Category Archives: Telford

Ancient Tramroads Near Telford – Part 10 – An overview of the East Shropshire Area’s Tramroad Network

I have recently undertaken a detailed review of a book by R.F. Savage and L.D.W. Smith entitled, The Waggon-ways and Plate-ways of East Shropshire. [1] This was a research paper produced in 1965. The original document is held in the Archive Office of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. It was a timely document. Large parts of the area surveyed by the authors were changed almost beyond recognition as the Development Corporation got to work on creating what became the new town of Telford, where (in 2023) I now live. Their work included a detailed series of drawing produced by hand, tracing as best they could the lines of tramroads from smaller scaled plans onto 6″ to the mile and 1″ to the mile drawings. There are two examples of their 6″ to the mile plans below.

Savage & Smith’s 6″ to the mile plan of the Madeley Wood and Bedlam Furnace Area on the North side of the River Severn Gorge. [1]
Savage & Smith’s 6″ to the mile plan of the Madeley Court Area to the North of the River Severn Gorge. [1]

Savage & Smith were diligent in their research and careful in their documenting of the historic sources and information gleaned on site. The resulting document is wonderful and I have really enjoyed engaging with it. This document alone would justify a research visit to the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust Archive. My thanks to the Archive for the welcome offered to me and their generous agreement to my using the material from this resource.

As a result of undertaking this and other research at the Archive, I have been asked to give a talk at one of the meetings of the Friends of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. I have begun the process of preparation and drafted some notes which may be of interest to others.

These notes can be found here:

I hope that these notes are of interest to some. It is possible that you may read them and find information which I have included which you may feel is incorrect. If so, please do let me know. I will be using this material to produce a talk for the Summer of 2023. If you read the notes before July 2023, I would really appreciate any comments that you might have.

References

  1. R.F. Savage & L.D.W. Smith; The Waggon-ways and Plate-ways of East Shropshire, Birmingham School of Architecture, 1965. An original document is held by the Archive Office of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.

Canal Inclines in East Shropshire – the Trench Inclined Plane …

The featured image above was colourised by Simon Alun Hark. It makes the engine house and the mechanisms associated with the inclined plane so real. [14]

This schematic representation of the Shropshire Tub Boat Canals is helpful in clarifying the extent of the network. It shows the locations of all the inclined planes on the system. These are marked with a red arrowhead which in each case highlights the direction of the lift. The Trench Branch and Incline were in important link in the journey between the Shropshire Union Canal and the River Severn at Coalport, linking the Newport Canal to the Shropshire Canal. [10]

P. Whitehead [11] provides approximate statistics for the inclined planes on the Shropshire Canal as follows:

  • Trench Inclined Plane: 227yds long, 73ft 6in rise.
  • Wrockwardine Wood Inclined Plane: 350yds long, 120ft rise. Or 316yds long, 113ft 2in rise.
  • Windmill Inclined Plane: 600yds long, 125 ft rise.
  • Hay Inclined Plane: 300yards long, 213ft rise.
  • Ketley Inclined Plane: 59yds long, 73 ft rise. Or, 65 yds long, 73ft rise.
  • Lilleshall Inclined Plane: 123 yds long, 43 ft. This replaced an earlier vertical lift in a shaft and tunnel system. [11]

I first came across an example of these inclined planes before moving to East Shropshire. We drive past the Hay Incline when travelling by a circuitous route from Manchester to Ludlow. At the time I wrote a couple of short articles for my blog:

This article focuses on the Trench Inclined Plane which was built by the Shrewsbury Canal Company in 1792 after it took over the Wombridge Canal. The Wombridge Canal was a tub-boat canal in Shropshire, England, built to carry coal and iron ore from mines in the area to the furnaces where the iron was extracted. It opened in 1788. Trench Inclined Plane remained in operation until 1921, becoming the last operational canal inclined plane in the country. The canal had been little used since 1919, and closed with the closure of the plane. [15] [16]

The Inclined Plane consisted of twin railway tracks, each with a cradle in which a single tub-boat was carried. An engine and engine house were built at the top of the incline to provide power to the Incline. It was supplied by the Coalbrookdale Company and was replaced in 1842 by a new engine that lasted for 79 years, until the final demise of the incline on 31 August 1921. The remaining structural elements of the incline were remove in 1968 as part of the Telford New Town developments. [15][17]

The engine’s main function was to lift the tub boats I cradles out of the canal at the top of the incline over the end wall of the canal. The rails of the inclined plane ran up out of the canal and then down the main length of the Inclined Plane. Generally, the working traffic was in the downward direction of the incline, and was counterbalanced by empty tub-boats returning up to the top level. [17] This meant that little power was needed for the operation of the main length of the incline.

