Waterways and wellbeing charity, Canal & River Trust, is working in a partnership with volunteers from the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society, to encourage boaters from across England to discover and spend time along the Walsall Canal.
Having been a haven for local people during lockdown, with visitor numbers to the towpath currently more than double what they were pre-pandemic, the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society is holding a weekend celebration cruise on Friday 14 May to Sunday 16 May – the first since 2019 due to lockdown restrictions – to show off the Walsall Canal and celebrate that the region’s canals are now back open to boating.
The Walsall Canal runs for seven miles from Ryders Green Junction to Walsall Town Wharf. Once on the cusp of being lost forever, the arm has been refurbished to include mooring facilities for visitors and has an innovative new art gallery at the end.
Not always recognised for the important role it plays in bringing nature and health benefits, the Walsall Canal is fast becoming an example of an urban canal revived. The canal has been cleaned up and the environment improved, making it a true haven for local people.
The cruise will begin at 10:30 am and will head to Walsall via Ocker Hill and will see boaters assembling at either Windmill End or Tipton before heading to Ryders Green Locks at Great Bridge.
On Saturday members of the Bradley Locks Restoration Society will be available to give a guided walk up the Bradley Locks and along the line of the infilled canal before the boats depart for the afternoon trip into Walsall. Boaters will be able to overnight in the basin of the Town Arm of the Walsall Canal.
Adnan Saif, director of West Midlands at Canal & River Trust, said: “It’s wonderful to have events such as this celebration cruise up and running along the canal. This cruise is a fantastic way for boaters to rediscover the Walsall Canal and see just how much work our colleagues and volunteers have been doing to make this stretch of canal a lovely place to visit.
“Research shows that being by water makes us all happier and healthier and seeing boats out and about is just one of the wonderful delights that attract visitors to their local canal.
“If you’ve not been to the canal in a while, I urge you to visit over this cruise weekend and see for yourself how wonderful our urban canals are.”
Bob Fox, from the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society, said: “The Society has arranged this Campaign Cruise to support the Canal & River Trust in promoting Walsall as a destination and activity centre, helping to encourage greater use of the less used Walsall Canal and Walsall Town Basin.”
To find out more about the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society and to join the Walsall Celebration Cruise visit https://bcnsociety.com/event/walsall-campaign-cruise/. Please note there is a £10 admin fee for each boat taking part.
For more information on the Canal & River Trust, including how you can volunteer or donate money to support our work, visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk