Thursday, 1 March 2012

Donnington Wood Canal - Pave Lane (Pt 10)

Donnington Wood Canal
Pave Lane - Part 10
February 2012

We are fast approaching the end of this canal, and like any journey's end it comes with a tinge of sadness. But before we arrive at the bitter end, its route offers a last architectural treasure as it burrows under Pave Lane.

Bridge under Pave Lane

From the road you can't miss this bridge. The road is narrow and kinks across the bridge at an acute angle which makes impact with the balustrades inevitable from time to time. These regular collisions are probably the reason for the new sides to the bridge but a closer inspection reveals an original arch beneath. Its a wonder that the bridge has not been demolished and the road straightened over the years.

Into the gardens beyond Pave Lane

Pave Lane Bridge 1965

The bridge and the canal bed have been much improved by the owner of the garden through which the canal runs. Its all private land to any exploration has to be undertaken from the margins.

Pave Lane Wharf

The thing which strikes me as odd is the width of the last two bridges. Way back beyond the Lilleshall Plane the bridges were low and narrow - little more than 7 ft - but here they are broad, wide enough to carry two boats side by side. Could this last section to Pave Lane have been built to broad beam dimensions, and if so, why? Answers on a postcard please...

Lost section to the south of Pave Lane Wharf

The OS maps indicate a footpath along the canal's route to Pave Lane Wharf but there is no sign of this on the ground. Instead we drove on and had a look from the Pave Lane end. 

If I am honest, after the narrowboat at the end of the Pitchcroft Arm, I had high hopes for Pave Lane. In the event it was something of a damp squib. The fields between the last bridge and the wharf bore no traces of the canal, and the route through the farmyard was similarly devoid of remnants - including a stop lock which existed in the area.

Canal route through Farm at Pave Lane Wharf

Whilst here are no built remains, the final basin area has remained as an open area - running up to the pub which stands across the end of the line. The yard also contains an old sawmill but that is about it. We were out of canal and out of daylight - journey's end.

Site of Pave Lane Wharf

Pave Lane Wharf @1961

Fear not, whilst we may have completed the Donnington Wood Canal thee is still lots to explore to the south. The next section will start at Wrockwardine Incline Plane and probably run round to the end of the Ketley Canal.

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