Wednesbury Oak Loop

The Wednesbury Oak Loop is the name given to what was once a long meandering loop of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) Main Line leaving the current Main Line at Deepfields Junction and re-joining at Bloomfield Junction, near Factory Junction.  This is sometimes known as the Bradley Arm.

The loop was severed many years ago with only the section between Deepfields Junction and Bradley Workshops remaining.  It was kept open to allow access to Bradley Workshops, where lock gates are manufactured, and to maintain the water supply from the pumps at Bradley to supply the rest of the BCN.

Route of the Bradley Canal
The Wednesbury Oak Loop links Deepfields Junction to Bradley Workshops

My previous blog post explained the proposals to turn this into a through navigation by reopening abandoned waterways under the name of Bradley Canal.

The Wednesbury Oak Loop can be cruised, and the towpath is in good condition and can be walked throughout, making a through walk including the route of the proposed Bradley Canal possible.  The whole route is shown in my Bradley Canal map and can be downloaded in both Acrobat (pdf) and Memory-Map (qct) formats and, like all the maps for restoration projects, the Bradley Canal maps are free to download.

Deepfields Junction Signpost
Deepfields Junction Signpost

I’ve made the photos from my recent walk into a virtual cruise, including the through route so you can click through the next buttons to complete your virtual cruise from the comfort of your chair.  Just choose your starting point

Moorcroft Junction

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Start of the Bradley Canal at its junction with the Walsall Canal
Start of the Bradley Canal at Moorcroft Junction with the Walsall Canal

The Bradley Canal starts at Moorcroft Junction with the Walsall Canal, shown above.  We are standing on the towpath looking across the Walsall Canal and into the Bradley Canal.  Head left along the Walsall Canal for Tame Valley Junction and right for Walsall Junction.

Waterway and Kilometerage BCN-BRADL 00.000
OS Grid Reference SO 97341 95152
Date and Time 151204 093942
Copyright © Paul Balmer

Lock 1 on the Bradley Canal

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Lock 1 on the Bradley Canal
Lock 1 on the Bradley Canal

Lock 1 on the Bradley Canal is the first of nine locks which will lift boats from the Walsall level to the Wolverhampton level of the Birmingham Canal Navigations.

The lock has been partially restored then filled in for safety and to preserve the lock.  The infill can easily be removed later.

Waterway and Kilometerage BCN-BRADL 00.495
OS Grid Reference SO 96884 94938
Date and Time 151204 095040
Copyright © Paul Balmer

Lock 2 on the Bradley Canal

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Lock 2 on the Bradley Canal
Lock 2 on the Bradley Canal

Lock 2, like lock 1, has been partially restored then filled in for safety and to preserve the work.

A pipeline crosses the centre of the lock but is high enough to have no effect on navigation.  It will, however, provide an obstacle for large vehicles such as cranes used during restoration.

Waterway and Kilometerage BCN-BRADL 00.600
OS Grid Reference SO 96792 94868
Date and Time 151204 095635
Copyright © Paul Balmer

Bradley Bridge

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Bradley Bridge
Bradley Bridge

Bradley Bridge crosses the Bradley Canal below Lock 3.  The almost level road surface today hides the former hump backed bridge.  The top of the arch is still just be visible in the brickwork near pavement level.

It’s believed there is still navigation clearance under the modified bridge but further investigations are required to clarify this.

Waterway and Kilometerage BCN-BRADL 00.761
OS Grid Reference SO 96677 94774
Date and Time 151204 100005
Copyright © Paul Balmer