SP1661 : Bridge 55, Stratford-upon-Avon Canal

taken 6 years ago, near to Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire, Great Britain

Bridge 55, Stratford-upon-Avon Canal
Bridge 55, Stratford-upon-Avon Canal
The south side of the bridge. The tow path crosses from one side of the canal to the other at this point, hence this is a roving bridge. The two cantilever arms of the bridge deck do not meet in the middle, leaving a slot through which the tow rope can pass, so the horse did not have to be unhitched. This design is common on this canal, although many examples have sunk such that the slot is almost non-existent, or have been welded up for strengthening. This bridge however is a particularly fine example, its slot being around 30mm wide still. See SP1661 : Slot on bridge 55, Stratford-upon-Avon Canal. It is currently undergoing some brickwork repairs in the off season.
The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal
The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal links the Worcester and Birmingham Canal at King's Norton Junction with the River Avon at Stratford. The canal is 255 miles long, and has 56 locks*, the last onto the river being a broad lock. The canal was built in several stages (including changes of route) from 1793 on, finally opening fully to the River Avon in 1815.

By the 1950s the section north of Lapworth was rarely being used, and the southern section from Lapworth was badly silted with some unusable locks. It is believed that the last boat reached Stratford in the early 1930s, though a pleasure cruiser reached Wilmcote at Easter in 1947.

Threat of total closure of the southern section in the mid 1950s caused protests, leading to an enquiry in 1958, and a big public campaign to save the canal, so the abandonment plans were reversed in 1959.

The National Trust took on the task of restoring the southern section of the canal in 1960, leading to its re-opening by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother on 11 July 1964. Control was passed to the British Waterways Board in 1988, then to the Canal and River Trust in 2012.

*One stop-lock at King's Norton is unused and open, another at Kingswood Junction is duplicated.

(Details reduced from Nicholson's Waterways Guide No 2)
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SP1661, 59 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Tuesday, 14 February, 2012   (more nearby)
Friday, 17 February, 2012
Geographical Context
Rivers, Streams, Drainage  Canals  Flat landscapes 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 1602 6189 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:15.2971N 1:46.0041W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 1604 6187
View Direction
Northwest (about 315 degrees)
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