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BavariaOne

Beginners - 10 nights from Stoke Prior in August

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After I already got some useful information from this great forum, I would like to ask you to give us a few tips.

We, a family from Germany, would like to drive the Stourport Ring from Stoke Prior at the beginning of August. Therefore we have booked a boat for 10 nights.

 

For now maybe some basic information:
We rarely plan to have lunch or dinner in any pubs. It would be more important for us to find safe and quiet places to stay overnight.

We would also like to have time to visit the Severn Valley railway.


The first question I would have is:
Should we go clockwise or anticlockwise? If we were to go anti-clockwise, the Tardebigge flight would be our first "obstacle". I don't think it's possible on the day of take-off, when you might get off at Stoke Prior at about 15:30, to get all the Tardebigge Locks through to the evening, is it?

 

Maybe it would also make more sense for newcomers to do only the few locks towards Worcester on the first day instead of the over 30 locks of Tardebigge, right?

 

Which quiet and safe places to moor overnight would be recommended?

Or asked the other way round, in which areas should one better not spend the night?

 

It would be very helpful if you could give us a few tips on these topics.

 

Thanks a lot...

Greetings from Bavaria

  • Greenie 2

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Welcome to the forum.

 

Personally I'd "do" the Stourport Ring in a clockwise direction.

Mainly because you will be heading against the flow of the Severn heading out of Worcester, easier to steer and maneuver a boat against the current rather than with it.

Coming out of the lock onto the river make a left turn then when opposite the landing stage down river make a U turn towards the stage if you have crew to pick up.

Picture of Black Prince boat doing this in the distance.

 

All this of course if the river is on "green boards."  Do not attempt to navigate the river on red boards.

The boards, at waterline level, indicate the depth of the river at that time and there will be an increase in the rate of flow if on amber or red. Example  indicating the meaning on a bridge on the Calder & Hebble.

 

Also: https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/station/2092

https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/warnings?stationid=2092

 

I'm sure others will be along with mooring spots and other ideas.

Worcester.jpg

DSCF0975.jpg

mine2006_0416(028).JPG

Edited by Ray T
  • Greenie 1

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An experienced crew could get to the top of Tardebigge from a Stoke Prior pick up in the summer months but I certainly would not recommend trying it to first time hirers. The only proper mooring is at Stoke Pound just 5 locks up from the hire base at the foot of the Tardebigge flight proper (the Tardebigge flight is technically 30 locks but in reality there are 35 continuous locks immediately north of the hire base). It makes a good last night mooring.

 

Going south you will likely end up somewhere on the 6 mile pound between Astwood and Offerton locks and there are three recognised visitor moorings on that pound. Plus it’s not generally difficult to moor anywhere on the Worcester & Birmingham.

 

The ring itself is a comfortable 7 night hire so you should have time to visit the Severn Valley Railway plus maybe one or two other places. The obvious ones would be Worcester, Hanbury Hall, Kinver Rock Houses and the Black Country Living Museum. Plus of course there is potential for a stop in Birmingham. I have no idea what restrictions may be in place at any of them.
 

The other choice is whether to go via Stourbridge or head on to Aldersley Jn and up the Wolverhampton locks. If you wish to cruise rather than visit places you should have time to do both by heading up to Aldersley and retracing your steps back to Stourton Jn and on via Stourbridge and Delph.

 

The southern section of the Staffs & Worcs canal is worthy of exploring.
 

As for the River Severn, unless it rains substantially in the next couple of weeks - and there is no indication it is going to - you are likely to find it very tame for its size. Don’t be complacent but it shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

 

JP


 

 

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 Hi, Ray T and JP,
thanks a lot for the super-fast answers. 👍

In fact, my personal preference was to ride the ring clockwise, which was confirmed by your comments.

 

At the moment we are still undecided whether we should make the "detour" via Wolverhampton as suggested by JP and thus drive more boat or rather make some more comfortable stops.

In some other reports in this forum I read that the area around Wolverhampton is not so much to recommend. Is this true or are these only very personal opinions?

