Railways in Worcestershire

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Tardebigge & Vigo walk



For this walk take the train to Bromsgrove. Leave the station and turn right at the top of the access road onto Finstall Road/Alcester Road (B4184) to Tardebigge New Wharf on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. Cross the canal to access the tow path on the east bank.


Or for those with access to a car a shorter walk starts at St Bartholomew’s Parish Church at Tardebigge. To reach the church leave the A448 dual carriageway at the B4096 (Tardebigge) exit which is about one mile east of the village. Follow the road to Tardebigge and turn left onto the B4184 road and pass under the dual carriageway then first left into High House Lane and first right to the church. There is a car park on the right just before the church is reached. From the bottom of the car park a gate leads onto a gently sloping grassed area overlooking the canal. This is the site of the Church Quarry which in the 19th century was possibly connected to the canal by means of tramway. This tramway either ran from right to left across the field or straight down the hill. Our walk takes us straight down the hill and through the gate onto the canal towpath.


Take time to admire the entrance to the 580 yard long Tardebigge Tunnel (built from 1796 to 1811).

Tardebigee Tunnel

Tardebigge New Wharf (opened 1811) with its canal basin, Waterways Board offices and assortment of boats is on the opposite bank. This is also the site of some old limekilns.

Tardebigge New Wharf

Turn left and walk to the lock. This is signposted “Top Lock” which is 12ft deep and is also the first of numerous locks that takes the canal down towards Worcester. It is also the site of a former experimental perpendicular boat lift (opened 1811).The lift was not a success and was replaced by the “Top Lock” in 1815.

Tardebigge Top Lock

Beyond the lock the canal continues to a bridge (No.56) which carries a footpath over the canal.

Bridge 56

At the bridge look back across the fields towards the church and you can imagine that this might have been where the tramway ran that connected the Church Quarry to the canal. Note the old fittings on the underside of the bridge that formerly carried a telephone system.

Bridge 56

Cross the bridge to the opposite bank of the canal and follow the footpath that takes an indistinct path near to the buildings and yard to the gate at the bottom end of the field. By doing so you are walking on the trackbed of the former Dusthouse Quarry tramway which closed in 1870. There is no need to go beyond the bottom of the field as the quarry itself has been infllled and nothing of interest is to be noted there.

Retrace your steps back to the canal and turn left to walk along the path towards the New Wharf. Between the “Top Lock” and the New Wharf is a memorial stone to the late L.T.C. (Tom) Rolt who was one of the founders of the Inland Waterways Association and also has a railway connection being a leading light in the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society. There is an extensive biography about him on Wikipedia.

.html Tom Rolt stones

After taking time to view the limekilns retrace your path to the main road (or your car).

For those now in need of light refreshment or a pit stop we recommend the Burcot Garden Centre. To reach this turn right down the Alcester Road and at B4096 road junction turn left towards Burcot. You will shortly pass a turning that leads to the prison complex at Hewell Grange. You are not advised to linger in this area unless you wish to join the inmates and in any case nothing now remains of the former tramway that the Earl of Plymouth used to bring stone from Tardebigge Old Wharf during the rebuilding of Hewell Grange.

The garden centre is on the left hand side a few hundred yards beyond the Lickey Incline bridge (we will return here later). The garden centre has a small cafe where teas, cakes, sandwiches and other light refreshments are available as well as a toilet.

When you are ready leave the garden centre and return in the direction from which you came. Straight after passing under the Lickey Incline bridge take a very sharp right turn up a narrow unmade track. You are now at Vigo and there are certain to be other railway enthusiasts here. The views of the Lickey Incline from here are spectacular.

To return to Bromsgrove Station return towards the garden centre but take a left turn down Pikes Pool Lane (passing under the railway). At the bottom of the lane pass under the dual carriageway then turn right and left into Heydon Road and right to Finstall Road to the station.

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