Friday, 10 December 2010

Discovering the Bradley Loop - Bloomfield

The Bradley Loop rediscovered
Bloomfield section
December 2010

Another indulgence, exploring  another of Birmingham's lost waterways. This time I am taking a look at the Bradley Loop which  connected Bloomfield Junction with the site of BW's Bradley lock gate works.

But Captain, I hear you cry, the Bradley Arm still exists. It's even navigable with a huge amount of effort, so why claim it as a lost canal? Well, I don't. True it's navigable to the BW works, I have even been there in Wand'ring Bark, but the bit I'm interested in is the missing section which formed part of Brindley's original Birmingham to Wolverhampton mainline, which was later bypassed by the building of the Coseley Tunnel.

Bloomfield Junction, BCN
I have bee a bit tardy in the posting my account this particular expedition, which I undertook with Mr Truth way back before all the leaves fell off the trees. As you will see from the photo's it was early autumn with just a touch of early frost on the ground.

Bloomfield Junction, what a misnomer. If you didn't know that a canal left what is now the mainline at this point, you wouldn't guess. There is just ust a slight change in the towpath wall and then it disappears into a railway embankment.

Budden Road, built over an arm.

After a long cycle round we found the line of the first basin / arm beneath what is now Budden Road, an abandoned cul de sac built to service a now demolished industrial estate. The start of this length sported a profusion of arms to carry boats into the industries which lined its route.The main industry was the Bloomfield Brickworks, now buried beneath a new housing estate, but  the line of the infilled canal still lingers on beneath the contemporary streetplan.

Bloomfield Road,  with line to the west and a more recent industry.

Then it gets tricky. The canal ran out into what is now a huge spoil tip, laid over the canal bed to a depth of maybe 50ft. This makes tracking the route a challenge, but after a pull over the top of this muddy mound the course emerges once again.

The line continues through a new housing estate.

Other posts in this series:
Discovering The Bradley Loop - Bloomfield - this post

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