Cannock Colliery to Bloxwich
The canal now continues at the extreme northern end of the old Wryley and Essington Canal with its terminus veering off to the east beneath what is now a stand of trees. The area was the Cannock Colliery but it has all been open cast mined in the 1980's and is now a levelled open area with poor fertility.
South towards Bloxwich
I explored the basin site on my previous visit and failed to find anything tangible to we will carry on south along a well made and popular footpath with a water filled channel to my right. This loop of canal tracks the railway embankment and about 0.25 of a mile along these is an old transhipment basin where cargoes were transferred between the two modes of transport.
Southern railway crossing
Then cones the second railway crossing via a much more modern concrete structure with a box culvert passage to give access to the canal.
This marks a temporary end to the canal as a water filled channel and we enter the outskirts on a pathway, mart of the Forest of Mercia Way, which suffers serious misuse. If its pretty you want stop here.
This area of Bloxwich is somewhat deprived and the locals still use the canal as a dump, either chucking their rubbish over their back fences or setting light to it on the pathway. The tarmac bears the scars of many fires.
But to stop now misses a lot of interest. The canal line continues, eventually spluttering back into a mud filled ditch as it loops round the Bloxwich Football Club ground and past the old junction to the long abandoned Essington Locks Branch which stets off westwards for half a mile through five locks to serve Essington Colliery.
The canal runs through a working scrapyard complete with what I assume is a lock keepers or lengthsmans cottage. Its still occupied but offers accommodation but at a pretty basic level.