W&B Day 4: Alvechurch to Bourneville

The chocolate factory at the end of the journey.
(see photo journey)

The penultimate stage of my walk from Worcester to Birmingham was between Alvechurch and Bourneville.

Although a sunny start to the day, this was the first of these walks on which I wore a top with sleeves. The year is turning.

This stage features the only part of the walk I have been dreading, the Wast Hills Tunnel. At 2493 metres it requires a detour on roads of around two miles. In the event it wasn’t too bad.

For the detour I walked north along Wast Hills Lane and then turned right at Redhill Road and first left into Bracken Way. At the end of Bracken way I turned right onto Longdales Road, continuing for about a mile before turning left down Primrose Hill and rejoining the canal at Bridge 70.

Even after crossing under the M42 the surroundings remained tranquil and rural until the tunnel. After the tunnel it was back to the kind of industrial conditions I haven’t seen since Stoke Works, although relieved by some pleasant stretches.

It was exciting to pass the major junction with the Stratford-on-Avon canal at Kings Norton.

Bourneville is an interesting place, so dominated by Cadbury. I would have liked longer to walk around and explore the buildings and civic works constructed by Cadbury Brothers in the 19th and early 20th Century.

Only four miles to go now to arrive at the end of the Worcester & Birmingham canal, and hence the end of the journey, in Birmingham city centre.

See the photo-journey and don’t forget to read the captions!

W&B Day 3: Stoke Wharf to Alvechurch

Lock 55 on the Tardebigge Flight
Where the locks catch up with the bridges
(see photo journey)

I completed the third stage of my walk from Worcester to Birmingham on the last day of August 2010.

It was another bright, sunny morning but quite a contrast with the similar morning in June when I finished stage two. There was a definite end-of-summer, autumnal feel in the air, with bright red hawthorn berries and rosehips in the hedgerows.

I carried on with my nerdy project of photographing all the bridges on the canal, starting the day at Bridge 44 in Stoke Wharf and finishing at Bridge 60 at Alvechurch Marina.

The highlight of the walk was the Tardebigge flight of locks, the longest in Britain – 30 locks, Nos 29-58 inclusive.

There were two tunnels to bypass, Tardebigge and Shortwood, necessitating various detours away from the canal. Although getting ever nearer to the outskirts of Birmingham, the route became even more rural after Tardebigge.

See the photo-journey and don’t forget to read the captions!

W&B Day 2: Tibberton – Stoke Prior

I set out on the second stage of my journey from Worcester to Birmingham on a sunny morning at 9:00am on June 21st, the longest day of the year.

I left  the city well behind and headed out along the canal into some glorious Worcestershire countryside. I encountered my first tunnel of the walk at Dunhamstead, having to leave and rejoin the canal. The tunnel is only 216 metres long so it was only a brief detour.

The last couple of miles proved a return to an industrial landscape at Stoke Works, built by the Salt King, John Corbett (1871-1901) for the workers in his salt factories.

This was a very enjoyable walk. I dawdled, taking lots of pohotographs (including all the bridges!) and covered the 7 miles in just over three hours. My final destination was the Navigation Inn in Stoke Wharf, where I met Jaqui for a pleasant lunch.

For more detail see the captions on the Photo Journey on Picasa.

W&B Day 1: Home – Diglis – Tibberton

I decided to walk from home to the “official” start of this walk as it adds only an extra mile along the River Severn. The walk proper begins at the junction of the Worcester and Birmingham canal with the Severn.

I left home about 9:30am on a  gloriously sunny June morning and arrived at Tibberton at about 12:30pm. I was walking quite slowly and taking lots of photographs. I also has to stop halfway to put some Compede on the balls of my feet which still seem to be suffering from the effects of the Wessex Ridgeway in April of this year.

My feet problems may have been exacerbated as I was wearing new Bridgedale Endurance Trail socks inside a heavy pair of leather Scarpa boots. I will try some inner socks with these next time.

One of my nerdy objectives for this walk is to photograph every bridge on the canal (well, we all have our nerdy tendencies…). The bridges are numbered, beginning with number 1 at the Worcester end. I’ll tell you what the last one is when I get there. I got up to number 25 today, although a couple (7 and 20) were mysteriously missing.

The best way to get an impression of what the walk is like is from my Photo Journey on Picasa. Be sure to read the captions!

Project: The Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Now that we are living in Worcester, I thought it would be a good idea to walk the length of the Worcester & Birmingham canal. My inspiration has come partly from the book Walking the Canals of the Midlands by Michael Kettle.

The book.

Cover of "Walking the Canals of the Midlands by M Kettle

The length of the walk is roughly 30 miles. Michael Kettle Travelled North-South from Alvestoke to Diglis. He missed out the West Hills tunnel and the industrial part throuh the centre of Birmingham. I will be travelling South-North from Diglis Basin in Worcester to Gas Street in the heart of Birmingham.

I’m hoping to complete the walk in June/July 2010. Although the walk would be easily achievable in a couple of days, I’m planning to do it in quite short sections of about 7 miles each, dawdling and taking lots of photos. In particular I plan to take a photo of every bridge over the canal.

New Project: the Severn Way

This is my next long distance walk, 207 miles from the source of the River Severn to the sea of the Bristol Channel.

Under Construction: To be continued…

History: The Wessex Ridgeway

Well this is quite recent history. I completed the Wessex Ridgeway with my friends Barry and Bev just over a month ago.

Under Construction. To be continued.