Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal Conservation Area
The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and its immediate environment, were designated a Conservation Area in 1978 and reviewed in 2007, with minor changes made to the boundary of the Conservation Area. The Canal was planned by the famous engineer James Brindley and completed in 1772. It links the Rivers Trent and Severn via the industrial Midlands, and forms an important historic feature running north-south for over fourteen kilometres through the District.
Associated with the Canal are several bridges, locks, basins, cottages, warehouses and walls, together with the towpath; which form part of its special interest. The principal building materials are red brick, particularly associated with the earlier canal buildings and structures; and all buildings have pitched roofs, generally with grey slates. The corners to buildings are often curved, in order to facilitate turning by wagons. Walls are always capped with semi-circular coping to help reduce wear on ropes and to shed rainwater. Iron metal work (painted black) is a feature of the locks and some narrow bridges. The wider bridges are constructed of red brick and utilise a semi-elliptical arch structure.
There are many trees and shrubs along the canal side that add to the character of the Conservation Area.
The Canal is an important leisure resource, adding to its profile. In this respect, the water way is a popular route for leisure boats, with a major complex of basins located at its southern end in Stourport-on-Severn. The towpath is a popular route for walking and cycling.
The Canal Conservation Area consists of four fairly distinct sections:
- Attractive, well wooded, northern section where it has been cut into sandstone cliffs to maintain its course along the contour, and passes through two locks and a tunnel. Bridge No. 25 is a Listed Building;
- Urban section past the carpet mills through the old industrial heart of Kidderminster;
- Section parallel to the lower reaches of the River Stour in more open landscape; and
- Section within the Stourport-on-Severn Town Centre where the Canal joins the River Severn via a series of basins. This part of the Canal is covered by separate Conservation Area designations.