Thursday, 4 February 2010

Hatherton Canal, Meadow Lock

Hatherton Canal
Cross Bridge to Meadow Lock , Cannock
February 2010

With the road veering off to the north, the Hatherton Canal enters a rural stretch, bordered by farmland on either side. The towpath has been lovingly tended by the Canal Trust and from the footprints in the  snow, it is a popular route for dog walkers.

Remains of Bridge No 8, Hatherton Canal

It is only a short distance to an embankment built to carry a farm access track over the canal, replacing the collapsed Cats (or maybe that's Catch) Bridge, demolished by the restoration group after subsudence rendered it unsafe. 

Cats or Catch's Bridge in the early 1970's

Whilst Cats bridge has been consigned to the history books, the next bridge called "No 8" has survived. Well, the northern end has survived but as it goes from no where to no where, no one seems too concerned at its passing.

Meadow Lock, Hatherton Canal

Then  comes the highlight of the walk, Meadow Lock. After months and months of wandering round the lost sections of the BCN is is quite exciting to see a genuine lock chamber, complete with sluice channels and gate hinges. Sure there are trees growing out of the walls, but at least the structure is visible and exists as a tangible reminder of what went before.

Gate remains on Meadow Lock

To this point that canal has been maintained at normal navigation levels, carrying the Wyrley Brook to the Staffs and Worcester further down the valley. This stream bubbles up into the canal bed just below Meadow Lock, beyond which the canal has been drained leaving only a small  ditch carved into it's old base.

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