The Netherton Tunnel - a Historic Gem!

The Netherton Tunnel is 2,776 metres long and it dates back to 1856.  It is located in the Netherton area of the Black Country.



Where is Netherton Tunnel?

Netherton Tunnel is a 2776m long tunnel on the Netherton Tunnel Branch in the Netherton area of the Black Country. The South Portal can be accessed from the beautiful and scenic area of Bumble Hole and Windmill End which is located off the Dudley No. 2 Canal.

You will notice that the distance signs on the portals say 2768m - 8m shorter than the actual tunnel!!

In brief

Netherton Tunnel is a wide, two way working tunnel with twin towpaths. The tunnel is brick lined with a horseshoe shaped arch on a shallow dished invert. The portal walls are constructed in blue engineering brickwork.

They are grade II listed.

The tunnel has 7 air shafts and 10 construction shafts. A tour of these shafts is to be recommended as they appear in some unusual places!!

The tunnel was constructed between 1856 and 1858 and James R. Walker was the Resident Engineer.

A total of 17 shafts were sunk to construct the tunnel, 7 of the shafts were left open as air shafts and these are all brick lined with brick towers on the surface. The remaining 10 construction shafts are marked in the tunnel with name plates.

The Netherton Tunnel was the last major canal tunnel to be built in the country and at the time it was built it incorporated around one hundred years of canal tunnelling experience.

The tunnel passes through several major faults and an igneous intrusion. Due to the faulting the tunnel is partly constructed through the Etruria Marl series and partly through Productive Coal measures.

There are two main road crossings over the tunnel plus a number of minor roads. A large proportion of the surface above the tunnel is urbanised,

When you are in the tunnel you wouldn't have a clue what lies overhead!

Photography by Daniel Sturley.


We hope you enjoyed our feature about The Netherton Tunnel. 


Project dates

28 Jun 2021 - On-going


History & heritage, Rivers, lakes & canals, Classic Architecture

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