Incidentally, “a prominent feature near the top of the incline was the Wombridge Pumping Engine house. This was a Cornish type, with a tall chimney, and was erected in 1858, to pump water from the mines. The main cylinder was 60 inches (150 cm) in diameter, with a 10-foot (3.0 m) stroke, and it lifted water from a depth of around 600 feet (180 m). The engine developed 250 hp (190 kW) and normally ran slowly, raising 3,338 imperial gallons (15.17 m3) of water per minute, in three strokes. When running at maximum speed, it could achieve eleven strokes per minute.” [18]

Maps and Illustrations of the Inclined Plane

The Trench Branch Canal left the Shrewsbury and Newport Canal at Wappenshall Junction.

An extract from the 1901 6″ Ordnance Survey which shows the Shrewsbury and Newport Canal (Shropshire Union Canal) running East-West, albeit in something of a ‘V’-shape with the Trench Branch running to the Southeast, off the bottom edge of the extract. [21]
The same location on the ESRI satellite imagery provided by the National Library of Scotland. [21]
Wappenshall Junction seen from the Northwest.[Google Earth, 2022]
A much earlier view of Wappenshall Junction. The Trench Branch leaves this scene through the bridge on the far-right of the image which leads to Wappenshall Lock. [22]

The Trench Branch ran across open fields until it reached the industrial areas near Trench. The first length passed under Wappenshall Bridge, through Wappenshall and Britton Lock, Kinley Bridge, Wheat Leasows Bridge and Lock, Shucks and Peaty Locks, Hadleypark Bridge and Lock, Turnip Lock and Wittingham Bridge before reaching Baker’s Lock/Basin and Castle Iron Works, Hadley.

Richard Foxcroft provides a plan of the Shropshire Canals on ‘Exploring Telford’ a website which focusses on the industrial history of the area which is now Telford, particularly the canals and railways. An extract is shown below. [23]

The line of the northern end of Trench Branch of the Shropshire Canal as shown on ‘Exploring Telford’ [23]

I followed this length or the Trench Branch on the morning of 31st August 2022. Much of the route is on private land and where this is the case, the old canal has been reintegrated into its surroundings.

Access to the canal basin at Wappenshall Junction is at present restrict to site personnel only as the basin and associated structures are under going restoration.

Wappenhall Junction warehouses are undergoing restoration as is the canal basin. [My photograph, 31st August 2022] Grant funding has been provided and work is being undertaken predominantly by volunteers from the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust [24]
These new build properties front onto the line of the canal which is illustrated using a red line. The wall in the foreground is the wingwall of the arch-bridge which used to carry the village road over the canal. [My photograph, 31st August 2022]
The village lane used to be carried on this structure. Closure of the branch-canal provided the opportunity to realign the road both horizontally and vertically. [My photograph, 31st August 2022]

South of Wappenshall was the Wappenshall Lock. Access to the lock was not possible. No access was possible to Britton Lock nor to Kinley Bridge. The location of Wheat Leasowes Bridge and Lock were easily found as they lie on the road between Preston upon the Weald Moors and Leegomery Round-about on the A442, ‘Queensway’.

The three images above were all taken on 31st August 2022. In sequence, they show: the view North along the line of the old canal which is marked by the field-ditch which remains alongside the hedge in this image; the view South across the road; and finally a view which shows a length of the old canal which is now in the garden of the property in the second image and which still retains water. [My photographs, 31st August 2022]

The length of canal visible in the garden of the property above was the length between the two locks, Wheat Leasowes Bridge Lock and Shucks Lock. The property concerned appears to be an extended lock-keeper’s cottage.

