Friday, 28 May 2010

Newport Canal - Upper Oulton to Sutton

Newport Canal
Upper Oulton to Sutton
Post 3 - Blacklane Bridge 5 to Staff Bridge 6 
May 2010

 As you leave Lower Oulton it is fair to say that the line of the Newport Canal becomes indistinct verging on the invisible.

 Black Lane Bridge guard

Agriculture has reclaimed the line, which reverted to it's original owners on formal abandonment as a navigable waterway. Between Oulton Bridge and Blacklane Bridge there lie the remains of five locks, not that there is much to see on the ground. A farm track here, a fence there or sometimes a pair of parallel hedges - oh the excitement of it all.

 East from Blacklane Bridge

Blacklane Bridge still stands, but access to it's foot is impossible and our investigations were restricted to viewing the iron rope guard on one side and a view up the canal to the east.

 Staff Bridge

Staff Bridge offers a bit more scope with easy access to the field below. To the east the remains of a lock chamber can be made out as a long thin depression sprouting a healthy bunch of nettles, with the upper jaws poking through the grass. 

 East from Staff Bridge

 Lock beside Staff Bridge

To the west there were three more locks, but their location is only identified by three evenly spaced teraces in a field covered in Cowparsley and Buttercups.

 West from below Staff Bridge - over three locks

After the excitement of Norbury's abandoned locks, this section is a bit of an anti climax, but then it gets even worse. The next mile or so is completely inaccessible and a long diversion is called for through Sutton, only returning to the canal at Forton. Ah, Forton - there is so much to write about that village, but you will have to wait till tommorow for that story!

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