Stourport Canal Basins

Visit and Enjoy Stourport Canal Basins

Discover a wealth of information about the historic heart of Stourport-on-Severn and its origin as a canal town at the award-winning Stourport Canal Basins. The basins remain largely intact from the golden age of the canals and have recently been restored, regenerated and returned to their original Georgian splendour, creating an exciting and informative heritage attraction.

The canal basins provide a great place to wander around at leisure and explore. The abundance of water creates an air of peace and tranquillity. Relax and unwind in one of the local pubs, cafes and restaurants in and around the Canal Basins. Watch boats travelling through the locks and five historic basins which house nearly 100 narrow boats and yachts and many listed Georgian houses and warehouses.

Enjoy the annual programme of events and two Heritage Rooms (restricted opening). The Tontine Stable Heritage Room is accessible to customers of The Windlass Cafe daily through a connecting door. Click the tab above  for opening times/dates for The Old Ticket Office Heritage Room or telephone the Stourport Forward Office on 01299 822827.

Group bookings for costume guided walks/tours are welcomed. For the latest updates and for further information on these events visit the ‘What’s On’ page or contact Stourport Forward, tel: 01299 822827.

The creation of the cafe/restaurant, heritage rooms, school visit project and events programme for Stourport Canal Basins was initially funded by regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands. The Heritage Rooms, School Visit Programme and Events Project are partnership projects of Stourport Forward with Stourport Civic Society, British Waterways and Bewdley Museum

The ongoing work of Stourport Forward (which includes delivering these events and activities) has been funded by grants from Wyre Forest District Council and Worcestershire County Council and is also supported by Stourport Town Council, British Waterways, Bewdley Museum, Stourport Local Policing Team, many other local groups/organisations and a strong core team of dedicated volunteers.

Old Ticket Office Heritage Room

Old Ticket Office Heritage Room

Tontine Stable Heritage Room

The Tontine Stable Heritage Room

Pirate Weekend in Stourport Canal Basins

Costume Guided Walks in Stourport Canal Basins

Stourport Canal Basins

Stourport Canal Basins still remain largely intact from the golden age of the canals in the late 1700′s – early 1800′s, and recently underwent a major award winning regeneration programme which was completed in 2008. Click here to view the Masterplan behind the Stourport Canal Basins Regeneration.

Stourport Canal Basins are made up of five historic basins, home to nearly 100 narrow boats and yachts, and one re-opened basin, plus five canal locks and a dry dock, all located on the bank of the River Severn in the picturesque Severn Valley.  Popular legend has it that James Brindley chose Stourport rather than Bewdley for his canal because the citizens of Bewdley did not want his ‘stinking ditch’ passing through their town. The reality is that Stourport made far more sense from a topographical point of view. A canal joining the River Severn at Bewdley would have needed to cross several hills. Joining the Severn at Stourport it could follow the Stour valley and this obviously made construction much cheaper.

The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal linked the River Severn with the Trent and Mersey Canal and as a result, after Birmingham, Stourport became the busiest inland port in the Midlands. The canal opened to Stourport in 1771 and by 1812 the five canal basins had been built. The town rapidly expanded and by the 1780′s there were brass and iron foundries, a vinegar works, tan yards, worsted spinning mills, carpet mills, barge and boat building yards, warehouses, shops, houses and inns. By 1795 it had 200 houses and 1300 inhabitants.

The aim of the award winning regeneration programme was to bring the Stourport Canal Basins and their surroundings back into full, vibrant, sustainable use. The community were actively engaged during the programme through volunteer activities, arts events and commissions, site interpretation, education trails and skills development.

The partners in the Stourport Canal Basins regeneration project included Heritage Lottery Fund, British Waterways, Advantage West Midlands through Stourport Forward, Wyre Forest District Council, Stourport Town Council, Worcestershire County Council and the Arts Council.

Stourport Canal Basins Heritage Rooms

Stourport Canal Basins are firmly back on the map thanks to a major heritage initiative that is transforming the site into an interactive attraction for local people and visitors alike.

The Tontine Stable Heritage Room is accessible to customers of the Windlass Cafe/Restaurant daily through an interconnecting door, where visitors can discover about the growth of the canal basins and some of the animals that worked on site. “Brindley’s Brainwaves” a trail leaflet produced by British Waterways which provides a wealth of information about Stourport Basins, is available from the Tontine Stable Heritage Room. Please ask a member of staff for assistance if the door is locked.

Costumed guided walks and heritage room viewings are also available, where possible, by prior appointment. If you would like any additional information or would like to make a booking please contact 01299 822827 or stourportforward@btconnect.com.

The other Heritage Room, the Old Ticket Office will be open at events and at published times/dates – a rota is currently being developed. Both rooms are opened to groups and schools by appointment and group bookings for costume guided walks (which usually include an opportunity to view the heritage rooms) are welcomed.

Visitors can also discover more about the canal basins and some of the trades that grew as a result of the arrival of the canal at the Old Ticket Office Heritage Room, York Street.

You can also enjoy costume guided walks in Stourport Canal Basins.

