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-6 The Cannock Extension from Pelsall Junction (May 2003 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.

I have been greatly helped in this "Virtual Walk" by the National Library of Scotland who offer "This application that allows a set of historical map overlays to be viewed (against current maps)". Without this impressive research tool identifying long lost routes is unreliable or almost impossible.

I have been able to check some of the pointers used below but there are many that are imposible to check and may be inacurate!

CE20 Pelsall Junction - 12 miles 7 furlongs from Horseley Fields Junction, Wolverhampton.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6377, -1.9726)

Left onward towards Wolverhampton. ( See Virtual Walks-7 )
Straight ahead over the footbridge to the Cannock Extension branch.
Right to Brownhills. ( See Virtual Walks-3).

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.

CE30 Friar Bridge - at the start of Cannock Extension branch.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6383, -1.9726)

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.

CE40 Pelsall Common Bridge
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6404, -1.9725)

Taken looking North.

Access from Pelsall North Common.

CE50 Green Bridge
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6425, -1.9724)

Taken looking North.

Access to and from farmer's fields only.

CE70 Wyrley Grove Bridge (or Wyrley Lane Bridge)
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6462, -1.9722)

Taken looking North.

Access from Wyrley Lane.

CE80 Wyrley Common Bridge The canal narrows where a railway bridge passed over the canal.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6515, -1.9720)

The mineral railway to Wyrley Common Pit ran to the right (east) and to Grove Collery and wharfs to the left (west).

Taken looking North.

Access from public footpath to Lime Lane.

CE90 Grove Collery Wharfs (or Grove Basins)
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6521, -1.9721)

For Brownhills Colliery Grove Pit (Wyrley Grove Colliery).

Taken looking West.

This was intended to be the start of the new route to the Hatherton Branch of the Staffs and Worcester, replacing the lost section that is described below. The early part of the new canal would have followed the line of the old tramway that delivered cable pulled coal tubs to the canal wharf.

The Hatherton Canal is now expected to join the W&E via the Lords Hays Branch west of Pelsall Junction. See Virtual Walks-7 Pelsall Junction to Lord Hayes Branch for more details.

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 Hatherton Canal from the Wyrley and Essington, through the Cannock / A5 area to meet the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal at Hatherton Junction, Calf Heath. It promotes the restoration as public amenities for boating, angling, walking, cycling etc. and raises funds to carry out physical restoration work.
CE90 Grove Collery Basins.

Taken looking West.

 

 

 

Further to the west --- Brownhills No.3 Colliery (Wyrley No.3) (also "Harrison's" or "Sinking" or No.3 Plant)

This pit was connected to basins via cable tramway.

The cableway ran from the basins to https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6586, -2.0015) A dead straight line of trees or overgrown hedging can still be seen along part of the route.

Taken to the west of the basins - May 1990.
------ (More Photos in my Flickr album - Cannock Extension Canal)

CE100 Pelsall Road Bridge (the old bridge)
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6541, -1.9718)

(photo taken 2/6/2007)
Taken looking back South.
Access from Lime Lane.

The old bridge (taken 2003).

Taken looking North.
Access from Lime Lane.

The old bridge sign.
Taken looking North - photo 2/6/2007

CE110 Pelsall Road Bridge (the new bridge)
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6544, -1.9719)

On the right the bridge dated 2008 with the remaining brickwork of the old bridge in front of it (taken 1/4/2009).

Taken looking North.
Access from Lime Lane.

CE120 Norton Common Basin ? For Conduit No.1 pit via tramway
https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6566, -1.9715)
CE130 Norton Canes Docks
https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6581, -1.9716)

Yates Brothers Boatyard - The site of the Yates canal empire that once consisted of a fleet of 400 boats. The site is now occupied by Norton Canes Boatbuilders and Denis Cooper's Canal Transport Services boat yard.

In 1982 the boatyard of M.E. Braine Boatbuilders Ltd. on this stretch of the canal was used to film the BBC Play For Today “Atlantis”. The comedy drama, staring Frank Middlemass, was transmitted on 4 January 1983. It was about the conversion of an old narrow boat into a pleasure cruiser. The show ended with a sting in the tail when the boat started its first trip but did not get very far. Peter Terson (pseudonym of Peter Patterson) had written the play while he was living on a boat here.
Does anyone remember the programme or Peter when he lived on the water here?

Viewed from tow path opposite (Access to boat yard premises from Lime Lane, near Yates Sports & Social Club) - photo taken 2/6/2007.

CE140 Yates Sports & Social Club
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6586, -1.9728)

- a reminder of the site of the Yates canal empire.

The club web site is - http://www.yatessportsandsocialclub.co.uk

Access from Lime Lane - no access to the canal tow path at this site.

photo taken 2/6/2007

CE150 Watling Street Bridge (A5)
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6600, -1.9714)

Just before the main road is the end of the line. Time to take a well earned rest on the bench carved in the shape of a canal bridge and look back up the dead straight canal.

