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Chasewater reservoir was created in the late 18th century as a reservoir feed for the Wyrley and Essington Canal system. Parts of the Wryley and Essington canal are very rural, and it runs past a number of nature reserves and wildlife hotspots, including Pelsall Common and Rough Wood Nature Reserve. The tranquil, slow-moving waters of the canal itself are home to thriving aquatic plant life, including protected floating water plantain and grass wrack pondweed.
The Anglesey Branch of this canal system, which starts at Ogley Junction and runs to Chasewater Country Park, was upgraded to navigable status in 1850 as new mines opened in the area. Coal continued to be transported along the branch from Anglesey Basin until 1967. The end of this branch is the furthest north it is currently possible to travel on the Birmingham Canal Navigations.