The Black Country Ring

The Black Country Ring is a loop of canals north from Birmingham through mainly Staffordshire countryside, so also known as the ‘Staffordshire Ring’. It can be cruised in a fairly busy week and covers a mixture of pleasant countryside and Midlands industrial sprawl, but always with plenty for all the crew to see and do. Less than a day is probably spent in the ‘Black Country’ between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, although even locals don’t agree where the borders are!

Black Country Museum Boat Gathering

Black Country Museum Boat Gathering

  • Birmingham sits on a plateau about 200 feet higher than the surrounding countryside, so the Black Country Ring has over 70 locks to reach the Birmingham summit level.
  • The New Main Line was built in the nineteenth century because of overcrowding on the original meandering route. Embankments, cuttings and tunnels were built to shorten routes and towpaths and lock flights improved to reduce congestion. But much of the Old Main Line, loops and feeder canals are still here to be explored if you have time.
  • The canal sections are mainly rural, pleasant Staffordshire countryside from the outskirts of Wolverhampton past Stafford and Tamworth to the Birmingham suburbs.
  • Birmingham is proud of its canals, canal towpaths and basins are usually well looked after and used and are an important feature 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 Black Country Ring Map

The Black Country Ring – Junctions, locks and lengths

bullet  New Main Line at Old Turn Junction, 24 locks, 15 miles to …

bullet  Staffs & Worcs Canal at Aldersley Junction, 21 locks, 15 miles to …

bullet  Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood Junction, 6 locks, 13 miles to …

bullet  Coventry Canal at Fradley Junction, 0 locks, 11 miles to …

bullet  Birmingham & Fazeley Canal at Fazeley Junction, 14 locks, 12 miles to …

bullet  Grand Union Canal at Aston Jnct., 13 locks, 2 miles to Old Turn Junction.

Rural lock on Birmingham & Fazeley Canal

Boat Hire from family firms on or around The Black Country Ring

Canal Cruising Company

The Canal Cruising Company is located in the canal town of Stone. We are ideally placed for a number of out and back routes and circular routes. Our boats are 2 to 8 berths, all are ETC graded.

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.

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