Donnington Wood Canal
Shropshire Golf Club, Muxton to Abbey Farm
If you notice a sudden change in the light levels it will be because this is where we started our days exploration, and there is a good reason for this. The golf club do not welcome casual walkers wandering round their grounds, so we decided that we would simply stride in with confidence at dawn, before anyone was around to notice us.
Out tactics worked and wow, were we rewarded. Previous accounts of this canal are silent about the section between the golf club and Lilleshall Abbey, and this rather unofficial sortie provided some excellent canal hunting, as you will see.
Canal track beside the driving range
The section starts behind the driving range, with the canal line hugging the side fence and peppered with stray balls. The line curves to the right and suddenly the trench emerges in the rough, a spluttering start but then like an ageing engine, it settles down and runs as sweet as a nut. It skips on and off another fairway, looking very much like a canal at this point before exiting the club grounds.
More navigable than the Swan Arm on the BCN!
Canal bed in the rough
By now the ditch is very clear as it passes Lilleshall Grove Farm, a long straight section lined with trees as crossing open farmland. The canal runs on a low embankment before terminating abruptly 400 yards before Abbey Farm.
Canal bed at Lilleshall Grove Farm
We could just make out a perfect hump backed bridge through the early morning mist. Prudence, a stout barbed wire fence and howling farm dogs suggested that further exploration would be unwise, so we settled for some photos with a telephoto lens and retreated to the relative safety of the golf club.
Accommodation bridge at the rear of Abbey Farm
Our policy is that a line has been fully explored if we can lock sight on a landmark from both sides on an inaccessible section, so for this bit it's "job done".