 

If I understand JP correctly, another alternative to driving from Aldersley via the Wolverhampton Locks towards Birmingham would be to drive the route back to Stourton Jn and then as usual via Stourbridge and Delph to Birmingham, right? How long would this take in addition?

 

 

Can you please recommend (quiet/safe) overnight moorings in Birmingham?
I had read about the moorings near the Black Country Living Museum, but where are they exactly? (Somewhere here? - see picture).

 

Thanks a lot.

MooringBLM.jpg

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Have a look at the www.canalplan website for timings for your trip.

 

We usually go to Ga Pa once a year but not this year.

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BCLM moorings are right hand end where the map is marked "Dudley Canal", sanitary station  opposite, BCLM admission can be paid at DCT building rather than going all the way round to the main entrance.

 

springy

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The ring is usually considered to be the route via the Stourbridge and Delph locks.  Whichever way you go the route is urban from the foot of the Stourbridge or Wolverhampton lock flights, through Birmingham and out to Wast Hill Tunnel. The lock flights at Stourbridge and Delph have more to commend them than the Wolverhampton lock flight. The canal from Stourton to Compton (near Wolverhampton) is very pleasant and that’s the interesting bit you miss going via Stourbridge. Hence my suggestion to perhaps transit it in both directions as an addition to the core route.

 

If you plan your route back to Stoke Prior from Stourton Junction you will be able to calculate how far you can go beyond Stourton before turning back. Stourton Junction to Aldersley Junction is an easy one day cruise in one direction.

 

If you visit the Black Country museum it’s a long half day from there into central Birmingham and the best place to moor in Birmingham is in the city centre. There are many boats there every night.

 

The top of the Tardebigge flight is 5 hours from central Birmingham and the flight itself should take between 3 and 5 hours to the moorings at Stoke Pound (bridge 48) on the last night before dropping down 5 locks to the hire base on the last morning. You could moor back at the hire base - or on the towpath opposite it - on the last night if you preferred.

 

JP

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Thank you all for the tips.
@Pie eater: I have already done some "experiments" with canalplan.co.uk to estimate the duration of the trip and it makes a good impression. What I haven't found there yet is a graphical presentation (i.e. a map)  of the route and the stops, is there such a thing?

For a pure map (without tour planning options) I found opencanalmap.uk and the related apps quiet interessting - but is there a combination of a tour planning tool and a good map presentation somewhere available?

 

@springy: Thank you, now I know where to moor and that the BCLM has a "back door" close to that.

 

@Ray T: Hobbs&Son sounds good, we will have a look at it when we really go to BCLM. But at the moment the museum is still closed, probably it will reopen on August 1st under certain conditions. We will see if it then make sense to visit it.

 

@JP: Thank you very much for the valuable information. We will consider all possibilities, so that we can decide spontaneously on site which one to take depending on weather and fitness of the crew😉.
If I understand you correctly, would you rather stay overnight in the city center of Birmingham than at the BCLM moorings?
BTW: What is meant by "city center"? The Gas Street Basin? I've read that because of the surrounding pubs, it can be very restless at night? If so, is there a better place in the city center than that?

 

Thanks!

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15 minutes ago, BavariaOne said:

I have already done some "experiments" with canalplan.co.uk to estimate the duration of the trip and it makes a good impression. What I haven't found there yet is a graphical presentation (i.e. a map)  of the route and the stops, is there such a thing?

 

I think you only get shown the maps if you are logged in to canalplan, but the account is free.

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Mooring at the BCLM or outside by the Fountain pub (moorings on the offside called John The Lock) are fine to stay at overnight especially if visiting the museum. The next preferred location to stio from there would be the city centre where you have a wide choice, either along the main line by the Arena, in the end of the Oozel Street Loop, behind Gas Street basin or the Worcester Birmingham side of Worcester bar. I find the noisiest bit the Worcester Birmingham stretch as foot fall is closer to the boat.

