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Cannock Extension Canal - Part Of The Birmingham Canal Navigation System (BCN)
We cruised the navigable and lockless Cannock Extension Canal as part of out 2010 cruise.
The canal is a 1.8 mile canal in that runs from Pelsall Junction, near Pelsall, West Midlands, on the Wyrley and Essington Canal, almost true north to Norton Canes Docks, home to Norton Canes Boatbuilders, Canal Transport Services and forms part of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN).
The canal was originally opened to Rumer Hill Junction in 1858 and its 5+ mile length fully open by 1863 but The 4+ miles north of the A5 Trunk road (Watling Street) MAP were abandoned in 1963.
According to our Nicholson's Guide there was only one winding hole at the Old Brownhills Colliery Basin where we winded on Wyreley Common but we found that we could have winded nearer to the dead end at Canal Transport Services (with the owner's permission) if we had reversed into the mouth of the paint shed (no nosey winders please!)
The shortened cruise took us through mainly open countryside, part of Cannock Chase. We were told that deer were regularly seen in the area.
Historically a connection was made to the Hatherton Canal (disused), now a short branch of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, at Churchbridge Junction via the Churchbridge Branch, which had thirteen locks. The Churchbridge Branch became disused around 1953 and the whole branch and Rumer Hill Junction were obliterated by opencast mining.
In view of the destruction of the Churchbridge Branch, the Hatherton Canal restoration plan included a proposal for a Churchbridge bypass, which would create a link to Grove Basin, but environmental concerns and objections from landowners have resulted in a revised route being identified, which will link the canal to the disused Lord Hayes Branch of the Wyrley and Essington Canal, a little further to the west than Pelsall Junction.
A restored Hatherton Canal to the reinstated Grove Basin or Lord Hayes Branch would make a new cruising ring and hopefully bring more maintenance to the Wryley and Essington Canal.
Anyway we decided to walk the dog from the Colliery Basins to the northern end of the CEC, just to say we'd been!
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