DON’T MISS THE BOAT, SECURE YOUR DATE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!
TOTAL LOCKS: 38
CRUISING TIME PER DAY: 6 HOURS (16 HOURS TOTAL)
Maps & Guides for this route: P1, N2, L16, E1 | Click here buy maps
A short break with endless excuses to slow down and enjoy an unhassled landscape. Leaving the city of Worcester behind, this route is a gently retreat into peaceful Worcestershire with village life and quaint churches to explore. You can expect to meet plenty of waterways wildlife, and bird spotting is guaranteed.
Before heading north from the marina, you’ll be tempted to take time to explore Worcester city centre, with its glorious cathedral, Elgar connections and busy shopping centre. In its industrial heyday, the Worcester & Birmingham Canal once carried cargoes of porcelain from the world-famous factory here, and the Museum of Royal Worcester offers a fascinating insight. The Commandery, next to Sidbury Lock was used as the war rooms of Charles II in 1651 during the Civil War and is now a fascinating museum dedicated to telling the story of the Civil War including the Battle of Worcester which was its final battle.
As you leave Worcester, you head north on the canal gradually climbing through a series of locks as the water skirts round Worcester. The A491 shadows the canal as it approaches the six Offerton Locks, the last locks for a while, then the canal goes under the noisy M5 as you approach Tibberton. There are good visitor moorings here which give you the opportunity of a pub stop or cuppa after the exhilarating work of climbing out of Worcester! Leaving Tibberton through a tree-lined stretch, the railway joins the canal (so close you could almost touch it!) and runs alongside the canal as it snakes past the pretty church and farm at Oddingley. It’s worth taking the time to walk up the lane to visit the tiny church.
The only indication that you have reached sleepy Dunhampstead is the boat moorings, followed beyond the bridge by a busy boatyard and then straight into its short tunnel (230yds/210m long).
The canal and railway now part company for a while, and the approach to Hanbury Wharf is lined with reeds, with views to the farmland beyond. The water flows under many of the characteristic bridges of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, many of which are now Grade II-listed.
At Hanbury Wharf, there is a long line of moorings, a busy boatyard and pub, and then the canal goes under the old Salt Way to the junction where the recently restored Droitwich Canal (reopened in 2011) heads off west to Droitwich. If you have time, there is a well-marked walk from the canal through a stunning landscape to Hanbury Hall, built in the 1700s and now looked after by the National Trust.
The canal continues north through glorious Worcestershire countryside and the lock-free section ends with the six Astwood Locks – there are tremendous views between locks 19 and 20 in particular. The canal passes through Stoke Works, where in the heyday of the working canals, brine was pumped from underground and transported by canal boat.
At the village of Stoke Prior, your route turns round for you to enjoy the return journey back to Worcester Marina.
Max: 4 People
Max: 6 People
Max: 6 People
Max: 7 People
Max: 6 People
Length: 66ft (63ft from Falkirk)
Max: 8 People
Max: 10 People