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North or South From Autherley ?

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11 minutes ago, Rob-M said:

An example of the countryside heading towards Stourport, picture from https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Birds_Eye_View_of_Bratch_Locks.jpg#mw-jump-to-license

1920px-Birds_Eye_View_of_Bratch_Locks.jpg.cdae64619e133a399c2e6b311ca62f2f.jpg

Nice pic but it's deceiving.  These locks aren't in the countryside.  They're surrounded by housing sprawl.  If your picture was pointing the other way, it would show it.  See below:

 

 

Capture.JPG

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I tend to agree with Dora that heading north is the way I would go.

A friend and I (and our wives) cruised the four counties ring and the Cheshire ring in 10 days, OK, it was quite a few years ago before the canals got as busy as they are now and it was early season (May) so perhaps not something I would suggest as a relaxing holiday!

The route to the North is more scenic with lovely stretches of wonderful views. Heading South is nice too, I must admit I have no problem cruising past people's gardens, looking at the various plants, moored boats and waving to the retired people sunning themselves (or sheltering from the rain) in their conservatories.

Whichever way you go I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

Edited by manxmike

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There's obviously no consensus - thus how about something completely different -

 

Antipodean folk are tough and fit, thus how about a ring around parts of Brum - up the '21' - you won'tt see much of the town centre which may be a blessing - spend a day at the black country museum (moor in its grounds has a certain cache) continue on the new mainline and go through Neterton, past Stourbridge - visit Stuart Crystal (spelling) even look at the town, thence join the S&W at Stourton junction.

Quite a bit of variety and loadsa' locks - but they're all narrow and easy to work

 

It's what the canal system is all about

 

If you want pleasant views all of the time then cancel and come onto the Thames where there  are or were pubs, very little unsightly urban bits and the locks are (or should be) worked by uniformed staff. Visit Reading (not), Abingdon, Oxford and some others - all very pretty.

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49 minutes ago, doratheexplorer said:

I'm giving my honest view.  The Shroppie is lovely, there is loads to look at, and the villages are interesting.  The canal follows straight lines mostly but the surrounding countryside is gorgeous.  On a good day you can see all the way across to Wales!  Hardly just 'a field' then.  The S&W from Autherley to Greensforge is disappointing.  It meanders through a sort of no-man's land - not quite rural and not urban either, lots of housing developments fronting or backing onto the canal. Industrial estates and big box retail well represented too. The pubs are disappointing and the villages around them are too.  It seems bonkers to me to travel all the way from NZ to sample Womborne and Swindon.  The mile and a half from Caunsall to Wolverley is amongst the nicest bits of canal in the country though, but then you hit Kiddy. 

 

I would advise the OP to ignore all the pubs until you get to Kinver.  Then try the Plough & Harrow and the Cross.  Don't make the mistake of being tempted by The Vine.  Google it if you want to know why.  The Anchor at Caunsall is worth the stroll.  The Lock Inn at Wolverley is decent too.  Then I wouldn't bother with anywhere until you get to Stourport, where there are lots of choices for eating and drinking but I've never found anywhere that I've particularly loved.

Last night we walked around Wheaton Aston. Although the small bit around the church is ok, the rest just shouts “dead dormitory village”. Not in context of this discussion but we both commented that it was far less interesting than Wolverly, which we’d walked round a couple of days ago.

 

And then there are the longest lines of moored boats in the known universe, all to be passed at tickover or risk a shouting-at, especially in a hire boat.

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1 minute ago, nicknorman said:

Last night we walked around Wheaton Aston. Although the small bit around the church is ok, the rest just shouts “dead dormitory village”. Not in context of this discussion but we both commented that it was far less interesting than Wolverly, which we’d walked round a couple of days ago.

 

And then there are the longest lines of moored boats in the known universe, all to be passed at tickover or risk a shouting-at, especially in a hire boat.

Did you go round Mottey Meadows?

