The Birmingham Ring

The Birmingham Canal Navigations are a paradise for boaters who enjoy exploring! Hire a boat for a week and you can choose your route at over 30 junctions on a network of over 35 miles of canals, with 80 plus locks and loops, tunnels, aqueducts and bridges! Most hire bases are outside the BCN so a week’s hire could give three or four days to explore this unique network!

Main Line Birmingham on a winter evening

Main Line Birmingham on a winter evening

  • Birmingham sits on a plateau about 200 feet higher than the surrounding countryside, so the cross country canals that surround it have to climb flights of locks to get there.
  • The Old Main Line was built first and meandered around hills to join up the developing mines and factories. When links to the cross country canals were made Birmingham thrived.
  • The New Main Line was built because of overcrowding. Embankments, cuttings and tunnels were used to shorten routes and reduce queues at locks. Much of the Old Main Line and its loops still exist and are well worth exploring.
  • Canals carried coal like the Wryley & Essington, known as the ‘Curley Whirly’, linked to the busy coalfields out towards Cannock Chase. Hills which were wound around subsided away and the canals were left sitting atop winding embankments.
  • Birmingham is proud of its canals, canal towpaths and basins are usually well looked after and used and form an important part of city life. City centre stores and facilities are easily accessible from the canals with good moorings. The Black Country Museum at Dudley is well worth a visit.
The Birmingham Ring Map

The Birmingham Ring – Junctions, locks and lengths

bullet  Wryley & Essington at Horseley Fields Junction, 0 locks, 14 miles to Catshill Jnct.

bullet  Walsall Canal at Birchill Junction, 16 locks, 7 miles to …

bullet  Walsall Canal at Pudding Green Junction

bullet  Daw End Canal at Catshill Junction, 22 locks, 13 miles to …

bullet  Birmingham & Fazeley Canal at Salford Junction, 24 locks, 3 miles to …

bullet  New Main Line at Old Turn Junction, 3 locks, 12 miles to Horseley Fields Jnct.

Boat & butty working in the raw!

Boat Hire from family firms on or around The Birmingham Ring

Napton Narrowboats

From our new base at Autherley Junction, Napton Narrowboats family-run fleet now gives you the widest choice of boats and cruising routes.

Norbury Wharf

Norbury Wharf luxury narrow boats at the heart of the beautiful Shropshire Union canal, ideally situated for the Llangollen canal, Four counties ring & much more, Short & long term hire available. Diesel & Gas included.


UKvacationsAfloat At M6 J12 we are centrally located for easy scenic cruises on the picturesque 'Shroppie', Trent and Mersey canal for the Potteries and the Birmingham canals for the industrial history buffs.

All materials and images © Canal Junction Ltd. Dalton House, 35 Chester St, Wrexham LL13 8AH. No unauthorised reproduction.

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