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Neil Ryan

Stourport ring Itinerary - 10 days out of Alvechurch

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HI there, thanks for letting me join the group. We have a group of 16 (4 boats of 4) traveling on the Stourport Ring in the first week of July. We are leaving out of the Alvechurch and have planned for ten days. I have tried to search for an itinerary but could not find one. I know there are lots of options but I was wondering if someone has a good starting point for an itinerary. I would be most interested in locations to stop for the evening (preferably within walking distance to a nice pub or similar). Which direction would you recommend?

Thanks for any other feedback.  

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I would agree do Tardebigge first - great cruising route choice - but please be aware of other boats around you, 4 boats truly travelling "together" can be quite a bottleneck so try to think of yourselves as 4 individuals, esp on the Tardebigge flight, start off with a decent time between you and don't wait for one another at every lock etc just get on with your individual journeys and share your experiences at the end of the day that way your fellow travellers will engage with you more and you will learn more and will have more to share in the pub when you get together again.

Enjoy - there are plenty of good pubs on that route...……………………..?

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3 minutes ago, Halsey said:

I would agree do Tardebigge first - great cruising route choice - but please be aware of other boats around you, 4 boats truly travelling "together" can be quite a bottleneck so try to think of yourselves as 4 individuals, esp on the Tardebigge flight, start off with a decent time between you and don't wait for one another at every lock etc just get on with your individual journeys and share your experiences at the end of the day that way your fellow travellers will engage with you more and you will learn more and will have more to share in the pub when you get together again.

Enjoy - there are plenty of good pubs on that route...……………………..?

I appreciate the comment about not waiting. Great advice. I did watch a 24 minute condensed version of the trip and there seemed like lots of places where cruising together was more of an option. Also stopping for lunch. My biggest concern right now is selecting places to stop for the night each evening. Our goal is to not cook the evening meal so finding a place to eat each evening would be awesome. I guess with the late evening it would be possible to do some traveling after dinner if needed.

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Neil,

 

Welcome.

 

The Stourport Ring has two options for the core route. Generally it's considered to be the route that uses the Stourbridge and Dudley Canals rather than via Aldersley Junction (Wolverhampton). Alvechurch boats have a guide to the route on board.

 

It's generally a seven day hire route and some crews find even that is comfortable and can add detours on. This means you have time to stop and take in other things off the canal or otherwise take it very leisurely.

 

The bigger attractions are the Severn Valley Railway, Black Country Museum and Birmingham. Smaller attractions are Hanbury Hall, Kinver rock houses and Redhouse glass cone and doubtless a few others I have missed.

 

The Black Country Museum involves a slight detour and other possible canal detours include Droitwich, Stourbridge Basin and the Dudley No 2 Canal to Hawne Basin. I would suggest only go to Droitwich if you are all energetic and wanting to do plenty of cruising. The other two are small detours that are worth the effort if you have time.

 

If you give some thoughts on how many hours a day you envisage cruising and what you might like to visit we could give plenty of suggestions as to detail for an itinerary and appropriate stopping places.

 

As for which way to go I think it depends on what time you can be at Alvecurch to set off since it may be 5 to 6 hours to get you all to the bottom of the Tardebigge flight from Alvechurch. I have seen crews set off from both ends at the start of hires with blatantly no chance of reaching the end at a sensible time. A lot will depend on the experience of your party. Just in case you don't know it's a flight of 30 locks.

 

JP

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Captain Pegg

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There are great pubs on the flight which will give you options depending on your actual timing The Queens Head, The Boat and Railway and the Rising Sun all good and recently visited.

 

Be prepared to moor paired (breasted) up so as not to take up scarce moorings at these prime locations.

 

My advice would also be not to moor on the canal in Worcester, with 4 boats you will do much better to get on to the river itself and go a very short way upstream to the Racecourse - you will generally find sufficient mooring space and still have very easy access to the town

 

A great cruising "together" opportunity comes on the River Severn itself as the locks will accommodate you all at once so that will work for you and those around you.

 

IMHO don't plan the fun out of it - work out a rough idea of how many hours a day you need to do to complete the trip keep 1/2 day in hand and then work with that as an average.

 

A very good old school map is "Principal Inland Navigations" produced by Lockmaster cost app £5 and after 50 years cruising I have never found its timing to be wrong in normal cruising conditions.

 

 

Edited by Halsey

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So could we realistically head down the flight until we've had enough and then moor for the night or are you required to pass through all of the Tardebigge locks at once? If we are not leaving Alvechurch until 3, how far could we get in 2-3 hours?

Thanks for your help

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The locks on the Severn will only take 2 narrowboats at a time, not 4.

 

You cannot stop mid-flight on Tardebigge, the Queens Head is the first stopping place and you definitely wouldn't get there in 2-3 hours.

 

At Worcester the Race Course moorings are definitely my favourite.

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If you're not getting away til 3pm (and all four boats won't finish the handover simultaneously,  I'd suggest) maybe go t'other way. You'll all be in central Brum by early evening, with plenty of daylight to spare. No locks, so you'll make good progress without all the queuing behind one another (and those hirers who left just before you don't forget) but you'll do the  long tunnel at Wast Hill, so you'll have something to talk about in the pub.

