Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal

Historical Profiles: NarrowBoat, Spring 2006

Ian Langford

Ian Langford on the Staffs & Worcs Canal - one of our earliest and most complete original narrow canals

The Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal is one of the most attractive in the country, despite increasing riparian development in recent years and its nearness to the urban and industrial sprawl of the Black Country. A journey along its 46 miles is full of interest amid ever changing scenery: through pleasant pasturelands at the northern end and spectacular rocky terrain at the southern. Opened in 1772, the Staffs & Worcs was a major link in the chain connecting the industrial Midlands with the rivers Trent, Mersey, Severn and Thames, and earned a dividend within a few months of completion. The canal remained independent and viable until nationalisation and is now the most heavily used recreational waterway in the Midlands. Unlike many contemporary waterways, no part of the Staffs & Worcs was realigned, widened or otherwise ‘modernised’ in anticipation of railway competition. When it passed to the nation in 1948, the canal was essentially as it had been built, …

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Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal featured image