Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal cycle route

Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal cycle route overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐

This 25-mile, almost completely traffic-free cycle route links Stourport with Wolverhampton, using the towpath of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. The Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal towpath had some TLC, and the towpath is mostly easy to ride. Nevertheless, it remains a towpath, with all the challenges that brings.

Canal cycling is simply stunning, but there are a few rather important pointers to remember. For starters, canals were lined with clay, to waterproof them, and wet clay is as slippery as ice. Unless the towpath has been upgraded and has a good all-weather surface, it’s best to avoid towpaths during, or after rain.

The canal itself passes through Dunsley Tunnel, and ideally you will want lights on your bike for the tunnel. It’s quite short though, with a railing to help you stay out of the water. Just be warned that it’s quite narrow.

From Bratch Locks, you have the option of leaving the canal to follow the disused South Staffordshire Railway, which is wide and has a good surface. You can easily rejoin the towpath again at Dimmingsdale, or at Compton.

Much of the information here was supplied by Bellamyonabike. Any errors are mine alone.

Surface on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal

The surface varies considerably. Parts of the towpath is paved, and offers a very good, smooth surface for cycling. Large segments are self-compacting gravel, which is fine to ride on all year round (but can get a but muddy. Unfortunately, there are some segments that are effectively muddy single-track, and those can be slippery after rain.

Refreshments

In Stourport there are many cafés, pubs and restaurants on, or near the canal. Once you leave Kidderminster, your options become far more limited: There’s the Lock In and Old Smithy Tearoom, in Wolverley, 6 miles along the canal. The next option is the Vine in, at 10 miles, and slightly off the canal. At 15 miles, there’s the Navigation Inn, and at 17 miles, the Waggon & Horses, though that’s on the opposite side of the canal. A better option is the Round Oak, at 18 miles.
Worth mentioning is The Anchor, at Caunsall, even if that means a half-mile ride along a quiet rural lane. It’s also worth diverting into Kinver, for some really nice pubs and shops.

Bikes

Any standard bike can be used on this route, but you will benefit having chunkier tyres and mudguards. Trikes and most cargo bikes will struggle and may not get through at all.

Toilets

Toilets are available at almost all the places named under Refreshments.

Points of Interest

The Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal was opened in 1771, so there is a huge amount of Industrial Revolution history associated with it.
Where the canal runs alongside the river Stour, you will be cycling through an important wetland habitat.
Bratch Locks are superb, and it’s worth visiting the Bratch Pumping Station. In Wombourne there is a really good bike shop, FishFace Cycles.

Routes in Worcestershire & Staffordshire

Barriers

There are a few barriers and gates along this route, particularly where you need to cross some roads.

Cycle Hire

Unfortunately, there are no cycle hire facilities directly on the canal. This could be a business opportunity for someone?

Ratings

Safety: ⭐⭐⭐
Hilliness: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Flat)
Refreshment stops: ⭐⭐
Barriers: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Surface: ⭐⭐

Overall: ⭐⭐⭐

The grading system I use is explained here.

Paying the rent

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What the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal looks like

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Staffordshire_Worcestershire Canal_geograph-6557609-by-Roger--Kidd
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Staffordshire_Worcestershire Canal_geograph-6582297-by-Mat-Fascione
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Getting to the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal cycle route

Stourton doesn’t have a train station, but Kidderminster has (Kidderminster Town is your best bet) with Bilbrook station being the nearest at the far end. Just be aware that getting to and from either station involves a fair bit of on-road cycling.
Your only other option of getting there is to drive to the start.

More Routes

To find more routes, click this link.

DayCycle

DayCycle routes are routes that can can easily be cycled by most people in a day, or part of a day. Do have a look at all the other DayCycle routes available on WillCycle. Many contain detailed route guides, as well as embedded maps (like the one below).

Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal cycle route

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