The 6″ OS Map of 1881, published in 1887 shows the bridge and the two locks. The road can clearly be seen to deviate to miss the lock on its alignment and it is unsurprising that once the canal became redundant, the road was realigned. [25]
21st century satellite image covering roughly the same area as the map extract above. The lock-keeper’s cottage appears to have been extended. The open area of the canal falls within the curtilage of that property. [26]
an extract from the 6″ 1901 OS Map published in 1902 which shows Peaty Lock and Hadleypark Bridge and Lock. [27]
A 21st century satellite image of the same area as above, with the locations of the key features marked. [27]
The alignment of the old canal at the point it crosses the modern A442, Queensway. Pety Lock was located just to the North of the new road. [My photograph, 31st August 2022]
The overgrown route of the old canal to the South of the A442. It retains very little water but the channel is visible here for some distance. [My photograph, 31st August 2022]
A picture of Hadleypark Lock taken from the location of the old bridge over the Canal at this point. [My photograph, 31st August 2022]
Looking back to the North at the guillotine lock gate arrangement used on the Shropshire Canal.
This is the guillotine lock gate mechanism at Turnip Lock. [May photograph, 31st August 2022]

These three images also come from Turnip Lock. The first shows the recess in the locak wall down which the gate slides. The remaining two images show the lock walls, first looking South towards Trench and then looking North towards Wappenshall. [My photographs, 31st August 2022]

Turnip Lock and then Whittingham Bridge appear on the 6″ OS Map of 1901 before the canal them bends towards the East aand passes Baker’s Lock and Basin and the site of Castle Iron Works. [28]
The same area on the ESRI satellite imagery. The ochre line shows the approximate limit of public access. The canal runs through the Hadley Castle Business Park. Moveero (part of GKN) occupies the large buildings which sit over the site of the Castle Iron Works. [28][29] The Shropshire Star announced in April 2022, that GKN would be investing a further £20million in the site. [30]
The 6″ OS Map shows the canal turning first to the East and then back towards the Southeast as it approached Trench Pool. [31]
The line of the canal is highlighted through the industrial areas. Remnants can be seen in the top-left of this image and the alignment is, apart for where under modern structures or roads, still highlighted by a ribbon of deciduous trees. The A442 appears again in the form of the gyratory towards the right-side of this extract from the satellite imagery. Trench Pool appears on the extreme right [31]
Trench Inclined Plane as it appears on the 1874 6″ OS Map. Trench Pool was used to store water for the canal system. The Shropshire Union Canal connects to the incline from the West via the Shrewsbury & Newport Canal. At the top of the incline there was a short stub branch to Wombridge Ironworks and a longer ‘Trench Branch’ or ‘Wombridge Canal’ which connected to the Donnington Wood and Coalport branches of the Shropshire Canal. [9]
Trench Inclined Plane in 1901 as shown on the 25″ OS Map. Note the location of the bridge over the canal just to the South of Trench Pool, West of the Shropshire Arms. A photograph of that bridge appears below. [8]
This extract from satellite imagery 9ESRI) shows the approximate location of the Inclined Plane and it engine house. [32]
The bridge over the old canal at the bottom of Trench Inclined Plane. It linked the site of the Shropshire Ironworks with Trench Pool. This colourised photograph was shared by Simon Alan Hark on the Telford Memories Facebook Group on 9th August 2021. [12]

The following colourised photographs give an excellent idea of what the Inclined Plane was like and how it worked. They have been colourised by Simon Alun Hark.