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@TheBiscuits Very good advice. You were absolutely right, only with an account you can see the map overview. Thanks.

 

@Rob-M Thanks for the tip. In fact, on closer inspection there are some mooring possibilities that I did not notice at first.

  • Greenie 1

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On 19/07/2020 at 08:44, TheBiscuits said:

 

I think you only get shown the maps if you are logged in to canalplan, but the account is free.

 

Correct - that was put in to basically save bandwidth. Even only serving our own maps to logged in users uses about 80GB of bandwidth a month - on top of the 30GB from Canalplan itself

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On Monday I met a hire crew heading south at Awbridge lock (you know the one, surrounded by suburbia 😉) who had hired from Stoke Prior starting on the previous Friday.  If that seems like good progress they had been down Farmer’s Bridge and Aston flights and up Perry Barr and Ryder’s Green. They said they’d made it as far as Alvechurch on the first night.

 

JP

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Welcome to the forum and I hope that you enjoy your trip!    I am not an expert on the Stourport ring an only have done the "Western" side of Birmingham with the Grand Union in and the Birmingham and Frazley out.

 

However I would recommend getting some of the old fashioned book guidebooks as well to help with planning as well as also when out and about on the trip.      We use a both the Pearson Guides as well as the Nicholson Guides.     They are slightly different from each other with different Pros-and Cons and combined give a great resource for both planning as well as time aboard!

 

Happy Boating!

 

 

  • Greenie 1

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On 17/07/2020 at 18:14, BavariaOne said:

After I already got some useful information from this great forum, I would like to ask you to give us a few tips.

We, a family from Germany, would like to drive the Stourport Ring from Stoke Prior at the beginning of August. Therefore we have booked a boat for 10 nights.

 

For now maybe some basic information:
We rarely plan to have lunch or dinner in any pubs. It would be more important for us to find safe and quiet places to stay overnight.

We would also like to have time to visit the Severn Valley railway.


The first question I would have is:
Should we go clockwise or anticlockwise? If we were to go anti-clockwise, the Tardebigge flight would be our first "obstacle". I don't think it's possible on the day of take-off, when you might get off at Stoke Prior at about 15:30, to get all the Tardebigge Locks through to the evening, is it?

 

Maybe it would also make more sense for newcomers to do only the few locks towards Worcester on the first day instead of the over 30 locks of Tardebigge, right?

 

Which quiet and safe places to moor overnight would be recommended?

Or asked the other way round, in which areas should one better not spend the night?

 

It would be very helpful if you could give us a few tips on these topics.

 

Thanks a lot...

Greetings from Bavaria

I suggest you get this guide  http://www.jmpearson.co.uk/stourport-ring-canal-guidebook.php

Each page of Pearsons gives you distance, number of locks and time taken so easy to plan.  Available from your hire company or Amazon.

With regard to mooring in Birmingham, when I go there I always moor opposite the Utilita Arena (it used to be called the NIA) and it has alway been very quiet due to lots of CCTV cameras.

An interesting place you may consider to visit is the Kinver rock houses, a short walk from the canal. Go clockwise and enjoy your trip.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kinver-edge-and-the-rock-houses

 

Edited by Flyboy

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@Dharl

Thank you very much for the warm welcome. I did indeed consider buying one of the two guides you mentioned - since the Pearson guide was "sold out" at the time, I chose the Nicholson guide. In the meantime, I have read a lot in it. It contains many interesting information - especially about the history. But from what I've heard now, the Pearson might have been the better choice for what I'm looking for.

 

@Flyboy

Thanks for the moorings and sightseeing tips.
I also read about the Kiniver rock houses. Sounds interesting.

 

@Captain PeggWow, they were moving really fast. I think we will still rather not do the Tarbigge Flight on the first day 😉 and stay on the plan to go clockwise.

