The Wyrley Branch of the Wyrley Essington Canal extends for
almost 4 kilometres through South Staffordshire from
, Essington, through Great Wyrley to
, close to the centre of Cheslyn Hay.
This branch canal was once busy with boats carrying coal from
the pits around Great Wyrley and Essington. With the decline
of the pits the canal closed in the mid 1950’s and fell into
disrepair. The towpaths became overgrown and the canal
gradually silted up. The landscape around it was semi
derelict disturbed by the affects of coal mining.
In 1980, after the purchase of the disused Canal, South
Staffordshire Council commissioned Land Use Consultants to prepare
a feasibility study which assessed the technical problems concerned
with reclaiming the Sneyd Branch Canal and formed the basis of a
The canal was reclaimed in part by the Council using Derelict
Land Grant and by the NCB (latterly British Coal) as a restoration
condition of opencast coal permissions.
It has taken some years to fully implement the restoration
strategy. The restored towpath and the new footpaths through open
areas were raised above water level to ensure that the walk remains
usable throughout the year. Timber footbridges have been
installed to create interest and provide long views along the
canal. Wherever possible, steps and changes of level have
been eliminated. A car park was constructed at each end of the
Parts of the canal have been dredged to remove silt, leaf
litter and reed matting and create areas of open water for wildlife
benefit. Information panels have been installed to show a
plan of the walk, explain the history of the canal and illustrate
The result is a linear open space of contrasting
landscape character which is generally well used and
appreciated by the local communities along its length.
If you are interested in nature conservation
or local history and want to become involved with the Wyrley Branch
Friends Group, Grounds Maintenance and Bereavement
Services can offer advice and information to help you become
part of the group.
Contact Grounds Maintenance and Bereavement
Services for more information
Grounds Maintenance and Bereavement
Telephone: (01902) 696406
Fax: (01902) 846553