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Canal Boating Article: Birmingham Navigations

Visit Birmingham Navigations from the following marina(s)

Alvechurch Marina

Worcester Marina


Work began on the first canal with this network in 1768 and in its heyday the Birmingham Canal Navigations consisted of 160 miles of canals.


Now consisting of over 100 miles of narrow canals, a multitude of locks, loops and tunnels it is probably why they claim that Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice! It is in fact sometimes referred to as Little Venice.


Linked to: Worcester and Birmingham CanalGrand Union CanalStaffordshire and Worcester CanalCoventry Canal, Stourbridge Canal



Dudley Tunnel – The tunnel at 3,172 yards long is the 2nd longest tunnel on the UK canal network. Because it is not continuous this status is sometime questioned – the main tunnel is 2,942 yard, the Lords Ward Tunnel is 196 yard and the Castle Mill Basin 34 yards.


Black country Museum –The 26 acre site brings to life a typical 19th century town and includes a silent cinema and a typical pub where you can join the locals in a pint. Discover first hand what life would have been like for the people who lived and worked in this era.


Limestone Mines at Dudley – Take a fascinating boat trip into the heart of these magnificent limestone caverns to learn about the history and formation of the Limestone. Discover how the lime was mined as you travel through a network of underground canal routes.


Netherton Tunnel – Opened in in 1858 this was the last tunnel to be built on the canal system. Towpaths were built through the tunnel which enabled the narrowboats to be pulled through by the horses and if you look closely the Chainage (distance) markers are still visible.


Edgbaston Reservoir - Engineered by Thomas Telford between 1824 and 1829 it was not built to supply drinking water but to provide water for the canal system. Open to visitors this 70 acre site is home to a variety of animal and bird life and the on site Rangers provide valuable information as well as events including walks and talks, craft sessions and children's story times.


Merryhill Shopping Centre - Just a short walk from the canal enjoy The West Midlands premier out-of-town shopping experience. Take some time to shop or enjoy lunch at one of the many bars and restaurants over looking the cosmopolitan canal basin.


Galton Valley Canal Heritage Centre - The centre gives visitors an insight into some of the most important civil engineering feats in the area. Learn about our industrial past, take a tour of the Smethwick pump house and learn what life was like on a barge in Victorian time.


Gas Street Basin – Gas Street Basin was the meeting point of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal and the Birmingham Canal Main Line and was once the hub of the canal system. Located in the heart of Birmingham city this cosmopolitan yet tranquil setting is only a short walk from the city's bars and restaurants and fantastic shopping opportunities.



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