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I always get both the Pearson as well as the Nicholson, the first is best for canal planning whilst the later gives a better overview of the country surrounding and can help to put the canal into context.    Both together really help to ,aid the trip.  😀

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Dear Canal Experts,

Since I am now above the detailed planning of our trip, I have a question for the experts:

At the moment the plan is as follows:

Day One
From Stoke Prior towards Worcester with overnight stay near Tibberton
Day 2
From Tibberton to Worcester - With some sightseeing in Worcester
Day 3
From Worcester to Stourport (or a little further)
4th day
From Stourport to Kidderminster
Take a trip with Severn Railway
and then on to Wolverley

 

The rest is not quite clear yet but roughly:
Follow the Staff&Worc until somewhere between Greensforge and Dimmingsdale (somewhere overnight mooring)
Then back to Stourbridge (spending the night in Merry Hill)
Then either to the BCLM or directly to the centre of Birmingham (stay overnight near the arena)
From there to the top lock of the Tarbigge Flight (overnight mooring)
And return to Stoke Wharf the next day. (Pack suitcases - prepare to return - overnight mooring in the near of Stoke Wharf)
Last day - return.

The "problem" I have now is that the steam trains leave Kidderminster Station at about 10:15am (prior reservation is a must at the moment - Covid19 - and if we have to go from Stourport to Kidderminster on the 4th day and then walk to the railway station, that means "getting up early" (which the kids wouldn't appreciate 😉)  and hope that nothing on the way goes wrong or takes unexpectedly longer, otherwise we miss the train.
Hence the question:
Instead of going from Worcester to Stourport, does it make sense to continue straight on towards Kidderminster (or to stay overnight just to have a short walk the next morning)?

If so - could you recommend mooring places between Stourport and Kidderminster?

Or will the drive on day 3 be too long? But what do to instead?

Advice welcome.


 

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The Severn Valley Railway is brilliant, but Stourport is a much more interesting overnight stop than Kidderminster in my opinion.

Worcester to Stourport is not a long day in normal river conditions - I've often done Upton to Stourport with no trouble.

 

If it were me I'd probably moor above the York St lock in Stourport, start early in the morning (your kids can stay in bed) and then moor below Falling Sands lock (about an hour's cruise) and walk to the station (about 2km).  Or carry on through Falling Sands and Caldwell locks and moor in the middle to town, depending on how well you are doing for time.

 

I have done the Severn Valley Railway on a through ticket from Droitwich, but that may not be possible in the current climate.

 

 

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Good points made above. My thoughts would be:

 

Day 1 - Any of the visitor moorings at Hanbury Jn, Dunhampstead or Tibberton would be fine.

 

Day 2 - from any of the above to Worcester will give you some time to look around Worcester. You’ll probably moor between locks 2 and 3 but you could moor above 3 (Commandery) or down on the river.

 

Day 3 - Worcester to Stourport is closer to a half day than a full day so you have time to descend to the river from the canal in central Worcester and to go above York Street lock in Stourport. The last two times I’ve wanted to moor on the actual visitor moorings at York Street they’ve been full but there are plenty of mooring possibilities beyond. If you wanted to continue to Kidderminster you’d have time and you could moor above Falling Sands lock from where you could walk to the Severn Valley the next morning.
 

Day 4 - On to Wolverley for the night is a good plan. There are moorings above and below Wolverley lock (not to be confused with Wolverley Court Lock).

Given it’s taken three and half days to get from Stoke Prior to Wolverley (which could be done in two) I’m now wondering about the logic of continuing up the S&W if you want to visit places off the canal. You will certainly need more time than you have allowed to get above The Bratch. If you aren’t planning on visiting the BCLM there is probably also little point in heading toward Tipton at all.

 

Day 5 - Maybe visit Kinver and moor up at the end of the Stourbridge Arm overnight.

 

Day 6 - Merry Hill if you want to go shopping or perhaps Windmill End otherwise.
 

Day 7 - From Windmill End you could be be at the BCLM in time for a worthwhile visit. Not impossible from Merry Hill but an earlier start would be sensible as the BCLM warrants a decent amount of time.

