Thursday, 23 January 2014

Paulton Basin to Radford Mill - Somerset Coal Canal

Somerset Coal Canal
Paulton Basin to Radford Mill
January 2014

Having explored the basins the path of the canal strides off across the meadows and I had an insatiable urge to explore.

Canal bed beneath Paulton

The area has been cleared in recent years and an open saucer shaped depression is clearly visible and the towpath walkable with care. It had rained heavily before my visit so it was more of a controlled slither at times which tested the waterproofing of my summer boots to the limit, and then some.

A muddy route

It must all have looked so different to the summer WRG volunteers who had made their fires in the canal bed, now charred islands surrounded by several inches of water.

The canal was on the "shelf" to the gate.

About half way along to Radford Mill the canal crosses a track and it was here I fell into the canal hunters trap of getting my levels wrong. I was only out by 6ft, but it caused me to wander up to the mill following what I assumed was the canal path by the river but finding no evidence of it. At the mill I poked around a bit, mostly looking at its reconstruction project and the "alternative" community who live in smoking double decker busses and the like, when I came across the end of the canal which has presumably also been cleared recently.

Looking up the canal from Radford Mill

The route then runs off into an inaccessible area towards the Bath Road,  but I would guess that the section to Paulton Basin is over half a mile long and with a bit of effort could be reinstated quite quickly.

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