We have not yet attempted to obtain permission to work on this section.
"After this it is possible to follow the canal, past the site of Whitfield's and Stallard's bridges, to the site of Kingston Common Farm Bridge at 330889."
Emerging from Uffington Arch, the Canal is in a slight cutting. The bed is damp and obviously holds water at the western end. Heavily overgrown with trees.For the first field length, the towpath is overgrown but walkable.
The offside is a pasture. The bed is full width, heavily silted up.Near the first field boundary, about 100 yds. from the road, is milestone 38, on the offside, in the meadow. It is still legible, but leaning in towards the Canal.
At the first field boundary, there is a fence across the bed and barbed wire across the towpath; otherwise unobstructed. No sign of a crossing.
The Canal now starts to rise onto a slight embankment. For the next field length, the towpath is thickly wooded, but the bed is reasonably clear of trees.
At the field boundary the Canal is now embanked both sided. There is infilling which might once have been a causeway but certainly isn't now. Progress here is impeded by chest high brambles and nettles under the trees, and rapidly becomes impossible.
After this the bed is narrowed to a ditch for perhaps 50 yds..
A stream approaches along the field boundary, running merrily even in June, and turns east to run in the counterditch. It is quite low and is unlikely to be useful as a water supply. A field drain (dry when seen) enters a few yards further on. Beside the exit is a concrete plaque inscribed "C. WALTON SULBY".
The Canal then opens out again to full width, only lightly silted.
Lovely views both sides.
At the next field boundary the bed is infilled. There might be a footpath or bridleway here but it is little used. There is a cut through the embankments on the east side of this, but it is dry. The brook must have crossed earlier. After the causeway there is a large hump on the offside embankment, which needs investigating.
The Canal is virtually impenetrable up to the next field boundary.
Three quarters of the way along the field length there is a stile over the barbed wire boundary fence and a footpath across the field and the Canal. This is also the parish boundary. 318892.
At the next field boundary on the towpath side there is a causeway.Traces of brickwork and masonry indicate that this was once a lift bridge - I guess this was Whitfield's, MR 319891.
The bed continues, overgrown and dry.There is then a major farm crossing, in regular use, coinciding with a field boundary on the off (South) side. A deep cut has been made on the east side of the causeway which was damp when explored in June.
To the south-east of this point is a pond, shown on the OS map, in a triangular area of rough ground between the two fields. Various streams in the area are crossed by plank bridges. This area could be "restored" by us, and also possibly used as a dump site.
The bed contonues on a slight embankment, deep reeds, not a lot of silt.
After about 50yds. there is a deep cutting across the bed, crossed (in the bed) by a 10ft wide bridge of sleepers. Rotted and overgrown. This is followed by a short length of infill - possibly a disused causeway.
No masonry visible. The Canal here is fenced on the towpath side, not on the offside, which was planted with barley.
A ditch has been cut across the Canal at the next field boundary, damp, and the counterditch (here dry) runs into it. Very overgrown.
50yds. from the field boundary there is a gate in the fence on the offside. Works, but looks disused. The counterditch is crossed by a plank bridge, and there is a causeway over the bed.A field drain enters, with masonry surrounds. No other masonry is visible but the steep banks of the infill suggest that this may have been a lift bridge - therefore probably Stallard's, 326890. There is a spinney on the towpath side, a very wild and impenetrable place.
The bed continues heavily overgrown and pretty impassable. Very deep counterditch.
50yds. before the next field boundary, just after the end of the spinney, there is a barbed wire fence across the Canal, but no infill.
At the next field boundary, the Canal ends abruptly. 328890.
There is 100yds. of infill, which serves to extend the towpath side field by a small triangular section on the offside. Probably fairly recent, as the O.S. map still shows the Canal there.
The remainder of the Canal up to Kingstoncommon Bridge, about 200yds., is fenced off from the field (cows here) and well overgrown, and drops down into a slight cutting. The road rises on quite a high embankment where it crosses the Canal, so I guess there is plenty of headroom for navigation. I could not see whether there were any pipes under the bridge, but there ususally are hereabouts.
The first field length will need clearance and dredging. Also fencing along its length to prevent cattle straying into the next field, which is wheat, before the fence across the Canal can be removed.
There are very few real problems on this stretch. We may not need to build more than one lift bridge and one fixed footbridge. There will be about six culverts to build or reinstate, and several causeways to remove, in addition to the 100yd. infilled length.
Suggested order of work would be:
None of this section is a public right of way. It is possible to walk along the field edge on the towpath (north) side, except through the spinney.
Being mainly on an embankment, there does not appear to be a water supply to this section. The ends are in cuttings for a short length, and there will be some run-off into the Canal; the western end was quite wet, even in June. The bed is drained at many points, and several culverts will have to be installed/reinstated before the Canal can be re-watered. The two lengths either end of the 100yd. infill will probably fill from the adjoining sections under the two road bridges.
The White Horse in Uffington did a nice cool pint of Morland's and an excellent Ploughman's.
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