Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal

The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal is not one i have walked along (yet) but it is one i regularly travel over when i visit the Severn Valley Railway as the line crosses the canal via the Falling Sands viaduct in Kidderminster. The canal is 46 miles long and was opened in the early 1770s. The canal links up with the river Severn at Stourport and the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood.

The canal's strength was that it linked up the Severn to the Trent and was a major North-South link through the West Midlands, much of the trade being coal. Traffic from Birmingham and the Black Country used the canal as part of the route up to the Mersey. Later canal openings such as the Worcester & Birmingham Canal did take away much of its trade however it remained profitable until the end of the 19th century which is more than could have been said for a lot of canals. It remained independent until canal nationalisation in 1948 with commercial coal traffic continuing up until then.

The Southern terminus of the canal is at Stourport which was built as an inland port to serve the new transport link to the Severn. Stourport was the only town in Britain built because of the canals.

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