We have recently been given permission to work at the eastern end of this section
"...Kingston Common Farm Bridge at 330889. Over the road the site of Keate's Bridge is just before that of Broadleaze Farm (341889). At 347888 the foundations of Sparsholt Drawbridge are visible, the canal then entering a deep cutting before the site of the former B4001 bridge at 357887." JD, 1985
I have not personally explored the first 3 field lengths from Kingstonecommon Bridge, and have not positively identified the site of Keate's Bridge. Two possible locations are shown on the OS map.
The last two field lengths before Broadleaze Bridge are unfilled and have some water in them - this in August 2005.
|Approaching Broadleaze Bridge, the Canal has been cleares and apparently dredged for 75 yds or so, and looks very fine.|
|As usual, the bridge has been lowered and infilled; no remains are obviously visible. From the contour of the road, I would guess that this was originally a lift bridge.
On the far side of the bridge the road enters Broadleaze Farm.
|Looking east from the bridge, the Canal is evidently there, overgrown but not infilled.
The bed is damp, but the water level is much below the level on the other side of the road, which suggests thet the bridge infill was not piped, or that the pipe has been blocked to keep the water in the other side.
There are then 3 field lengths unexplored.
|The track over the infilled bridge, from the South.
The abutments and wing walls are visible in the undergrowth, and are fairly complete. The bridge has a span of approximately 10 ft, so would probably have been a standard W&B lift bridge.
Below are views looking west and east, respectively, from the bridge.
Approaching New Road Bridge, the Canal is in a cutting which deepens to the west. At about 355887 a field drain exits into the Canal at a fairly high level; and another alongside New Road Bridge. These provide a small supply of water.
The offside is fairly thickly hedged with thorn trees and brambles. The towpath side has been infilled by tipping over half the width of the Canal, leaving a narrow, possibly navigable channel.
|The local team have carved a drainage channel in the bed leading up to New Road Bridge.
The bridge itself is lowered and piped; a lot of the original bricks have been used to build embankment retaining walls.
Navvies will remember the eastern end as the site of a lunch tent during the Big Dig.
From New Road Bridge, there is a footpath along the south side of the Canal (I'm not sure whether this is the towpath side or not). After one field length, it diverts from the Canal to the south.
A Public Right of Way crosses the Canal at Sparsholt Drawbridge. There is a sign pointing along the towpath to the east from here; the right of way follows the towpath for 500 yards before veering off to the north.
Some small streams and probably some road drainage enter the Canal.
From Sparsholt Drawbridge, it is about half a mile walk along a rather rough track, which later becomes a road, to the Star Inn, a free house which serves a nice pint of Morelands. It has a medium-priced menu.
A pleasant country pub.
It also serves as a base for exploring this part of the Canal. Drive past the pub and park at the end of the metalled road, and walk forward; follow the track until you hit the Canal.
It is marked as a Right of Way to the east, which follows the towpath for 500 yds before veering off to the north.
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