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Or stop at Hopwood House, a good pub for a Saturday night but popular so for a party that big it's worth booking ahead. There's a winding point there so if you feel like it you could turn round and go back down Tardebigge the next morning.

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17 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

If you're not getting away til 3pm (and all four boats won't finish the handover simultaneously,  I'd suggest) maybe go t'other way. You'll all be in central Brum by early evening, with plenty of daylight to spare. No locks, so you'll make good progress without all the queuing behind one another (and those hirers who left just before you don't forget) but you'll do the  long tunnel at Wast Hill, so you'll have something to talk about in the pub.

Much easier to regulate the spare time for getting home from the Birmingham direction.

 

My thoughts are cruise the one hour south from Alvechurch, stop above Tardebigge top lock, have a cup of the tepid brown water that Canadians drink instead of tea while taking in the marvellous surroundings, have a look at the lock, get the method straight in your heads then proceed to work all the boats through so everyone knows what to do and all moor up on the visitor moorings below the top lock.

 

I'll wager three hours will have passed from leaving Alvechurch and it will be a glorious early evening perfect for a stroll down the locks to the Queen's Head to help prepare for what lies ahead the next day.

 

In response to the question about mooring on the flight it is actually possible but it's likely that there will be at least one lock between each boat because the pounds are short. It's not generally recommended to moor in lock flights as the water levels can vary and you will obstruct other boats if you hang around into the day.

 

JP

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The rather gruesome enourmous pub near the top of the Tardebigge flight has closed (and probably won't be much missed). But the Alestones micro pub has opened nearby. I haven't yet had a chance to go there, but it has been named Redditch & Bromsgrove CAMRA "Pub of the Year 2018", so should be worth a visit.

http://www.alestones.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/AlestonesTardebigge/

 

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11 minutes ago, Neil Ryan said:

Maybe a great place for our first evening before tackling the locks in the morning!

Thanks for the advice

NR

The opening hours are very limited there (can't precisely recall but it's open less than 24 per week) so I would check before relying on it.

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I like the Captain's plan to stop at Tardebigge and walk down the locks to the Queen's Head. Be great to get a view of the locks and see how it's done. Maybe even practice going in and out with one if its not busy.

 

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When I used to work on the hire boats at Alvechurch, many years ago, somebody would travel with you to Tardebigge and show you how to work through the top lock. There is plenty of space between the top two locks for mooring so you could take all the boats through the top lock, then moor and walk to the Queen's Head.

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5 hours ago, Neil Ryan said:

I like the Captain's plan to stop at Tardebigge and walk down the locks to the Queen's Head. Be great to get a view of the locks and see how it's done. Maybe even practice going in and out with one if its not busy.

 

I agree - if you stop and walk there is another roadside pub called the Tardebigge in the opposite direction Queens Head is better but the other might be closer

You will have done one lock to achieve this anyway as the moorings (for 4) are after the tunnel and below the lock - it is the most daunting as its VERY deep but hey that's part of the trip - I don't think I agree with the comment about only 2 boats in the Severn locks but I'll defer to others...………………………….

Edited by Halsey

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2 minutes ago, The Bearwood Boster said:

We've certainly been in with more than one other narrowboat.?One lock is HUGE !

The lock sizes are quoted in the River Severn guide https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/refresh/media/original/27339-new-river-severn-navigation-guide-april-2016.pdf?v=04abb5

 

As they will only be going through Bevere, Holt and Lincomb then none of those are particularly big and will only take two Narrowboats  unless the boats are quite short, say 40ft.

 

The huge lock is Upper Lode, but they will not be going through that.

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8 hours ago, David Mack said:

The rather gruesome enourmous pub near the top of the Tardebigge flight has closed (and probably won't be much missed). But the Alestones micro pub has opened nearby. I haven't yet had a chance to go there, but it has been named Redditch & Bromsgrove CAMRA "Pub of the Year 2018", so should be worth a visit.

http://www.alestones.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/AlestonesTardebigge/

 

Doesn't appear to be an eating establishment.

 

25 minutes ago, Halsey said:

I agree - if you stop and walk there is another roadside pub called the Tardebigge...

Apparently now closed down. Which is a big improvement.

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14 hours ago, Rob-M said:

Canal planner https://canalplan.org.uk is a good planning tool.

Just noted that Canal Plan describes the route via Stourbridge as the Stour Valley Ring and the route via Aldersley as the Stourport Ring.

 

I can't say I have ever heard anyone use the term Stour Valley Ring before.

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Just a word of warning.  The Stourport Ring was our first ever canal holiday, 35 years ago (from the centre of Birmingham), and was the immediate cause of my only addiction.  :)

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You will probably want to refill the water tank every day. This can take over half an hour per boat, especially if you like to have long showers, so the point already made about thinking of yourselves as four individual boats is very valid, otherwise you will be hanging around water points for at least two hours a day, with four boats having to fill up.

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We did the ring on a single boat late last year, you might find some useful information here:

 

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22 hours ago, Keeping Up said:

The locks on the Severn will only take 2 narrowboats at a time, not 4.

 

You cannot stop mid-flight on Tardebigge, the Queens Head is the first stopping place and you definitely wouldn't get there in 2-3 hours.

 

At Worcester the Race Course moorings are definitely my favourite.

Am I missiing something here ?  The last time I went through the Severn locks they were all 250 feet X 30 feet.

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