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Tyrley to Market Drayton & the Shropshire Union Canal Walk

This leisurely walk is 5km, to Market Drayton and back, following the route of the Shropshire Union Canal. See locks, embankments and cuttings on the last canal designed by Thomas Telford.





5km (3.1 miles)



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Market Drayton’s canal, now part of the ‘Shropshire Union Main Line’ was the country’s last trunk canal. 

Engineered by Thomas Telford, it was completed in 1835, a year after Telford’s death and just two years before the railway from Liver­pool and Manchester to Birmingham was opened a few miles to the east.


Walk Details


Reasonable, but sometimes muddy in the cutting. Not suitable for cycling.

Parking at Tyrley

Use postcode TF9 2AH. Please do not park in the area reserved for long-term moorers.

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Tyrley to Market Drayton & the Shropshire Union Canal Walk Map

Find directions to the Activity

Begin The Walk

1. Woodseaves Cutting

South from the Wharf, is Woodseaves Cutting, the longest cutting on any canal in Britain at just under 3km. The sides are up to 21 metres deep. It is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its geological interest.

2. Tyrley Wharf

As you turn to the North, the wharf buildings you can see were erected by the Twemlow family of Peatswood Hall shortly after the canal was opened.  

3. The Tyrley flight

Head North along the canal and after about 200 metres you will reach the Tyrley Flight. The flight of five locks lowers the canal by 10 meters. The lock cottage is typical of Telford’s designs.

Have a look at the stonework on the far side by the top gate of the locks. Can you detect that originally there was a pair of gates here, rather than the single gate there is now?

Between the second and third lock down, on the other side of the canal to the towpath, are a couple of short posts made of cast iron with the letters ‘SUC’.  These are boundary markers, showing the extent of the canal company’s property.

4. Tyrley Castle Bridge (Bridge 61)

At the bottom of the flight you will see a bridge. This bridge has the date ‘1829’ inscribed, although the canal did not open until 1835.  It is typical of Telford’s designs; the stonework curves satisfyingly in every dimension. Shortly afterwards, on the far side of the canal, is a brick-built wharf where coal was unloaded for Peatswood House.

5. Tyrley Castle Bridge to Newcastle Road Bridge

Follow the canal over the Coal Brook, Berrisford Road and the river Tern. The steep-sided embankment is about 450 meters long and up to 15 meters high.  Where the canal crosses Berrisford Road there you will see a flight of steps showing 170 years of wear. In the Second World War, pill boxes were built in strategic locations; there is one just by the bridge under the former turnpike road to Newcastle. 

6. Market Drayton Wharf

Beyond the bridge is the main town wharf, part used for coal and part for general goods. It was known as ‘Old Wharf’ or ‘Talbot Wharf’ (after a now-closed pub).

7. Betton Mill

Continue to the next bridge and you will see Betton Mill to the right. The Mill was originally built as a warehouse in about 1905 by James Henry Jones, a corn merchant, but is now mainly apartments.

8. Ladyline

North of Betton Road Bridge were the headquarters premises of Ladyline, one of the country’s most successful canal firms in the 1960s and 1970s. From here you are about half a mile from Market Drayton town centre  if you want to see the area, or you can return along the canal to complete the walk


Print-friendly route guide

Download a handy one page guide to the route including a map.



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