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Tame Valley Canal

The Tame Valley Canal is a secret, secluded world, largely hidden from its built-up surroundings by high embankments and deep cuttings. The towpaths are open to walkers, cyclists and anglers, making it the perfect urban escape.

Flight of locks on Tame Valley Canal Locks near Perry Park on Tame Valley Canal, courtesy of ell-r-brown, Flickr

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The Tame Valley Canal runs for 8.5 miles from Tame Valley Junction to Perry Barr Bottom Lock. Compared with earlier canals, the Tame Valley is relatively sophisticated - with bold engineering, brick lined banks and twin towpaths.

There are plenty of things to see and do along the Tame Valley Canal. It provides access to Alexander Stadium, the bastion of local and international athletics and a superb venue for greyhound racing. The towpath is open to cyclists, angers and walkers and has plenty of pubs en route!

In addition, nearby Sandwell Valley, an oasis of green in the centre of an industrialised area provides woods, parkland, marsh and fields rich in wildlife. Since the creation of the country park and nature reserve this has been the best place in the former West Midlands county for bird watching. In addition, golfing enthusiasts can enjoy a round of golf at nearby Sandwell Golf Course.

Find stoppages, restrictions and other navigational advice for this waterway.

The history

The Tame Valley Canal runs from the Walsall Canal to Salford Junction. Opened in 1844 it was a late addition to the Birmingham Canal Navigations and was cut to overcome the long delays building up at Farmer's Bridge. Compared with earlier canals the Tame Valley is relatively sophisticated with high embankments, deep cuttings, brick lined banks and twin towpaths. The number of locks gave rise amongst boatmen to its nickname as the 'new 13', to distinguish it from the old 13 at Farmer's Bridge.

At Rushall, or Newton, Junction it is joined by the Rushall Canal, meeting it almost directly under the M6. At Salford Junction it is overshadowed by the Spaghetti Junction motorway complex at Gravelly Hill. A cutting near Piercy Aqueduct passes through exposed sandstone that is over 200 million years old.

Perry Barr Top Lock is set amongst old stables, a Gauging Weir House and a former BCN house, number 86. All permanently occupied buildings around the BCN were allocated numbers by the canal company - the highest numbers issued being 271 and 272 at Ogley Junction to the north.