SECTION N5

MOREDON AND THE PRY

PURTON ROAD CULVERT TO WOODWARDS (CROSSLANES) BRIDGE

STATUS
The Canal is in Local Authority ownership from Purton Road to Moredon Aqueduct. This section is largely restored.
The remainder of the length, up to Crosslanes, is in numerous private hands; it is largely infilled and mostly incorporated into the adjoining fields.
There are numerous obstructions; many field entrances which have been made across the infilled line, and in 3 places the Canal runs across the front of residential properties.
Restoration will not be easy.

Length: 1.99M/3.2km
O.S. Reference: 122873 to 106897
Height of water level A.O.D.: 89.17m above Pry Lock; 87.64m below
Features:

DESCRIPTION

What Jack Dalby said in 1985.
"The bed can be found at the road crossing at 122873 and is clear up to the aqueduct over the River Ray at 114878 passing the site of Moredon Bottom Lock. The towing path is obviously in regular use. The east face of the aqueduct is perfect but the west side is deteriorating and portion of the northern of the three arches has fallen in providing an excellent vertical section of the four course brickwork.
Opposite the renovated Purton Wharf buildings, lovingly labelled "North Wilts Canal Cottage" can be found the remains of Pry Lock and a short section of the bed and a wide basin (109888).
One wall of Crosslanes Lock can be seen in the front garden of the house at 106897."


Purton Road Bridge from north

Purton Road Bridge

Purton Road Bridge was built slightly to the east of the original position, a little way uphill, to allow for regrading Purton Road when it was upgraded.
It is an interesting structure. In order to give sufficient height for a cycleway alongside, the bridge was built with two sections divided by a concrete wall. The cycleway is at the bed level of the Canal, rather than at towpath height. The wall on the right is to hold the water level at a height above the towpath for the distance it takes for the towpath/cycleway to rise from bed level to towpath level; the wall on the left is to stabilise the hill where it has been cut away to realign the Canal.

A view of the combined towpath/cycleway under the bridge.
 
Photo taken 1.5.2007
 
More about Purton Road Bridge
Towpath under Purton Road Bridge
From Purton Road Bridge, the Canal has been dredged, and the towpath made up, to Mouldon Lock.
 View of the Canal looking south towards Mouldon Lock
View towards Purton Road 18.9kB
Head of Mouldon Lock. 22kB
Mouldon Lock (also known as Moredon Bottom Lock, the name which Jack Dalby used) was restored, except for its gates, in 1988.
This view is looking towards the head of the lock.
 
Picture taken December 1999
A view of the tail of the lock, looking upstream (south).
Tail of lock. 23.2kB

The Canal has been dredged from here to Moredon Aqueduct.

Pictures of Moredon Aqueduct, restored between 1995 and 1998.
Right - view of east face. This is the non-towpath side, and has no parapet.
Below left - The West face, showing the parapet on this side.
Below right - South West Spandrel.
Aqueduct - E. Face.
West face.22.6kB
 
Beyond the aqueduct, the line is mostly infilled along the edge of one field, and diagonally across another, up to Pry Bridge.
This is the view looking South from Pry Bridge; the Canal can just be discerned as a slight depression in the field.
 
Photo taken 18.1.04
Last field before Pry Bridge. 20.2 kB

The Pry

PRY BRIDGE has been levelled; it can be discerned as a slight hump in the farm track beside The Pry buildings.
 
Photo taken 18.1.04
Site of Pry Bridge
Canal in water
The Canal is infilled and heavily overgrown as it leaves Pry Bridge and passes behind the buildings.
When it emerges, it is reasonably clear amd in water for about 150 yds.  
Photo taken 18.1.04
The next 30 yds is infilled and overgrown, but still discernible, before the Canal disappears into a field.  
Photo taken 18.1.04
Infilled Canal. This will be a historic picture one day.
Bridge 2
The first of a large number of crossings of the Canal that will have to be addressed one way or another.
This one is about 250 yds from the Pry cottages. The ditch alongside the road is carried under the crossing in a culvert.
 
Photo taken 18.1.04

Then there is a short section where the Canal is intact but overgrown

However the Canal is still in water on at least part of this section.

Pry Culvert

The Canal was crossed by a culvert here.
This caused flooding, not actuslly due to the culvert but to the lack of maintenance on the ditch on the east (downhill) side.
In 1991, the owners of the cottage on the opposite side of the road, having sufferred from flooding in January of that year, decided to dig out the culvert.
We held an emergency work party to clear the vegetation off the site, which has now been dug out. The vegetation has since re-grown.
I seem to have lost the pictures from this bit.

A farm crossing will be necessary at Woodwardsbridge Farm.

Crosslanes Lock


Just before the crossroads, the infilled Crosslanes Lock can be seen in the front garden of the lock cottage.

The brickwork of the east wall is still visible

There is no trace of the bridge, which from the map I believe to be called Woodward's Bridge.

RESTORATION

Restoration is now substantially complete as far north as Moredon Aqueduct.
Negotiations are in hand to try to purchase the line of the Canal up to the farm crossing at 109882.
The 15 yard section at The Pry, containing Pry Culvert, has been cleared of vegetation.
It is the objective of the Cricklade Country Way Trust to restore the whole of this section within 5 years.

WATER SUPPLIES

There is some run-off from Mouldon Hill on the first few half mile or so from Purton Road Bridge, otherwise there are no supplies.

HOSTELRIES

None in the area. We wait to see what will appear in the sprawling new development as Swindon creeps ever closer to the east of this section.

RIGHTS OF WAY

The towpath is a public right of way from Purton Road for about 600 metres, when it turns west and crosses the River Ray; but the towpath is well used up to Moredon Aqueduct.
Beyond that, the Canal is on private land, but the northern part of its length runs alongside the road to Cricklade.

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Updated 19.10.2005