The Cowley Cutting, Wood Eaton & The Kingfisher Trail
Distance:Approx 3 miles Time: About 1 hour 30 mins
Start: By the Boat Inn on Wharf Road
From the Boat Inn cross the bridge over the Shropshire Union Canal, and climb over the stile on your left to descend to the towpath. Walk along the towpath in a Southerly direction, firstly with the 3 story houses of Waterside Court and then the wooden Norwegian style bungalows to your left. Go through Cowley Tunnel, and continue through the cutting with steep banks on either side of you.
Continuing along the towpath, go beneath Cowley Bridge (No 32) and then beneath two further bridges (No's 31 and 30) until you approach another bridge (No 29), this is Wood Eaton Bridge.
As you near the bridge climb the path to your right up onto the lane, and turn right. Walk along the lane for about half a mile until you reach a T junction of lanes, with Gnosall indicated to your right. Turn right towards Gnosall, passing a lone house on your right and Lower Cowley Farm on your left, until you once again reach the Shropshire Union Canal.
Do not descend to the towpath but cross the bridge, and then go through the gate on your left immediately after the bridge. Follow this path which climbs high above the canal which will be on your left. This is part of the Kingfisher Trail which a local group are working on to make it into a nature trail with picnic areas for the benefit of the local community. Continue along this path (take care if looking over the side to the canal as the edge is very high and unprotected), until you reach its junction with Quarry Lane. At the time of writing there is no proper gate onto the lane so a little "limbo dance" may be necessary to duck beneath the wooden barrier.
Once on Quarry Lane, turn left and follow the lane above the Cowley Canal tunnel, until you see a farm ahead of you and some houses on your right. Follow the bend in the lane round to the right and continue to the junction with the Gnosall to Moreton and Outwoods road. At this junction, turn right and cross the canal bridge by the Boat Inn to return to your starting point.