Building the New Clayhanger Bridge

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Comments (11)

DJ Edwards on May 12, 2013

this brings memories flooding back! thanks George.

Brownhills George on May 12, 2013

Do you remember when they put the rising gate into the Canal by Catshill bridge in the Narrows that used to be one of the gauge stations. I have photo's of this somewhere.

DJ Edwards on May 13, 2013

I love old Canal Pics !! Most my life Ive been walking, fishing, & riding the Brownhills stretches. I can remember when they stocked em' with quality fish must have been the 70's.

DJ Edwards on May 13, 2013

I have some old pics from the 80's of the Canal down Barons court end drained, we used to call it the Smelly because of the disposal works down that way.

Brownhills George on May 13, 2013

Dear D J Edwards, I too love the canals and have many photographs of canals. When I was young It was against the law to trespass on the canal, with the same penalty as pulling the communicating cord on a train £5.00. I fell over and broke my arm running away from a lock keeper whilst walking on the canal towpath.

DJ Edwards on May 13, 2013

I find that fascinating cheers George.

Brownhills George on May 14, 2013

Brownhills George said:

Dear D J Edwards, You say that you have been Cycling on the canals for many years. Just out of curiosity have you ever had a License to cycle on the tow path ? I have had one for many years but lots of people are unaware that they are required. (Or were anyway) Cycling was first allowed for Boaters to cycle to the next lock to prepare it for their boat, it was called Lock Wheeling and you had to buy an additional license to use a bike. The current License I have was free all they want is your details and your signature to say you understand the rules. Speed Limit 4mph, Give way to pedestrians, Use of bells, Dismount when passing moored boats, and when going through bridges or tunnels. I have no Idea if the Canal & River Trust. have the same Free License.

Brownhills Bob on May 15, 2013

Hi Lads.

The intractable 'cycle permit'.

As it's existed for the last 20 years, the British Waterways/Canal River Trust cycling permit is a con, and I advise anyone who's signed one to throw it away.

It's a voluntary document and not legally binding - but what it does do is absolve all responsibility from the canal operators if you're in any accident whatsoever. It's an exercise in liability transfer.

The status of the permit was always very, very tenuous, but even more now that many sustains routes run along towpaths and therefore make them public rights of way.

It's also impossible in law to enforce an arbitrary speed limit on a vehicle not compelled to be fitted by law with a speedometer.

If only BW had spent more time maintaining the canal and less time generating reams of pointless paperwork...

the.narrowboater on May 17, 2013

Hi Brownhills Bob. Sorry but you are wrong. Whether or not you have a permit By your use of the Towpath you are accepting all of the conditions that apply by using them. If you are unhappy about it then don't use them. These rules were written to try to prevent accidents. That could involve very large damages being awarded against cyclists. What would your insurers have to say if you were found to blame for serious injuries to a child ? I have been Boating and Cycling for 50 yrs and have no problem with being considerate to others at all. The Law is such that the Towpath can never be a right of way.

Brownhills Bob on May 17, 2013

Hi Narrowboater

No, sorry, this has been tested in law.

If a towpath gives way beneath me (or any other user, for that matter) or a piece of bridge masonry falls on my head, the CRT are responsible.

I refuse to sign a voluntary agreement absolving them of that.

This is nothing to do with cycling irresponsibly - that's a red herring. I've cycled thousands of miles safely on canal towpaths. Where the towpath has been declared a public footpath or cycleway, the CRT can no longer deny access, and in return they are absolved of some maintenance responsibility. This is the case where NCN 5 uses the towpath from Wharf Lane to Chasewater, or the old Cement Works to Pelsall. Also where the Heart of England Way runs along the canal at Rugeley.

My insurers would say the same were I on the road or a towpath. That's why I carry insurance as do all members of the CTC.

I have no problem with being considerate whatsoever, this isn't about that. What I will not do is sign my rights away. The 'cycling permit' which you are invited to copy and stick to your bike is a dreadful exercise in trying to absolve BW of negligence, and has been deconstructed many times.

It's notable that they've almost totally stopped promoting it in recent years.

Best wishes


Brownhills Bob on May 17, 2013

Hi folks, scratch that - the cycling permit has been abolished now.

See here

In favour of the more sensible Greenway Code, drawn up with the London Cycling Campaign.



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Photo taken in Clayhanger, Walsall, West Midlands WS8, UK

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  • Uploaded on May 9, 2013
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    by Brownhills George