Discovering the Bradley Locks
At first glance you could be forgiven for assuming that the Bradley Locks line was built in a single push, but this was far from the truth. In reality the lower end was built soon after the Walsall Canal had reached Wednesbury in 1785. Initially this line extended for about half a mile, rising through three locks to various coal mines to the west of Gospel Oak Road. Its hard to see where the water supply came from, presumably from the mines themselves.
Gospel Oak Road Bridge
The interesting thing is that whilst this is the oldest section it is also the only bit which remains really visible. This is probably attributable to the continuing role the line plays in offering a drainage channel. The old canal bridge under Gospel Oak Road remains, although bricked up with the classic arched water pipe standing to the east.
But that's not the best of it. The bottom two locks on the line have been carefully restored with lottery money, giving a good idea of how things used to look. All these remains get us very excited, clambering into the channel to get a better look and examining the chambers in some detail. All this proved a but much for Mr Truth who went one step beyond and was only saved from disaster by an outstretched hand.
Mr Truth in the mud
The final few hundred yard beneath the bottom lock are full of water and canalish, an enticing channel to Moorfield Junction with the adjacent site of Moorfield Colliery covered in a nature wetlands.
The two restored Bradley Locks
This was physically the far point of this trip and also the moment my bike decided to get a puncture - on the very day I forgot to pack a pump. Looks like it will be shank's pony for the return trip.