 

Day 8 - into Birmingham and have a look around

 

Day 9 - On to Tardebigge top lock

 

Day 10 - Down to Stoke Prior and moor opposite the base ready to offload in the morning.
 

A lot of those days are about 5 hours cruising time. If you don’t want to visit Kinver, Merry Hill, BCLM or Birmingham you’d have time to go north from Stourton on the S&W.

 

JP

Edited by Captain Pegg

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On 19/07/2020 at 10:49, BavariaOne said:

@TheBiscuits Very good advice. You were absolutely right, only with an account you can see the map overview. Thanks.

 

@Rob-M Thanks for the tip. In fact, on closer inspection there are some mooring possibilities that I did not notice at first.

Are you aware that the Severn Valley Railway is at present operating with online bookings only due to Covid 19 ? They are using only carriages with compartments so have limited capacity. Suggest you check with them to avoid disapointment.   https://www.svr.co.uk/NewsItem.aspx?a=931

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@FlyboyYes, thanks for the reminder, I know that the SevernValleyRailway currently only operates on pre-booked basis (This was also the reason I ask you Canal-Experts whether my time schedule is doable to take the train on the fourth day of our journey)

 

 

@fatmanblueWell, indeed that's  a good idea. Thanks.


 

@Captain PeggThanks for your detailed proposal. And sorry for the confusion in my planning description. To make it more clear: The option to go further on the S&W (and not just swing by to StourbridgeCanal and BCN) was just in case we skip the BCLM (which is still an thinkable option - and we might decided short term when we are on the journey). But the other way around, when we want to visit to SevernValleyRailway (which takes with the current timetable more as less from 9am to 5 pm) AND the BCLM I fully agree with you it make no sense to go further than Stourton on the S&W).

But just in case we skip the BCLM on day 7 and instead go on like this after day 4:

day 5 a little further up the S&W maybe around Swindon and then on

day 6 back to moor up at Stourbridge Town Arm and on

day 7 up to Merry Hill or (even) WindmillEnd or somewhere else around this area and

day 8 into city center and day 9 Tardebigge top lock  and day 10 Stoke Prior

Does this makes sense?


Beside of this: In general, which are other recommend overnight mooring spots between Stourton and Windmill End?


Thanks

Edited by BavariaOne

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Heading up the S&W north of Stourton the choices for winding would be below Hinksford lock or below Bratch locks. The former would be two 5 hour days from Wolverley to Stourbridge and the latter two 7 hour days from Wolverley to Stourbridge. Going above Bratch may not be advisable because when busy there can be delays as it’s one boat at a time through the three locks. However if you do wind below Bratch locks have a walk up and take a look. The bottom lock is about 100 metres from the winding hole but isn’t obviously visible (you can see the mooring bollards on the offside lock landing but not the lock itself).

 

Good mooring options are limited on the Stourbridge and Dudley canals, both by where you can physically moor and by where you might choose to moor. The approaches to Wordsley Junction from Stourton are very pleasant and popular with locals out for a walk. There’s parkland nearby which may put some people off mooring and I’m not sure how suitable the bank and depth are. There are moorings outside the basin at Stourbridge at the bottom of the arm at which there are moored boats more often than not. It’s on a well used path which gives it some security. There’s no public mooring within the basin area itself but the canal isn’t private and you can - and will need to - turn outside the Bonded Warehouse. I have moored on the public moorings outside the basin when remaining on the boat or arranged to moor at the Bonded Warehouse when leaving the boat.

 

Past Wordsley Junction I would suggest there’s nowhere you’d probably moor until Delph bottom lock. I have seen boats moored both below the bottom lock and in the short arm above the bottom lock (I’ve moored there myself) but again it might not appeal to everyone. The main reason for wanting to moor there is to visit the Vine/Bull & Bladder pub.
 

Merry Hill and Windmill End are recognised mooring sites. Merry Hill is a mass of concrete whereas Windmill End is green. Merry Hill is arguably safer but all moorings beyond Wordsley are in urban areas. From there it’s likely on to Tipton or Birmingham directly.

 

JP

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