Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Brewood to Penkridge via Watling Street and STOP PRESS!

It was much, much warmer overnight with no sign of ice on the canal in the morning. After walking into the village for a paper we were away by 09.10 on an overcast, but bright day. The sun came out as we approached Autherley Junction and stayed out the rest of the day. But at bridge 69 at Coven Heath the ice returned - quite thick in places and although it had been broken by passing boats there was still a lot of crunching and groaning to be heard as we made our way north. Its a good thing Starcross last had its bottom blacked over two years ago and is now due to have it done again - I'd have been upset if I'd just had it done.
Breaking ice again at Coven Heath
Most people who know the waterways will recognise the former lock cottage at Gailey Top,
Telford's road crosses Brindley's canal at Gailey Top
 but I wonder how many realise that the road that crosses the canal here is historic in its own right. Known as Watling Street, it's an ancient British road re-developed by the Romans to link the port of Dover with the Roman fortress at Wroxeter via Canterbury and London. In the 1820s it was rebuilt by that famous canal engineer Thomas Telford to form the mail coach route from London to Holyhead (for sailings to Ireland), It's still a major thoroughfare nowadays known as the A5, although the section through this part of Staffordshire and Shropshire has lost much of its long-distance traffic to the M54 motorway.
Woodseaves Cutting (or "Drayton Rockin' in local parlance) has now re-opened according to this email from British Waterways:

Closure to navigation and towpath at Woodseaves Cutting due to rock fall (Now a Restriction) Friday 14 January 2011 until further notice
UPDATE (08 February 2011): Works have been completed to enable the towpath to be reopened with immediate effect.
Until our contractors are able to remove the rock slide from the channel we have now enabled restricted passage through the effected area.
The areas of rock fall in the channel have been marked with floating booms.  Customers should proceed with caution past these areas staying as close to the towpath wash wall as possible.
A further update will be provided when we have a date from our contractors for the complete removal of the rock slide from the main channel.
British Waterways apologise for any inconvenience caused.

No comments: