"Our" Canal - the Stratford upon Avon Canal
There are many books and magazines that have described the route of the canal from Kings Norton to Stratford-upon-Avon mile by mile - the familiar cruising or towpath guides. On this page we have chosen to take a different slant and describe the features of the waterway in a different way. Several of these features, such as certain of the bridges and cottages, are types which are unique to this canal. We fight fiercely to retain all these features which together bring to life the special character of the canal. We note that the length of the canal in the area of Warwick District Council was designated in 2019 as a Canal Conservation Area.
All directions in these articles start from Kings Norton, where construction and navigation began; occasionally a post code is given for land based explorers (work in progresss).
We are fortunate that the canal has four aqueducts which are each of interest for different reasons.
Major's Green aqueduct (B09 1BT) is the first one near bridge No 8. It is a substantial arched structure made of engineering bricks and carries the canal over the River Cole.
Wootton Wawen aqueduct of 1813,pictured above (B95 6BZ0). This is also a cast iron trough with a single span across the main Stratford-upon-Avon to Birmingham road, A3400. It has an original oval descriptive plate on the south side; the similar plaque from the other side is mounted and visible from the towpath.
Yarningale aqueduct, not yet pictured (CV35 8HW). The aqueduct at this site was originally a timber structure built about 1814 but this was washed away in a flood in 1834. It was replaced soon afterwards by a cast iron trough from Horseley Ironworks of Birmingham which is about 42 feet long (12.8 metres). It appears to be somewhat larger than necessary for its location; perhaps it was what Horseley works found simple to make from the patterns which were available.
Edstone. Truly the king of them must be Edstone (or Bearley) aqueduct, pictured above (B95 6LA). It is the longest cast iron trough aqueduct in England, standing on brick-built supports; it is 475 feet (154 metres) in length with 14 spans. The tallest pier is 34 feet high (10 metres). The trough is 9 feet wide (2.7 metres) and 5 feet deep (1.5 metres). It opened in 1816 to the design of William Whitmore and resembles the abandoned Longdon-on-Tern aqueduct in Shropshire designed by Thomas Telford but which was on metal piers. The towpath is at the level of the bottom of the trough which yields an unusual view of a boat traversing the structure. It is of note that the longest and highest cast iron trough aqueduct in Britain at Pontcysyllte in Wales was completed to a different design somewhat earlier, in 1805.