Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Wyrley Bank Branch Canal, Gilpins Basin to Cheslyn Hay

Wyrley Bank Branch Canal
Gilpins Basin to the terminus at Cheslyn Hay
7th November 2009

Having left the restored open cast mining area behind, the canal quickly reverts to a dry tree lined channel, with some evidence of mine loading bays to be seen in the form of crumbling brickwork mixed with tree roots.

Remains of a brick wall on the off side of the channel

The nature of the canal changes for the last half mile, clinging to the side of the hill, presumably Wyrley Bank, with a steep drop off to the east. Mid way along this stretch there is the site of a major breach, where the flow of water has blasted a big gap in the side of the canal.

Whilst this was the site of the Great Wyrley Pit, it is all residential housing now and a walk along the towpath gives a good view into the back gardens. Mid way along there is something of a narrows, which was the site of a wooden access swing bridge, a photo of which is included on a nearby display board.

Lift Bridge at Cheslyn Hay 1926

And as Campions Wood Bridge looked in 1971 - as taken by Laurence Hogg and posted on CWDF

The canal finally comes to an end, swinging round into its final basin near Dundalk Lane, complete with more display boards and some seats on which to rest and eat your sandwiches. Sadly, the car park built to service the Mercia Forest Path of which the towpath forms a part has been closed due to anti social behaviour. Maybe we're not so far from Bloxwich after all!

The start of the Mercia Forest Path, and the Wyrley Bank Branch canal at Cheslyn Hay.

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