Trench Incline Plane, a colourised monochrome image which looks West down the Incline. This photograph was colourised by Simon Alun Hark and shared by him on the Shropshire Nostalgia and Film Facebook Group. [1]
Trench Inclined Plane, another colourised monochrome image which, this time, looks East up the Incline. This shows very clearly how the tub boats were carried up and down the incline. This photograph was colourised by Simon Alun Hark and shared by him on the Shropshire Nostalgia and Film Facebook Group. [2]
Another view up the Inclined Plane towards the Engine House. This photograph was colourised by Simon Alun Hark and shared by him on the Shropshire Past and Present Facebook Group. [13]
Trench Incline (before and after) shared by Daniel Johnston on the Disused Railways Facebook group. [3]
Trench Incline (after and before) shared by Daniel Johnston on the Disused Railways Facebook group. The Blue Pig Inn (also known as the Shropshire Arms) to the left has survived. The cottages next to it were known as ‘Trench Pool Bank’. The Incline engine house is at the top, to the right of this is the Wombridge Pumping Engine house. [3][4]
The image above showing the Blue Pig in the 21st century is just a little misleading as the fence line conceals the presence of the A442, Queensway, this image gives a slightly clearer indication of what has happened to the site at the base of the Incline! This is a Google Streetview image which was shared by Gwyn Thunderwing Hartley on the Oakengates History Group on Facebook. The road curves away leaving a grassed area as shown on the first ‘before and after’ image from Daniel Johnston above. [5]
The Shropshire Arms and the site of the Trench Incline in 1966. The photographer comments: “Seen behind the pub are cottages known as Trench Pool Bank, already unoccupied. All around here is now much changed: the pub is now the ‘Blue Pig’ … The cottages have been demolished, and a dual-carriageway road now runs where the incline once was.”
©Copyright Dr. Neil Clifton authorised for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-DA 2.0).[6]
The Shropshire Arms and the site of the Trench Incline in 1967. The photographer comments: “This was taken in 1967, and comparing it with my 1966 photograph shows that the empty cottages have now been demolished and the site cleared. Although today in 2007 a dual carriageway occupies the site of the inclined plane, the pub. has survived almost unchanged, as the ‘Blue Pig’.” ©Copyright Dr. Neil Clifton authorised for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-DA 2.0). [7]
A further image of the Shropshire Arms and the site of Trench Inclined Plane. A 1960s monochrome image which has been colourised © Simon Alun Hark. [19]
The Blue Pig and its surroundings in the 21st century. [My photograph, 31st August 2022]
A view past towards the location of the incline from just outside the Blue Pig. [My photograph, 31st August 2022]
We finish this post in the same way as it started, with a colourised monochrome image shared by Simon Alun Hark the on the Shropshire Past and Present Facebook Group on 28th August 2022. [14]

References

  1. https://www.facebook.com/groups/626088212102853/permalink/626338268744514, accessed on 1st July 2022.
  2. https://m.facebook.com/groups/794448773917764/permalink/5752898211406104, accessed on 1st July 2022.
  3. https://m.facebook.com/groups/disusedrailways/permalink/2449041828583682, accessed on 1st July 2022.
  4. https://m.facebook.com/groups/261490703946559/permalink/1602948176467465, accessed on 1st July 2022.
  5. https://m.facebook.com/groups/261490703946559/permalink/2590798741015732 accessed on 1st July 2022.
  6. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/250148, accessed on 1st July 2022.
  7. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%27Shropshire_Arms%27_and_Trench_Inclined_Plane_-geograph.org.uk-_343711.jpg, accessed on 1st July 2022.
  8. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16.869946463025816&lat=52.70720&lon=-2.46138&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 1st July 2022.
  9. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101594308ps://maps.nls.uk/view/101594308, accessed on 10th July 2022.
  10. https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Wombridge_Canal#/google_vignette, accessed on 26th July 2022.
  11. http://www.pittdixon.go-plus.net/shropshire-tbc/shropshire-tbc.htm, accessed on 28th August 2022.
  12. https://m.facebook.com/groups/674238619260811/permalink/6197574766927141, accessed on 29th August 2022.
  13. https://www.facebook.com/groups/964857310243999/permalink/5490412487688436, accessed on 30th August 2022.
  14. https://www.facebook.com/groups/964857310243999/permalink/5487407237988961, accessed on 30th August 2022.
  15. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wombridge_Canal, accessed on 30th August 2022.
  16. Michael E Ware; Britain’s Lost Waterways. Moorland Publishing, 1989.
  17. https://web.archive.org/web/20170927203722/http://search.shropshirehistory.org.uk/collections/getrecord/CCS_MSA2197/, accessed on 39th August 2022.
  18. Ivor Brown; Some Notes on the Mines of the Lilleshall Company No. 5; in the Autumn Issue No. 2010.3). Journal of the Shropshire Caving & Mining Club Autumn Issue No. 2010.3, 2010; https://web.archive.org/web/20170927160003/http://www.shropshirecmc.org.uk/below/2010_3w.pdf, accessed on 30th August 2022.
  19. https://www.facebook.com/groups/964857310243999/permalink/5490384047691280, accessed on 30th August 2022.
  20. Both images can be found by following the discussion on this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/964857310243999/permalink/5487407237988961, accessed on 30th August 2022.
  21. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16&lat=52.72775&lon=-2.49957&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 30th August 2022.
  22. https://www.wellingtonla21.org.uk/along-the-moors-wappenshall, accessed on 30th August 2022.
  23. http://www.telford.org.uk/index.html, accessed on 30th August 2022.
  24. https://sncanal.org.uk, accessed on 31st August 2022.
  25. https://maps.nls.uk/view/101594272, accessed on 31st August 2022.
  26. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=52.72173&lon=-2.49288&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 31st August 2022.
  27. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.71727&lon=-2.48896&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 31st August 2022.
  28. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.71339&lon=-2.48241&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 31st August 2022.
  29. https://www.moveero.com, accessed on 31st August 2022.
  30. https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/business/2022/04/29/business-leader-welcomes-20million-gkn-telford-deal, accessed on 31st August 2022.
  31. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.70921&lon=-2.47492&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 31st August 2022.
  32. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=52.70822&lon=-2.46198&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 31st August 2022.

