North Walsham and Dilham Canal Update
The diminutive and remote North Walsham and Dilham is one of the unsung hero's of the restoration world. Rarely has so much been achieved by so few and its always interesting to visit the middle pounds where the channel has been extensively dredged and Bacton Wood Lock restored to a near workable condition.
Its a year since I last visited the Ant valley but a sunny if somewhat frosty morning encouraged a visit and the prospect of some good photos.
Boating on the North Walsham and Dilham - starts in a small way!
I started at Ebridge Mill where the mill pool was brimming full, and the shimmering water was playing host to an enthusiastic model boat club. Their remote controlled sailing boats were darting in and out of a buoyed course against a backdrop of the mill building wrapped in polythene as conversion to housing proceeds.
Bacton Wood Lock
Then it was on to Bacton Wood Lock where the channel from Whitehouse Common Bridge has been fully dredged and two huge pontoons sit, waiting for their next job. The last time I saw the lock is was stark and new, but the brickwork has now mellowed and there it sits complete with upper gates waiting to hold back the weight of a top pound in water.
The last stop was at Royston Bridge where a small convoy of diggers sit in between jobs. The main channel has seen no action over the last year and reeds have grown in its bed, but the team appear to have been working on the adjacent river bed which currently carries the waters of the River Ant. The plan appears to be to block the exit from the canal bed to the river and force the water to flow down the canal to Bacton Wood Lock and the adjoining mill, but I suspect that the Environment Agency is involved and setting up obstacles to ensure the water balance of the area is not adversely impacted.
Canal bed above Royston Bridge
And so the track stands ready and waiting to be re-watered, and when it is the team will just need some bottom gates and they will be ready to establish a trip boat which would be a major tourist attraction in what is a popular holiday area.
Keep going guys - its looking good.