About the Wednesbury Oak Loop Canal
Between Wolverhampton and Factory Locks at Tipton on the Birmingham Canal Main Line there is a little used branch canal. The Wednesbury Oak Loop runs from Deepfields Junction to Bradley and is also known as the Bradley Arm. It is a loop of the original Birmingham Canal which became the Main Line. The early contour canal, surveyed by James Brindley, went around the high ground at Coseley in a big loop. Subsequent improvements to the Main Line between Birmingham and Wolverhampton in the 1830s, by Thomas Telford, shortened the route by building Coseley Tunnel to bypass this long loop. The Wednesbury Oak Loop as it became known remained open, connecting with the new Main Line at Deepfields Junction and Bloomfield Junction.
Following amalgamation of the Wyrley and Essington Canal into the Birmingham Canal Navigations in 1840, a number of connecting links were built. The Bradley Locks Branch was one of these, connecting the loop to the Walsall Canal at Moorcroft Junction in 1849. It was dead straight, about a mile long, with 9 locks down to the Walsall level. Parts of the Wednesbury Oak Loop were filled in the early 1960s after it was officially abandoned and built on, but the Bradley Locks Branch was covered over in the 1970s and preserved as a linear park.
The Bradley Lane depot has a pumping station that supplies the Wolverhampton level with water from a borehole. This water and the Canal & River Trust workshops that build wooden lock gates have ensured the retention of what remains of the Wednesbury Oak Loop today; there is however a proposal to restore the Bradley Canal link to the Walsall Canal. The road crossing at the current terminus is the only major obstacle as the locks were not demolished but filled in, which has preserved most of their structure.