I am presently moored in one of the four basins at Stourport-on-Severn. This is pretty much the end of the navigable section of the river, and the start of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal which joins the Severn with the Trent and Mersey. The Staffs and Worcester was one of the earliest, finished in about 1770, and the town of Stourport was established at the same time. Around the basin now there are gentrified warehouses, factories, workers’ cottages and a hotel, The Tontine, which was built to accommodate traders and canal executives. It is a good place to moor with all facilities.
It took three days to travel up the Severn, mooring at Upton, and Holt on the first and third nights and at my friend’s family home just north of Worcester on the second. It is very pleasant to visit friends en route, even though it took three attempts to tie up successfully because of the current in the river. I think
I was the only boat on the river but the lock keepers were very accommodating, allowing me to moor on the lock pontoons which would not have been available in the summer. There are very few mooring places on the river and I felt some relief to get onto the canal where you can moor pretty much anywhere.
I had some trouble with the two ‘staircase’ locks coming into the basin. I got stuck in first because not having met this type of lock before I didn’t know how much water to run into the lower before moving into the upper; and I got stuck in the second because the water level was so high in the basin that I was initially unable to stop the boat being washed onto the overflow cill and getting stuck. After a while I managed to solve the problem and moored up in the basin.
One rather odd thing about 18th century Stourport is that because of the caravan parks on the river banks, a permanent funfair with flashing neon lights and a row of fish and chip cafés – it feels a bit like an old fashioned sea-side resort town.