The Old Ticket Office Heritage Room

Old Ticket Office Heritage Room

Old Ticket Office Heritage Room

The Tontine Stable Heritage Room

The Tontine Stable Heritage Room

The Stourport Basins Art Commissions

An integral part of the Stourport Canal Basin Restoration is the Arts Masterplan and Commissioning Programme. Formulated by a team led by the artists pro/POSIT and funded via a joint initiative between British Waterways, Wyre Forest District Council and Arts Council England; the aim of the programme was to place art and artists at the forefront of the design process in this unique heritage and conservation context.

The Arts Commissioning Programme is made up of a number of arts commissions which have been identified to illuminate, enhance and promote the site through events, projects and off site art pieces. Since September 2006 British Waterways have been working to implement the Arts Programme and have carried out research to source potential artists suitable to deliver the commissions which make up the two year programme. British Waterways focused on four specific commissions and invited a number of artists to respond to the initial commission briefs in December 2006. The responses received were assessed by a panel made up of the project partners in January 2007. As a result of this selection process, 5 artists were chosen to deliver the commissions. The artists worked on the project from April 2007 until July 2008.

Stourport Basins Restoration Project Arts Commissions Booklet

Further information about the commissions and each of the artists click here to download the full colour booklet as a pdf outlining the arts projects as part of the Stourport Basins Restoration.

Stourport Canal Basins Discovery Trail

Stourport Canal Basins Discovery TrailThe Discovery Trail at Stourport Canal Basins promises a unique experience to anyone visiting the site by providing alternative information about Stourport Canal Basins. The trail points out hidden historical facts which have been uncovered and discovered through the recent restoration and explains the rationale behind many of the contemporary design features which have been incorporated into the project.

To download the Stourport Canal Basins Discovery Trail by following the links below:

Stourport Canal Basins Discovery Trail Part 1

Stourport Canal Basins Discovery Trail Part 2

You can pick up a copy of the Discovery Trail from the Windlass Cafe in the Basins.

The Windlass Cafe and Restaurant is located at the heart of the picturesque Stourport Canal Basins by the River Severn.

The Windlass comprises of a traditional canal themed cafe / restaurant that serves a wide range of drinks, snacks, meals and excellent cakes.

A coffee lounge on the first floor with contemporary decor that can be used for a range of functions, from business meetings to an exclusive venue for your special occasion.

A secret garden, where you can enjoy your drink or meal in a secluded court yard away from the hustle and bustle of the canal basins and passing traffic.

The Windlass even has access to the Old Tontine Stable Heritage Room where visitors can discover more about the growth of the canal basins and some of the animals that worked on site.

The Windlass Cafe / Restaurant offers a wide range of traditional and contemporary food for you to enjoy, with regular specials, roast dinners at the weekend and a flexible menu. The Windlass also has a range of excellent cakes for you to choose from. The Windlass is licensed so you can enjoy a glass of wine or beer with your meal.

The Windlass Chefs (Scott and Sam) are happy to discuss your dining requirements to ensure your meal meets any personal or dietary requirements.

The Windlass also has a number of theme nights including specially prepared menu’s, including Valentines Day, Halloween and a Sixties night! They can also cater for any function or special occasion – call to discuss your requirements.

For more information on opening times, menu’s and functions visit their website - www.thewindlass.co.uk

There is an education project in Stourport Canal Basins for schools and other groups to discover the history and heritage of the area. Schools and groups can book a morning, afternoon or a full day in the Canal Basins to help bring history to life for their children.

There are three options to consider, plus the opportunity to discuss your visit to the Canal Basins to meet your groups requirements. We also provide FREE Water Safety sessions in schools.

Option 1 / 2: Stourport Basins and Town

10 am to 12:30 pm: Stourport Canal Basins OPTION 1 (FREE)

Activities with the children in groups of ten. (A “carousel” system operates for the groups).

• Building a model canal and floating narrow boats.
• Learning about what it was like to live and work on the canals: either through visiting the living quarters of a working canal boat (when available) and a short story in the “hold”, or through visiting the “Old Ticket Office Heritage Room”.
• Touring of the scenic, historic canal basins adjacent to where the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal meets the River Severn.

12.30 pm to 2.30 pm
OPTION 2 (FREE) (OPTION 1 Plus)
Lunch 12:30 – 1:15
An opportunity to walk along the Canal and through the town to explore life and work in old Stourport looking at the industrial archaeology and stories about this unique town. (Suitable clothing and footwear required).

Option 3: Stourport Basins / Bewdley Museum

10 am to 12 noon: Stourport Canal Basins OPTION 3 (Cost £3 per child)

Activities with the children in groups of ten. (A “carousel” system operates for the groups).
• Building a model canal and floating narrow boats.
• Learning about what it was like to live and work on the canals: either through visiting the living quarters of a working canal boat (when available) and a short story in the “hold”, or through visiting the “Old Ticket Office Heritage Room”.
• Touring of the scenic, historic canal basins adjacent to where the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal meets the River Severn.

12.15 pm to 2.15 pm: Bewdley Museum
(Lunch at the Museum) Activities in the museum in groups. Map skills and recap: using a wooden map of Stourport Canal Basins and model buildings to consider the information gained during the morning visit to Stourport Basins and consider the factors that affected the development of Stourport Basins as a working canal port.
• Canal Art: including painting “roses and castles”.
• Ropemaking at the famous ropewalk.

For further information on the Stourport Canal Basins Education Project please call Stourport Forward on 01299 822827 or e-mail us.