Ancient Tramroads near Telford – Part 3 – Ketley Tramways/Plateways/Waggonways and Canal – Part 1. …

This is a first look at the Ketley area just a few miles from where we live in Malinslee.

This was a short walk which encompassed a variety of industrial remains. The route taken is shown by the red line on the image below which comes from the Ketley Paddock Mound website. ……

Ketley Paddock Mound. [26]

I parked close to the church of St. Mary the Virgin in Red Lake and walked North up Shepherd’s Lane, turning left into Hill Top. Hill Top becomes Red Lees. The route of Red Lees was crossed by a high-level tramway which probably linked a colliery to what is now called Ketley Paddock Mound and was a colliery slag heap. the extract from the 1882 25″ OS Map below shows the location.

Tramway Bridge abutments or piers shown on the 1882 25″ OS Map. [1]

It seems to me to be unlikely that the tramway which used this bridge was directly associated with a larger network of tramways in the area. The map extract shows other short sections of tramway immediately at the colliery location and is seems highly likely that there was a need to cross Red Lees at high-level to reach the large slag heap to the North of the lane.

The view Northwest on Red Lees on 2nd June 2022. The shaping of the stonework to the right of this image suggests that it was a pier and that the bridge was therefore a two span structure. [My Photograph]
The view Southeast along Red Lees on 2nd June 2022. [My photograph]

Recently, reading ‘A Ketley Mon’ by Terry Low, I came across an older photograph at this location. It was taken in 1906 and shows the pier probably at its fullest height. It seems as though it was originally built in masonry and, at a later date, extended upwards in brick. Whilst it is impossible to be sure what this means, it suggests that there was a need at some stage to lift the line of the tramway. An obvious explanation for this would be the growth of the slag heap which is to the right of the picture below.

Red Lees in 1906, looking Northwest. The old colliery was to the left of this image, the slag heap to the right. In all probability a timber deack was used to carry the tramway rails. Each span would have been made up of a horizontal deck supported at third points by raking timber props. [Photographer not known – Alan Harper collection][2: p27] The image also appears on the Historic Ketley website. [5]

Walking Northwest from the location of the tramway bridge, it was apparent that this section of Red Lees followed a straight course. Possible explanations for this include:

  • the development of the colliery and the slag heap required an established right of way to be redrawn to accommodate the work. I cannot find maps early enough to look at what predated the industry at this location; or
  • Red Lees itself, may have been part of the route of a tramway.

It would be interesting to be able to test these ‘theories’, if earlier detailed maps were available.

