SD9851 : View from under Mill Bridge, Springs Branch

taken 10 years ago, near to Skipton, North Yorkshire, Great Britain

View from under Mill Bridge, Springs Branch
View from under Mill Bridge, Springs Branch
Mill Bridge is bridge No.2 on the short Springs Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool canal in Skipton. This bridge is next to High Corn Mill, which was the original terminus of this branch line. This photo is taken from under the bridge looking back towards the town centre (i.e. away from the mill).
Springs Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Skipton

There is a short spur off the Leeds & Liverpool canal in Skipton called the Springs Branch. Originally this branch stopped after just a quarter of a mile at High Corn Mill, just after the Mill Bridge(Bridge No. 2), however later it was extended for a further quarter mile to facilitate bringing limestone quarried from near to Skipton Castle. This extension was created by Lord Thanet, then part owner of Skipton Castle and the limestone mine. This branch line is not only narrow, but has no turning point for boats over 35' in length. It is fed by an interesting network of leats and reservoirs in Skipton Woods with numerous sluices, weirs and conduits ensuring the water supply. The source of all this water is Eller Beck Link which rises to the north of Skipton on Embsay Moor. (Note there are numerous Eller Becks in northern Britain, "eller" meaning willow - a very common streamside tree.)
Of course the water from the Springs Branch then flows into the main Leeds and Liverpool canal helping to keep its level up too.
The Springs Branch was completed to the Castle in 1797, and metal chutes were used to drop quarried limestone 120' from high up by the Castle, down into waiting barges on the canal. This practice finally ceased in 1946 but some relics of these old industrial workings can still be made out.
These days, this little branch line forms a very attractive walk out of Skipton town centre underneath the brooding Norman castle and out into the woods beyond.

Leeds & Liverpool Canal

The Leeds & Liverpool canal at 127 miles in length from River Lock in Leeds to the Canal Basin in Liverpool, is the longest canal in Britain to have been built and operated by one Canal Company (The Grand Union is longer but was an amalgamation). It has 91 locks, and two main spurs both of 7 miles known as the Leigh Branch (2 locks) and Rufford Branch (8 locks) as well as the tiny Springs Branch in Skipton of just half a mile length.
The maximum length of boats that can use the canal is 60' (though from Wigan to Liverpool full 72' boats can use it). The beam is 14'3" and the headroom limitation is 8'
The canal was authorised by parliament in 1770, and the first (lock-free) section was open by 1773. Two significant but unconnected sections had been completed by 1777, but the Napoleonic Wars got in the way of investment in the canal systems, and so the canal was not finally linked up and completed until 1816.
It is now a very popular canal for holidays, being both very scenic in some stretches and historically interesting as it passes through many of the great industrial towns of the North, linking the two great cities of its name. It also passes through the World Heritage site of Saltaire, where Titus Salt built his mill and model village for his workers.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal :: SD8842

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is the longest canal in Northern England at 127 miles long. The first of the trans-Pennine canals it took 46 years to build at a cost of five times the original budget, mainly because of the length and complexity of the route. It passes through 91 locks with a summit level of 487 feet at Foulridge near Nelson and Colne. It was originally conceived in the 18th century to carry woollen goods from Leeds and Bradford and limestone from Skipton but in its 19th century heyday it carried stone, coal and many other goods. The impact of the railways was not as great as with other canals and commercial traffic continued along the main canal until 1964. Regular work stopped in 1972 when the movement of coal to Wigan Power Station ceased. In the latter part of the 20th century the leisure potential of the canal was developed and it is now a popular destination for cruising, fishing, walking and cycling. See LinkExternal link for detailed information.

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Rob Farrow and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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SD9851, 1241 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Sunday, 26 June, 2011   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 28 June, 2011
Geographical Context
City, Town centre  Canals 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SD 9897 5190 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:57.7908N 2:1.0312W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SD 9897 5192
View Direction
SOUTH (about 180 degrees)
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Other Tags
Leeds Liverpool Canal  Skipton  Springs Branch  Canal  Branch Line  Bridge Arch 

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