Our original plan had been to spend the weekend at Stourport and include a bus trip to Kidderminster on the Saturday. We spent the Friday afternoon walking around the town in the heat with a bit of respite while we shopped in the air conditioned Tesco store. A bit of research on Kidderminster made us think that it mightn’t be worth the effort to visit after all. Not that there was anything to put us off, rather that there was nothing to draw us there. After a bit of a discussion about how we might spend our time in Stourport, we decided to get up early and set off in the morning.
There was a light, although temporary as it turned out, cloud covering when we cast off on Saturday morning. After four weeks on the rivers, the Staffs and Worcestershire canal seemed very narrow and twisty and it was a bit like turning off a motorway and going straight into the streets of a medieval village. No other boats were on the move and as we left Stourport behind, the canal got straighter and wider for us. The cloud dispersed and the air started to warm up even though it was still before nine o’clock. There were quite a few joggers and walkers around as we approached Kidderminster and as Sue walked towards the viaduct that carries the Severn Valley Railway over the canal, she was lucky enough to see a steam train pass over it.
Once through central Kidderminster we passed through parkland and waterside housing estates before reaching the village of Wolverley where we found a space on the visitor moorings above the lock.
Our walk to the village was mostly uphill and in all honesty there’s not a lot there but we found the village shop where we bought a couple of ice creams before returning to the canal via the local church. The church of St John the Baptist is unusual in that is built in a classic style and from a distance looks like many others. It is actually built from brick suggesting that it is fairly modern but it was completed in 1772 after the previous structure was pulled down in 1769. Three years to build a large church in the 18th century is good going, maybe because bricklaying is quicker than building from stone.
Back on the canal bank there is more going on. The lock is flanked by a pub, The Lock Inn, and a tea room, both have gardens and were very busy as you might imagine with it being a sunny weekend. Next to the tearoom is a putting green or mini golf as it is described. We thought that it was a bit expensive at £7.95 per person but it didn’t deter the dozens of players already using the course.
When we got back to the tearoom, the cooling effect of the ice creams from the shop had worn off so we had to rejuvenate ourselves with more ice cream. The tea room sells luxurious ice cream from a farm in Devon and it was delicious!
The following day, Sunday, we stayed put but other than a mid morning coffee in the tearoom garden, we didn’t venture far.