Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Withington to Berwick Wharf

Withington to Berwick Wharf
Shrewsbury Canal
6t July 2010

These rural sections of the old Shrewsbury offer little for the canal hunter.

The canal was repeatedly crossed, but by lift bridges which have all been lost with the passage of 70 years. The line itself is indistinct and the next evidence is in Withington. Bridge 25 still stands and beside it a shallow farm pond exists in what must have been the canal bed. We hoped for more as it snaked past the south of the parish church, but this has been lost beneath a new and very expensive house.

Canal Line at Lift Bridge 27 - Withington

Our vsit to Withington coincided with a couple who were wandering round not having seen the place for 40 year. We were assured that back in the 1960's the canal was much in evidence.

With little to see in Withington we pressed on towards Upton Magna, diverting down a lane to cross the line near CJ Wildbird Foods Ltd. Road improvements have obliterated the bridge 33, but a new concrete access road gave us a quick access west to the rail and A5 crossing, immediately to the south of Upton Magna. Predictably, the A5 has covered every last trace of the canal and if it ever does get restored it's here it will branch off to the north west, parallelling the railway line in a cut and cover tunnel.

Canal in Water at Bridge 36 - Berwick New House

Now, this cut and cover proposal is a shame because this cut off loop contains probably the best length between Wappenshall and Shrewsbury. The two miles to the west of the A5 crossing are shadowed by a country lane. The canal bed is clear and at times in water, bordered by spectacular poppy fields. Bridge 37 has gone, but the adjoining canal cottages are still very much in use.

Canal Cottages at Bridge 37 - Berwick Wharf

But just when we thought that Berwick Wharf had revealed all it had to offer we spied something interesting behind a row of cottages. If my eyes dont deceive me there is a canal in water through there. A clamber over waste ground and a peer over a garden fence and hey presto:

Canal at Berwick Wharf