Thursday, 17 September 2009

Dorset and Somerset Canal aqueducts

Dorset and Somerset Canal Aqueducts

The thing about collecting aqueducts is the way that, one attuned to the word, they seem to crop up all over the place. I indulged myself by buying a copy of Waterways World (September 09) last weekend and was fascinated by Michael Coward's article on the above canal.

This ill fated waterway was as hopelessly over optimistic in its aspirations as it was underfunded. What was supposed to be a 45 mile waterway between Bradford on Avon to Poole on the south coast, with an 11 mile branch from Frome actually became an isolated 8 mile length, built around 1800, suspended in 1803 and given up for dead in 1825.

This waterway was therefore a spectacular failure, but it did leave some interesting remains in the form of two aqueducts :

Coleford Aqueduct - photo courtesy of Martin Bodham

The Coleford Aqueduct, a double arched effort which continues to stands tall and proud above Lover Coleford High Street.

The second aqueduct is further east, at Hapsford, is a much lower crossing over the River Mells known as Murtry Aqueduct. The canal may have been an economic failure but its legacy is a testimony to the enthusiasm and vision of the local business community.

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