Thursday, 4 November 2010

Pensnett Arm - Canal St

Pensnett Arm - Canal St
November 2010

After the smell and cacophony of the cooling pond at Pedimore Road the line winds around the foundations of the Woodside Ironworks. A fly by on Google Earth reveals a visible trench of boggy ground, sometimes filled with water but because the canal was in private ownership access is more difficult than usual.Even my rather cavalier attitude towards the laws of trespass didn't get me very far and our observations were restricted to leaning over bridge parapets and peering through razor wire encrusted railings.

Pensnett Canal at Canal St next to the Tramway Depot

There has to be remaining railway bridge between Pedimore Road and Canal St (I figured that there might be a clue in the name!) in the area of the old Hartshill Iron Works, but access is impossible. Instead we parked up at the far end on Canal St with its heady aroma of salvage works and engineering sheds, and had a poke around. We hadn't gone far, armed with the camera, when we were regaled by a native demanding to know what we were about - "are you spies?" was his exact question. I am not sure that this area hold much information of national importance, nor are there dark industrial secrets waiting to be exposed in the Bilston Bugle. I explained my sad fascination with old canals and the "well it takes all sorts" look came over his face and he wished us well in our search.

As for the canal - it is alive and twitching here. To the north of Canal St it lies in reed filled water but with high fences and a live railway surrounding it we could do little more then peer into its murky depths through the railings. To the south it slides beneath the mud of reclamation yards, with the buildings it used to serve still standing and housing active businesses.

...and the line being swallowed as it enters reclamation yards.

Overall the area is one if intense post industrial decay. There are acres and acres of empty works, with trees growing through the hard standing and holes appearing in the roof. This is all so far off the beaten track that even the vandals have left it do die in ungraffitti'd squalor.

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