A branch of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal used to link the canal’s main line to Stafford town – and a group pushing to reopen this lost link is marking two anniversaries on the weekend of 28-29 May.

The branch used to leave the canal’s main line at a junction at Baswich, before crossing the River Penk on an aqueduct, and descending through a lock to join the River Sow. It then used the enlarged and straightened course of the Sow to reach Stafford town centre. But it closed many years ago, and the lock, aqueduct, and bridge carrying the Staffs & Worcs Canal’s towpath over the junction have all been long since demolished. However the Stafford Riverway Link (SRl) community group is pushing to restore the route including building a new lock and reopen it to boats. Its team have already done a great deal of volunteer work recreating the canal boat mooring basin at the start of the link at Baswich.

To mark 25 years since it began its campaign, and 250 years since the original opening of the Staffs & Worcs Canal, SRL is holding a two-day fete on 28 and 29 May at Baswich.

The double celebration event is open to all with free admission and parking, and visitors will be able to find out more about the work of the SRL, and that of its supporters, River Canal Rescue (RCR), who will be selling its environmentally-friendly Bilgeaway filter and offering discounts to renewing or new members.

There will also be floating traders offering items for sale from narrowboats, plus craft stalls, food, a specially-brewed and named ‘Link’ beer from the Titanic Brewery and fish and chips from the Weeping Cross Fish Bar, aka ‘the best chippy in Stafford’, a tombola and bric-a-brac stalls, and free boat trips.

SRL describes it as ‘a great day out for all the family’, with no charge – although donations to help SRL continue its restoration work are welcome.  Land access is off Baswich Lane, Stafford, opposite RCR’s headquarters.

To find out more about the Stafford Riverway Link, see our article about three former branches of the Staffs & Worcs Canal.