Read the story of how the Canal & River Trust came to be
Work for us
We have vacancies across all of our waterways and in the offices, museums and attractions that support them. We're one of the UK's biggest charities and we take pride in everything we do
If you're thinking of getting in touch then please take a moment to look through these pages as we probably have the answer on our website
Planning & design
All you need to know about planning and design on our canals and rivers
Find a winter mooring
Find a cosy section of canal to hunker down in this winter
10 reasons to take up canoeing
It's a great way to get fit and explore our waterways at the same time
Share the Space
Take a look at our common sense guide to sharing the towpath
Find a place to fish
From reservoirs to club-managed canals and river stretches - find your nearest place to fish
Get your free guide
Download your free guide today and start exploring the waterway nature near you
Download your free guides
You've nine free days out guides to choose from - where will you go first?
Find a walk near you
Are you ready to ramble? Find a waterside stroll or a satisfying hike along our beautiful canals and rivers
Take a look at our upcoming events here.
Find your favourite waterway
With over 95 canals, rivers, reservoirs, docks and navigations, find out more about your favourite waterway
Something for everyone
Help us make a difference and have fun along the way. Find your perfect volunteer role today
Join our team
Could you join your local Towpath Taskforce team and help us to keep our canals looking lovely?
Desmond Family Canoe Trail
If you're aged 16-25 and would like to get involved with this exciting project, please get in touch
Could you be a volunteer lock keeper?
Find out what's involved with this popular volunteering opportunity
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
The Worcester & Birmingham Canal takes you from the vibrant centre of Birmingham, through the green hills of Worcestershire, to the cathedral city of Worcester.
20th Jan 2018 7:00am onwards
There is a navigation hazard on the towpath side of the pound between Locks 38 & 39 due to several large displaced coping stones (dislodged during renovation works) below water level. These are situated...
22nd Jan 2018 8:00am to 20th May 2018 5:00pm
Towpath widening works through the tunnel. These works are now confirmed.
12th Jun 2015 10:30am onwards
The waterway wall directly opposite the winding hole is starting to fail and further wash from boat propellers using the winding hole will exacerbate the problem. Therefore we are closing the winding hole...
The marina has an onsite shop with gifts, confectionery and magazines, and a boat chandlery. There are toilets, showers, waste disposal, recycling and off line moorings. Free parking and wi-fi access available....
We are Roving Traders travelling the inland waterways on our narrow-boat Islonian trading as Flavoursfloat.
Severn Expeditions offer Self Drive Day Boat hire on the river Severn. Great for family fun and fishing!!!
Bridge 19 Blackpole to Bridge 48 Stoke Pound
Worcester & Birmingham Canal
Bridge 51 Fenstall Lane to Kingsnorton Tunnel (south portal)
Bridge 2 Mill Street to Bridge 19 Blackpole
Bridge 70 Kingsnorton to Bridge 78 Raddlebarn Road
At its northern end, the canal joins the Birmingham Canal Main Line at Gas Street Basin. This pretty basin was once a thriving transport hub. Now, traditional narrowboats and elegant black and white iron footbridges sit side-by-side with modern bars and restaurants. Close by is luxury shopping centre the Mailbox, with its stylish clothing shops and cafes.
Among the cargos that once travelled on the canal was chocolate crumb to the Cadbury factory. Today, this is Cadbury World, a great day out if you have a sweet tooth.
At Kings Norton Junction, the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal joins under permanently open guillotine gates. Opposite the junction is an attractive toll house with its board showing the charges.
The Lickey Hills are pierced by three long tunnels. The canal was realigned to allow the building of the M42. Tardebigge Wharf, with its dry dock, maintenance yard, workers' cottages, and historic warehouse remains the main base for maintenance on the canal, and is a great place to start a walk. It was here that Tom Rolt met Robert Aickman, which led to the creation of the Inland Waterways Association.
All 58 locks are in the second half of the canal, as the canal descends through rural Worcestershire. The Tardebigge lock flight has 30 locks in just over two miles, making it the longest in the country.
Hanbury Hall (National Trust) can easily be reached by a pleasant walk across the fields from Astwood Bottom Lock. Hanbury Junction marks the connection with the Droitwich Junction Canal, linked with the Droitwich Barge Canal and offers a route to the River Severn at Hawford. You might like to take a short walk down the Hanbury Flight, which was rebuilt by volunteers. Hanbury's other claim to fame is that it is said to be the real-life counterpart of Radio 4's Ambridge, home of The Archers.
Around Bilford, the countryside is left behind as the canal begins to encroach on the city environs. The Commandery was the headquarters of Charles Stuart before the Battle of Worcester in 1651.
Ahead lies Diglis Basins and two wide locks accessing the Severn. Once very busy with commercial traffic, the working boats have long been replaced by pleasure craft. Worcester Cathedral stares down imposingly on travellers entering the river.
The Worcester & Birmingham Canal is a justifiably popular cruising route and is now part of both the Avon and Stourport Cruising Rings. With 58 locks in all it is well suited to energetic crews, or those who don't mind taking their time.
Find stoppages, restrictions and other navigational advice for this waterway
Check out Diglis Basin
Download Worcester & Birmingham Canal towpath guidance for cyclists
The purpose of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal was to give a much shorter link between Birmingham and the river Severn. Against opposition from other canals, it obtained its Act in 1791. Construction started at the Birmingham end but progress was slow. The canal was intended to be broad (for boats up to 14ft wide), which is why the first three tunnels have this width, but shortage of money meant that the section from Tardebigge to Worcester was built only wide enough for narrow boats. It opened throughout in 1815.
Water supply was a major problem and a source of conflict with connecting canals. At first the Birmingham Canal and the W&B were physically separated by what was known as Worcester Bar, but in 1815 they agreed a compromise whereby the two canals would be linked by a lock, with the W&B paying a compensation toll for all traffic passing through.
The guillotine lock by Kings Norton Junction on the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal enabled each canal to preserve its water, regardless of the respective levels.
Tardebigge top lock is particularly deep because it was the site of a experimental vertical boat lift, which proved not to be robust enough. After a few months it was replaced by a conventional lock — but as a canal’s water usage is largely determined by its deepest lock, it would have been better if it had been replaced by two locks.
The volume of traffic never lived up to expectations, though it improved once the Gloucester & Berkeley Canal opened in 1827. Salt had been found when the canal was being cut at Stoke Prior, and the industry which developed became an important source of traffic. Worcester gas works and other canalside industries used coal brought by the canal.
However, from 1841 railway competition took away much of the business and in 1868 losses were so severe that a receiver was appointed. The canal was saved by being bought in 1874 by the Sharpness New Docks Company (which by then owned the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal). Under enterprising management new traffic was sought, and the canal survived until nationalisation in 1948.
The last commercial traffics were coal from Cannock to Worcester and chocolate crumb from Worcester to Bourneville, ceasing in 1960 and 1961 respectively.
West Midlands Waterways
Real all the plans and latest news from our local team.
South Wales & Severn
Read the plans and latest news from South Wales & Severn team.