There is no public access to any part of this section, and we have no permission to work on it.
What Jack Dalby said in 1985.
"...apart from...the infilled Studley Bridge at 959722 and the embankment of the abandoned Calne branch railway nearby, is unfilled up to the junction with the Calne branch, 2.4 km away, just above Stanley Top Lock (960726). Just below Stanley Bottom Lock at 960724 are the sorry remains of the two-arched Stanley Aqueduct over the River Marden. The collapse of the south arch in 1901 was the final nail in the coffin of the W&B. Recently the other arch also showed signs of incipient collapse.
On the main line, 400 metres beyond the junction is the site of Stanley New Bridge at 959729."
From the road crossing that once was Studley Bridge, the bed is discernible
though heavily wooded until the disused railway crossing. This is
infilled and piped - a fairly large diameter pipe -and carries a nature
trail, which is predominantly a footpath. From here to Stanley Aqueduct,
the canal runs along the edge of a field. The field side is clear, and
there is a hedgerow along the other side, presumably the towpath hedge.
Stanley Aqueduct collapsed completely in 1997 and is in a very sorry state indeed..
From here to Stanley Bottom Lock the bed runs through a strip of woodland. It is moderately silted, and lightly overgrown, and still damp.
Stanley Bottom Lock is untouched and contains very little debris. The walls are complete, including bull-nosed coping bricks, but the towpathside wall leans inwards at an alarming angle. My theory is that this is due to faulty bonding in the brickwork. This lock had a single bottom gate. The bed up to Stanley Top Lock is again lightly wooded and damp.
Stanley Top Lock. The tail of the lock has been infilled and piped, and carries a well-used farm crossing. Stanley Top Lock itself is in fair condition though heavily overgrown with brambles. The lockside contains an apiary. (towpath side). Up to Stanley Junction, the bed is clearly discernible, but silted nearly to the top; definitely damp, with reed growth.
Stanley Junction is believed to be an SSSI.
I have not explored from here to Stanley New Bridge.
Stanley New Bridge is on a steep hill. Headroom looks reasonable but the approach to the bridge is heavily overgrown and has been subject to tipping.
The first length, 50 or 100 yards, is a straightforward "bash and dredge"
Railway Bridge: There are indications that this was a slab bridge, and that the abutments are substantially intact - i.e. that the original headroom is preserved. It would be relatively easy to clear the bridgehole and install a suitable deck. Up to Stanley Aqueduct the Canal wants little more than a light dredging.
Stanley Aqueduct is a huge problem. Since it was the cause of the Canal's demise, it should be symbolically rebuilt as original.
The Canal between here and the Bottom Lock presents no obvious problems - a straightforward clearance and dredging job.
Stanley Bottom Lock will require serious demolition of the towpath side chamber wall, which has split aboout 18" in from the face and is leaning inwards. Probably a Kango job, but the coping bricks must be carefully removed and stored first.
The Canal up to the Top Lock is again a straightforward clearance and dredging job, though there may be some walling repairs, as it is in a fairly deep cutting.
Stanley Top Lock The tail of the Top Lock has been infilled and will need digging out, and the tail bridge re-instating. This must have been the turnover bridge for the Calne Arm towpath, which at this point is on the south side (as evidenced by Carpenter's Bridge). Presumably this was originally a brick arch - we would have to provide a temporary girder crossing, perhaps across the chamber, while we are rebuilding.
Stanley Top Lock is a straightforward re-building job, the extent of which will be apparent when the overgrowth has been cleared. It contains very little silt. The bed up to Stanley Junction is only lightly overgrown, but heavily silted up.
Stanley New Bridge will presumably be either a navigable culvert or a slab bridge.
Unfortunately, Stanley Aqueduct is below the bottom lock; so no hope of
a feed from there.
The main supply on this section would be from the Calne Branch, until the main line is complete.
None in the immediate vicinity