Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal

Stourport & Return from Gailey Marina




Arriving at the marina

It’s that time of year for a family holiday. We have decided to travel from Gailey again – we fancy the sound of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal as it is one of the oldest and reputedly one of the prettiest canals on the network.

There are four of us and we plan to travel from Gailey to Stourport-on-Severn and back. We arrive at Gailey at around 1.30pm.

Our boat, Upland Goose (an 8 berth) – is ready for us. The owner of Gailey Marina greets us – and he takes us through the usual health and safety paperwork - paperwork that I have to sign to say that I understand the rules and regulations of the canals.

We are shown onto our boat and talked  through the boat explaining where the wardrobes and cupboards are, where the gas cylinders are as well as the water tanks, all about the heating and the cooker – just general information.

At Gailey, you drive your car as near to the boat as possible and unpack – we generally put empty suitcases, cooler bags etc. back into the boot of the car once unloaded. You then take your car further uphill to a larger carpark area which is out of the way and leave it there.

Setting off

We have looked at our Map (Nicholson’s Guide No. 2) and because we set off at a reasonable time, we decided to head to Compton which is around 4 hours cruising away– with no locks at all. At Compton, there are a couple of pubs and a couple of takeaways and  a supermarket in case we realise we have forgotten anything!

Another stop you could make is just 2 hours cruising away at The Fox and Anchor at Cross Green – very popular for boaters on their first afternoon.

Almost 2 hours after leaving we pass the Fox and Anchor and carry on through the very narrow cutting just passed Forster Bridge – approaching

We moor up just before the first lock and it’s a mere 5-minute walk to the fish and chip shop from there – by 7.30pm we are happily munching away, and I would highly recommend!


Stourton Junction

Today we plan to get to Stourton Junction, which is around 16-locks away. We decide we will eat on board tonight and just concentrate on  getting as far as we can for today.

If we can get beyond Stourton Junction, then we will be in Stourport super early on Monday. It’s a beautiful day and I managed to take lots of great photos.

We cruise all day stopping only briefly for a picnic lunch. The only bit that we were a little concerned with was Bratch Locks, which we have been told is a series of 3 locks with a very short pound between each lock – one not long enough for the boat!

This sounds quite confusing to us but as it turns out it is permanently manned by lock keepers and once you see how it works, it all makes sense – and they get us through in no time. It’s very pretty though and always something going on, so you won’t be bored!

Today we need to find water and we have been advised by David that there are only 2 water points on this route (the only drawback of this journey)e stop at Greenforge where there is a sanitary station where we fill up ready for tomorrow.

After stopping at Stewponey Wharf to fill up the water tanks the next morning, we aim to be in Stourport at around 4pm.

From around Kinver, the canal starts to cut through impressive red stone cliffs. The canal is not so open now but even more winding and interesting with red stone cliffs towering above us – when the sun glints down they can be quite mesmerising.


Soon enough we are travelling through Kidderminster.

There are good moorings right next to Weavers Wharf which has numerous shopping outlets, but as it is very busy and noisy we were advised not to moor there overnight.

So, we carry on and very soon we are back in the country again. At either end of Kidderminster, there are rather nice pub restaurants as well so plenty of possibilities for lunch.

Only another hour or so later we are on the outskirts of Stourport.  We select a pub next to the Stourport Fair and near the river for a quiet meal We reckon we will come back at some point because some of the eating houses looked really good!

Heading home

The next morning, we intend to take it very easy and spread the 29 locks more evenly. In retrospect we wish we had done that on the outward journey.

Finally, on Saturday morning, we wake up to pouring rain and steered back. We pull into Gailey, steer the boat back in and moor up ready to re-fuel. We retrieve the suitcases from the car and pack up  quickly.

All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip – it helped of course that the weather was superb for the whole week, but you really couldn’t find a prettier canal. It’s true there aren’t any spectacular aqueducts or long tunnels, but the surrounding countryside is exceptionally lovely and every day there are places you could stop and lunch or have an evening meal. Another lovely week, totally relaxing and doing every one of us the world of good. Can’t wait to do it again next year!


Marina: Gailey Boat: Goose |  Blog written by Becky.

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