Thursday, 15 April 2010

Fibbersley Nature Park Fly Bridge Fibersley Update, Bentley Canal

Fibbersley Nature Park to Fly Bridge Update, Fibbersley
Bentley Canal, BCN
Update April 2010 original post December 2009

One of the great missing sections of the Bentley Canal is the length which ran through what was the Weldless Steel Tube Works, now CORUS. The line of the canal is apparent in the form of a road and lorry park but all traces of its watery heritage have been smoothed away under a thick layer of concerete.

I recently found the following photo of the canal as it passed through the steel works, passing under numerous pipe bridges and looking very similar to the Four Ashes Chemical Works near Gailey today.

Bentley Canal passing through the Weldless Tube Works at Wednesfield in the mid 1970's

Original Post
We left the Bentley Canal buried beneath the stockyards of the Corus works on Steelpark Way, with it's way marked by a line of trees between the buildings.

Hills Bridge on the Corus site in Autumn 2015

 On our way round the Corus works we passed some very attractively landscaped railway sidings, complete with  seats made out of railway sleepers.

Restored railway sidings in Fibbersley Nature Reserve

The end of the factory marks a transition from Wolverhampton to Walsall and also a transition from industry to parkland in the form of Fibbersley Nature Park, built on the rolling remains of old coal workings.

Whilst not on the line of the canal, the park contains a number of pools which occur on the site of collapsed pitheads.

Capped pithead at Fibbersley

The canal line can be picked up just beyond Corus, under the electricity pylon, its trough running through scrubland due east to the site of Fly Bridge at Fibbersley.

Line of Bentley Canal through Corus site

 The pipe is the only remains of Fly Bridge at Fibbersley

The Fibbersley Nature reserve is a good attempt at restoring old mine worklings into something which the local community can enjoy. The entrances have good interpretation boards, but whilst the fact that canals and railways ran across it is mentioned, it's a shame that the course of the Bentley Canal isn't even marked. The line of the canal continues beyond Fly Bridge in a very waterlogged state making cycling difficult, passing the remains of Dingle Lane Bridge (from which the next photo was taken) before reaching the remains of Monmer Bridge where access is extremely difficult, particularly with mountain bikes.

Monmer Bridge (under the red hoarding)

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