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Hi All.

My wife and i are hiring a boat for the first time ever so complete beginners. We pick the boat up at Brewood Saturday mid-afternoon so think it will be 4 or 5pm ish before we actualy set off. We have it for a week and it has to be returned by 9am the following Saturday. One of the suggested routes is to Stourport and back. Would this be ok to do for us ? Also where would the night time stops best be taken ? Cant seem to work out a sensible itinerary for the trip. Any help, advice etc would be most appreciated. 

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15 minutes ago, Cheef Keef said:

Hi All.

My wife and i are hiring a boat for the first time ever so complete beginners. We pick the boat up at Brewood Saturday mid-afternoon so think it will be 4 or 5pm ish before we actualy set off. We have it for a week and it has to be returned by 9am the following Saturday. One of the suggested routes is to Stourport and back. Would this be ok to do for us ? Also where would the night time stops best be taken ? Cant seem to work out a sensible itinerary for the trip. Any help, advice etc would be most appreciated. 

Canalplan.ac will work out a route and timings for you.

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Do what we used to do when we hired boats and don't plan a specific ultimate destination. Then if you reach Stourport then fine, but if you don't it won't be the end of the world. You're probably like most people in that you spend most of your life rushing here and there, and we loved having a week when we didn't have those time pressures and could instead have a relaxing chilled out week.

 

Better instead to take your time and enjoy and experience of that wonderful canal and the lovely places you are passing through, having the time to stop off here and there wherever takes your fancy, whether it's for a few hours or to overnight. You don't need to plan any specific overnight mooring places because can moor for the night virtually anywhere on the towpath side. 

 

For me anything south of Kinver isn't worth pushing it for unless you have plenty of time to do it. Opinions will differ of course, but I think Stourport is a little overrated. It's nice but nothing special. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just be aware that if you don't plan ahead and also plan on eating in canalside pubs you may be disappointed, advance booking is needed in a lot of them. I know this from experience...

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Actually, I rather like the canal beyond Kinver as it winds onwards to Stourport. You won't want to overnight in Kidderminster, but it's fine for a shopping stop and the view of the minster from the lock is one to remember. The canal infrastructure in Stourport itself is interesting, a short wander around where the canal meets the river is lovely, sitting by the Severn in the late afternoon sunshine outside the Angel with a drink is a delight (similar views would cost a fortune by the Thames!), and then head back to the boat via the Namaste Indian restaurant which is a bargain. I'd say if you don't go beyond Kinver you're missing some of the best of that trip. What ever you do, I hope you have a great time. :)

 

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15 hours ago, Sea Dog said:

Actually, I rather like the canal beyond Kinver as it winds onwards to Stourport. You won't want to overnight in Kidderminster, but it's fine for a shopping stop and the view of the minster from the lock is one to remember. The canal infrastructure in Stourport itself is interesting, a short wander around where the canal meets the river is lovely, sitting by the Severn in the late afternoon sunshine outside the Angel with a drink is a delight (similar views would cost a fortune by the Thames!), and then head back to the boat via the Namaste Indian restaurant which is a bargain. I'd say if you don't go beyond Kinver you're missing some of the best of that trip. What ever you do, I hope you have a great time. :)

 

Another thumbs up for Namaste... ?

 

The OP might find some or all of this trip report helpful:

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, Sea Dog said:

Actually, I rather like the canal beyond Kinver as it winds onwards to Stourport. You won't want to overnight in Kidderminster, but it's fine for a shopping stop and the view of the minster from the lock is one to remember. The canal infrastructure in Stourport itself is interesting, a short wander around where the canal meets the river is lovely, sitting by the Severn in the late afternoon sunshine outside the Angel with a drink is a delight (similar views would cost a fortune by the Thames!), and then head back to the boat via the Namaste Indian restaurant which is a bargain. I'd say if you don't go beyond Kinver you're missing some of the best of that trip. What ever you do, I hope you have a great time. :)

 

The S&W south of Kinver is by far the best bit.  It's the section from Autherley to Greensforge which leaves me cold.  I'd go north from Brewood every time.

