Discovering Britain's canals in Dudley

Although this open day has passed, three walks suggested by Dr Helen Rawling from Discovering Britain are still a great way to enjoy Dudley by water.

Windmill End, courtesy of Discovering Britain Windmill End, courtesy of Discovering Britain

Planning to go to the Dudley any time soon? Then why not make a day of it and try a Discovering Britain walk to really delve into the stories behind the local canals.

Discovering Britain has been created by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) to explore the stories behind Britain’s rich and varied landscapes. Many walks, shorter trails and viewpoints are free to download from their website.

Walking route #1

Just a mile away from where we held our open day in Parkhead is the Bumble Hole Visitor Centre, the start of our short trail around the Dudley Canal at Windmill End.

This section of the Dudley Canal was built from 1779 to link Stourbridge and Tipton. It was mainly used to transport coal, which was mined there. Indeed, in the 18th and 19th centuries this open space was a noisy and dirty workshop, lined with a heady mix of factories, boatyards, blast furnaces and collieries. This mile-long walk uncovers the hidden past of this now tranquil spot.

Stourbridge, courtesy of Discovering Britain

Walking route #2

Within Dudley itself, why not try our longer five-mile Dudley walk? Meandering along a leafy green corridor in the heart of the Black Country, this route explores how Dudley’s unique geology fuelled the Industrial Revolution.

You’ll walk along a section of the Dudley Canal built from 1775 by Lord Ward of Dudley to link his colliery and limestone mines with nearby factories and towns. Discover how canals were the region’s lifeblood and find out why some even went underground.

Stourbridge glass-blowers, courtesy of Discovering Britain

Walking route #3

Or you can head south for our 1½ mile walk along the Town Arm of the Stourbridge Canal. The Stourbridge Canal is only five miles long and was built to bring coal from Dudley where it was used in several industries, including glassmaking. In fact, there were so many glass companies based here that the area is known as ‘the Crystal Mile’. Explore how Stourbridge became the home of British glassmaking and birthplace of the unique ‘Stourbridge Lion’.

All these walks come complete with maps and directions. Either download the PDF booklets or follow the walks as you go with your mobile.

There are over 300 free walking activities on Discovering Britain, plus 100 stunning aerial photographs. Every landscape has a story to tell and you can uncover them by visiting their website.

Last date edited: 9 October 2018