 

As I've repeatedly said, I don't have a problem with south of Greensforge.  I've even praised the section around Wolverley (spelling).  Wolverley is barely a village though.  The bit by the lock is nice, but what else is there?  It's just a few roads of mid-20th century suburban housing and a costcutter.

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We've all dived in and put our views but nobody has asked (or mebe I've missed it) - when are you coming over - if at all now as we're still in the midst of some form of lockdown. Indeed there's a strong possibility that some pubs will not re-open or only open at weekends.

Indeed you may be forced to do your own catering! (Yikes...). We prefer to moor somewhere quiet and The Management loves cooking - thus we're not inconvenienced.

 As a result we're more attracted to things to do or places to visit and neither of those have been requested or pointed out.

soo - some more feedback would be a help.

 

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1 hour ago, doratheexplorer said:

Nice pic but it's deceiving.  These locks aren't in the countryside.  They're surrounded by housing sprawl.  If your picture was pointing the other way, it would show it.  See below:

 

 

Capture.JPG

Hardly urban sprawl, a few houses close to the canal which I can't even remember seeing when I was waiting for the locks last year.

 

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3 minutes ago, Rob-M said:

Hardly urban sprawl, a few houses close to the canal which I can't even remember seeing when I was waiting for the locks last year.

 

Different things bother people differently I guess.  I personally hate this sort of low density housing sprawl (that's exactly what it is).  It's the gradual diminishing of our landscape and spoiling of the green-belt.  And that part of the canal is absolutely full of it.  Putting it right by a lovely historic (and listed) structure is particularly heinous IMO.  The house on the picture above are just the corner of an especially ugly 1960s housing estate.  See below.

 

This is exactly what I dislike about the S&W from Autherley to Greensforge.  There's absolutely loads of this.

 

Capture.JPG

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2 minutes ago, doratheexplorer said:

Different things bother people differently I guess.  I personally hate this sort of low density housing sprawl (that's exactly what it is).  It's the gradual diminishing of our landscape and spoiling of the green-belt.  And that part of the canal is absolutely full of it.  Putting it right by a lovely historic (and listed) structure is particularly heinous IMO.  The house on the picture above are just the corner of an especially ugly 1960s housing estate.  See below.

 

This is exactly what I dislike about the S&W from Autherley to Greensforge.  There's absolutely loads of this.

 

Capture.JPG

I like boating past houses especially where their gardens back on to the canal as I like to see the different things people do, those that embrace the canal and those that try and block it out.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Rob-M said:

I like boating past houses especially where their gardens back on to the canal as I like to see the different things people do, those that embrace the canal and those that try and block it out.

 

 

I don't, the OP didn't ask for that either.  Most of the back gardens along that way have high fences, so you don't see anything anyway.

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48 minutes ago, doratheexplorer said:

Did you go round Mottey Meadows?

 

As I've repeatedly said, I don't have a problem with south of Greensforge.  I've even praised the section around Wolverley (spelling).  Wolverley is barely a village though.  The bit by the lock is nice, but what else is there?  It's just a few roads of mid-20th century suburban housing and a costcutter.

Not sure where Mottey Meadows are. We did walk down Stockings Lane then cut across field of wheat a la Theresa May, back to the boat which was moored above the lock.

 

I think you must have missed the nice bit of Wolverley. Street view doesn’t do it justice but here goes...

B58D4E10-2C4D-40D8-BA04-3883366ECE30.jpeg.9cdda8c2d7efd2ab4cdd2ab9b7b1dc29.jpeg
 

 

D98B44F2-9B14-4FEC-B6D7-23330AC87116.jpeg.ef679d07d266a90b68f9a2d676d05ce8.jpeg

Unless one is planning to visit by helicopter, I’m unclear of the relevance of aerial pictures.

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2 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

Not sure where Mottey Meadows are. We did walk down Stockings Lane then cut across field of wheat a la Theresa May, back to the boat which was moored above the lock.

