Somerset Coal canal
Midford to Tucking Mill
The Somerset Coal Canal takes a sharp turn to the north at Midford, cutting under the railway arches in what is now the garden of a house and then under the B3110.
At first glance there is no trace of the bridge and I assumed that it had been lost in a road widening scheme during the last century but then I took a second look at the parapet next to the Hope and Anchor Inn. And there it was, a distinct arch so I squeezed past the pub's bins and there on the northern side is the crown peeping out of the undergrowth, the distinctive keystone having survived all this time.
This was the site of a distinctive Weigh House, sadly long gone but its image lives on as the logo of the Somersetshire Coal Canal Society. And so we have to move on, skirting round the house built on its foundations and pick up the trail beyond where the trench reappears cloaked in prehistoric looking ferns.
A footpath follows the old towpath but in the wet it is slick with clay making progress a bit perilous. The channel remains clear and rubbish free for about half a mile, rope swings looped over the trees for the amusement of the local children.
Canal behind Hope and Anchor
And then it all changes with the channel filled with rubble and waste and the footpath switching sides but the going underfoot was no easier.
A drainage culvert still in use
This would be a lovely walk in drier conditions but on this occasion I opted for a return journey along the nearby road and then the railway / cycle way which is parallel but about 40 feet above.
William Smith's house
This section concludes at Tucking Mill and William Smiths House, father of English geology. William Smith has interesting connections with the canal as he served as a consulting surveyor till he was let go due to some questions about his purchase of the cottage. I can see why he liked the area as the local limestone is riddled with fossils, the imprints of ancient plants and animals visible in lust about any bit of newly exposed rock.