Wednesday 15 February 2012

Donnington Wood Canal - Lodge to Muxton (Pt 3)

Donnington Wood Canal
Lodge to Muxton (Part 3)
February 2012

Having pinned down the outfall of the Lodge Arm it was a relatively simple task to follow the line of the canal past old blast furnaces set into the hillside and round to a dismantled railway track which crossed the site.

Half buried blast furnaces

All the railways, tramways and plateways make a confusing mix of communication relics but you  have to remember that the canal was abandoned by the late 1880's so it will always be at the bottom. 

Tangled canal bed in Granville Park

We first tacked this section in the opposite direction and, having crossed the old railway line, struck off in completely the wrong direction, trying desperately to make the proposed line fit the topography we were looking at. This became increasingly implausible till eventually we found ourselves with no 100 metre contour to follow and time for a re-think. Top tip - take a compass with you on cloudy days!

Donnington Wood canal bed neat Muxton

The section across the old railway is one of the most baffling, covered with more spoil. As far as I can tell the line passed under the sculpted wooden hover fly, re-emerging about 400 yards further on in the form of a perfectly saucer shaped trench, now used as a bridle way. This trench continues  for about half a mile to the site of Muxton Bridge, now home to Shropshire Golf Club. 

Muxton mine pumping house

The section terminates at the site of the Muxton Colliery, and the associated pumping house which still stands as a ruin, but when operating it drained water from three local mines, lifting 9,350 gallons of water into the Donnington Wood Canal each day. No coal mine pumping engines = no water = no canal.

Through the public car park...

...and into the golf club

Muxton Bridge is long gone but the canal ran beneath the car park, crossing Muxton Lane and then curling to the right through the groundsman's yard, and into the Golf Club itself. Freed from the industrial backdrop the canal seems to relish its freedom, quickly returning to water and being used as a huge water feature at the start of the course. It has been excavated and curls round through 180 degrees to the start of the Blue Course. 

Donnington Wood Canal in Shropshire Golf Club

This is a public footpath so, for this section, our exploration was entirely legal. The groundsman has his hut just where the canal exits onto the fairway and keeps a beady eye on walkers to prevent trespass. We got the evil eye as we squeezed round the back but our presence at the edge of the course was tolerated as we took some photo's of the shallow water features which marks the route out to the north, towards the driving range.

 Out onto the course

... and approaching the driving range at the other side.

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