Sunday, 11 July 2010

Shrewsbury Canal, Berwick to Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury Canal
Berwick to Shrewsbury
July 2010

These final miles of the Shrewsbury Canal are easy to follow, as clear as the lines on your hand, but there are very few solid structures left.

Sites of bridges 40 and 41

Bridge No 40, just north of the Berwick Tunnel has been lowered and used as a water pumping station and then a bit further on Downton Bridge (41) has also been removed, but with a reed filled channel very apparent.

Cottages at Kennels Bridge

We had left the other car at Uffington, and Jeff decided to skip the final four miles into Shrewsbury. Dr D and I pressed on, pausing at Kennels Bridge which used to the the site of a hump backed bridge right beside the cottage. Next up was a bridge over the arm leading to Sundorne Pool, now drained but presumably once a reservoir for the canal.

From here a well maintained path exists, good for walking or as a secluded cycling route right into the heart of Shrewsbury.  The maps give give the canal its full title "Shropshire Union Canal - Newport and Shrewsbury Branch", which is something of a mouthful. The canal is strangely narrow in this area, a tribute to the gas main which was laid in its bed and then covered to create the path.

Flax Mill, Shrewsbury

The cut finally hits its final urban stride, first crossing the inner ring road, then housing and then huge Flax Mill, currently clad in scaffolding awaiting restoration. Another development project halted by the recession.  After a basin, which will be reinstated in due course, the canal dips under a major road via Factory Bridge, flanked by some impressivee canal houses.

 Factory Bridge No 47

Finally, after all those miles, we burst upon the terminus. This is all lost with one part buried beneath Morris Oils sprawling plant and then out the other side into a big car park next to the station.

Canal Tavern, high and dry

Its been a long trek from Norbury, and very different to the usual inner city lines I follow, but a real joy to get out on our bikes in the company of Jeff and Dr D. As with many things in life, an experience best shared.

Shrewsbury Canal terminis basin 2010

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