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1 hour ago, doratheexplorer said:

The S&W south of Kinver is by far the best bit.  It's the section from Autherley to Greensforge which leaves me cold.  I'd go north from Brewood every time.

Didn't think about going North. Whats the difference between the routes ? We would like to be in the countryside as much as possible so would North be better for this ? Also where would you suggest as a destination / turn around point for a weeks journey from Brewood ? I'm loving all the replys and advice. Thanks everyone.

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27 minutes ago, Cheef Keef said:

Didn't think about going North. Whats the difference between the routes ? We would like to be in the countryside as much as possible so would North be better for this ? Also where would you suggest as a destination / turn around point for a weeks journey from Brewood ? I'm loving all the replys and advice. Thanks everyone.

You have 3 options:

 

1.  South to Autherley Junction then south on the S&W.

 

2.  South to Autherley Junction then north on the S&W

 

3.  North on the Shroppie.

 

Of these 3, option 1 is the least rural, passing through the suburbs of Wolverhampton then along the fringe of the black country and later passing through Kidderminster.

 

Option 2 is more rural, as it skirts around Stafford rather than passing through it.  The biggest town/village you'll pass through is Penkridge.

 

Option 3 is (in my opinion) the most rural in feel.  It passes through a few villages but these tend to be pretty around the canal.  It then skirts the towns of Market Drayton and Nantwich rather than going through the middle.  Some people don't like the Shroppie because it cuts a fairly straight route using cuttings and embankments, but I love that.  The cuttings are like deep dark jungles, and the embankments give huge gorgeous views over the landscape.  Audlem is close to being the perfect canalside village, and Nantwich is close to being the perfect canalside town (IMO).  I'd turn around somewhere between Nantwich and Hurleston Junction.

 

There are some who do the whole 4 counties ring in a week.  But that doesn't give much time for stopping.

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26 minutes ago, doratheexplorer said:

You have 3 options:

 

1.  South to Autherley Junction then south on the S&W.

 

2.  South to Autherley Junction then north on the S&W

 

3.  North on the Shroppie.

 

Of these 3, option 1 is the least rural, passing through the suburbs of Wolverhampton then along the fringe of the black country and later passing through Kidderminster.

 

Option 2 is more rural, as it skirts around Stafford rather than passing through it.  The biggest town/village you'll pass through is Penkridge.

 

Option 3 is (in my opinion) the most rural in feel.  It passes through a few villages but these tend to be pretty around the canal.  It then skirts the towns of Market Drayton and Nantwich rather than going through the middle.  Some people don't like the Shroppie because it cuts a fairly straight route using cuttings and embankments, but I love that.  The cuttings are like deep dark jungles, and the embankments give huge gorgeous views over the landscape.  Audlem is close to being the perfect canalside village, and Nantwich is close to being the perfect canalside town (IMO).  I'd turn around somewhere between Nantwich and Hurleston Junction.

 

There are some who do the whole 4 counties ring in a week.  But that doesn't give much time for stopping.

Many years ago we hired from Brewood and set off for a week to Nantwich and back but ended up doing the Four Counties Ring as we got to Nantwich much quicker than anticipated.  There are more locks heading up the Shroppie than heading along the Staffs and Worcs.

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13 minutes ago, Rob-M said:

 There are more locks heading up the Shroppie than heading along the Staffs and Worcs.

That's not true.

56 locks to Hurleston and back.

60+ locks to Stourport and back (depending on where you stop in Stourport.

 

If I got to Nantwich earlier than expected, I'd continue towards Chester.  The area around Beeston/Tarporley is especially lovely.  It was on the news this morning that it's going to be made an AONB.

 

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30 minutes ago, doratheexplorer said:

That's not true.

56 locks to Hurleston and back.

60+ locks to Stourport and back (depending on where you stop in Stourport.

 

If I got to Nantwich earlier than expected, I'd continue towards Chester.  The area around Beeston/Tarporley is especially lovely.  It was on the news this morning that it's going to be made an AONB.

 

I was presuming, based on the discussions, that they probably wouldn't make it all the way to Stourport so knocked a few off.

