Leaving the much-revamped water frontages of Birmingham via the New Main Line and negotiating parts of the elegant Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal and the Trent & Mersey Canal before returning along the Coventry Canal and the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, this voyage offers vivid contrasts between heritage and contemporary life.
At the height of the industrial revolution the Black Country and surrounding area was dotted with hundreds of furnaces. Today most of the old heavy industry has gone but the waterway legacy that remains offers the inquisitive traveller a fascinating glimpse into an age long past.
The New Main Line was a modification made by Thomas Telford to the earlier route cut by James Brindley. It was built in Telford’s typically bold style, with twin towpaths and innovative engineering techniques, and shortened the distance between Birmingham and Wolverhampton by several miles.