Taken looking North.

Access from Watling Street.

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The majority of the rest of the original canal has disappeared underneath infilling, housing, industrial development and the new M6 Toll motorway. Coal was the main load carried by the canal, but eventually subsidence due to deep coal mining and a large area of opencast coal mining obliterated most of the line. The rest of the line took the following route........
Warning! - This route has been long derelict. Remember that this route should not be thought of as a public right of way.
Most importantly,
note that breaking a leg in the middle of nowhere is hazardous to health.
CE160 Norton Basin ? A small basin beside A5 Watling Street (east toward Blacksmiths / Moss's Farm)
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6601, -1.9713)
CE170 Norton Green Bridge or Nortongreen Bridge
(
https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6625, -1.9714)

The line of the canal from the A5 Watling Street runs from top right to bottom left.

The canal would have passed under Norton Green Bridge or Nortongreen Bridge (now the west bound carriageway of the M6Toll) which took Albutts Road/Commonside over the canal.

Photo taken from Walsall Road – looking south towards the A5 Watling Street. - 24/2/2016.
------ (More Photos in my Flickr album - Cannock Extension Canal)

CE180 Norton Green Wharf ?
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6642, -1.9715)

Was there a wharf here - or does "Norton Green Wharf" refer to the point after BCN House No.213 (see below) where the canal passes north of Conduit No.4 Colliery (Norton Green Colliery)?

At various places the brickwork of the towpath edge can still be seen.

To walk along the route of the canal from A5 Watling Street the a hiker, when reaching the M6toll, would have to walk alongside the fence by the motorway to Walsall Road - cross over the motorway bridge - and return via the public footpath from Walsall Road.

NOTE – walking to Walsall Road may not be possible and the first part of the public footpath may require forcing through the encroaching brambles!
Once back on the line of the canal the going is easier.

Photo taken looking north along the line of the canal from the M6Toll to Bettys Lane. - 24/2/2016.
------ (More Photos in my Flickr album - Cannock Extension Canal)

CE190 New Road Bridge
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6647, -1.9713)

The remains of the abutments of New Road Bridge that passed over the canal.
The bridge took a track south-east to meet Albutts Road/Commonside.

 

Photo taken looking south - back along the line of the canal from Bettys Lane to the M6Toll. - 24/2/2016.
------ (More Photos in my Flickr album - Cannock Extension Canal)

CE200 Foredrove Bridge

Were the canal crossed under Betty's Lane on to Red Lion Lane (or Red Lion Road as it was once called)
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6664, -1.9712)

Photo taken looking back south from Conduit Road where Bettys Lane (running from left to right) was taken over the canal by Foredrove Bridge. - 24/2/2016.
------ (More Photos in my Flickr album - Cannock Extension Canal)

CE210 Norton Springs Branch to Norton Springs Basin (north)
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6668, -1.9706)

Level with the first car the canal was crossed by a railway line running north-west (to the left) and almost immediately after the canal also veered off to the north-west

Conduit Road – named after Conduit No.3 Colliery (Jerome's) that lay at the end of the road and was served by canal basins that ran along the line of the right-hand side of the road for three quarters of its length.

 

 

 

Photo taken looking north along Conduit Road from Bettys Lane (running from left to right) - 24/2/2016.
------ (More Photos in my Flickr album - Cannock Extension Canal)

CE210 Norton Springs Branch to Norton Springs Basin (north)
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6668, -1.9706)

North of the basins was Conduit No.3 Colliery (Jerome's)

At the junction of Brownhills Road and Burntwood Road, Norton Canes is a small park with some reminders of the mining history of the area.
for Conduit No.4 Colliery (Norton Green Colliery) and Conduit No.3 Colliery (Jerome's)
Park location ---- (www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.674726, -1.970966)

Photo taken - 9/2/2016.
------ (More Photos in my Flickr album - Cannock Extension Canal)

CE220 Norton Branch Railway (LNWR) - crossed over the canal.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6673, -1.9714)
CE230 Hednesford Road Bridge - took Hednesford Road over the canal (now Walsall Road B4154)
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6687, -1.9741)

The canal crossed from right to left under Hednesford Road Bridge and running north-west, followed the line of Mere Croft (off Norton Grange).

Just beyond the site of the crossing is Lock Keepers Close – the site of BCN house No. 213.

 

 

Photo taken looking north along Walsall Road at its junction with Norton Grange - 24/2/2016.
------ (More Photos in my Flickr album - Cannock Extension Canal)

 


Looking west across Walsall Road at its junction with Lock Keepers Close
Photo taken - 24/2/2016.
------ (More Photos in my Flickr album - Cannock Extension Canal)
CE240 BCN House No.213

On Walsall Road - probably at its junction with the new development called Lock Keepers Close.