 

I think you must have missed the nice bit of Wolverley. Street view doesn’t do it justice but here goes...

B58D4E10-2C4D-40D8-BA04-3883366ECE30.jpeg.9cdda8c2d7efd2ab4cdd2ab9b7b1dc29.jpeg
 

 

D98B44F2-9B14-4FEC-B6D7-23330AC87116.jpeg.ef679d07d266a90b68f9a2d676d05ce8.jpeg

Never saw that bit of Wolverley.  I must look harder!

 

The main bit of Wolverley that I've seen look like:

 

Capture.JPG

 

Mottey Meadows is a lovely nature reserve on the edge of Wheaton Aston.  It will be at its peak right now.

 

Apparently it's an "outstanding floristically-diverse mesotrophic grassland"

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mottey_Meadows

Edited by doratheexplorer

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56 minutes ago, doratheexplorer said:

Most of the back gardens along that way have high fences, so you don't see anything anyway.

One garden to highlight, which you get a great view of, is the private garden of a Chelsea gold medal winner. John's garden. It does have occasional charity open days. Just south of Greensforge.

 

For me I associate the S&W N with cruising along the M6. For me it would be the S&W S turning before  Kiddy which would leave a short time to do a bit of the Shropie.

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1 hour ago, doratheexplorer said:

Never saw that bit of Wolverley.  I must look harder!

 

The main bit of Wolverley that I've seen look like:

 

Capture.JPG

 

Mottey Meadows is a lovely nature reserve on the edge of Wheaton Aston.  It will be at its peak right now.

 

Apparently it's an "outstanding floristically-diverse mesotrophic grassland"

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mottey_Meadows

The Post Office may consider this part of Wolverley, but it's a long way from the canal and the only way anyone one on a one week cruise from Countrywide Cruisers would find themselves in this area is if they were Russian agents posing as holidaymakers and having nefarious plans for other activities. If urgent supplies are needed, then pull in just before Cookley tunnel, walk up a steep path to the road over the tunnel and there's a Tesco Express virtually in front of you.

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59 minutes ago, arbutus said:

The Post Office may consider this part of Wolverley, but it's a long way from the canal and the only way anyone one on a one week cruise from Countrywide Cruisers would find themselves in this area is if they were Russian agents posing as holidaymakers and having nefarious plans for other activities. If urgent supplies are needed, then pull in just before Cookley tunnel, walk up a steep path to the road over the tunnel and there's a Tesco Express virtually in front of you.

With a really good fish and chip shop next-door-but-one.

 

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1 hour ago, arbutus said:

The Post Office may consider this part of Wolverley, but it's a long way from the canal and the only way anyone one on a one week cruise from Countrywide Cruisers would find themselves in this area is if they were Russian agents posing as holidaymakers and having nefarious plans for other activities. If urgent supplies are needed, then pull in just before Cookley tunnel, walk up a steep path to the road over the tunnel and there's a Tesco Express virtually in front of you.

I moored up, googled for the nearest shop, and that's where I ended up.  Looking at a map, it's pretty much the centre of Wolverley.

1 hour ago, RS2021 said:

One garden to highlight, which you get a great view of, is the private garden of a Chelsea gold medal winner. John's garden. It does have occasional charity open days. Just south of Greensforge.

 

For me I associate the S&W N with cruising along the M6. For me it would be the S&W S turning before  Kiddy which would leave a short time to do a bit of the Shropie.

Is that the one with the sign telling people not to moor on the towpath opposite it?

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25 minutes ago, doratheexplorer said:

Is that the one with the sign telling people not to moor on the towpath opposite it?

