News and information for our Members, Moorers and Friends




You will find all the relevant information about the DofE Gold Residential course that we offer on our DofE Facebook page together with photos and videos of previous Residentials.
Please click here   (you must Log In to Facebook to view the page)

Gold Award Residential

We won the Living Waterways Award for Education and Learning for the Duke of Edinburgh residentials in 2016.

Coombeswood Canal Trust is an accredited provider of the Residential section of the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award.
It involves a journey on the canal system on our Heritage Narrow Boats, Atlas and Malus.

If you are a DofE participant -

Approved Activity Provider information

Do you want to complete your DofE Gold Residential crewing a pair of original cargo carrying canal Narrow Boats?
We will be navigating part of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. As part of the crew, you will be living and working on one of our two heritage boats (Atlas the motor or Malus the unpowered ‘butty') for five days, four nights. You will learn such skills as: waterways safety, boat handling, lock working as well as working as part of a team, communication skills and conservation. All this, whilst enjoying a general taster of waterways life, set in an informal and relaxed environment.

We will be taking a pair of working boats from Halesowen to Birmingham City Centre. The return trip will take five days with secure overnight stays along the way.

Previously, we have stayed at the Black Country Living Museum, BCNS Pump House at the top of the Crow flight of locks and Iknield Port, just off the Main Line.

This is a great opportunity to meet new people, develop confidence, build new relationships, work as part of a team, develop communication skills, show initiative, and enjoy exciting new challenges overseen by our experienced skippers.

All itinerary information will be added as soon as the details are confirmed.

For more information, please email: and we will contact you as soon as possible.

To view photos and comments re previous Residentials on Atlas and Malus please visit our Facebook page by clicking here

The boats are manned by volunteers as well as youth workers and the following is the experience of our Chairman's wife, Belle Woodward, who volunteered to help.

Out on a Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential

I have been involved with D of E expeditions before, but this Gold Residential was a new experience. And how delightful it was.

There were twelve young people taking up the challenge on Atlas and Malus during the last full week in July, none of them local. Indeed, we had two young men from Holland, two from Wales and a young lady from Jersey. Truly International.

Loading the boats was a good ice-breaker, as they all had to help each other; finding their way around didn’t take long as their accommodation consisted of a camp bed in the nether regions of the hold and a “kitchen” area! A gas stove, bowl, kitchen utensils and water bottles. Sparse but serviceable.

The young people are expected to join in with all aspects of boating over the five days they are on board. Menus are devised from a stock of staple ingredients, which they prepare and cook. They are encouraged to take their turn on the tiller on both the butty and motor; their "horsepower" is needed to bow-haul Malus through the locks, something the crew I was with enjoyed immensely.

Mooring up inside the Black Country Living Museum for two nights was a highlight for me; we were regarded as an exhibit and were much photographed! Volunteering here has become an integral part of the programme. This time we were put to work on the gardens in the park and clearing paths of brambles and overhanging bushes. This was great fun and very much appreciated by the museum.

The run up the Crow and an overnight stay courtesy of the BCNS at the pump house took care of Thursday. Diverting down Spon Lane (Locks) on Friday because of a closure on Smethwick Locks, for an afternoon stop in Brum. Again the boats drew a great deal of interest from the passing public, with many stopping to ask what we were up to. Icknield Port was the Friday night destination and then a sprint down the main line back to Hawne on Saturday.

Our crew thoroughly enjoyed the experience; they all got on and were fantastic company. This has been a brilliant success story; it gives purpose to the boats, it publicises Coombeswood Canal Trust and, without a doubt, having the boats ploughing up and down the Dudley No2 helps to keep the channel open for everyone.

A massive “thank you” also has to go to the skippers. This team give up their time without pay or expenses and, quite honestly, the excursions would not run without them. Their skill is impressive and their generosity in imparting their knowledge admirable.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed those five days and became very fond of Malus’s cosy cabin. Delightful.


Coombeswood Canal Trust, a Company limited by Guarantee
Hawne Basin, Hereward Rise, Halesowen, West Midlands, B62 8AW.
Telephone: 0121 550 1355   
Skype Name: coombeswood
Registered Charity No. 1088978