Thursday, 3 June 2010

Newport Canal - Meretown

Newport Canal - Meretown
Post 6
June 2010
Meretown is a bit of a misnomer really beacuse there isn't a mere and neither is there a town. There is however, Moss Pool and bit of a hamlet, all overshadowed by the adjoining town of Newport.

Meretown Bridge

West of Meretown Bridge

From a canal restoration perspective, Meretown will feature prominently as it contains the first major obstacle (apart from the descent from the Shropshire Union which is another matter altogether.). This obstacle is the busy A41 which has bypassed the small Meretown (11) and Moss Pool (12) bridges - both of which still stand straddling a strip of meadow housing stud horses.

Moss Pool Bridge

The A41 has been built just above the canal level with insufficient height for navigation. However, salvation comes in the unlikely shape of Meretown Lock the remains of which nestle in the weeds a couple of hundred yards to the west of the road. There is little to see of the lock today apart from a top gate recess and the distinctive slit like  by-wash wier. All this will go and the lock will be resited to the east of the road, with the lowered approach having the air draft a boat needs.

Meretown lock gate recess

Distinctive overflow slit

Meretown Lock represents the eastern extremity of the 1.5 miles purchased by Wrekin Council in 1974 as a linear water park, and it's a shame they didnt buy a bit more. They have cleaned it up and on a hot sunny day the place is buzzing with local residents taking a stroll beside the limpid waters. If you want to get an idea of how this canal will look, visit Newport. The waterpark is so established that it has been designated an Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which is a mixed blessing for canal restoration.

A tantilising taster of what is to come

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