Monday 26 March 2012

Shropshire Canal South - Madeley

Shropshire Canal South
Windmill Incline to Madeley
March 2012

Other posts in this series:

1. Windmill Incline to Madeley (this post)
2. Blist Hill
3. Hay Inclined Plane
4. Coalport

Returning to the Horsehay Branch near Aqueduct the remains of the canal track are few and far between and the best you can do is to try and follow the contours. Even this limited objective is complicated in the area called Brookside (yes, it actually looks like TV's Brookside) which has built up on the site of the old Windmill Inclined Plane. The area was the site of a huge coal mine and the whole area seems to have been used as a tailings dump. 

Even in 1902 the traces of the canal were fragments and the line could only be deduced by inference. As far as I can tell, the top of the incline is near the south side of Windmill School and descended just 125 ft in 600 yards so it was a long and gradual descent from the school, through the dual carriageway and on into Tweedale and having its base around the entrance to the Severn Gorge Caravan Park and the Cuckoo Oak Pub before crossing the Bridgnorth Road and through the Tweedale Industrial Estate.

Bottom of Windmill Incline crossing the Bridgnorth Road

Through Tweedale industrial Estate

and out along a strip of old towpath to Prince Street

Although no traces of canal remain in this area, its line can be followed as a public path on a strip of wild ground between Tweedale Industrial Estate and Prince Street before crossing Kemberton Road / Queens St and probably running down the eastern side of a railway embankment which follows a similar southerly course.

Course of canal emerged from these trees in Madeley

Shropshire Canal bed in Madeley

Getting wetter...

and wider...

End of canal at Blist Hill

The track is indistinct on the ground but the maps are clears that it ran south into Madeley. This popular park is criss crossed with cycle ways and the canal re emerges next to Sutton Way, first as an intermittent dry ditch, and then increasingly in water as we approach Blist Hill and the site of the Madeley Brick and Tile Works which is now the museum overflow car park.

Through the museum overflow car park.

Tub Boats on Shropshire Canal at Tweedale with Madley Furnaces behind  - Source Ironbridge Museum Archive

The above photos have been assembled from various sources, including those freely found on the internet. My thanks go to the many photographers alive and dead who have contributed to this collection and in so doing, are keeping the memory of these  canals alive. These images are reproduced for ease of research are are not necessarily the property of this blog and some may still be subject to copyright, and as such they should not be used for commercial gain without the explicit permission of the owner (whoever that may be). 

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