CanalCuttings.co.uk are now supporters of the The Lapal Canal Project through the Lapal Canal Trust - Striving towards the incremental restoration of the decommissioned half of the Dudley No. 2 Canal, between Selly Oak in Birmingham and Halesowen in Dudley, eventually to full navigation via the Woodgate Valley.
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Icknield Port Loop - Part of The Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN)
The .25 mile long Icknield Port Loop was part of James Brindley's BCN Old Line
Originally built in 1769 as part of the original Birmingham to Wolverhampton Canal only becoming a loop much later.
By 1827 the New Main Line passed straight through, and linked to, the loops of the Old Main Line, creating the Oozells Loop, Icknield Port Loop, Cape Loop (the access was filled in to stop boats by-passing a toll island and now mostly disappeared under factory works on private property - MAP and Soho Loop (known by some locals today as the Winson Green Loop) to Hockley Port, allowing continued access to the existing factories and wharves.
A year earlier Thomas Telford had built an improved Rotton Park Reservoir (Edgbaston Reservoir) on the site of an existing fish pool, extending the capacity to 300 million gallons. The canal feeder originally took gravity fed reservoir water to, and along, a raised embankment on the south side of the New Main Line to where it was pumped to the new Engine Arm Branch Canal, across an elegant cast iron aqueduct to top up the higher Wolverhampton Level of the Smethwick Summit, Smethwick Locks and Spon Locks. The Rotton Park Reservoir (referred to in some early maps as Rock Pool Reservoir) with a gatehouse designed by Thomas Telford , standing today as a listed building in corporate BCN octagonal style. The reservoir also fed water, as it does today, to the Birmingham Level at the apex of the Icknield Port Loop.
The short lockless Icknield Loop is without a tow path but a local trip boat from Sherbourne Wharf gives access to non boaters.
We had no problems navigating this short section of navigable canal between Icknield Square Junction and Rotton Park Junction, finding it historically interesting and currently home to an active BW boatyard.
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