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Dudley Canal Tunnel and Limestone Caverns / Dudley Canal Trust
To book a passage through the Dudley Tunnel contact the Dudley Canal Trust on 0121 557 4018
We visited the Dudley Canal Tunnel and Limestone Caverns, operated by the Dudley Canal Trust, in February as part of our 2010 cruise from Chester to London.
The network of underground canal tunnels and limestone workings that were an integral part of the 19th Century industrial heritage of the Black Country made an interesting trip to look at the geology and human endeavour to extract coal and limestone, two of the essentials for iron making in the times of the industrial revolution.
We sat back in the electric powered narrowboat and listened to a brilliant live commentary about the lives and work of the miners and boatmen of history as well as seeing an audio visual presentation, sound and light show and lifelike dioramas of working conditions in the Dudley Limestone Caverns.
The route took us through the Tipton Portal of the Dudley Canal Tunnel, into Shirt's Mill Basin, on to Castle Mill Basin (where the Wrens Nest Tunnel Project is visible), through New Tunnel (1969) to the Singing Cavern, returning (backwards) through another New Tunnel (1964) and Rock Tunnel, back through the two basins to re-emerge at the wharf.
The 45 minute trip we took operates from January through November with other themed and extended trips available at other times of the year. You can get to the Dudley Canal Tunnel and Limestone Caverns by road. See the Dudley Canal Trust website for details.
The tunnels and limestone mine workings are rich in calcite deposits. Calcite is a common constituent of sedimentary rocks, limestone in particular, much of which is formed from the shells of dead marine organisms. Approximately 10% of sedimentary rock is limestone.
With regard to passage of privately owned boats through the Dudley Tunnel the Dudley Canal Trust are contracted to British Waterways to provide a free towing service to any narrowboat or other vessel that requires to travel through the Dudley Tunnel from either the northern portal near Tipton Junction or the southern portal near Park Head Junction (Dudley No.2 Canal route runs from Park Head Junction with Dudley No1 Canal and the Grazebrook Arm) as long as it is able to meet the height and safety requirements. Below are listed the BW guidelines that vessels must meet.
Instructions for passage through the 3154yds (2888m) Dudley Canal Tunnel
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