Red Lees to the Northwest of the tramway bridge remains looking to the Northwest on 2nd June 2022. [My photograph]

We know from early maps that the Ketley Canal once crossed Red Lees to the East of Ketley Hall.

A extract from a hand drawn map which was posted on The Ketley History Group on Facebook. The Ketley Canal is shown in blue on the sketch map and crosses Red Lees immediately adjacent to Ketley Hall which appears far-left on this extract.[3]
This image appeaars on the website of the Friends of Ketley Paddock Mound. It also shows the canal route passing under Red Lees just East of Ketley Hall. [4]
In this image taken from the National Library of Scotland’s website the 25″ OS Map, published in 1902, is placed immediately alongside precisely the same area on modern satellite imagery. The canal arm is central to the image. The wider area at the western end of the remaining canal (in 1902) was a wharf. [6]
This image shows the two images above superimposed on each other. The old wharf can be seen to be under the site of modern housing on the North side of Red Lees. The Hall was to the South. According to the earlier images, the canal continued down the East side of the Hall. It then probably ran West on the South side of the Hall. [7]
This picture shows a map of Ketley Paddock Mound which is on display on the South side of the nature reserve. The blue dotted line, superimposed on the image, shows the approximate line of the canal as it passes under Red Lees. The present length of the canal arm is shown in light blue on the original sign board. The Friends of Ketley Paddock Mound’s website can be found here. [My photograph, 2nd June 2022]
A view from Red Lees footpath looking Northwest to where it widens out to become a road. There is a slight rise in the road surface just in front of where the pedestrian is walking. This is the most likely location for what would have been an arched bridge, now buried and inaccessible. [My photograph, 2nd June 2022]

I followed Red Lees down to the junction with the B5061, before walking back along Red Lees following what probably was a tramway route which then drifted away from Red Lees to the Northeast as shown on tthe sketch map at the head of this article. The Ketley History website says the following: “Behind the Victorian school building that is now Ketley Community Centre, there is a footpath that leads down to Red Lees and this is also the line of a tramway, probably to serve the coal wharf that was situated on Ketley Canal where School Lane meets Red Lees now.” [5]

The view Northwest towards the junction with the B5061. [My photograph]
The view from Red Lees along the line of the probable tramway. [My photograph]
The view Northeast along the line of the tramway. [My photograph]
Further along the tramway route with what was Ketley primary school in sight. [My photograph]
Looking along the route of the tramway to what was the Canal Wharf area. The old school buildings are on the left. [My photograph]

I turned to the left and walked along School Lane to the B5061, which, incidentally was the A5 and so was Thomas Telford’s trunk road to North Wales, and so it carries the name ‘Holyhead Road’.

The Ketley Canal

The Ketley Canal was about 1.5 miles (2.4km) long. It linked the Shropshire Canal, in the small town of Oakengates, with Ketley Iron Works. It was built in the late 18th century (around 1788) and required the construction of an inclined plane to lower and raise tub-boats a little over 70ft between the level of the Works and the higher ground that it travelled over from Oakengates. [8]

The inclined plane was the first effective inclined plane in the UK. [9]

The canal predominantly carried coal and ironstone in horse-drawn tub-boats. These tub-boats where in use across Shropshire and beyond. They “were rectangular in plan, 19 feet 9 inches long x 6 feet 2 inches wide made of wrought-iron plates rivetted together. An inclined plane consisted of two rails laid parallel to each other, on each of which ran a cradle raised or lowered by a wire rope and capable of carrying one tub boat at a time. The descending cradle assisted in balancing the weight of the ascending one and the extra power required was supplied by a stationary winding engine. A boat descending an inclined plane entered a chamber where it was manoeuvred over a submerged cradle. Once in place, the boat was secured to the cradle in readiness for its journey down the plane. The cradle was then hauled up over a sill and onto the plane, at which point it was still inside the chamber. When everything was ready it commenced its descent, which required just a few minutes, and a small number of workmen were able to complete the whole operation.” [12]

The inclined plane lasted in service until 1816, closing with Ketley Iron Works. The length of canal between Ketley and Oakengates remained open for more than 60 more years until the 1880s.

