Tuesday, November 23, 2010

California Dreamin’ – on Cannock Chase.

“All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray”, the first line of the iconic 1965 song by the Mamas & the Papas kept drifting through my mind as Meg and I climbed up onto Cannock Chase this morning.

Not Central Park New York, though.
We only had a look at the north western end of the 26 square mile Chase, climbing a couple of hundred feet up from the river valley.

Looking NW from the top of Spring Hill
Then we swung back west, dropping down off the high ground onto the arable fields to Walton-on-the-Hill, before picking up the canal again at Walton Bridge.

St. Thomas’s, Walton.
The pretty brick roving bridge at Milford.The towpath swaps sides here, and the ramp curves round from under the arch to carry the towpath over the canal. This allows the boat horse to cross over without unhitching the tow rope.

Stone built aqueduct carrying the canal over the River Sow.
The sun came out as we set off at around 11:00, the canal heading NW around Baswich Hill before turning decisively south towards Wolverhampton.

Thrush at lunch
I hadn’t realised, but there was a short link constructed from the canal near Baswich, joining the River Sow, and terminating in the centre of Strafford.

Plans are afoot to reinstate the 1½ mile Stafford Branch Canal, but there’s a bit of work to do.

The link left here, the brick abutments of the towpath bridge can be seen either end of the weir.
Then there was a basin…..Before the canal crossed a stream on an aqueduct……

Looking back to the “main line”, some brickwork from the aqueduct is still visible poking through the ground.Then dropped down a lock to the river.
None of the original structures survive, and the river will have to be deepened (again). The terminal basin is now a car park, but it could be a worthwhile project…. If funding can be found.

A couple of miles on we went up the 10’ deep Deptmore Lock, before mooring up for the night.

Deptmore Lock.The lock house is being renovated.

It’s not been a bad day, bright but cold.

Locks 1, miles 4½

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