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Fradley Junction and Nature Reserve

Home > Staffordshire > Boating | Day Trips | Free | Outdoor | Walks
by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
Published October 2nd 2015
Enjoy Two Great Attractions For The Price of None
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.

Fradley Junction, Coventry Canal, Trent & Mersey Canal
Fradley Junction where the Coventry Canal meets the Trent & 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.

Fradley Junction, Trent & Mersey Canal, Coventry Canal
One of the canal locks at Fradley Junction

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.

Fradley Junction, Coventry Canal, Trent & Mersey Canal
A former canal warehouse now serves as a craft centre

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.

Fradley Pool, Fradley Nature Reserve
Fradley Pool which was created as a reservoir for the canal

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.

Fradley Pool, Fradley Nature Reserve
No shortage of bird life to enjoy

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.

Fradley Nature Reserve, woodland trail
The woodland trail goes around Fradley Pool

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.

Fradley Nature Reserve
The bird hide overlooking the pool

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.

Fradley Junction, British Waterways
Take time to visit the British Waterways Shop

For more information, visi www.nationalforest.org/visit/index.php?
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Why? Visit two attractions in one
When: All year
Phone: 01827 252040
Where: Fradley Junction, Hay End Lane, Alrewas, Staffordshire DE13 7DN
Cost: Free
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