Date(s) - 9th September 2017
10:20 am - 3:30 pm
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Walsall Railway Station
A walk of 6 miles exploring two canals, with contrasting construction methods, and a former unique “1 into 4” railway junction led by Rob Sim and Roger Brice.
The Rushall Canal (the last of three canals built linking the Wyrley & Essington and the BCN after the merger of the two canal companies) was opened in 1847 and links the Tame Valley Canal with the Daw End Branch Canal. It is essentially a straight canal, 2.7 miles in length and rising 65ft through 9 locks. In contrast, the Daw End Branch which opened in 1802 is a contour canal with no locks. The differences in canal design and construction methods are apparent either side of their end-on connection at Longwood Junction. We will walk 2 miles along the Rushall Canal between lock 7 and the top lock (at Longwood Junction). After the junction, the walk will continue along the tow path and the Daw End Branch Canal for 1 mile to Daw End. The now rural scene was once the site of lime pits and limestone works with their associated mineral railways and wharfs. From the start of the walk to Daw End the distance walked will be approximately 3.25 miles.
After a pub lunch at Daw End, the walk continues, twice crossing the MR Ryecroft Junction to Wychnor Junction railway line, to join the track bed of the former South Staffs Railway’s Walsall to Lichfield line. From that point, the landscape changes from rural to distinctly urban as we follow the now cycle route to Ryecroft, and then back to Walsall town centre where the walk will end. This section of the walk will be a little under 3 miles, unless the opportunity is taken to explore the western parts of Ryecroft. The walk leaders will be happy to add a short “bolt on” to the walk for this.
Between the canal and railway sections of the walk, we will walk through a Nature Reserve built on the site of extensive former lime pits and then past the remains of a former walled medieval manor house.
Meet at the Park Street Entrance to Walsall Railway Station (OS map ref Sp 0118 9860) at 10:50, following the arrival of the 10:12 departure from Birmingham (Rugeley service) at 10:34. Alternatively, there are regular buses from Wolverhampton bus station (stand Q service 529). If leaving Walsall station by the Station Street exit, turn right up Station Street and then right into Park Street. There is also a train departing from Rugeley Trent Valley at 10:12 (arrives Walsall at 10:44). This connection is well served from Crewe and Stoke.
From Walsall railway station, the group will make the short walk to Walsall Bus Station for the 10 minutes ride to the Bell Inn, Walstead Road bus stop (X51 or 51 bus towards Birmingham). This bus also offers an alternative for travelling from Birmingham (Bull Street Bus Station) but please phone Roger Brice on the day if this option is used. The walk will start from the junction of Walstead Road and Birmingham Road, Walsall at approximately 11:10.
There will be opportunities for early exits both after lunch and during the afternoon – with buses to Walsall and Birmingham.