25th October 2009
Please see my update below.
Whilst the Ridgacre Branch Canal ends 3/4 mile after its start at Swan Bridge Junction, that isn't really the end of the story.
Current terminus of the Ridgacre Branch Canal
Mining extended over the whole area and, in 1828, two years after the main branch canal was opened, two further arms were created :
- The Dartmouth Arm extending for another 3/4 mile to the north &
- The Halford Arm which ran for half a mile to the south complete with its own colliery extension, the Jesson Branch.
I have since taken a close look on the satellite images offered on Google Maps and have realised that the band of trees heading south from the end of the Ridgacre Canal represents the line of the first half of the infilled Halford Arm.
What is more, all trace of the Dartmouth has not been lost. The first 400 yards lie under a housing estate but beyond that there is another straight stand of trees along the edge of some open gound, which is exactly where my 1860 map says the canal ran. I think that this calls for a bit more "on the ground" investigation when I am in the area again.
See Google Images