Each October a group of us bloggers get together to walk, our walks are hosted by Robin over on her blog “Breezes at Dawn” and although we each walk in very different surroundings, every year we all arrive at Robin’s and enjoy the company of the whole group on our chosen walks.
This year I’ve chosen to share a very unusual walk, I’ve often found myself wandering along a canal, but a canal walk in the middle of Wolverhampton, that was definitely a new experience.
Staying the weekend in Wolverhampton for a sports competition, I visited the train station to buy my ticket for my independent journey home on Sunday and left without my ticket, but with my stress levels pushed up another notch by the hustle, bustle and queues inside the station. Deciding to just head for a park I’d seen on the map earlier, and then after a few hours out and about, to call it a day, I zoomed in on the sat-nav on my phone for directions. I spotted a little blue squiggle on the map and went to check out on the way, within minutes of leaving the busy station I found myself at the canal.
From the pavement of a street full of busy traffic and rushing people I peered down enviously at the empty tow path until movement from the other side of the canal drew my attention to the footbridge and the boat house. I scanned the area to find some access and set off towards what I later worked out was the Broad Street Bridge.
After negotiating the traffic and crossing Broad Street I came to this little landscaped area to the side of the canal, obviously appreciated by the geese as well as other canal dwellers. I gave the geese a little attention then noticed this information map a little nearer the canal and since someone had gone to all the trouble of making it and putting it there, I decided to follow it.
I would appear to have stumbled on the Birmingham main line canal. The boathouse is clearly marked on the map on the other side of the bridge so I followed the canal back in the wrong direction, under the bridge to take a few snaps.
Although the footbridge and it’s reflection in the water may have given me more of the usual “prettiness” I look for with the camera, I couldn’t help thinking that the graffiti on the brick wall and the station’s multi-story carpark needed to be captured in this picture too. Incidentally, the boathouse now houses a nightclub.
Back on the other side of the bridge I looked at the still waters of the canal, I don’t think I’ve ever taken a picture of a canal with traffic lights in the reflection before.
Looking again in the direction I was about to start walking, I could see the “Top Lock Cottages” as mentioned on the information board and more landscaping on the other side of the canal. Somebody had gone to a lot of effort to make this a pleasant place to take a break.
As I passed the cottages, it was surprisingly easy to forget the noise from the traffic behind me, to forget the vibrating ground as the trains passed over the bridges above the canal and to not smell the heavy city laden air but to feel the calmness rising from the still waters and the pull of the tow path ahead.
Little Bridge, or Little S Lane Bridge as it reads on the name sign, is also mentioned on the notice board, and they weren’t kidding when the note said “mind your head”. I’ve not found out what the “s” is for, I asked Mr Google but this is one of the rare occasions he failed me. If anyone knows, then I’d be glad to find out, thanks.
The canal travels quite steeply down hill and there are 21 locks before you get to the end. Looking back at lock two, the busy traffic is hidden from view and only the large building to your right gives you the hint of the terrain you are passing through.
I’ve often said that although the camera never lies, however it very easily omits the truth, it would appear the notice board had not told us about the railway line which crosses above the canal just after lock number three…
… and again, the graffiti caught my eye.
Lock four, which is on the notice board appears as you emerge from the bridge, graffiti becoming an ongoing theme, and I guess, as I wandered alongside the peaceful waters I started to realise that it was all part of the canal’s character.
As with the trains, they added to the character of this city canal, and most of the time I even forgot to hear the odd rumble as they passed, but not this time though, I caught it with the camera.
I’ll continue with my wander along the Birmingham main line canal in a day or two, but for now I hope anyone who is visiting from afar has enjoyed this little piece, with a taster of a lot more “character” to come.
More from before : Wandering in “Wolverhampton“