Sunday, 4 July 2010

Longdon to Rodington - Shrewsbury Canal

Longdon to Rodington
Shrewsbury Canal
4th July 2010

This western canal was abandoned during the war, and had ceased to see any real trade some ten years before that. A private boat passage (a skiff, not a big narrowboat) was recorded in 1937 so to all intents and purposes this waterway has been abandoned for 80 years.

That long period has seen the removal of most structures and nearly 70% of the actual channel, so finding any remains is something of a bonus.

One rather attractive relic is Wharf Cottage in Longwaste, just north of Longdon. The canalside cottage boasts a name board with a narrow boat on it, but these days its cars that move along the line of the canal, not boats. The cut, the basin and everything else has gone, just the cottage stands.

Wharf Cottage Longwaste

From here the trail goes cold for a  couple of miles. We zig zagged across the countryside, crossing and recrossing the line. At most points we could tell where the canal had run  but the evidence was the merest depression in the ground and without a map to inform us it wouldn't have been discernable. What is more, most road crossings were by way of lift bridge which have long since gone, leaving a few trace foundations which may, or may not, be canal relics.

Poppy fields

After a barren few miles punctuated only by some glorious poppy fields, we rolled into Rodington, site on  no less than two queducts.

Rodington Aqueduct

Firstly there was a brick tunnel running beneath a high embankment with a weed choked trench on the top. Then there was the river crossing next to some common land. Sadly this river crossing has been removed and the waters slide past the truncated ends of the embankments.

Time for a lunch break beneath the hanging fronds of a weeping willow next to the river before setting off once more before finding a final bridge, number 25, at the end of a garden and now used to store scaffolding.

Bridge 25

Then it's back into countryside and fields where there should be canal.

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