The Kingswinford Canal Walk
The Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal is one of the most beautiful in the country. It was engineered by James Brindley, construction began in 1766 and it opened on 28th May 1722 and marked the beginning of the great canal era.
Brindley's aim was to reduce engineering works to a minimum, which he achieved by following the gentle valleys of the rivers Sow, Penk, Smestow and Stour - a total of 46 miles in length and incorporating 43 locks. Even though there were once many forges and steel mills along the canal, today it bears few scars from the industrial revolution and most of it passes through upspoilt countryside.
It formed part of his "Grand Cross" design to link the rivers Mersey, Thames, Trent and Severn. It cost £100,000 to build and was an immediate success, proving more than a match for its competitors by moving goods more quickly and cheaply than by packhorse or river transport.
The map below illustrates the route of the trail between Wombourne and Stourton, in addition it gives information about points of interest along the way - just click on the map over place names, red squares or pub symbols to find out more.
You can join the trail at several places and also link up with other rights of way including lanes, tracks, footpaths and the Kingswinford Railway Walk.
A journey in photographs from Swindon to Stourton, follow the path of the canal with your mouse and find the "hot spots" which are not just the "camera" icons!
One of the most striking features are the circular side weirs to the locks, designed by Brindley, they are only found on the Staffs and Worcs canal.
|These experimental circular weirs have sills taking the form of a shallow saucer, the culvert entrance being a circular hole in the centre, the effect being that of an enormous funnel.|
These weirs occupy far less space than a straight weir of equal capacity.