Work has commenced on the western part of this section. The eastern part is still under negotiation
O.S. Reference: 238879 to 274893
Water Level height A.O.D.: Shrivenham level: 89.651m.
What Jack Dalby said in 1985.|
"The bed is then clear almost up to Cemetery Bridge site at 242882 except for an infilled path crossing at 234880. The B4000 bridge is intact, the only one on the whole length of the W&B. At 244883 the bed reappears and continues for 600 metres up to the infilled site of the former aqueduct over Beckett Brook at 248886. The 7ft arch has been destroyed but much brickwork remains. Apart from a 200metre infill the bed is clear to Bowles bridge at 260889. The culvert at 256884 has been opened out. West of the bridge site some 50 metres is filled and occupied by a scrap dealer. The Canal is intact and clear past the junction with the Longcot branch at 267893 to within 150 metres of Wharf Road crossing at 274893. The west of the road Longcot top lock was buried in 1946. The earlier bridge here was a mechanically operated lift one. The Wharf House is a private residence."
The Canal emerges from Shrivenham Arch Bridge in a fairly deep cutting.
The bed appears to be silted up to towpath level for the first 100 yards or so; the bed has been narrowed for the first 50 yds. or so by an embankment supporting an electricity sub-station.. The whole width is covered
with moderate scrub, (clearance started late 1991) and the towpath hedge
is very overgrown. On either side are fields, cultivated on the south side,
and mainly set-aside, mown grass, on the north.
About 50yds. either side of Stainswick Lane, the bed has been filled; farmyard rubbish on the west, and believed to have been the village tip on the east. Stainswick Lane was originally crossed by a lift bridge, and a slight hump in the road is still visible. At the eastern end of the infill, the bed is crossed by a dug-out culvert carrying the counter ditch from south to north. The Canal soon rises onto a slight but increasing embankment for nearly half a mile, until the site of Beckett or Tuckmill Brook aqueduct is reached. This was a single 7' arch, which has been totally broken down and very little is visible. There is also a footpath crossing at this point.
Another stream is shown on the O.S. map about 300yds. further on; this must be the opened-out culvert mentioned by J.D. - needs investigation.
About 200yds. of the bed approaching Bowles's Bridge (road name unknown) has been occupied by some sort of builder's yard. Bowles's Bridge itself was a lift bridge.
17.7.97 This section is the subject of a planning application for some mobile homes.
The bed is fairly unobstructed for about half a mile to the wide junction with the Longcot Arm; and continues thus to within about 100yds. of Old Wharf Road; the final length being the buried and heavily overgrown site of Longcot Top Lock.
What was presumably the lock cottage, shown on the O.S. map as "Lock's Cottage", stands alongside the lock, adjoining the road. There is another cottage opposite, Talbot Cottage, which is also obviously ancient.
Old Wharf Road Bridge may well have been the tailbridge of the lock. Only spadework will reveal whether there is sufficient headroom, but it looks promising. (J.D. says it was a mechanically-operated lift bridge).
The bed is substantially complete with a finite number of obstacles; these could be tackled one by one to give a clear length from Bourton Wharf, or at least the footbridge to the east of it (Section 30) to Longcot, limited on the main line by Longcot Top Lock. There is unlikely to be enough water supply on this section to run the locks, until the link with the summit is re-made.
The Pocket Park.
The first field east of Stainswick Lane has been purchased by the Group and has been made into a Pocket Park. The Local Authority has contributed £15,000 and Millenium Greens have provided matching funding.
The Canal alongside has ben dredged and a low hill was built with the spoil; this has been planted with trees which are now growing on quite well.
A carpark and entrance road have been built, and a slipway, leading off the carpark entrance.
|The slipway was built with funds raised by the IWA in memory of the
late Ron Martin, who used to mastermind the National Trailboat Festivals.
Water pipe crossing: Size and depth information are missing from
the marker stone. Needs investigation.
It appears that water drains from the Canal at this point, which prevents the length filling up in the winter.
|The Canal has recently (Sept.1999) been dredged up to Tuckmill Aqueduct.
The picture is looking west.
Beckett/Tuckmill Brook Aqueduct: Very little to see. The brook
clearly follows its original course through the aqueduct site, and some brickwork is vilible when the water level is low..
It is believed to have been a 7' arch. This should not be beyond our capabilities.
A possible design has been carried out by students of the Royal Military College, Shrivenham.
Footbridge: This, and the necessity for it, need investigation
Culvert at 256884:Needs investigation but can probably be replaced with a pipe of similar diameter, with rebuilt brick ends.
Infill (builder's yard) before Bowles's Bridge:It may be possible to divert to the north to circumvent this. The land to the north is in friendly hands.
Bowles's bridge: Will probably have to be a slab bridge. Difficult to estimate headroom due to infill both sides of the road, but long, straight sightlines suggest that a hump in the (very minor) road would not be a problem.
Longcot junction and the Longcot Arm
The Canal around here is not infilled and holds some water in winter.
The lonccot Arm is clear as far as City Bridge, but is then incorporated into the buildings and garden to the north - the site of Longcot Wharf.
The Canal is then mainly clear up to a wharf (name unknown at present) the basin of which is infilled, as is
Longcot Top Lock
This is infilled and on private land.
Old Wharf Road Bridge>
Probably the tailbridge of the lock. There is mention of this having been a mechanically operated lift bridge, but the road alignment suggests that it was probably an ordinary arch tailbridge.
None shown on the O.S. map; the towpath here is on the south side of the Canal. Walking is permitted as far as Tuckmill Brook.
The Victoria, 200 yds. south of Shrivenham Arch Bridge. Free House, recommended. Half a mile to the north, there is a choice of 4 hostelries in Shrivenham.
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