“One tub-boat is preserved in the Blists Hill Victorian Town museum. It was rescued from a farm in 1972, where it was in use as a water tank. Before its discovery, it was thought that all tub boats on the Shropshire Canal were made of wood.” [13]

This tub-boat is on display at Blists Hill Museum near Ironbridge in Shropshire.

The canal ran on the north side of Holyhead Road. A few hundred yards to the West of Shepherd’s Lane the canal passed under the Holyhead Road. It “clung to the southern side of the main road for a few hundred yards … but then it moved away from the road, heading westward at the backs of what are now gardens on Holyhead Road until it reached Shepherd’s Lane.” [9]

The Eastern portal of Shepherd’s Lane Tunnel is still visible in a private garden. [4]

The canal entered a short tunnel under Shepherd’s Lane and emerged into Ketley Paddock Mound (as it is now called). The length of canal which is preserved in the nature reserve can be reached from a number of directions.

The route I took was to walk East along Holyhead Road to the bus stop adjacent to one entrance to Ketley Paddock Mound. The bus stop is a delight! It was painted in 2018 by Fran O’Boyle and funded by the Ketley Parish Council and the Friends of Ketley Paddock Mound. [10][11]

The bus stop which is owned by Ketley Parish Council is outside Ketley Paddock Mound was decorated in 2018. It was created by Fran O’Boyle and funded by the Parish and the Friends of Ketley Paddock Mound. [10][11]

And I then entered the nature reserve through the gate visible in the photograph above. Immediately inside the gate is another public information board. The image below is an extract from my photograph of the board. …

Entering the nature reserve from adjacent to the Bus Stop on Holyhead Road, the path climbs through open meadow and paddock. It curves round a small pond before the remaining section of the Ketley Canal is reached. [15]

This next sequence of photos shows the walk up to the remaining section of the Ketley Canal as highlighted on the map extract immediately above.

The path from Holyhead Raod. [My photograph]
Buttercups in flower in the paddock to the East of the footpath. [My photograph]
The footpath winds gently up hill to the old canal. [My photograph]
The Ketley Canal. This remaining section of the tub-boat canal is now given over to nature. Just before taking this picture I watched a Kingfisher fly along the length of the water. Behind the camera is the cutting which led to the tunnel under Shepherd’s Lane. [My photograph, 2nd June 2022]

The walk back to my car took me over the top of the Paddock Mound which was the slag-heap made up of arisings from local pits and mines.

References

  1. https://maps.nls.uk/view/121150301, accessed on 2nd June 2022.
  2. T. Lowe; A Ketley Mon; British Bus Publishing Ltd., Wellington, Shropshire, 2000.
  3. https://www.facebook.com/groups/232901083430144, accessed on 31st May 2022.
  4. https://ketleypaddockmound.org/history, accessed on 2nd June 2022.
  5. https://historicketley.wordpress.com/ketley-wagonways-tramways, accessed on 3rd June 2022.
  6. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/side-by-side/#zoom=18&lat=52.69405&lon=-2.47516&layers=168&right=ESRIWorld, accessed on 3rd June 2022.
  7. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=18&lat=52.69408&lon=-2.47518&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 3rd June 2022.
  8. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketley_Canal, accessed on 3rd June 2022.
  9. http://www.canalroutes.net/Ketley-Canal.html, accessed on 3rd June 2022.
  10. https://ketleypaddockmound.org/how-to-find-ketley-paddock-mound, accessed on 3rd June 2022.
  11. https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/local-hubs/telford/2018/12/13/animal-magic-fran-transforms-telford-bus-shelter-with-wildlife-mural, accessed on 3rd June 2022.
  12. http://www.pittdixon.go-plus.net/shropshire-tbc/shropshire-tbc.htm, accessed on 4th June 2022.
  13. https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Tub_boat, accessed on 4th June 2022.
  14. https://ketleypaddockmound.org/how-to-find-ketley-paddock-mound, accessed on 26th January 2023.
  15. https://www.pogomap.info/location/52,695131/-2,473662/18, accessed on 26th January 2023.