Thursday 26 January 2012

Shrewsbury Canal, Trench Arm - Pt 4 Hadley Park to GKN

Telfords Tub Boat Canals - Part 4
Hadley Park to GKN works
January 2012

We are coming in to land as far as the Shrewsbury Canal, Trench Arm is concerned.

Hadley Park Lock guillotine

This post looks at the section from Queensway on the edge of Hadley Park to the GKN works which straddle the route and prevent exploration of about half a mile.

A boggy canal bed in Hadley Park

We start our walk from the electrical sub station on the Queensway, picking up a well maintained pathway which skirts a reed filled canal bed. Within the park you will find two locks, Hadley, and Turnip (you have to wonder where these names came from). Both have been the subject of some restoration over the years to give the curious an idea about how they used to look when the canal was an operational entity a century ago.

Guillotine winch - Hadley Park Lock

First up is Hadley Park Lock above which a reconstructed gantry stands tall and proud, complete with cable wheels and a winch. Whilst this lock may not have the authenticity of Britton further down, it does provide the best indication of how the whole flight used to look.

 Hadley Park Lock

Hadley Park Lock in operation.

Hadley Park Lock 1954, 1956, 1960 and 1961

Half a mile further on is Turnip lock, this one hiding away in the bushes. It has the same array of wooden and iron furniture with the added bonus of a skeleton bottom lock gate.

 Turnip Lock - Hadley Park

Turnip Lock 1967

Beyond Turnip Lock the weed filled canal continues to the boundary of the GKN works - topped with razor wire. Oddly, the fence stops at the canal edge but the silting is such that we were able to walk round it! GKN is a defence contractor, so we didn't really expect to stroll into the site and photograph what we liked, but it was worth a try. I walked along the waters edge and captured an ivy covered hump backed bridge on film whilst Dr D went to engage with the guard who was becoming increasing agitated by our presence.

Canal bed at the GKN boundary

There was consternation on the guard house, why hadn't our approach been picked up on the CCTV? I appears that no one has attempted an unauthorised entry via the canal before - the Maginot Line springs to mind. We did try to sweet talk our way in to follow what Google Earth shows to be a very well defined canal through the works, complete with Castle Lock, but is was to no avail. National security appears to rank in from of canal enthusiasts. We were given the head of HR's phone number and politely asked to leave. 

Bridge in GKN grounds

I will lave you with an image of the lock in the GKN works, or at least an artists impression of it  before the factory was built in 1900 as G F Milnes and Co. The scale of the boats is way off, but given the paucity of photo's beggars can't be choosers:

That seems a logical place to leave this post, with one more account of the Trench Arm still to come.

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Anonymous said...

Yeah we've tried to look at way through but a security guard asked why hanging around as got to old bridge looking at security gates. I did say guess we can't come through as on Google maps looks to be some good open sections of canal in GKN & the bakers lock- shame! Really upset at how restored trench & peaty locks are left to overgrow

Anonymous said...

I meant turnip & hadley park