An eclectic mix of canal, the Dudley Canal has three striking features. Firstly, the canal is actually split into two parts. Secondly, it features the famous Dudley tunnel.
Dudley’s No1 Canal is 4.6 miles in length with 12 locks along it. This part of the canal joins the Stourbridge Canal at one end of Delph Flight, and Dudley Tunnel at the other.
The No2 canal is perhaps more suitable for recreational paddlers. It measures 5.5 miles and has no locks to portage along the route. This canal connects at one end at Hawne Basin near Halesowen, and the other at Dudley Tunnel.
Apart from having no locks, this canal also stands out because it leads to a nature reserve. This is accessed at the Bumble Hole arm of canal. Here, you can observe a variety of flora and fauna, and bask in the beauty of wildflower meadows.
Dudley Tunnel on the Dudley Canal
Dudley Tunnel is probably the most stand-out feature of the Dudley Canal, but not necessarily for paddlers.
Unless you have prior permission you cannot paddle this tunnel, and for good reason. It ‘s the second longest tunnel on the UK canal network at 2,900m, and weaves through dramatic limestone caverns.
All hope is not lost though, because there are several opportunities every year to paddle it.
The British Canoeing Regional Development Team in the West Midlands run guided tours through the tunnels. You can look out for those on the British Canoeing website.