The canal cottage was probably on the site of the first house on the right.


Photo from "The Other Sixty Miles" by Richard Chester-Browne - published by BCN Society 1981
CE250 Wharf - (see Norton Green Wharf above ?)
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6692, -1.9758)

Was there a wharf here - or does "Norton Green Wharf" refer to a point near New Road Bridge (see above)?

At the junction of Brownhills Road and Burntwood Road, Norton Canes is a small park with some reminders of the mining history of the area.
for Conduit No.4 Colliery (Norton Green Colliery) and Conduit No.3 Colliery (Jerome's)
Park location ---- (www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.674726, -1.970966)

 

Photo taken - 9/2/2016.
------ (More Photos in my Flickr album - Cannock Extension Canal)

CE260 Norton Branch Railway (LNWR) - crossed over the canal - again.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6701, -1.9780)
CE270 Norton Common Bridge which took Chapel Street over the canal. Norton Common Bridge took Church Road/Chapel Street over canal.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6704, -1.9791)
CE280 Badger's Bridge which took Stokes Lane over the canal. (now near Washbrook Lane.)
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6716, -1.9826)
CE290 Wharf - for tramway to Coppice Colliery at Five Ways?
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6722, -1.9842)
CE300 Silvester's Bridge which took Norton Lane over the canal.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6736, -1.9923)
CE310 Silvester Wharf
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6736, -1.9942)
CE320 Kingswood Bridge (or Kings Wood Bridge) which took a farm track over the canal.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6740, -2.0051)
CE330 Leacroft Wharf and railway (with tunnel) to Cannock and Leacroft Colliery.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6770, -2.0110)
CE340 High Bridge took Washbrook Lane (Leacroft) over the canal.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6777, -2.0119)
CE350 Rummer Hill Junction with the Churchbridge Branch Canal leading on to Staffs & Worcestershire Canal link
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6784, -2.0125)

See Virtual Walks-8 Churchbridge Branch Canal for more details.

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CE360 Rummer Hill Wharf - now lost under the A460 Eastern Way
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6826, -2.0165)
CE370 Rummer Hill Bridge took what has now become York Road over the canal. At this point the canal joins the line of the A460 Eastern Way.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6831, -2.0163)
CE380 Leacroft Bridge took Mill Green over the canal. Leacroft Bridge took Mill Green over the canal. Now under the A5190 Lichfield Road island with A460 Eastern Way.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6861, -2.0142)
CE390 Park Bridge - a footbridge passed over the canal.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6893, -2.0128)
CE400 Hawkes Green Aqueduct - over Hawks Green Lane
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6933, -2.0100)
CE410 Rail bridge - LNWR Norton Extension Branch passed over canal. The point where the canal leaves the line of the A460 Eastern Way.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6951, -2.0087)
CE420 Hemlocks Bridge took a farm track over the canal. Currently a cul-de-sac of Hyssop Close.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6957, -2.0075)
Ordinance Survey map of the 1880s showing Hednesford Basin, the Globe Inn and East Cannock Colliery. The "current" pub "The Globe in Hednesford" has little left apart from its sign.

a larger map is available via Flickr.
------ (More Photos in my Flickr album - Cannock Extension Canal)

CE430 Tramway north via the Globe to East Cannock Colliery
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6976, -2.0071)

The footpath leading toward the site of Hednesford canal basin is on the left (see red arrow).

To the right are the remains of the Globe pub behind the pub, farther to the right, was East Cannock Colliery.

Taken from the A460 Old Hednesford Road – looking towards Cannock. - 10/2/2016.
------ (More Photos in my Flickr album - Cannock Extension Canal)

CE440 Hednesford Basin Wharf (East Cannock Basin) - start of.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6986, -2.0059)
CE450 BCN House No.215 and 216
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6991, -2.0057)

May 1984 – the last days of Hednesford canal basin. I believe the two houses are BCN Houses No.215 and 216.

In the background to the left are the stepped rooflines of workshops that still stand in Chaseside Drive.

Taken - May 1984.
------ (More Photos in my Flickr album - Cannock Extension Canal)

CE460 Hednesford Basin Wharf (East Cannock Basin) - end of.
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6994, -2.0042)

May 1984 – the last days of Hednesford canal basin.

Taken - May 1984.
------ (More Photos in my Flickr album - Cannock Extension Canal)

CE470 Littleworth Branch Railway (LNWR) running east from the end of basin
(https://www.google.co.uk/maps pointer ---- 52.6996, -2.0028)

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V2.2 - 14 April 2016 ---- recommended resolution (1366 x 768)

David Hodgkinson 2000-2016. All rights reserved.