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You are in: Black Country > Uncovered > Walk Through Time > Page 10
Boats passing each other in the canal
Busy traffic in the canal basin

Black Country Walk Through Time

Todd's End and the Tipton Portal

Continue along Birmingham New Road.

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Turn right into the canal basin. Walk down the zigzag path to the canal.

Behind the Canal Trust's shop, there are see brick arches in the rock face. These are old lime kilns.

audioWhat is a lime kiln? Listen to John Hemingway »

Entrance to the canal tunnel
Entrance to the canal tunnels

You can see the 'Tipton Portal' entrance where the boats go into the underground tunnels. The canal was very important in Dudley in the Industrial Revolution. The mining companies used it to bring limestone out from the galleries where it was being dug out. The boats were loaded up and then the cargo was transported to ironworks in the Black Country, Birmingham and beyond.

audioFind out more about the canal's history. Listen to John Hemingway »

The tunnel entrance is very low - the roof is only 1.65 metres (5'5") high. Boat owners have to make sure their craft will fit by measuring it against the gauge opposite the café - and boats have got stuck!

Boy legging
Visitor tries out legging

This is good place to stop for a break. There is a shop here selling refreshments and souvenires and you can pay to go on a barge trip into the limestone mines. This is well worth it - the trip lasts 45 minutes and you'll see many disused mining caverns. The vast Singing Cavern is as tall as a cathedral. Some of the journey takes place in the dark, when exciting light and sound shows bring the history of the mines to life. Visitors are encouraged to try 'legging' - a method of propelling a boat through the tunnel by 'walking' you feet along the walls.

A boat enters the tunnel
Boat enters the Tipton Portal

Find out more at

audioFind out more about the canal trips. Listen to Graham Worton »

Go back up to the main road (Birmingham New Road) and turn left.

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Optional detour: Visit to the Black Country Living Museum.
Find out more at
View map showing route to the museum

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Map of Dudley (© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. BBC licence number 100019855, 2004)
© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. BBC licence number 100019855, 2004

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WATCH/LISTEN TO WALKS Realplayer required
audio   Lime kilns
audio   History of the canal
audio   Canal trips
Gallery - Dudley fossils
Gallery - unusual fossils
Meet Wendy, local BBC presenter
Birmingham Walk Through Time
Wolverhampton Walk

Black Country Uncovered

Hereford Walk Through Time
Stoke Walk Through Time
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