Fradley Junction and Nature Reserve
What better way to enjoy a day out than to actually visit two attractions in one - especially when they are both free of charge.
Fradley Junction near Lichfield is one of the most picturesque waterside scenes in the Midlands with the Coventry Canal meeting the Trent and Mersey Canal.
But not only can you see narrow boats passing through this busy canal junction, or watch them navigate their way through several locks, but you can also take a woodland stroll around the pool at neighbouring Fradley Pool Nature Reserve.
Fradley Junction has supported a hive of activity on the canals over more than two centuries.
The Trent and Mersey Canal took 11 years to complete at the end of the 18th century, followed shortly afterwards by the Coventry Canal.
Today, the Junction is surrounded by listed buildings on either side of the Trent and Mersey Canal.
On one side of the water, there is The Swan Inn pub, cottages and a small warehouse which now serves visitors as the Fradley Gallery craft and gift shop.
And on the opposite side sits the original wharf, including the once redundant stables, carpenters' and blacksmith shop, which have been converted into a café, gift shop and information centre.
Even the adjacent crossover bridge and locks are also listed.
On The Swan pub side of the canal is the entrance to Fradley Pool Nature Reserve, dominated by the small lake which was created as a reservoir by the Trent and Mersey Canal Company in the 1780s to store surplus water.
In recent years the nature reserve has been classified as a Site of Biological Importance for the floral composition of the woodland and pool.
Nature lovers can enjoy a woodland trail complete with interesting wooden sculptures, stroll along a boardwalk at the pool's edge, or enjoy pond-dipping on a couple of specially created platforms.
There is also a bird hide made out of native woods which offers a perfect view of the swans, coots and ducks on the pool, plus willow weave panels and plenty of bird boxes dotted around the woodland trail.
Parking is free for customers using either The Swan pub or the adjacent Kingfisher cafe.
But you can also park in the British Waterways Pay and Display car park on the other side of the canal, costing just £1 for four hours, with the canal-side cafe, British Waterways Shop and Information Centre just feet away.
For more information, visithttp://www.nationalforest.org/visit/index.php?
72685 - 2023-01-26 02:04:02