Friday, 21 August 2009

Teme and Rea Aueducts, Leominster Canal

Teme and Rea Aqueducts
Stourport and Leominster Canal
21st August 2009
A walk along the line of the long abandoned Leominster Canal will yield two substantial brick aqueducts which are all the more glorious for their delicious state of disrepair.

Strictly speaking this is the Stourport and Leominster Canal but in reality its waters never came close to merging with those of the River Servern at Stourport, its planned terminus. This underfunded and ill conceived waterway was started in 1791 and, after much stopping and starting, struggled west from Leominster for 18.5 miles, falling 12.5 miles short of its target. The channel was dewatered in 1851, its limited traffic poached by the newfangled railway network.

Along it's route the canal crossed the rivers Rea and Teme which was achieved on a couple of rather fine brick span arches.

At first glance the Rea aqueduct looks OK, but its 150 years of abandonment have not treated it kindly with much of one face now collapsed into the river below. The structure is now so unstable that even the footpath over it has been closed - not that that stops determined explorers.

The Teme aqueduct has suffered an even more brutal fate, with one arch deliberately destroyed as part of an army training exercise in the second world war.

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