SECTION 7

REYBRIDGE

REY MILL BRIDGE TO DOUBLE BRIDGE

STATUS
The southern part of this section is not currently available for restoration.
The northern part, the Naish Hill section, has been purchased by North Wiltshire District Council and restoration is well underway.
A cycleway, part of the Wiltshire Rivers Route, has been constructed alomg the towpath.

Length:
O.S. Reference: 926689 to 946716
Water level: 47.0/50.07/53.15/55.81 (Estd.; last figure refers to old line)

Features:
     
  • Fry's Bridge 690926
  • Nash Hill Drawbridge 926694
  • Cycleway crosses 926694
  • Milestone
  • Double Bridge 931699
Map 30.9kB

DESCRIPTION

What Jack Dalby said in 1985.
"Beyond Ray Mill Bridge Site the bed is infilled for 0.5km reappearing at the remains of Nash Hill drawbridge at 926694. Soon the canal is cut into the side of the hill overlooking the River Avon. The bed is dry and grassed over up to the brick arch of the unusually wide Double Bridge at 931699. The unfilled bed continues north east passing over two culverts, the second one over Cocklemore Brook earlier used, via a brickwork overflow channel, for regulating water levels. The one-walled chamber of Pewsham Bottom Lock is at 936709. On the east bank is a wide shallow spillway and above a 100 metre semicurcular pound with a stone wall on the west side leading to Pewsham Middle, somewhat decrepit, and finally Pewsham Top at 937712. Above the top lock a 0.5 km length has been infilled. This included the junction with the Chippenham branch, now unrecognisable. At 941715 the bed reappears and, apart from the A4 crossing at Forest Gate, 946716....."

From the Reybridge road crossing the Canal is infilled for one field length. The towpath hedge appears to be mostly intact.
The group of navvies are standing at the site of Fry's Bridge.
 

Photo taken 30.3.03

Infilled length 15.5kB
Brickwork of Fry's Bridge
 

About 100 metres in from the road is Fry's Bridge, infilled and levelled and used as a farm crossing.
Some brickwork can be discerned in the grass.
It was probably a lift bridge originally; the initial plan is to replace it with a slab bridge, subject to negotiations with the riparian landowner.
 

Photo taken 30.3.03

Before Naish Hill Bridge
Approaching Naish Hill Bridge, the Canal enters a short wooded stretch and is in water in places.
 
Photo taken 28.4.02

Naish Hill Drawbridge

To see the remains of Naish Hill Drawbridge, one has to cross the Canal and look back at the towpath side; no doubt there are remains on the offside too, but if so, they are buried.
 
Photo taken 28.4.02
Naish Hill Drawbridge kB
 
The recently-constructed cycleway crosses the Canal at towpath level just beyond Naish Hill Drawbridge.
At this point it leaves the Canal and heads off up the hill.
This will require a new bridge.
 
Photo taken 10.10.05
Cycleway crossing Canal
 
Canal 
Looking the other way:
The Canal here starts to go round the flank of Naish Hill, overlooking the Avon. Will be fantastic cruising territory in due course.
Most of the length up to Skew Bridge was dredged in early 2006. This is an early picture, showing the length only half-filled with water.
The cycleway now runs along the towpath here, but is well below water level in places - it will need a lot of work to get this section into water.
 
Picture taken 15.6.06

On the south side of the canal a newt pond has been dug.

 
Picture taken 15.6.06
Newt pond
 
River Avon 

The Canal here runs around the hillside overlooking the River Avon.
This is a view looking north from a cruising narrowboat, though it doesn't really do justice to the view.
 

Picture taken 15.6.06

Double Bridge

The arch of Double Bridge is still standing, and restoration has now started in earnest by a small full-time team.
Clearance of the structure started in June 2003, and designs are being prepared for its restoration.
 
The bridge has a span very close to the standard 17'9" (5.41metres) The width of the bridge is 28ft, about twice the width of Steppingstone Lane Bridge.
The picture shows progress to date on the bridge - the edge of the arch has been repaired and the right hand spandrel wall rebuilt.
Dredging started at Double Bridge, and the first part of it can be seen here.
 
Picture taken 14.1.2006
 
More about Double Bridge

Double
 
 

This section began to get too long, so I have split it into two; Pewsham to the A4 are described in the next section.

WATER SUPPLIES

None known; but there must be considerable flow down Naish Hill in wet weather.

RIGHTS OF WAY

The towpath is a right of way from 928694 (just S of Naish Hill Bridge) to Double Bridge, and beyond.

HOSTELRIES

See next section - Pewsham.

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Updated 5.1.2007