SECTION 34

RAILWAY CROSSING TO UFFINGTON BRIDGE

STATUS
We have not attempted to obtain permission to work on this section.

(EASTERN END OF THE SEVEN MILE POUND)

Length: : 2.33km/1.45 miles approx
O.S. Reference: 282894 to 300897
Water Level height A.O.D.:84.038m (by calculation) Seven Mile Pound Level

Features:
  • Drainage ditch dug through 282894
  • Farm crossing 284894
  • 4' culvert - intact (?Woolstone Brook Aqueduct) 285894
  • ?Drawbridge 285894
  • ?Brick bridge 289896
  • Drawbridge
  • Milestone
  • Drawbridge
  • ?Lift bridge
  • Uffington Bridge 300897
Map

DESCRIPTION

"Beyond the railway and up to 291888 there are the remains of three bridges. Just as the canal appears to be about to dive under the railway again the bed has been ploughed over and all traces disappear. A footpath on Sheet 174 shows the path of the canal up to Uffington Bridge at 300897 but this too is missing."
JD, 1985.

There is no trace of a bridge in the eastern face of the railway embankment, which towers massively over the line of the Canal. A drainage ditch or small stream runs parallel to the embankment and a few yards away from it, and cuts the Canal at around water level.

Eastwards from the ditch, the Canal is visible, dry, silted up and moderately overgrown with tree cover. It is on a slight embankment.

There is a farm crossing at 284894, fenced off from the Canal. The embankments have been pushed into the bed to make a fairly level crossing.

Further on the bed has been filled at the point where a large, about 4ft diameter culvert, apparently intact, passes diagonally under the Canal. There are some large chunks of masonry/concrete/brickwork around here which are probably the remains of a post-abandonment structure.

A public footpath crosses over at this point, or a few yards east where a small footbridge crosses the brook after it emerges from the culvert.

The O.S. map (Pathfinder 1154, 1988) shows the Canal continuing for a further two field lengths, and this is also implied by Jack Dalby's book (1985). However it is now thoroughly ploughed in for the remainder of the field past the culvert, only a couple of isolated trees in the field remain to mark its course.

In the next field, the Canal has been reduced to a ditch as far as can be seen from the field boundary - I have not yet explored any further.

According to the 1991 survey, there appear to be two bridge sites close together, the first carrying a footpath. However the old map shows only one. There is then a short filled section, then a drain cut through the canal. The bed is then wet for some distance, passing a further two lift bridges, of which only one is shown on the old map. Both of these are filled. The bed is then filled and ploughed, but may be traced by a dark line of silt across a field of clay.

Approaching Uffington Bridge.
 
The Canal here has been infilled and pretty well obliterated. In the picture, the Canal follows the hedge until there appears to be a gap, then turns right; the remains of the towpath hedge can just be discerned in the middle distance.
It was probably on an embankment here.
 
Picture taken 1.2.05
Obliterated Canal
Obliterated Canal
Uffington Bridge was probably a lift bridge.
In this view, the bridge is just in front of the cottages.
The one on the left is Lock Cottage, and was presumably the lockkeeper's house. Now much extended.
The other cottage, Tlabot Cottage, appears to be contemporaneous but it is not known whether it had anything to do with the Canal.
 
Picture taken 1.2.05

RESTORATION

The first problem is of course the railway bridge. There is a small bridge about 200yds. east of the site of the Canal bridge which might be possible with a slight diversion of the Canal. We could offer to completely clear the existing Canal line so that it could be ploughed, in return for permission to cut a new line to this bridge. It would make the distance marginally shorter this side of the railway, but 250 yds. longer on the other.

The next section, across the corner of the field, would cause problems of land severance, leaving a small triangle of land between the Canal, the eastern field boundary and the brook on the north.

The next field may be less of a problem as it runs along the boundary, and still exists as a ditch, which turns and runs NNE along the field boundary. The land rises slightly here, and the Canal is probably in a shallow cutting.

RIGHT OF WAY

The towpath is not a right of way, but several PROW footpaths cross it.

WATER SUPPLIES

Need investigation. Several streams come down the hillside.

HOSTELRIES

The O.S. map shows one in Woolstone; also there's the White Horse in Uffington, both within a mile of the Canal at some point. North of the Canal needs investigation.

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Updated: 3.2.2005