The Black Country Ring

Ring Stats

75 miles
approx. 45hrs

A ring route that requires two weeks to navigate, an extension of the previous Lapworth Ring post- more suited for those looking for a longer UK boating holiday.

Which Canals are part of the Black Country Ring?

  • Birmingham & Fazeley Canal
  • Coventry Canal
  • Trent & Mersey Canal
  • Worcester & Birmingham Canal
  • Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal
  • Grand Union Canal

The Black Country Ring encompasses the Cannock Chase woodland, a medieval royal hunting forest, with wild deer still roaming this SSSI.  The star attraction is the Black Country Museum established in 1975 and covering 26 acres. The museum celebrates the Black Country area’s traditions with over 50 authentic shops and houses, allowing you to step back in time and appreciate the historic way of life.

Starting at Autherley Junction on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, cruising north towards Stafford centre, the first two hours of cruising will be lock free to ease you into steering the boat and taking in the Staffordshire countryside. At Gailey the locks begin, starting with a flight of four. Penkridge is situated on the left, a traditional market town, with important Staffordshire heritage derived from the collegiate church, which still dominates the sky views.

North from Penkridge is Stafford town centre, a perfect place to stop for the night to eat out and experience the local culture, with its mixture of wooden beamed and contemporary architecture. Victoria Park is also located in this town, equipped with a new play area for the children, a sensory garden and riverside walks are also available here. From Stafford, you charter the waters towards the Trent & Mersey Canal, passing Tixall Wide at Great Haywood (info on the Four Counties Ring post.)

Rural Boating
Rural Boating

Cruising down the Trent & Mersey Canal, we recommend stopping off near Rugeley and making your way to Cannock Chase if you have a little time to explore. There’s so much to do and see here, including Chasewater Country Park, where you can do varied walks along the water, pony trekking, wildlife centre, Go Ape outdoor climbing centre, Chasewater Railway, Silverblades Ice Rink and a small theatre, to name a few! Not to mention taking advantage of the great Staffordshire scenery.

From Rugeley to Tamworth the waterways are virtually lock free, allowing you to make up some time if you spend a little longer than expected sampling the many activities!  At Tamworth you will find Drayton Manor Family Theme Park, packed with lots of family friendly roller coaster rides, a couple of restaurants and a conservation area. Mooring up near Watling Street at Fazeley Junction on the Coventry Canal, providing you with some choice of whether you’d prefer to eat out at a nearby pub Indian or Chinese!

From Fazeley Junction, you are approximately 8 hours cruising to Aston Locks near Gas Street Basin. From here you can choose either to navigate the extended section of this ring, through Lapworth (click for Lapworth Ring article) or cruise through the Birmingham navigations for a shorter route. We recommend a 7 night holiday minimum to complete the ring, perfect for those with a little previous experience to soak in the Staffordshire countryside and Birmingham City Centre.

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Here is a visual illustration of the Black Country route without the extended Lapworth section.

Black Country Ring
Black Country Ring