Teddesley Boat Company Ltd
|The Stourport Ring|
|An energetic weeks cruise, perhaps more suited to larger parties (120 locks), the Stourport Ring gives the boater the chance to sample the delights of river cruising. From Teddesley, the route is south to Aldersley Junction, where the Wolverhampton flight of 21 locks ascend to the fascinating industrial archaeology of the Birmingham main line. This straight canal takes the boater through an almost secret passageway past old wharves and factories.
There are more miles of canals in Birmingham than Venice and you could easily spend a week exploring the BCN (Birmingham Canal Navigation) alone. But for the purpose of this cruise, you take the direct route into the city centre itself. Here, there is an opportunity to moor outside the pub where President Clinton famously tucked into a pint and chips, or to visit the country's most inland sealife centre. Sharks really do swim beside the Birmingham Canal! This relatively new cultural zone offers many attractions and is becoming a must-see tourist venue, situated beside the National Indoor Arena and the Symphony Hall. The City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is a short distance away, together with a multitude of shops for any shopaholics in your party.
|From Birmingham a right turn takes you through the famous Gas Street basin to the Worcester and Birmingham canal. A long lock-free pound takes you past Cadbury World (this one's for the chocoholics) before it's time to put the headlight on for a trip underground through Wast Hill tunnel.
Once through the Warwickshire countryside gives way to Worcestershire pastures before the descent down Tardebigge locks. Tardebigge is the longest lock flight in the country and takes the boater from the Birmingham plateau towards the river Severn at Worcester. Worcester is a must for a stopover, with its elegant cathedral, delightful museums and more tempting shops. The locks at Diglis are the gateway to the majestic Severn, where you feel part of the attraction as you head past the tourists towards Stourport.
|Then it's another right turn and you're back onto the familiar territory of the Staffs and Worcs canal as you travel through delightfully wooded scenery and back towards base.|
|The Avon Ring|
|As its name suggests, this ring offers an opportunity to discover the delights of the River Avon and Shakespeare's Stratford upon-Avon. It can only be completed in a minimum of a fortnight from Teddesley, and involves paying a separate toll to traverse the Avon, which is not under British Waterways' control. Nevertheless, it offers a tour of many contrasts where you can sample the delights of Birmingham's award-winning waterside city centre together with idyllic sections of more rural waterways.|
|From Teddesley you head south to Aldersley junction where you ascend the Wolverhampton flight of 21 locks. It is possible from here to make a short detour to the famous Black Country Museum with its recreated Victorian village. Then it's into Birmingham before taking the Worcester and Birmingham canal to Kings Norton junction. From there, the Northern and Southern Stratford canals take you through lovely Warwickshire countryside to Stratford-upon Avon.|
|After visiting the famous bard's town, the River Avon offers a picturesque interlude into the Vale of Evesham passing through the town of Pershore, famous for its plums. The Avon meets the Severn at Tewkesbury, where there is an abundance of traditional 'black and white' buildings. From there, the attractive town of Upton-upon-Severn offers interesting antiques and bookshops before the cathedral City of Worcester is reached. Then the official route is back up the Worcester and Birmingham canal via Tardebigge locks and thence back to Teddesley via Wolverhampton. Alternatively ( and more easily), you can continue up to Stourport and follow the delightful southern Staffs and Worcs canal right back to base.|