About the Dudley No2 Canal
The Dudley No2 Canal was commissioned in 1793 to link the Dudley No.1 Canal at Park Head, near Netherton, with the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. It was originally about 11 miles long, but now only about 5½ miles is navigable. Coombeswood, or Hawne, Basin is the current limit of navigation at the eastern end of the canal. It originally joined the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Selly Oak via the notorious Lapal Tunnel. This was the tightest and longest tunnel on the Birmingham Canal Navigation at 3,795 yards (3470m). The typical transit time by legging was 4 hours, until 1841 when Thomas Brewin installed a steam-engine pump to help ‘flush’ boats through in about 2 hours. The tunnel was closed in 1917 after a serious collapse. The Lapal Canal Trust is working to restore the link to Selly Oak, intending to bypass the tunnel with a new route through the Woodgate Valley.
From Windmill End, the Dudley No2 Canal passes through the 577 (528m) yard Gosty Hill Tunnel to the site of the former Coombeswood Tube Works, which had a large fleet of Joey boats used for tube transport and storage. The canal terminates in the former railway interchange basin at Hawne, now run by the Coombeswood Canal Trust with a thriving residential community and facilities for visiting boaters.