Tame Valley Canal

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Perry Barr top lock and keepers cottage No 86

The Tame Valley Canal is a canal in Staffordshire and Warwickshire (map). It forms part of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. Built in 1844, it takes its name from the roughly-parallel River Tame.


The canal runs from Tame Valley Junction where it joins the Walsall Canal near Ocker Hill and Toll End, and terminates at Salford Junction where it meets the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal and the Grand Union Canal. It is 8½ miles long and has twin towpaths throughout.

Between Tame Valley Junction and Rushall Junction it goes under the Midland Metro near Wednesbury and crosses over the former Grand Junction Railway (now part of the Chase Line) by aqueduct, near Tame Bridge Parkway railway station (an unusual case of the railway pre-dating a neighbouring canal).

It passes over the M5 motorway near the interchange with the M6 motorway (M6 junction 8) and joins the Rushall Canal at Rushall Junction, inside the triangle formed by the motorway junction. East of Rushall Junction the canal passes under another arm of the M5. At Hamstead the remains of a wharf can be seen, This served the former Hamstead Colliery. Further east, there are two more aqueducts (Spouthouse Lane and Piercy, the latter over the Old Walsall Road), and a deep cutting in 200-million-year-old sandstone, under Freeth Bridge (now restricted to pedestrians and bikes only) at Tower Hill. There are no locks on this section, which is at the 408 ft Walsall Level, but it passes over eight aqueducts within five miles (seven of which are original).

The thirteen Perry Barr Locks, where the level drops 106 feet, start just beyond the A34 road. The original lock keepers cottages remain. In the adjacent Perry Park, near Alexander Stadium, is Perry Reservoir, a feeder reservoir fed by a stream from the lake at Great Barr Hall. From there, the canal passes under the M6 three times, including Gravelly Hill Interchange (Spaghetti Junction), shortly after which it terminates, at Salford Junction.


1901 map showing the former canal basin at Hamstead

The canal was authorised by Act of Parliament in 1839 and opened in 1844. Its engineer was James Walker.




  • Pearson, Michael (1989). Canal Companion - Birmingham Canal Navigations. J. M. Pearson & Associates. ISBN 0-907864-49-X. 

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Tame Valley Canal)
The Birmingham Canal Navigations

BCN Main LineBirmingham and Fazeley CanalBumble Hole Branch CanalCannock Extension CanalDigbeth Branch CanalDudley CanalEngine ArmGower Branch CanalIcknield Port LoopNetherton Tunnel Branch CanalRushall CanalSoho LoopSpon Lane Locks BranchTame Valley CanalTitford CanalWalsall CanalWednesbury Oak LoopWednesbury Old CanalWyrley and Essington Canal


Anson Branch • Bentley Canal • Bradley Branch • Lichfield Canal • Ridgacre Branch • Tipton Green and Toll End Canals