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Dudley no 2  Canal

The Dudley no 2 Canal was completed in 1798, connecting the Canal network at Dudley with the Birmingham & Worcester Canal at Selly Oak.  There were 2 tunnels, at Gorsty Hill and Lapal. The Lapal tunnel was 3795 yards long, the 4th longest canal tunnel in the Uk. But there were continual problems, and following several partial collapses, the tunnel was closed in 1917. And the section of the canal between Halesowen and Selly Oak was abandoned.

But the section from the junction with the Dudley no 1 canal at Park Head and Hawne Basin, a distance of 5 miles, continues to operate, and Hawne Basin is busy with pleasure craft. 

I had never previously visited the basin or the section to Park Head. But in September 2006, I was able to spend a morning exploring, and started at Darby End.


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I also walked along the section between Gorsty and Hawne, and was allowed access to Hawne Basin. Both the canal and the basin were quite busy with pleasure craft. 

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  In March 2007, I walked the section between Old Hill and Bumble Hole. The photographs below are the result.  

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For the first 26 years of my life, I lived within a short distance of the Lapal section of the Dudley no 2 canal, and often walked along the section from the tunnel close to Lapal Lane, as far as the Black Horse Pub at Manor Lane. Although the Canal was filled with water, it had seen no boats since the closure of Lapal Tunnel in 1917. 

There are plans to restore the canal from Hawne Basin, Halesowen, through to Selly Oak, including reopening the tunnel. Work has already been undertaken at the Halesowen end. Apart from the tunnel, the two major obstacles are the A456 Mucklows Hill dual carraiageway and the A458 Manor Way dual carriageway, which have  effectively cut the canal into sections, and would require considerable expenditure to reinstate.

The first photo below shows how the former bridge under the A456 Mucklows Hill has been infilled. The next 5 photos show the restored section on the high embankment overlooking Halesowen, the next picture shows the A458, where the present towpath emerges. The final photo shows the original route beside the Black Horse Pub. It is now a car park.

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  Link to Lapal Tunnel Web Page


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