Newport Canal - Wappenshall Junction
After 20 miles in the saddle and the thermometer threatening to break into the 30's our drinks and energy were at an end. Luckily we hit this point just as we reached Wappenshall Junction, the literal centrepoint of the whole canal restoration effort.
We therefore cast the cycles aside and spent a very absorbing thirty minutes having a good look at the junction, roving bridge and collection of canal warehouses. These buildings have stood forlorn and empty following the departure of a haulage company, and were destrined for conversion to residential housing. Thankfully, Telford Council thought otherwise and arrangements have been made to place them in the hands of the Canal Restoration Trust to serve as a base and a landmark half way along this lovely waterway.
Wappenshall Junction bridge
The junction marks the meeting point of three canals, the old Shrewsbury Canal which started out as a tub boat navigation and was later altered to accommodate full size narrowboats, the Trench Arm which departed for the south and links in with the Blist Hill / River Severn area and finally the Newport Branch, which we have explored on it's journey west from Norbury Junction on the Shropshire Union Canal.
Covered loading bay
There is something wonderfully welcoming about abandoned brick buildings, be they industrial or agricultural. Wappenshall has a whole collection of them, originally linked by a basin which is in the porcess of being excavated. There are cranes, gables, under building loading bays - the lot. Loads to see and photograph.
Mooring ring in the covered bay
So Wappenshall concludes this account of our trek across Shropshire, following the line of the Newport Canal. The last sight I will leave you with is the junction itself, where flood waters from Telford flow through keeping the canal bed in water. There is also a signpost pointing hopefully to Norbury, Shrewsbury and Trench. I doubt that the sign will last long enough to see boats in this basin, but I really hope I am wrong.
Wappenshall Junction 2010
A sign of things to come?
The good news is that we are only half way to Shrewsbury so we have another trip planned this summer to try and trace the line all the way into the city centre.