The Tame Valley Canal is 8½ miles long with 13 locks and was one of the last narrow canals to be built, being opened in 1844. It was constructed on a generous scale with a towpath on both sides and takes a direct line with deep cuttings and high embankments, more like the railways it was by then competing with than the earlier contour canals. From Salford Junction on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal it climbs the 13 Perry Barr Locks then runs level via Rushall Junction, where it connects with the Rushall Canal, to Tame Valley Junction on the Walsall Canal.
Its start beneath the towering concrete spaghetti of the M6 is impressive rather than attractive, with more motorway bridges to follow, and its end around Ocker Hill is in the industrial heart of the Black Country, but in between much of the route is green and pleasant despite its urban surroundings. The Perry Barr locks are soundly constructed and well maintained and the lock cottages and bridges have an attractive solidity of design. Wildlife abounds on this little-used canal which deserves to be better known. With the Rushall Canal and the older Daw End Branch and Wyrley & Essington Canal it forms a suburban through route around the northern BCN and a quieter alternative to the better known Main Line.
The maximum size of boat that can navigate the Tame Valley Canal is
length: 70' 11" (21.62 metres)
beam: 7' 4" (2.24 metres)
height: 7' 5" (2.26 metres)
draught: 4' 4" (1.32 metres)
Canal & River Trust
Peel's Wharf, Lichfield Street, Fazeley, Tamworth, B78 3QZ
T: 0303 040 4040
Canal & River Trust website