Gailey Wharf Hire Base
Our Gailey base is located near the northern end of the delightfully rural Staffs and Worcester Canal just south of Stafford. The site is well placed for a variety of one week scenic cruises including the highly popular Four Counties Ring.
There are also a number of relaxing short break routes as well as several exciting options for those who have two weeks or longer to spare.
Road access couldn't be easier with the base positioned on the A5, just 400 yards from its junction with the M6. Rail travellers can head for either Stafford or Wolverhampton Main Line and take a taxi (approx. 7 miles.)
Tour 14 (1 week)
Your journey northwards towards the Cheshire Plains through rural Shropshire countryside, takes in impressively deep cuttings, dramatic embankments and splendid architecture.
Market Drayton, Audlem and Nantwich are all delightful places to visit along the way, either on the way out or on the return leg of your journey.
Finally though, you need turn around and head back to Gailey, retracing your steps and enjoying the new perspective that cruising in this new direction brings.
Tour 15 (1 week)
Beyond Harecastle the 13 miles to the salt town of Middlewich sees the canal descend 31 locks to the Cheshire Plains. The short Middlewich arm links the Trent and Mersey Canal to the Shropshire Union Canal which brings you south again through more glorious countryside.
This beautifully engineered canal with its cuttings and embankments and relatively few locks, takes an almost direct route to Autherley Junction where it meets the Staffs. and Worcs. Canal for the last leg back to our Gailey base
Tour 16 (1 Week))
Along the way you pass the entrance to the Shropshire Union Canal, which heads northwards through Shropshire towards the Cheshire plains.
As you continue south, you soon reach Bratch locks, which is a distinctive and unusual flight of three locks, together with an octagonal toll office. From here the canal adopts an even more rural aspect: secluded woodlands with rocky cliffs of red sandstone, give way to an area of quite water meadows as you approach the outskirts of the carpet-manufacturing town of Kidderminster.
Kidderminster also hosts the southern terminus of the Severn Valley Steam Railway, which is well worth a half-day trip. Finally you reach Stourport with its intriguing combination of engineering features and fine period buildings.
As an alternative to cruising all the way down to Stourport, or for a change of scenery on the return trip, you can always turn onto the Stourbridge Canal at Stourton Junction, and travel up to Birmingham, where the Black Country Museum at Dudley is a must.
You then follow the Birmingham Main Line Canal to Wolverhampton where the canal drops back down through a flight of 21 locks to rejoin the Staffs. and Worcs. Canal. This detour adds some 34 locks and plenty of miles to your journey and is therefore not for the fainthearted!
Tour 17 (2 weeks)
To reach the Caldon Canal you cruise up the Staffs and Worcester Canal, past the town ofPenkridge, to Great Haywood junction. Here you join the Trent and Mersey Canal heading north towards the potteries.
At Etruria junction you turn right onto the Caldon Canal which must rate as one of the most delightful waterways in the country. It quickly climbs out of the urban edge of the Potteries and your journey takes you up to Cheddleton, heading towards the Peak District, where you enter the Churnet Valley.
The countryside along this valley is stunning and the outward journey all too soon comes to an end at Froghall, nestling deep in the woodlands, where you will need to turn and retrace your route to Gailey.
Tour 18 (2 weeks)
Alternatively, you can undertake an extended version of either the Warwickshire Ring (Tour 11), or the Leicester Ring (Tour 13).To cruise the Warwickshire Ring, you would turn right at Fradley Junction (Trent & Mersey Canal) and then cruise down past our Rugby Base to the Grand Union Canal. Follow the Grand Union Canal up to Birmingham and then carry on along the Birmingham Main Line to Wolverhampton where a flight of 21 locks returns you to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal close to Autherley Junction.
From here it is only a few miles back to Gailey. (Total of 122 locks).For the Leicester Ring, you would cruise up the Staffs. and Worcs. Canal to Great Haywood where you would turn right onto the Trent & Mersey Canal. This takes you to Fradley Junction where you join Tour 13 from our Rugby Base. (Total of 136 locks).