Friday 22nd September; below Stourbridge junction to Kinver
We started in sunshine, and soon discovered that we had picked the best mooring between Stourbridge locks and Stourton junction. All the four Stourton locks were against us, though a passing walker helped out with one of the gates.
Stourton junction where the Stourbridge canal meet the Staffs and Worcester canal
Stewpony lock, the first lock on the Staffs and Worcester, was against us too. There is a restored octagonal toll office on the wharf, and there is a good example of the round bywash weirs of this canal.
The canal was beautiful in the morning sunshine. We passed through the rocky Dunsley tunnel. This is the west portal.
We stopped at Kinver sanitary station, then dropped down the lock to find the visitor moorings nearly empty. I did some shopping before lunch; I had forgotten what a good variety of useful shops there are here.
Then we donned our walking boots and set off for Kinver Edge. We first visited Kinver in the 1970s, on a hire boat with 6 friends. Our Camra member (hi Ron!) was very keen we should stop here as in those days there were reputed to be 14 pubs in the village. I can’t remember how many we drank in but I am sure it was more than one ….
This time we wanted to have a look at the rock houses, but now that they are run by the National Trust you can’t see much unless you pay. instead we walked up Kinver Edge. It was cold and windy up there. The Edge is a high sandstone ridge, with a steep climb up from the village and a steeper drop the other side. The views are huge. Wenlock Edge is in the blue distance but you’ll have to take my word for it I think.
And in this direction is our destination for this trip; Droitwich, with the Malvern Hills beyond.
We followed the waymarks for the purple trail, which drops down from the summit through woodland. Out of the wind it was quite warm, especially when the trail started climbing again which it seemed to do rather a lot. The reason we chose this trail was that it passed Nanny’s Cave, which was occupied by a hermit a couple of centuries ago.
Unlike the rock houses the caves remain open to the elements and you can easily climb up and explore.
Even though it is a bit of a hike from the car park, plenty of people have come here and made their mark. It mostly seemed to be carved names (with a dearth of the hearts and arrows which you used to see carved into tree trunks) but the sandstone lends itself to the creation of faces.
We couldn’t decide whether these were supposed to be aliens, or the figure from from Munch’s ‘Scream’.
We completed our walk, about 6 miles in total, and returned to the boat in time to avoid the worst of the rain.
3 miles, 7 locks