Project information

Learning and Access Hub

The project will enable the Trust to
- Attract and host more visitors per year
- Create opportunities for visitors to learn more about the site’s history and heritage.
- Service the wider community with facilities educational events for schools and colleges and professional bodies

3 years

Charity information: Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) Ltd

Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) Ltd logo
  • Need


    Dudley Canal Tunnel and Limestone Mines are a unique subterranean gem of the Black Country that are only accessible by boat and every year, Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) enable over 80,000 visitors to explore this unique attraction. We are in the process of building our new visitor facility with a current shortfall in grants of £750,000


    The development of improved visitor facility will:-
    • Create opportunities for visitors to learn about the site’s history and heritage.
    • Make the site accessible for visitors of all ages and abilities.
    • Provide more opportunities for special events and activities.
    • Celebrate the history of the canals and the people who used to work on them.
    • Offer visitors the opportunity to learn more about the canals archaeological, geological and industrial heritage.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To encourage and enable more people to visit the Dudley Canal Tunnel and Limestone Mines.


    » • The development of improved visitor facilities including exhibition space and interpretation to tell the story of the sites unique heritage.
    » • A programme of events and activities to increase awareness within the local community.
    » • Partnerships with local groups and organisations to promote the attraction.

    Success will be increasing annual visitor numbers to 100,000

    Aim 2

    To ensure the long term sustainability of the Dudley Canal Tunnel and Limestone Mines.


    » • Increased income generation through improved visitor facilities including restaurant and shop.
    » • All profits from the Hub will put back into the facility and the fund to maintain the tunnels and mines.

    Success will be generating funds to contribute to site maintenance.

    Aim 3

    To enable visitors to learn about the heritage of the Dudley Canal Tunnel and Limestone Mines.


    » • Provision of an indoor exhibition area with innovative interpretation and displays.
    » • Displays and events about a range of topics including the heritage of the Tunnel and Limestone Mines.
    » • Partnership projects with nearby attractions such as the Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve.
    » • Guest exhibitions from partners such as the Waterways Craft Guild.

    Success will be an exhibition space, interpretation, events and activities.

    Aim 4

    To increase opportunities for formal learning.


    » • Employment of an education officer who would work in conjunction with local educators to creating stimulating and engaging educational activities.
    » • Development of education packs.
    » • Creation of an education suite with a range of equipment.

    Success will be 30 education trips per annum.

    Aim 5

    To increase the number of volunteers.


    » • Improved facilities for volunteers.
    » • Creation of a volunteer strategy and training programme
    » • Involve the local community in planned events and activities

    Success will be 30 volunteers participating with the Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) Limited.

  • Impact


    The Hub will ensure the long term sustainability of the Dudley Canal Tunnel and Limestone Mines, as well as providing a unique facility which will enable visitors from across the country to learn more about the site’s unique heritage. Creating new visitor facilities will support and enhance the experience of visiting the Tunnels and Limestone Mines, which will encourage visitors and volunteers to become advocates for the attraction.


    The fundamental risk to the project is the inability to raise the funds required to move forward. We have dealt with this risk by developing a comprehensive funding strategy which includes working with a variety of funding partners including the Heritage Lottery Fund.


    We will produce a quarterly email newsletter to update donors on the progress of the project. Regular updates will also be available through the Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) Limited’s social media presences through Twitter and Facebook.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £3,684,501

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £234,000 Project Management Specialist fees in organising the project
      £2,844,501 construction of the building construction of super and sub structures of the building
      £382,000 Activity Cost provision of eductional facilities, display areas, meeting rooms, catering facilities
      £224,000 Other Project Cost provision of activities in the new centre

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Heritage Lottery Fund £987,000 Guaranteed
    Dudley Canal Trust £200,000 Guaranteed
    Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) Ltd £200,000 Guaranteed
    ERDF £985,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Located in Dudley which has a population of 305,155 people. The site is within the Castle & Priory Ward which has a population of 11,393 and is one of the most deprived areas in Dudley. Five of the super output areas within this ward are in the 10% most deprived areas in England. Dudley Canal Tunnel and Limestone Mines is part of Castle Hill which includes a variety of visitor attractions including Black Country Living Museum, Dudley Zoo and Castle and Wren’s Nest Nature Reserve.


    The project will benefit:-
    · Visitors to the Dudley Canal Tunnel and Limestone Mines.
    · The local community.
    · Schools, colleges and universities.
    · Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) Limited staff and volunteers.
    · Members of the Dudley Canal Trust.
    · Local organisations, groups and societies such as Age Concern, Black Country Society and the Waterways Craft Guild.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) Limited and Dudley Canal Trust (formerly Dudley Tunnel Preservation Society) have being successfully operating boat trips into the Dudley tunnel and Limestone Mines for the past 40+ years. We are therefore in the best position to develop new visitor facilities to support the attraction as we already have the core business and experience of facilitating large numbers of visitors to this attraction.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Mr J Luesley

    Jeff Luesley is the Chairman of Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) Ltd and will work closely with the Directors, staff and stakeholders in the project.

    Mrs J Hodgetts

    June Hodgetts is currently employed as the General manager of Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) Ltd and will oversee the operation of the new Hub

    Mr D Trevis Smith

    David is a Heritage consultant who will work closely with the Trust, architects and consultants to ensure that the best needs of the project are met

    Mr J Atkins

    John is the Financial Director of the Trust and will control the funding, budgets and investment in the project to ensure its stability and success

A trip in to Dudley tunnel