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Chalford is the first substantial place on the canal
west of the tunnel. Boating activity on the canal here lasted until its
abandonment in 1933 and was largely centred around the activities of
James Smart whose business was located just upstream of Chalford
Road "improvements" in about 1967 resulted in the infilling of Bell,
Chalford Chapel and Ballinger Locks an the infilling with road
earthworks on to the canal bed in a number of places. Ballinger and
Chalford Chapel Bridges were demolished in the process; the latter was
a skew bridge and possible the first
ever built anywhere of this type.
Remarkably, Bell Bridge which itself was modified in 1933 to
straighten the road, survives under the A419 to this day although the
Bell Lock and
a short piece of the canal on the east side of it have been culverted.
The area in front of Chalford
Roundhouse was landscaped but has turned into a bit of a silt trap
leading to shallow water and excessive weed growth. A milestone
plate has been repositioned above the culvert outfall from Chapel Lock
Between this outfall and the Roundhouse, the gable end of James Smart's
house still faintly advertises his coal and canal carrying business 70
years after the last boat left - it is best viewed when wet. The
coal merchant business is still operating today but is no longer based
Ballingers Lock has been infilled and now has 4 garages built on it
although the lock is probably intact under the infill.
Below Ballingers Lock, the canal resumes intact and with a reduced
level of water it for the short distance to Grist Mill or Illes Lock.
This lock still has one of its top gates in situ on the offside all be
it somewhat withered with age.
Like many of the locks at Chalford, Grist Mill has a bridge at the tail
of the lock and this has survived in good condition.