Chalford to Brimscombe
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length of canal between Chalford and Brimscombe remained in use
right up to the end of the canal's working life in 1933. Even after
the canal remained substantially intact and, for many years, in water.
The water supply was so good that St Mary's and Beale's Locks
never shortened and remain in their original Thames Barge configuration
capable of taking boats of 12ft x 90ft.
The railway crosses the canal twice in this
length and regrettably both
bridges have been removed although it is doubtful that this action was
legal since the use of any Thames & Severn Canal land for railway
purposes was specifically forbidden by Act of Parliament in 1895.
first such crossing is just above St Mary's Lock where the railway
is so close to the lock that a grotto under the railway had to be
created to accommodate the top offside balance beam. A tunnel led from
this to an opening in the bridge abutment under the bridge itself to
allow the boatmen to get on and off their boats.
length between St Mary's and Beale's Lock remains in water to this
day, although now heavily reeded and shallow. This length of canal was
used as a water supply for the GWR who based additional
here to assist trains up the relatively steep line to Sapperton. No
trace remains of their sidings nor of Brimscombe Station which was
located above the Lock.
Beale's Lock, the canal swings southwards away form the railway
and passes through industrial land but, apart from a missing bridge,
the canal bed itself has remained unobstructed. Leakage in the bank
towards the western end of this stretch has meant that the canal has
been kept empty. The northern bank of the canal upstream Bourne Lock
was once a major boat building and repair yard with slipways;
of this former activity remains visible above ground now. This area was
a road which passed under a separate railway bridge directly from
railway crosses the canal again just at the head of Bourne Lock.
Bourne Lock was an interesting hybrid
capable of taking both 90ft
Thames Barges and the wider, but shorter, Severn Trows. The combination
additional length and width made it greedy in its use of water so it
was shorthened by building an arch over the upper part of the lock and
the relocation of the top gates.
Bourne Lock, the canal has water in it and has recently been
tidied up. The canal comes to an abrupt stop at what would have been
the eastern entrance into Brimscombe Port. By 2008, it should be
possible for boats to navigate to this point from as far west as The
Ocean at Stonehouse some 6 miles away.