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1 hour ago, doratheexplorer said:

You have 3 options:

 

1.  South to Autherley Junction then south on the S&W.

 

2.  South to Autherley Junction then north on the S&W

 

3.  North on the Shroppie.

In Options 1 and 2 the locks are mostly spaced out with no long flights, although you have a bit of a lock-free run (apart from the stop lock at Autherley) at the beginning in both options (longer in Option 2).

In Option 3 you pass through the single lock at Wheaton Aston, then the rest of the locks are grouped in flights at Tyrley (5), Adderley (5) and Audlem (15) then a couple at Hack Green. There are places within the Audlem flight where you can break your journey if you don't want to do 15 at once - indeed I would recommend you stop for the village/mill/pubs.

 

So the choice depends in part on whether you like locks spread out or in flights.

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Is option 2 a nice run ? Looking on a map it looks to be more of a relaxing run ? I think option 3 is the best looking but my wife is a bit freaked out by the horror storys she has read about Typley locks. Are these hard locks to do with the side currents mentioned in other posts ? Once again a big thank you to everyone who has commented on this topic. When we actualy do the trip and get back i shall let you all know how we got on.

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6 minutes ago, Cheef Keef said:

Is option 2 a nice run ? Looking on a map it looks to be more of a relaxing run ? I think option 3 is the best looking but my wife is a bit freaked out by the horror storys she has read about Typley locks. Are these hard locks to do with the side currents mentioned in other posts ? Once again a big thank you to everyone who has commented on this topic. When we actualy do the trip and get back i shall let you all know how we got on.

Tyrley locks are lovely.  The only problem I've found with them is when the top lock took forever to fill because the bottom end was leaking so much.  I think that's fixed now though.  Don't be put off by them, dozens of hire boaters pass through them every week.

 

Option 2 is nice but with a couple of downsides:

 

1.  It stays quite close to the M6 and A449 for a while, which means the moorings aren't always very quiet.  This is particularly true from Gailey to Acton Trussell.

2.  It passes by some more industrial areas like Four Ashes Industrial Estate which aren't too pretty (these don't last long though, so don't be too concerned)

 

You would get to choose again at Great Haywood junction.  Possible halfway turning points would be Stone if heading north at the junction, or Fradley if heading east.  Both are nice options.

 

Both are relatively low on locks.  34 there and back to Stone.  36 there and back to Fradley Junction.

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Poor Keef, we've given him a right dilemma now  ?.

 

As you can see, it's all about opinions!

 

Each of the 3 routes have their merits and are well worthwhile doing, and whichever one you choose you'll have a great time I'm sure. Just don't try and 'achieve' too much distance-wise as I said previously.

 

If you decide to choose Option 1 and stop at Kinver, I recommend the half hour walk to the Kinver Edge escarpment. Great views from there and the rock houses are interesting.

 

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

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40 minutes ago, Grassman said:

Poor Keef, we've given him a right dilemma now  ?.

 

As you can see, it's all about opinions!

 

Each of the 3 routes have their merits and are well worthwhile doing, and whichever one you choose you'll have a great time I'm sure. Just don't try and 'achieve' too much distance-wise as I said previously.

 

If you decide to choose Option 1 and stop at Kinver, I recommend the half hour walk to the Kinver Edge escarpment. Great views from there and the rock houses are interesting.

 

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

Look at it this way Keef - you're going on a boating holiday.  So any choice is brilliant.

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Exactly ! Once again thanks to you all. All the information has been fab. I think what we will do is get to the boat, write down the 3 options, close my eyes and stick a pin in the paper and see which one it lands on ! ? Either way we intend to enjoy it. ?

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52 minutes ago, Cheef Keef said:

Exactly ! Once again thanks to you all. All the information has been fab. I think what we will do is get to the boat, write down the 3 options, close my eyes and stick a pin in the paper and see which one it lands on ! ? Either way we intend to enjoy it. ?

There's sort-of 4 choices.  Option 2 has an A and a B.  So you get to decide that a couple of days into your holiday.

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