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Birmingham and The Black Country Canoe Trails

The Birmingham and Black Country self guided trails were developed by British Canoeing in conjunction with the Canal and River Trust.

Birmingham is vibrant place and the largest city outside of London. Its canal network is larger than that of Venice and these canals contributed greatly to the growth and economic strength of Birmingham.

Paddling along these canals takes you on a journey through the history of industry. You will follow the route of coal, cotton and iron, travelling in and out of the Black Country.

Expand About The Canoe Trails

About The Canoe Trails

The trails are a variety of lengths and can be paddled at your leisure. You can choose to explore just one of the trails or complete all six of them in a multi-day expedition. In total they cover over forty-five consecutive miles of canal around Birmingham and The Black Country.

The trails encompass the history of the beginnings of the canal network and some of the spectacular engineering feats of the age. Starting from the North at Brownhills; so named because of the many coal mines in the area, then using the Wyrley & Essington Canal, which was opened in 1798 to get to the coal and limestone deposits in the district.

Join Brindley’s Old Main Line at Wolverhampton; which was opened in 1772. At Tipton portage the three Factory Locks onto Telford’s improved New Main Line Canal into Birmingham; built in 1827 to alleviate congestion on the old canal.

After Birmingham carry on to the Worcester Canal and Kings Norton, finally joining the Stratford Canal to the finish at Wharf Bridge (Swallow Cruisers).

These trails have been chosen as there are only three locks along their entire length, making it the ideal paddling journey. Access and egress points have been identified so the canoeist can join at will and enjoy the route in either direction.

If you don't have your own boat or equipment you can always consider Canoe Hire.

General Use 4
Expand The Trails Expand Licence and Membership Information

Licence and Membership Information

The waterways in these trails require paddlers to hold a licence. You can purchase a British Canoeing Membership, which includes an annual licence for all the waterways covered.

Please ensure you take your membership card with you on the water as this acts as your licence. If stopped with no licence you will be at risk of being fined.

You can also buy a licence directly from the Canal & River Trust for these trails.

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Expand Contact Us

Contact Us

We would love to hear from you if you have completed any of these trails and would like to give us feedback or share your stories with us.

We are also always interested in ideas for new trails.


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