That's the one

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4 hours ago, doratheexplorer said:

I would advise the OP to ignore all the pubs until you get to Kinver.  Then try the Plough & Harrow and the Cross.  Don't make the mistake of being tempted by The Vine.  Google it if you want to know why.  The Anchor at Caunsall is worth the stroll.  The Lock Inn at Wolverley is decent too.  Then I wouldn't bother with anywhere until you get to Stourport, where there are lots of choices for eating and drinking but I've never found anywhere that I've particularly loved.

Note that the Vine in Kinver (next to the lock) was terrible but has re-opened under new management and seems to be attracting far more customers than under the previous regime. I have heard the food was very good (prior to lockdown) but have not tried it personally.

 

Also, to avoid the contentious urban images which are being shown above, here are some examples of going South. I leave the choice up to you.

 

By the way, if you go North, try the bakery in the middle of Penkridge, it's excellent.

 

image.png.5cd11dfae93886d3ccf60e2a9bf443d3.pngimage.png.618c72bb320e8fd6432c36e058a17a24.pngimage.png.69cd7c4313e1c2d55514d19366e0e85e.pngimage.png.35e540da6bd7471990bc9d770484139e.png

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We tried the Vine at Kinver prior to lockdown and under new management. Lovely people, great food, much changed. 

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I think pubs vary depending if you want food and or drink. The Bell at Trysull is well worth the walk from Awbridge Lock for food and drink. The Hinksford Arms and the Navigation a little further down at Greensforge are also worth a stop for a drink and possibly food as well. The Anchor at Caunsall is great for beer and cobs, but don't expect a full meal! Good to know the Vine at Kinver is open again and looking good.

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Yup the Shroppie definitely can be a pain. Wheaton Aston to Tyreley today, 50% of the time is spent at tickover past mile upon mile of floating homes that never move, populated by frumpy bitter late middle age women who think it’s OK to gob off at you from the safety of the bank in a vain attempt to make their miserable lives better. Well, one anyway!

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3 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

Yup the Shroppie definitely can be a pain. Wheaton Aston to Tyreley today, 50% of the time is spent at tickover past mile upon mile of floating homes that never move, populated by frumpy bitter late middle age women who think it’s OK to gob off at you from the safety of the bank in a vain attempt to make their miserable lives better. Well, one anyway!

Blimey - shows you how long it's been since we were up there.

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A last attempt that might even work.

  • How about going north
  • Turn left at GH junction
  • Stone - pleasant town and a pub by the town lock
  • Up through the seven Towns ('Stoke')
  • Turn right to the Caldon, which after the grot has some pretty pubs and a steam railway.
  • Return to base by the way you have come

 

 

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Good morning all.  As requested I should better explain our situation. Although I have been in NZ for 40 years I am English , my wife is a Kiwi. I spent 10 years as a tour bus driver both in England and Europe, so I have had my fill of Cathedrals and museums . NZ pubs are horrendous drinking holes , devoid of any convivial atmosphere, so almost any English pub is in comparison  delightful. I have done trips on the Oxford, Leeds Liverpool, and lastly the G.U. from Linslade to Stoke Bruene. The G.U. is the only canal my wife has done , and she commented there were long stretches of tree lined canal obscuring much of the view. We like different things , for my part I miss the old village scene, the more time spent strolling them the better I shall think of our trip. Small towns also interest me, if we hit a wet week, I prefer to be close to any town where we can escape cruising in the rain.  Our trip is planned for next year, possibly June , if not September, subject to our borders opening . No date on that , we are still confined to home .

I have considered the Caldon canal, but canal plan says its a push unless I have 8 or 9 hour days .

So lots of time to research.  Thanks everyone for your thoughts .

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12 hours ago, Rob-M said:

We hired a couple of times from Countrywide, did the four counties and the Stourport ring.

 

The one point where you might get held up is at the Bratch locks but the lock keeper keeps boats flowing so you shouldn't be there too long if it is busy.

 

Went straight into Bratch bottom lock on arrival yesterday morning. Have just completed the whole S&W in three days and never had to wait behind more than one boat for a lock.

 

JP

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