for planks to block canal for drainage, etc.

Taken looking West.

Access via towpath or steps from Beacon Way

The Beacon Way - The sign dated 1997 reads "South Staffordshire Railway 1858, Norton Branch, Closed 1975". Sadly some of the people who get their fresh air and exercise by walking the canals and closed railway lines of the area also feel the need to test the strength of anything they come across on their way.

Taken from Beacon Way on bridge - looking East

Access along canal via steps or from Beacon Way.

Engine Lane Bridge

Those who follow the Beacon Way north along the line of the railway will come to Engine Lane (footpath) to the left and Coppice Lane to the right. The bridge crosses the remains of the canal arm that connected the Wyrley and Essington Canal to the coal mines of Brownhills West.

High Bridge Bridge Under Pelsall Road/Lichfield Road (A4124). Also known as "the high bridges" as the locals used to call them when the Pelsall Road crossed both the canal and the adjacent railway

Taken looking Northeast, back towards Brownhills.

Access from Lichfield Road (A4124) via steps

"the high bridges" in December 1984 when the previous twin bridges were replaced. At the time some of the older locals were worried that pile-driving for the foundations would find a reputed unexploded bomb from the Second World War - if the bomb was down there, it is still down there, still unexploded!

On the left taken looking Northeast back towards Brownhills. On the right taken looking Southwest towards Pelsall.

Gilpins Arm - the photo on the right is the site of the start of the arm. Until a recent house build, the other end of the arm could still seen as a wide ditch at the side of Norton Road, opposite Green Lane, Pelsall.

Taken looking Northeast, back towards Brownhills.

Access via towpath.

Yorks Foundry Bridge - Under Lichfield Road (A4124). The current bridge is a modern widening of the original.

On the left taken looking North. On the right taken looking South back towards Brownhills.

Access from Lichfield Road.

York's Bridge - Under Norton Road (B4154).

Taken looking West - 2/6/2007.

Access from Norton Road (B4154) - around the back of the pub.

The photo on the left with "The Fingerpost Pub & Eatery" to the left.

The photo on the right from 2001 with the Royal Oak pub (Ansells) to the left.

York's Bridge - Taken looking East - 2/6/2007.

Pelsall Junction Bridge footbridge

taken looking West - 17/1/2014.

Access from Pelsall via Nest Common on the left.

Access from the Cannock Extension Canal and Pelsall North Common
over the footbridge to the right.

Friar Bridge - at the start of Cannock Extension branch.

Taken looking North from Pelsall Junction - 17/1/2014.

Access from Pelsall North Common.
Access from Pelsall via Nest Common and over the footbridge out of shot on the right.

The sign indicates what was the plan for connecting a restored Hatherton Branch Canal to the W&E via the Cannock Extension branch. Due to various problems the LHCRT now plan that a connection to the W&E will be a little farther along the route to Wolverhampton.
See Virtual Walks-7 Pelsall Junction to Lord Hayes Branch for more details.

Pelsall Junction - 12 miles 7 furlongs from Horseley Fields Junction, Wolverhampton.

Taken looking North from Pelsall Junction - 17/1/2014.

Left onward towards Wolverhampton. ( See Virtual Walks-7 )
Straight ahead over the footbridge to the Cannock Extension branch. ( See Virtual Walks-6 ).
Right back to Brownhills.

 

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